WATCH: Climate change, its impact on floods and cylones discussed at Gaon Cafe on World Environment Day

In the Gaon Cafe, Anshu Sharma, co-founder, SEEDS, and Abinash Mohanty, Program Lead, CEEW explained how climate change is leading to more intense cyclones. They also zoomed in on the disaster management aspect of cyclones. More details here.

Gaon Connection
| Updated: June 5th, 2021

In a bid to address the issue of climate change and its impact on the natural disasters, a virtual discussion was held at ‘Gaon Cafe’, which is Gaon Connection’s series on panel discussions on issues concerning rural India.

In the discussion held to observe the World Environment Day, two experts on climate change and disaster response were invited — Anshu Sharma, co-founder of Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS), and Abinash Mohanty, Program Lead, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). The discussion was moderated by Nidhi Jamwal, Deputy Managing Editor of Gaon Connection, India’s biggest rural media platform.

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“The rising temperatures of the oceans is leading to more intense cyclones. Earlier, whatever heat was there in the Arabian Sea or the Bay of Bengal, mostly it used to form depressions but now these depressions are more likely to generate cyclones and the cyclones more often are converting into ‘severe’ and ‘extremely severe cyclonic storms,” Mohanty said.

“This has had a serious impact on the severity of the disaster when it affects the communities living near the seashore,” he added.

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Also, talking about the disaster management aspect of these cyclone, Sharma, whose organisation is working on disasters for the past 26 years, pointed out that most of the long term destruction in cyclones is caused by water and not high velocity winds.

“The saline water which makes inroads and the flooding caused by the rains is actually more damaging than the landfall itself. We need stronger houses in the coastal areas as well,” he pointed out.

During the discussion, the panelists pointed out how micro-climates are also changing and that is impacting the frequency and intensity of disasters. Areas that used to have floods, now experience droughts and vice-versa. “Our latest study shows that 75 per cent of Indian districts are climate change and climate risk hotspots,” said Mohanty.

According to Sharma, the biggest challenge is that every year climate change impact is experienced in a different form, which makes response and planning for the future difficult.