According to the Environment Ministry of India, 2,405 people lost their lives as a result of extreme weather related events in the country in 2018-19. Babul Supriyo, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change , said, “as per the information received from the Ministry of Home Affairs, 2,405 lives have been reported to be lost during the financial year 2018-19 in the country due to cyclonic storm/flash flood/landslides/cloudburst etc”, in his written reply to a query. He also added that global warming may lead to a rise in the frequence and/or intensity of such events.
Supriyo spoke about the existing steps taken by the Indian Government to tackle climate change, which include the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) that “provides an overarching framework for all climate actions”, as well as State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC).
According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of the Government of India, “India is vulnerable, in varying degrees, to a large number of disasters”. In addition to considerable parts of land being prone to earthquakes, floods, cyclones, droughts, landslides, etc., disaster risks in India are “further compounded by increasing vulnerabilities related to changing demographics and socio-economic conditions, unplanned urbanization, development within high-risk zones, environmental degradation, climate change, geological hazards, epidemics and pandemics”.
Extreme weather conditions and related disasters have seriously threatened Indian population, economy, society, and sustainable development as has been witnessed during the 2013 Uttarakhand floods, and the recent Cyclone Fani in Odisha. The existing measures are clearly lacking and mere action plan formulations are not enough. Active implementation is urgent to save lives and livelihoods.