|Cities At Risk - Making Cities Safer ... Before Disaster Strikes (IDNDR-DIRDN, 1996)|
|Part Two: What Is Being Done?|
Floods strike urban areas more frequently than any other natural disaster. Asuncion, Paraguay's capital, is flooded each year along the coastal lowlands of the Paraguay River. Embankments have not been an efficient solution, since poor people continue to settle along the riverside - even though floods sweep away their belongings almost every year.
The Asuncion local government has just adopted an ambitious programme, "The Coastal Fringe," which aims to change attitudes and reduce land use of the city's most vulnerable coastal areas by the year 2000.
While there is till long way to go, the plan is in place and solutions are in sight. The new urban development plan takes into account vulnerabilities, risks and historic values of the city. This plan was developed with active community participation from risk areas. A household census was carried out to get better socioeconomic and population data upon which to base decisions. Workshops in high risk areas concentrated on solutions that are acceptable for residents and feasible for the city government. A loan from the Inter-American Development Bank is being negotiated to implement the project. So far, the project has generated a spirit of cooperation among public, private and community organizations in a way that has never seen before in Paraguay. Workshops and public information campaigns has already influenced attitudes and encouraged partnerships within the community.
The project has tour strategies:
· Integrate the city and river in a
sustainable environ mental solution. This includes land fill in some areas
and sanitary recovery in others (garbage solutions, sewage). A coastal path and
parkway is being built to avoid settlements in these areas and to give the
population access to the beauty of the riverside.
· Improve living conditions in the flooded areas, including new services and financial credit for the population to resettle on the landfilled areas.
· Guarantee ecological sustainability by creating more green areas (nature reserves and parks).
· Generate jobs for those who have resettled from risk areas, by using local manpower to implement the Coastal Fringe project. promote locally produced materials and products, and provide access to credit.
Adapted from papers provided by Gonzalo Garay, Municipality of Asuncion, and Helena Molin Valdes, IDNDR Regional Office for Latin America/Caribbean. For more information, contact the IDNDR Regional Office or Arch. Gonzalo Garay Z., Director, Officer of Urban Development, Municipality of Asuncion, Mcal. Lopez y Cap. Victoriano Bueno, 4th floor, Block A, Asuncion, Paraguay. Ph. (595-21) 610563 Fax: (595-21) 610591
(Adapted from 'Documentos Ambiente', No. 3 Serie "Construccion de la ciudad", CEPA Foundation, 1995.)