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India at risk of food shortage due to climate change: Study    

According to recently published global study, India is among countries which are at greatest risk of food insecurity due to weather extremes caused by climate change. The study had examined how climate change could affect vulnerability of different countries mainly 122 developing and least-developed countries (mostly in Asia, Africa and South America) to food insecurity — when people lack access to sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. It examined projected changes in weather extremes and their implications for freshwater availability and vulnerability to food insecurity.

Key Findings

Climate change caused by 2 degrees Celsius global warming is expected to lead to more extremes of both heavy rainfall and drought, with different effects in different parts of world. Such weather extremes will increase vulnerability to food insecurity. The countries at greatest vulnerability to food insecurity due to climate change are Oman, India, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.

Global warming is expected to lead to wetter conditions on average causing floods and putting food production at risk. But agriculture may also get harmed by more frequent and prolonged droughts in some areas caused by climate change.

Wetter conditions are expected to have biggest impact in South and East Asia, with most extreme projections suggesting flow of River Ganges could more than double at 2 degrees Celsius global warming. Some areas are projected to see increase in flood event lengths of 4 days or more, particularly India and Bangladesh, for which such increases are projected in all ensemble members to some extent.

The areas worst affected by droughts are expected to be southern Africa and South America – where flows in Amazon River are projected to decline by up to 25%. Some climatic change is already unavoidable, but if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, this vulnerability is projected to remain smaller approximately 76% of developing countries than at 2 degrees Celsius

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Government launches scheme for protection of Majuli Island in Assam

The Union Government has launched new scheme for protection of Majuli Island in Assam from flood and erosion. The scheme was sanctioned by Government in March, 2017 and funding for it will be from Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).

The scheme has been framed by Brahmaputra Board based on recommendations of the high level Expert Committee of Central Government that visits the world’s largest riverine island at least twice a year to monitor and recommend anti-erosion measures.

The major components of the scheme include

  • Bank revetment with geo bags filled with earth/sand for a reach length of 27 km in 14 locations
  • RCC porcupine works in 41 locations
  • Construction of a sluice and
  • Construction of a Pilot channel of length of 3.50 km.

Majuli Island

Majuli Island is largest river island in world and first island district of the country. It is formed by Brahmaputra River in south and Kherkutia Xuti, another branch of Brahmaputra, joined by Subansiri River in north. The area of Majuli island recordere in 1914 was aroung 734 sq km and in 2004, it was recorded to be 502 sq km.

Geomorphologically, the entire Majuli island is part of alluvial flood plains of the Brahmaputra river. It is formed of soil consisting mainly of silt deposits which is without cohesion and susceptible to erosion. The problem of erosion was exacerbated after 1950 disastrous earthquake and has become severe environment issue as it remains mostly uncontained.

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