India lost Rs 65 lakh crore in 2020 because of tropical cyclones, floods and droughts, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s ‘State of the Climate in Asia’ report released on Tuesday. China suffered damages worth Rs 178 lakh crore from natural disasters – the highest among all Asian countries.
The report which assesses climate change indicators like land and ocean temperatures, changes in precipitation, glacier retreat, shrinking sea ice, sea level rise, and their socio-economic impact, was published ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, scheduled to be held on October 31 in Glasgow city of Scotland.
World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said that the natural calamities had affected “agriculture and food security, contributing to increased displacement and vulnerability of migrants, refugees, worsening health risks, and exacerbating environmental issues and losses of natural ecosystems”.
According to the report, the summer monsoons in South and East Asia were unusually active in 2020, leading to loss of life in many countries. Cyclone Amphan that hit the Sundarban region in West Bengal in May 2020 displaced 24 lakh people in India. It displaced 25 lakh people in Bangladesh.
Mangroves – like the Sundarbans – that provide coastal protection are being harmed by human activities, increasing sea levels and water temperatures, the report said. Change in rainfall patterns and storm patterns have also affected the mangroves.
Ocean warming in Asia is also increasing more than the global average – at three times the rate in the case of the Arabian sea, according to the report.
The World Meteorological Organization also noted that Asia has performed poorly on the Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action) in most of its subregions.
“Fewer than 10% of the SDG targets are on track to be achieved by 2030,” said Taalas. “The most alarming are regressing trends on climate action [Goal 13] and life below water [Goal 14], both of which are related to disaster resilience.”