open access

Abstract

The main objective of this study is to explore the challenges of engaging citizens in urban disaster management (UDM) in the urban fire, waterlogging, and pandemic like COVID 19. A qualitative research approach, mainly in-depth interview method was applied to gain insights from different government officials of civil defense, police force, and ward councilors of Dhaka and Chattogram City Corporations, who were experienced in working at the field level UDM. The study tried to investigate the challenges faced by the officials during disaster rescue operations with special reference to the role of urban citizens. The findings of the study capture, in detail, the challenges faced by different personnel involved in UDM operations. While citizen engagement is expected to be a positive notion, in most cases, citizens themselves become the main obstacle of disaster management, due to their ignorance, negligence, and lack of patience in the given disastrous and pandemic situation, and thus, hinders UDM operations and crisis management. The lessons learned from contemporary urban disasters like fire and the COVID 19 pandemic are recorded elaborately. Based on that, different recommendations are made to ensure the active engagement of citizens to facilitate UDM activities in an orderly manner.