Expect more Kerala scale flooding if nothing is done to address climate change, warns Christian Aid
The world should expect and prepare for more frequent and more destructive floods, like the events of Kerala, India if nothing is done to tackle climate change, warn Christian Aid.
The flooding in Kerala began on August 8 following torrential rain and strong winds ; the region experienced 30% more rain than its annual average in a short period. This figure rose to 83.5% of its annual rain in some places.
The state of Kerala is familiar with flooding and heavy rain as it lies in the path of the south west monsoon. However, authorities were overwhelmed by the huge volume of rainfall.
Latest figures suggest almost 400 people have died since the flooding began and the army, navy and national disaster response teams have been working to deliver food and water to displaced people.
Christian Aid reports that over one million people have been displaced by the flooding in Kerala and urgently hoping that the events will act as a ‘wake-up call’ to trigger action on climate change.
Dr Kat Kramer, Christian Aid's Global Lead on Climate Change commented:
"Science tells us that India and South Asia can expect more flooding events like the ones we're seeing in Kerala, as global warming continues. In the Tropics we can expect more than a 10% increase in precipitation for a degree Celsius increase in temperature. Studies also show that climate change could lead to a reduction in winter rainfall in India, causing drought in the dry summer months and an increase in the monsoon season, leading to more flooding.”
"These kind of events are a warning to us all of the scale of climate crisis we are facing. The idea of more than a million people being displaced by floods is shocking, and rightly so, but if we don't act to reduce our emissions then these kinds of disasters will become more frequent”
The flooding in Kerala has been labelled the worst in 100 years; however, the rescue response in the region has been praised. Many have highlighted that a flood of this magnitude could have killed hundreds more a decade ago, but due to India’s disaster management capacity many lives were saved.
It is estimated that the total cost of the damages is $3 billion; however, this could rise substantially as flood waters retreat.
Christian Aid have also emphasised how climate change disproportionately effects the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.
Chandra Bhushan, Centre for Science and Environment, noted that man-made features also contributed to the destruction in Kerala. The region has experienced rapid and unplanned development, much of it along the river banks, which has destroyed natural flood defences such as mangroves.
"The floods were inevitable, but the impact in Kerala was exacerbated by human influence: bad dam management, bad planning, deforestation and destruction of natural habitats"
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Image credit: Christian Aid