Ground Report | New Delhi: Flood-related disasters risen; Water-related dangers have intensified with climate change. As an example are the floods, which have increased by 134% since 2000 compared to the previous two decades, according to data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The latest proof is in India, where record rains and subsequent floods have killed at least 150 people and left dozens injured and missing.
Although it may seem like a catastrophe, it is only the beginning of what is coming for the populations that suffer it, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). As detailed, these types of extreme events destroy biodiversity, lives, livelihoods, infrastructure, and other assets.
It can also exacerbate health hazards, such as cholera, as sewers overflow and freshwater and contaminated water mix. Stagnant floodwater can even encourage malaria-carrying mosquitoes to breed in some places.
In this regard, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami, said that families are devastated and that now the locals have to face many problems such as crop failure.
In view of the dangers, the international community has been fighting for years in terms of prevention, especially in the Asian continent where the monsoons represent a serious danger. In fact, the WMO notes that the success of this work is reflected in the data for 2020, the year in which floods and storms affected approximately 50 million people in Asia.
Flood-related disasters risen
“Weather and climate hazards, particularly floods, storms, and droughts, have had significant impacts in many countries in the region, affecting agriculture and food security, contributing to the increased displacement and vulnerability of migrants, refugees, and displaced people, to health risks and worsening, and increasing environmental issues and loss of natural ecosystems,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.
“Combined, these impacts take a significant toll on long-term sustainable development, and in particular progress towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
The report includes input from a wide range of partners, including the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and other United Nations agencies, the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, as well as leading scientists and climate centers. It was published ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, as a series of regional analyzes designed to inform decision- and policy-makers as well as regional and national investments.
“This is a figure below the annual average of the last two decades and testimony to the success of early warning systems in many countries of the region that have been in place for a long time,” says the WMO, which insists that the comprehensive management of water resources is essential to achieve long-term social, economic and environmental well-being.
UNEP is another of the international organizations that contribute their bit in this matter. “We don’t have a magic wand, but we are working with partners to accelerate flood resilience, build capacity, promote sustainable development, and collect and analyze the most important data to inform policymaking,” says Lis Mullin Bernhardt, Ecosystem Expert freshwater supply from UNEP.
deforestation, drought, and floods
“We are building resilience by promoting the sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) on water and providing countries with significant opportunities to advance their broader development and climate agendas effectively, consistently across sectors, and with viability to longer-term ”, he adds.
The data in this task are crucial, such as that available in the Flood and Drought Portal, maintained by UNEP-DHI, a UNEP center of experts dedicated to improving the management, development, and use of freshwater resources from the beginning. local to a global level.
Specifically, this platform aggregates and translates publicly available data from a variety of sources, making it accessible to water authorities in a way that they can use to support decisions at the local level. “The portal uses the growing opportunities provided by satellite data and cloud solutions to improve preparedness, management, and response to urban floods, watershed floods, droughts, and coastal protection,” says UNEP.
Meanwhile, the Global Alliance for Sustainable Development Data, which works to ensure that new opportunities from the data revolution are used to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has worked with UNEP to inform and improve the availability of data. data against floods in countries like Senegal.
“We learned to explore and use data on deforestation, drought, and floods in Senegal, which is often not collected at the national level,” says Gora Mbengue of the Senegal Department of Environmental Planning and Monitoring.
Mitigation and prevention are not everything. The adaptation to a changing world is also a cornerstone to delude ourselves in this scenario marked by climate change and profit. (Flood-related disasters risen)
In this sense, the Global Commission on Adaptation in 2019 estimated that an investment of 1.8 billion dollars in adaptation measures would generate a return of 7.1 billion dollars in avoided costs and other benefits when they bet on more versatile adaptations such as those that nature offers.
For example, ecosystem-based approaches, such as constructed wetlands, dedicated retention areas, and restoration of vegetation cover, help to tackle the loss of biodiversity, in addition to their clear positive impact on the regional hydrological cycle, as described exposes UNEP.