Kerala Floods Current Affairs - 2020

Global Climate Risk Index 2020

Global Climate Risk Index 2020, published by environmental think tank Germanwatch found Japan to be the most vulnerable country to climate change, followed by Philippines, Germany, Madagascar and India.

Key Findings of Index

(1) Japan: It topped the list of most affected countries in 2018 as it was hit by 3 exceptionally strong extreme weather events during year. It includes- Torrential rainfall from 6-8 July resulting in flash floods and mudslides; Severe heatwave from mid-July to August 2018; Typhoon Jebi in September 2018 broke.

(2) Philippines: It was hit by Typhoon Mangkhut (a category 5 typhoon) in September 2018, which was the most powerful typhoon recorded worldwide in 2018.

(3) Germany: It experienced 2nd hottest year due to a severe heatwave and also witnessed severe drought in October 2018 due to less rainfall, which resulted in a massive decline in harvest.

(4) Madagascar: It became victim to Cyclone Ava in January 2018 and Cyclone Eliakim in March 2018.

(5) India: Globally, it is the 5th most vulnerable country to climate change. India also recorded highest number of fatalities due to climate change and 2nd highest monetary losses from its impact in 2018. The southwest monsoon in 2018 severely affected India, southern state of Kerala was especially impacted which saw the worst flooding in hundred years. Under long term vulnerability, India is ranked 17th. India’s east coast was also hit by Cyclone Titli and Cyclone Gaja in October and November 2018 respectively.

(6) Sri Lanka: It was also affected by severe monsoon rains in May 2018, especially in the south and west coast.

(7) Kenya and (8) Rwanda: Both nations were ranked 7 and 8 respectively. They were also affected by severe monsoon rains, resulting in flooding in several areas and displacement of a large number of people.

Others:-

Canada: In beginning of 2018, Canada saw its lowest temperature in 100 years and then record high temperatures in April 2018, which melted heavy snowpacks, causing the rivers to overflow. It also saw its worst wildfire season.

Fiji: It was affected by 3 cyclones between February 2018 and April 2018- Cyclone Gita, Cyclone Josie and Cyclone Keni, which caused major flooding, leaving many displaced.

About Global Climate Risk Index 2020

The index assessed 181 countries and quantified impacts of climate change through economic losses, losses to GDP (Gross domestic product) and fatalities to arrive at a ranking. This year is the 15th edition of Climate Risk Index. It highlights existing vulnerabilities that may increase as extreme events and become more frequent/ severe due to climate change. It stresses on level of vulnerability of nations to severe climate events, which they should view as warnings for more frequent or severe events in future.

It is based on data from Munich Re NatCatSERVICE which is one of the largest databases on natural catastrophes. The Index has another set of ranking for period 1999-2018 which is based on average values over a 20-year period. In 1999 to 2018 period Puerto was the most vulnerable..

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Report of Amicus Curiae on Kerala Floods

The amicus curiae Jacob P. Alex appointed by the Kerala High Court to assist it in flood-related cases has submitted the report to the Kerala High Court. The report makes the following observations:

  • The sudden release of water simultaneously from different reservoirs during the heavy rain in August 2018 had aggravated the damage during the floods.
  • High reservoir storage and sudden release of water had resulted in worsening the floods.
  • It appeared that dams in the State did not have an effective flood control zone and flood cushions. The flood cushion or flood control zone is a temporary storage space for absorbing high flow for alleviating downstream flood damage.
  • None of the 79 dams in the State were operated or used for the purpose of flood control and moderation, despite the obligation to utilise them for flood control as per the stipulations under the National Water Policy, National Disaster Management Authority guidelines on the flood.
  • Various alerts (blue/orange/red) were issued not in accordance with the EAP (Emergency Action Plan) guidelines.
  • No proper follow-up action and effective precautionary steps, especially for evacuating people and accommodating them in safe locations, were taken after the issue of red alert.
  • None of the dams had EAP (Emergency Action Plan) despite the mandate of the National Disaster Management Authority to have it by 2009.
  • Most of the major reservoirs were almost full before the extreme rainfall and they did not have the capacity to accommodate the additional flow, compelling the authorities to release a substantial amount of water from reservoirs in a short span of time at the peak of the rainfall.
  • Almost all dams released water only after the water level crossed the FRL (Full Reservoir Level) or reached the MWL (maximum water level).
  • Dam managers should not have solely relied on the IMD prediction for dam management and variation in India Meteorological Department forecast could not be a justification for delayed release of water from dams.

Emergency Action Plan

Emergency Action Plan is a written document prepared by the dam operator and it contained plans to prevent or lessen the impact of a failure of the dam or appurtenant structure.

 

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