Environment

3,000 lives lost in India’s 2023 extreme weather toll

New Delhi, Nov 29 (EFE).- A stark climate study published on Wednesday reveals that nearly 3,000 people have lost their lives due to extreme weather disasters that relentlessly struck India almost every day in the first nine months of this year.

The report, “India 2023: An Assessment of Extreme Weather Events,” conducted by the climate advocacy group Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Down To Earth magazine, highlights the relentless nature of weather disasters, ranging from heat and cold waves, cyclones, lightning, heavy rain, floods, and landslides.

The disasters “hit the country with tenacious and frightening regularity,” according to the report.

“These disasters have claimed 2,923 human lives,” said the study, warning that the “more alarming” is the fact that “in all probability, these calculations could be an underestimation.”

“Data for each event is not collated, nor are losses of public property or agriculture calculated.”

The impact extends beyond the loss of lives, affecting 1.84 million hectares of crop area, destroying over 80,000 houses, and causing the death of more than 92,000 livestock, according to the study.

The study claims that its findings provide evidence based on the frequency and expanding geography of extreme weather events in the country of 1.4 billion people.

“The country has witnessed…the new abnormal in a warming world,” said CSE head Sunita Narain.

The report notes that January 2023 was slightly warmer than average, but February set records as the warmest in 122 years. The country experienced its sixth driest February and its driest August this year.

“Disaster-wise, lightning and storms were the most frequent. On 176 out of 273 days, they killed 711 people. Most of them died in Bihar. But the maximum havoc was wreaked by a combination of heavy rains, floods, and landslides due to which over 1,900 people lost their lives,” said the report.

The report indicates that 2023 was more devastating compared to 2022.

“The impact of extreme weather events has been worse and been felt across the country in 2023, compared to” fewer places last year, said Kiran Pandey, one of the authors of the report.

Narain said what the report found “is the watermark of climate change.”

“It is not about a single event, but about the increased frequency of such events,” she said.

“An extreme event that we used to witness once every 100 years, has now begun to occur every five years or even less. This is breaking the back of our poorest, who are the worst affected and fast losing their capacities to cope.” EFE

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