Heavy rainfall leads to flash floods . . .
Heavy rainfall in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand has caused floods and landslides that have killed 55 people, officials announced Wednesday. The southern state of Kerala has also experienced severe rain-related landslides that have claimed 42 lives. The death toll in India continues to rise as bridges have been destroyed, several roads remain impassable, and the flooding has ruined several major crop fields. In neighbouring Nepal, police say at least 88 people are dead, and 30 are missing due to three consecutive days of heavy rainfall.
Extreme weather events increasing in India . . .
India’s monsoon season typically stretches from June to September, making these late October rains very unusual. Uttarakhand usually registers around 30.5 mm of rain in October, but 328 mm of rainfall was recorded in just one day this week. Every district in Kerala and every district but Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand has experienced historic surpluses in rainfall this month. The event is representative of a larger trend of deadly weather events in India. In July 2021, India suffered its most severe heatwave in nine years, with temperatures reaching more than 40 degrees Celsius for several consecutive days. In February, a hydroelectric dam in Uttarakhand was destroyed by floods, killing over 200 people.
The COP26 opportunity . . .
As seasonal weather becomes more extreme and unpredictable, we may witness an increase in weather-related migration in the Asia Pacific and elsewhere. As water levels and temperatures rise, some areas may become habitable only seasonally, or not at all. If large numbers of people are displaced, this issue will need a co-ordinated global response. Global forums on tackling climate change are critical for ensuring that the risks of population displacement are mitigated and addressed at the international level. The upcoming 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), hosted by Glasgow October 31-November 12, is one such opportunity. The conference will address issues such as the financing of climate initiatives and the protection and restoration of ecosystems that have been affected by climate change.