One billion to be exposed to coastal flooding by 2060

One billion to be exposed to coastal flooding by 2060

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Dhaka – More than a billion people are set to be exposed to coastal flooding by 2060 through a combination of sea level rise, storm surges and extreme weather, according to a new report of British charity group Christian Aid.
The report titled Act Now Or Pay Later: Protecting a billion people in climate-threatened coastal cities, shows that most of the cities at risk of coastal flooding are located in India, China and the United States.Of the 10 most vulnerable cities, nine are in Asia, of them Indian cities of Kolkata and Mumbai, and Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka topping the list.
The report published yesterday by Christian Aid that works in some of the world’s poorest communities in around 40 countries reveals that it is people living in three of the biggest carbon polluting countries– the USA, China and India—would be most at risk.
According to projections for the year 2070, supported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, India’s Kolkata and Mumbai top the list of cities whose populations are most exposed to coastal flooding, with 14 million and 11.4 million respectively. The first seven cities on the list are from Asia, followed by Miami at number eight.
In total, of the top 20 most financially vulnerable cities, half are from either of the two countries, four from the US and six from China, said the report jointly written by Alison Doig and Joe Ware.
“All these cities are also characterised by rising inequalities, with large numbers of very poor inhabitants who are generally the most exposed to impacts. Although huge financial assets are at risk, running into trillions of dollars, and many large and famous cities, it is the poorest people with the fewest assets who have the most to lose,” the report added.
By 2060, China’s coastal population is expected to top roughly 244 million and cross 216 million and 109 million in India and Bangladesh respectively.
“Mega-cities such as Kolkata, Lagos and Dhaka are already facing serious climate threats, and there are hundreds of smaller cities at risk across Asia, Africa and South America, read the summery of the report.
Report author Dr Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s Principal Climate Change Advisor, said the figures should be a wakeup call ahead of next week’s World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.
“We are facing a head on collision between the growth of coastal urban areas and climate change which makes coastal flooding more likely,” she said. “This perfect storm is likely to bring about a heavy human and financial toll unless we do something about it.
“Cruelly, it will be the poor that will suffer the most. Although the financial cost to cities in rich countries will be crippling, wealthier people will at least have options to relocate and receive insurance protection.
“Evidence shows that from New Orleans to Dhaka, it is the poorest who are most vulnerable because they have the worst infrastructure and no social or financial safety nets to help them recover.”
Dr Doig added: “There is a chance this horrifying vision of the future can be avoided. It is striking that the cities facing the most severe impacts are in countries with high contributions of carbon emissions. The first thing we can do is speed up the global transition away from dirty fossil fuels to the clean, renewably energy of the future.
“We can also do more to prepare for such occurrences. For every $1 spent on reducing the risk of disasters we save around $7 later. Such investment is a no brainer.”
In another ranking the report lists which nations will have the most people living in exposed coastlines by 2060. China tops the list, followed by India and Bangladesh. The UK comes in 22nd.
The report goes on to examine how men and women are affected differently by climate related disasters, with women on the whole suffering more acutely.
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and ranked 142nd out of 187 nations on the UN’s Human Development Index. – Staff Reporter

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