India among worst hit by extreme heat, floods, glacier disaster in 2023: WMO | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

India among worst hit by extreme heat, floods, glacier disaster in 2023: WMO

ByJayashree Nandi
Apr 23, 2024 02:46 PM IST

A major and prolonged heatwave affected much of South-East Asia in April and May, extending as far west as Bangladesh and Eastern India, and north to southern China

Asia remained the world’s most disaster-hit region from weather, climate and water-related hazards in 2023, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Tuesday while highlighting that extreme heat, severe floods, a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) devastated parts of India also last year.

In India, severe heatwaves in April and June resulted in about 110 reported fatalities due to heatstroke. (HT Photo)
In India, severe heatwaves in April and June resulted in about 110 reported fatalities due to heatstroke. (HT Photo)

Floods and storms caused the highest number of reported casualties and economic losses, whilst the impact of heatwaves became more severe in 2023, according to a new WMO report titled: The State of the Climate in Asia 2023.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

In India, severe heatwaves in April and June resulted in about 110 reported fatalities due to heatstroke.

A major and prolonged heatwave affected much of South-East Asia in April and May, extending as far west as Bangladesh and Eastern India, and north to southern China, with record-breaking temperatures, WMO flagged.

Also Read: Weatherbee | It’s only March and we’ve already crossed 40°C in some places – it’s unseasonably hot and also unusual

In 2022 also, India had experienced a severe spring heat wave.

India recorded its warmest March since records were maintained and one of the driest spring seasons, with dry warm winds plunging much of North India into summer temperatures sooner than usual.

The 2022 heatwave is estimated to have led to at least 90 deaths across India and Pakistan, and triggered an extreme Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) in northern Pakistan and forest fires in India.

The heat reduced India’s wheat crop yields, causing the government to reverse an earlier plan to supplement the global wheat supply that was impacted by the war in Ukraine.

The annual mean near-surface temperature over Asia in 2023 was the second highest on record, 0.91°C above the 1991–2020 average and 1.87°C above the 1961–1990 average. Particularly high average temperatures were recorded from western Siberia to central Asia and from eastern China to Japan. Japan and Kazakhstan each had record warm years, the report found.

In India, Yemen, and Pakistan, floods were the natural hazard event which caused the greatest number of fatalities, highlighting the continuing high level of vulnerability of Asia to natural hazard events, especially floods.

In 2023, over 80% of reported hydrometeorological hazards in Asia were flood and storm events, according to EM-DAT data. Floods were the leading cause of death in reported events in 2023 by a substantial margin, WMO said.

In the North Indian Ocean basin, Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Mocha made landfall along the Rakhine Coast in Myanmar on May 14 which caused widespread destruction and 156 reported deaths. Several extreme rainfall events took place in 2023. In June, July and August, several floods and storm events resulted in more than 600 reported deaths across India, Pakistan, and Nepal, WMO said.

“India’s current heatwave has been made hotter by climate change that is the result of human activities like burning coal and other fossil fuels. This is now the case for every heatwave, everywhere in the world. Until net greenhouse gas emissions end, heatwaves in India and elsewhere will continue to become hotter and more dangerous”, said Friederike Otto, senior lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, according to a statement by the institute in 2022. Otto leads the World Weather Attribution group.

Experts have suggested financial and technological support from wealthier nations to help India respond effectively to climate challenges.

“The new report highlights the significant vulnerabilities of Asia, including India, to the escalating threats of climate change. With surface temperatures rising, Himalayan glaciers retreating, and sea levels menacing our coastlines, the demand for precise, projected climate information and tailored meteorological services in India is more critical than ever”, said Harjeet Singh, Loss and Damage expert.

“There is an urgent necessity not only to enhance our disaster preparedness but also to implement effective adaptation strategies to protect the millions whose lives and livelihoods are at stake due to the climate emergency. Financial and technological support from wealthier nations is crucial to help India amplify adaptation efforts and respond effectively to these escalating climate challenges,” added Singh.

Tell us what your First Vote will stand for in a short video & get a chance to be featured on HT’s social media handles. Click here to know more!

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections 2024, Lok sabha election Live, Odisha election 2024 Live , Election 2024 Date, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, May 20, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On