From severe water shortage to intensive fatal flooding, Climate Change is showing its impact – and millions of Indians remain on the brink of annihilation.
In 3 years, floods have destroyed 3.9 million homes in India
The effect of Climate Change and Global Warming have put India in a quicksand of extremities – from parched months where cities fear running out of drinking water, to months of floods that kill thousands of people, destroy millions of homes and millions of acres of crops.
The effect of Climate Change and Global Warming have put India in a quicksand of extremities – from extreme droughts to severe floods.
The number of rainy days continues to fall as the global temperatures rise. Assam experiences flood every year. Intense rain events are on a rise which leads to flooding. This data is consequential yet the impetus to take action upon is unfounded.
The recent fatal floods in Assam, which falls in extreme rainfall zone. The state with a population is 3 crores has 53 lakhs of these have no roof while 129 animals including endangered animals such as Rhinos and Elephants have died.
Over 6000 people died, 39 lakh homes destroyed in 3 years due to floods
As per a recent government statement in Lok Sabha, water related disasters such as floods, cyclones, and landslides have claimed 6,585 lives in the last three years. This comes out to five Indian lives lost every single day. As effects of climate change show, monsoons in India have become extremely inconsistent in recent years.
In only July 2019, over 70 lakh people in India, and neighbouring Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan were displaced or affected by floods. Recent imaging from space by NASA’s Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 observed the ‘inundated landscape through breaks in the cloud cover’ over northeast India.
Floods, cyclones, and landslides have claimed 6,585 lives in the last three years – which comes out to five Indian lives lost every single day
Image shows a stark difference from aridness of a month ago, and flooding in cities of Bihar Assam and neighbouring Nepal and Bangladesh showing visible dire conditions. The images show millions of hectares of farmland underwater, which has raised concerns about food and water supplies, as well as the potential for the spread of waterborne diseases.
India suffers from weather extremes – heavy floods and drought
Seasonal monsoons in India now come much delayed from the traditional rainy month of June. And even when monsoons are here, we are seeing fatal floods in Assam and Bihar in sharp contrast to fatal aridness and lack of water in cities like Chennai, Hyderabad and Secunderabad affecting 6.8 million residents.
In August 2018, 23 million people were impacted in Kerala with casualty worth $2.7 billion.
In August 2018, 23 million people were impacted in Kerala with casualty worth $2.7 billion. In 2017, major flooding engulfed parts of India, Bangladesh and Nepal causing 1,200 deaths, affecting 805,183 homes and 18 million people in North India at a damage of $2.5 billion, as per Central Water Commission.
87 lakh acres of crops destroyed since 2016
12% of India’s land is flood-prone. Regular flooding affects millions of Indians, particularly the rural, poor who rely on tilling lands. The agrarian crisis is the result of this extreme weather phenomenon. The farmer community finds economy stagnated, and surplus destroyed due to severe droughts and flooding. Regular monsoons are important for India which depends on the season for 70% of its total annual rains.
Low rainfall in monsoons leads to severe water crisis which is engulfing large parts of the country. Indian government’s think tank NITI Aayog predicted 21 major cities will run out of groundwater by 2020. And this is quickly becoming the new normal. 2018 saw 600 million Indians exposed to acute water shortage. 2017 saw five south Indian states face severe water shortage.
2018 saw 600 million Indians exposed to acute water shortage.
NITI Aayog believes affecting 100 million people living in cities will see a shortage of water supply by 2020. And India has been unable to cope up. While some areas are parched dry, others are overflowing with excess from uncontrolled flooding.
A brief history of ongoing and upcoming destruction
India has experienced lower and lower annual average of rainfall. 2019 has been the lowest in over 4 decades. The onslaught of floods in specific parts like Northeast India has now become an annual event recurring for at least 6 consecutive years.
There are man-made reasons behind the current drought and flood trajectory of India. Deforestation in the Bramhaputra region is to blame for the recurrent Northeast flash floods. Every year these floods dislodge over a crore people across India.
The onslaught of floods in specific parts like Northeast India has now become an annual event recurring for at least 6 consecutive years.
Flooding cuts off thousands of villages and towns in mountains and lowlands due to rising water, which swells up rivers that we parched dry a month ago, causing landslides, and making roads impassable.
Nation-wide crisis – Are we tackling it correctly?
Much of the crisis can be drawn down to bureaucratic corruption and political apathy. Mumbai sees 25% of its water lost due to leakage and theft, for Bangalore it is 37%. The powerful so-called ‘government servants’ avail free water and their handsome salaries remain unaffected by performance. It is hardly surprising in this scenario that the issue isn’t tackled with seriousness.
The powerful so called ‘government servants’ avail free water and their handsome salaries remain unaffected by performance.
Experts have been advocating privatisation of water supply to bring efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The loss of life can be stopped by institutionalised ways to warn the general public of the expected rain. Clearing can consequently be done on the base of flood warning.
Saluting the commitment & dedication of our frontline health workers!— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) August 1, 2019
Smt. Manju Kataria, ANM at SHC Devkhajuria, dist Visdisha with an ASHA crossing a rivulet for an immunisation session in a neighbouring village.#SwasthaBharat@PMOIndia @drharshvardhan @NITIAayog @MIB_India pic.twitter.com/wOircALwu6
There are civilian examples like WhatsApp groups formed by villages near Assam-Bhutan border to alert people of rising levels of the Brahmaputra. The concept can be implemented in a more formal way by state bodies. In flood-ridden and likewise drought-hit areas, thousands are forced to use and drink dirty water, starve and forced to evacuate their properties.
Are authorities doing enough? Assam and Bihar have 1.06 crore people affected for which 876 rescue workers, 133 motorboats and two helicopters along with 19 teams from NDRF are providing relief work. But in spite of intensive disaster management, with the way weather has been panning out in India in recent years, millions continue to be at risk of annihilation.
By: Chitresh Sehgal, Senior Editor, Dkoding Media