Over 85% of Uttarakhand districts, including Chamoli, hot spots of extreme floods: Analysis
Over 85% of districts in Uttarakhand are hot spots of extreme floods and associated weather events, according to an analysis by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
The frequency and intensity of extreme flood events in Uttarakhand have increased four-fold since 1970, the analysis said on Thursday. Flood related events such as landslides, cloud bursts, glacial lake outbursts, etc. have also increased four-fold during this period, causing massive loss and damage.
Chamoli where the glacial breach disaster took place last Sunday, Haridwar, Nainital, Pithoragarh, and Uttarkashi districts are the most vulnerable to extreme floods according to the analysis.
The findings are from the CEEW report titled: Preparing India for Extreme Climate Events released in December which highlighted that even with a 0.6 degree C rise in temperature over the past century, India is facing devastating consequences. CEEW has coupled information available from globally validated data sheets with data from other sources like the India Meteorological Department, World Meteorological Organization, and Press Information Bureau.
The team developed a gridded exposure sheet of climate events; and a geo-spatial analysis of extreme climate events using coarse grain resolution temporal maps.
CEEW programme lead Abinash Mohanty said, “The recent devastating flash flood in Uttarakhand is further proof that the climate crisis can no longer be ignored. In the last 20 years, Uttarakhand has lost more than 50,000 hectares of forest cover, leading to micro climatic changes in the region. This, in turn, has triggered a rise in extreme climate events in the state. A focus on land use-based forest restoration could not only reverse the climate imbalance but also help promote sustainable tourism in the state. Equally important would be climate proofing of infrastructure, investments, and policies. This is no more an option, rather a national imperative to tackle such extreme events and ensure minimal loss and damage.”
The report had found more than 75% of India’s districts are hot spots of extreme climate events and estimated that 97.51 million people are exposed to extreme floods in India.