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Born and raised in Kolkata, India, Urmi Basu was influenced at an early age by her parents’ serious involvement in activities of urban and rural development. Inspired to pursue a career in social work, she obtained a bachelors degree in sociology before earning her masters in social work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. During her training, she had the opportunity to work in the first cell set up for women in distress by the Mumbai Police Department. She was also a relief worker during the Bhopal gas leak tragedy in December 1984, which left with her a lasting impression about the need to be prepared for disasters, both natural and manmade. [+]