Disasters Going up five fold in Himalayas, India, Globally

2021-09-07, 1:46pm Earthquake


Himalayas from airplane. Ignat. Creative Commons.

September 6, 2021SANDRP

Data published this week (see below) shows that disasters are going up almost five fold in the Himalayas (data from Uttarakhand, HP below, but this is not different in rest of Himalayas), nationally and even globally. The data from UN report this week shows that the disasters are up five fold in recent years. Damage is up even more. As the data of landslides due to Char Dham High way and hydropower projects show, the contribution from these projects to the disaster is clear. So much so that even the editorial in The Hindustan Times this week asked to stop these disastrous projects. While it is unlikely that the governments or politicians would wake up to this reality anytime soon, one expects the judiciary, media, civil society and academics to take up this issue on urgent basis.

UTTARAKHAND Disaster Data Data maintained by the Uttarakhand disaster management dept shows that over 5,700 people died in natural disasters in the state in last 20 years, of which most deaths were due to flash floods and landslides. In the last 7 years alone, 27 major landslides have been recorded, apart from hundreds of minor ones. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/in-depth/are-uttarakhand-hills-frequently-caving-in-under-the-weight-of-development/videoshow/85814895.cms  (01 Sept. 2021)

A hydro onslaught Himalayas cannot take Mallika Bhanot, C.P. Rajendran In normal circumstances, when a mistake is understood and suffered, one tends to learn from it and not repeat it. Unfortunately, this does not hold true in the case of the policy makers who are bent upon permitting projects and large-scale infrastructure in the already fragile and vulnerable Ganga-Himalayan basin. Recurrent disasters in the last decade in the State of Uttarakhand have been studied and analysed. And in every disaster, the increasing anthropogenic pressure in this area has been found to be a direct or an indirect contributor.

The most recent example is the Rishi-Ganga valley disaster, in February this year which claimed over 200 lives as the river turned into a flood carrying a heavy load of silt and debris and demolishing hydropower projects along its course. While science and logic tell us to press on with conservation and protection in these sensitive areas, our government has decided to go in the dangerous and opposite direction, pushing more such projects including hydropower projects and Chardham highway among others. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/a-hydro-onslaught-the-himalayas-cannot-take/article36261151.ece   (03 Sept. 2021)

Aftermath of Chamoli Disaster Still Playing Out Mallika Bhanot, C.P. Rajendran The Himalaya are already rife with unstable slopes, and more and more studies and reports are telling us floods, landslides, etc. are going to become more common. To mitigate these hazards and save more lives, we must stop interfering in these areas, and declare obviously fragile zones to be ‘ecologically sensitive zones’ and protect them accordingly. We must rollback our unresearched, unsustainable activities, restore the natural forest, increase green cover to protect against landslides, and thus minimise the impacts of climate change. https://science.thewire.in/environment/chamoli-disaster-aftermath-raini-village-rockfalls-slope-instability-climate-change/   (03 Sept. 2021)

Editorial in the Hindustan Times clearly asking to stop destructive Hydropower and Char Dham Highway projects in Uttarakhand. https://www.pressreader.com/india/hindustan-times-ranchi/20210904/281685437952363  (04 Sept. 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Kinnaur residents unite against hydro-power projects This time, the locals are determined to resist further degradation by exercising their right to consent, which is embedded in the rule that an NOC from the Gram Sabha is mandatory for setting up a project. Incidentally, the SJVNL, which has been allotted the Jangi Thopan project, became a member of the International Solar Alliance (a coalition of solar resource-rich countries) earlier this year. It would do well to spend more energy on tapping sun and wind — renewable and greener sources — for power generation.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/editorials/no-should-mean-no-303921  (30 Aug. 2021)

Power project oustees threaten bypoll boycott Villagers of 16 panchayats, who have been affected due to the establishment of the nation’s largest 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri hydropower project, have threatened to boycott the upcoming byelection to the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/power-project-oustees-threaten-bypoll-boycott-in-himachal-304330  (31 Aug. 2021)   

At least 246 people lost their lives to natural disasters such in Himachal this monsoon. The state government is pursuing highway projects, dozens of hydropower projects which are further impacting the sensitive ecosystem. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/09/himachal-pradesh-and-its-recurring-face-off-with-disasters/  (03 Sept. 2021)

UN DISASTER UP FIVE FOLD - The number of disasters, such as floods and heatwaves, driven by climate change have increased fivefold over the past 50 years, killing more than 2 million people and costing $3.64 trillion in total losses, a U.N. agency said on Sept 1, 2021. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says its “Atlas” is the most comprehensive review of mortality and economic losses from weather, water and climate extremes ever produced.” https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/weather-disasters-killed-2-million-last-50-years-un-agency-says-2021-09-01/  (01 Sept. 2021)

Source: DRP NB 6 Sep 2021: DISASTERS GOING UP in Himalayas, across India & Globally – SANDRP