We’ve constantly been battling harsh climatic conditions and climate hazards like hurricanes and floods. However, in the past few years, the scale of these disasters has multiplied and brought about heavy damage to life and property.
According to the Deccan Herald, around 2,422 people and 71,000 cattle have died in calamities across India in 2019-20 so far. over 114 hectares of agricultural lands and 7.44 lakh houses were destroyed. During 2019-20, Minister of State for Home Nityananda Rai has said, 14 flood-affected states, including Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh, have submitted a memorandum to the MHA seeking additional assistance from the National Disaster Relief Fund.
Why have the weather events undergone such a drastic change? How is it a major concern now?
Due to harmful human activities and increasing levels of pollution, the Earth is warming up. This has led to changes in the Earth’s climate, that is, extreme weather and climate events such as drought and severe flooding. Human-induced climate change has further exacerbated climate hazards and amplified the risks associated with it.
- The series of successive droughts in 2014 and 2015.
- A torrential downpour that resulted in flooding of Mumbai (2005), Uttarakhand (2013), Kashmir (2014), and Kerala(2018).
- The 2019 heatwave (May-June) which killed around 350 people according to WMO.
Destructive Climate Disasters across the world.
- Cyclone Idai and Kenneth
In March 2019, cyclone Idai claimed the lives of more than one thousand people as it hit Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique. It wreaked havoc on the economy and lives of the people leaving them without food and water. The cyclone was accompanied by lethal landslides that further exacerbated the problem. Homes, crops, and infrastructure were destroyed. Cyclone Kenneth occurred a mere six weeks later, causing heavy destruction in the northern regions of Mozambique.
- South Asia Floods
Heavy floods and landslides have displaced millions of people across India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Heavy monsoon rains crop and infrastructure and submerged major portions of the country underwater. Experts say that the regions torrential downpour is caused by rising sea surface temperatures in South Asia.
- East Africa drought
The likelihood of drought in the Horn of Africa region has doubled due to changing climatic conditions and anthropogenic effects. Severe droughts in 2011, 2017, and 2019 have acres of crops and livestock. Millions of people are left without aid and means to provide food for their families.
- Storm Eberhard
In mid-march, an extratropical cyclone swept across Europe causing widespread damage. The wind speeds exceed 140km/hr. Insured losses from the storm have been estimated to be around $1-1.7 billion. The frequency of these cyclones is prone to increase as the temperature increases.
- Flooding in Iran
Heavy rains slashed across Iran leading to destructive landslides and flooding. The northern part of Iran received a year’s worth of rainfall on one day taking the lives of 78 people and leaving two million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Recent studies show that such cases of extreme rain in Iran will increase as the effects of Global warming increases.
- Cyclone Fani
Cyclone Fani was one of the most powerful cyclones to hit land in the past twenty years. It caused destruction on a massive scale in India and Bangladesh. Cyclone Fani was a result of drastic climate change. 89 people were killed and more than 3.4 million displaced. The damage has been estimated at $8.1 million.
The effect these disasters have on the people and the economy of the country.
When a country battles with such natural disasters, it leaves it dry. The citizens battle the deleterious effects of these hazards. However, the magnitude of problems faced by the people differ, the poor bear the brunt of it most of the times even though they are least responsible for it (being a cause of climate change).
This is a race against time. We have to reduce our waste and greenhouse emissions. Reverse the harmful effects of global warming and bring back the natural balance of the climate. The inability to do so will inevitably lead to worse disasters that will have a crippling effect on the world.