Cyclone Yaas hits India’s eastern shore . . .
Cyclone Yaas reached India’s northeastern shore on Wednesday. With winds reaching more than 140 km/hour by the time it made landfall, the cyclone destroyed thousands of homes. An advanced warning was issued and there were large-scale evacuations but three people have been confirmed dead, and more than 1.2 million people were displaced. The effects of the disaster are compounded by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in India. Local COVID patients were forced to evacuate to already overwhelmed hospitals in other regions, and refugees are struggling to uphold social distancing measures in temporary shelters.
Climate responsible for more displacement than conflict . . .
A recent report published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) notes that 75 per cent of those who migrated domestically in 2020 did so due to extreme weather and climate conditions. Of the 40.5 million new displacements recorded by the IDMC in 2020, 30.7 million resulted from natural disasters, compared to 9.8 million due to conflict and violence. In the past 20 years, the number of natural disasters has surged, and their severity has also increased. Just last week, India was hit by Tropical Cyclone Tauktae, the strongest to reach its western shore in recorded history.
Long-term problem for the Asia Pacific . . .
The Asia Pacific region is one of the most likely to be affected by natural disasters; approximately 41 per cent of reported disasters in the past 20 years have occurred in the region. It is also one of the most populous regions globally, which means that climate change will likely continue to be the largest source of internal displacement in the coming years. As climate events become more numerous and extreme, with large tolls on the environment, economy, and the well-being of local populations, the long-term effects of displacement will require international co-operation – particularly in meeting the urgent needs of those displaced.
- Al Jazeera: Deadly Cyclone Yaas hits India’s eastern coast, villages flooded
- CNN: India lashed by strongest cyclone to ever hit west coast as it reels from Covid disaster
- Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre: Global report on internal displacement 2021