“Global warming is not a future threat but a present reality.”-Bill McKibben, Boston Globe
The country experienced one of the most intense rainfalls which led to flooding in the monsoon season this year. 37 out of 75 districts of our country were severely affected by the flooding. It consumed the life of 143 innocent people and many other livestock and wild animals. 91,400 families had been displaced from their home. Communities from different villages of the tarai belt remained inaccessible by road.
The flood was triggered by torrential rainfall. The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DOHM) had reported that this is sort of intense rainfall which is not very rare and can be expected every few years. But if we look on the global scale, we can see such examples all around us in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. In 2015, Chennai of India faced a mega flood which displaced 1.8 million people from their homes. Bangladesh is more prone to flooding than any other country in the HKH region due to is geographical setting. Every year, around 18 percent of the country is flooded and it may affect up to 75 percent of the country. These are some compelling examples of disasters precipitated by typical weather events.
Nepal is listed as 24th most vulnerable country towards climate change with a score of 44.33 according to the Global climate risk index, 2017. According to a recent study published in the Scientific Journal PLOS ONE, the researchers predicted that by the end of this century, the intensity of flooding could increase by 15 to 50 percent and flooding will become more frequent. The severe rainfall is one of many weather extremes events that will likely occur in the following years. The magnitude and intensity of these events are sure to increase as the intensity of anthropogenic green-house gases emission is also increasing on a daily basis.
The impact of climate change has been discussed which are primarily focused on reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation while extreme hydrological events have been given very less attention. Such intense precipitation and violent flood cause huge tolls in terms of physical and economic loss. It is necessary to understand that the impact of climate change does not only occur gradually but also often shows immediate extreme events evidenced above.
In the world of contingency plans, our country is far behind in terms of adaptation measures. Though, the government has acknowledged the threat that climate change imposes and has addressed plans through different legislation. However, in case of an emergency, our communities are not resilient enough to recover from it. When it comes to understanding the future of climate extremes, there is no doubt the science is still in relative infancy, allowing for some uncertainty.
Many leaders and scientist still argue about climate change being a hoax. An example of them is the current president of the United States. Whether this is climate change or not, one thing is clear that this is a global problem which is imposing a serious threat to millions of people around the globe.
Denying climate change can slow the momentum already generated by the tremendous efforts being made by countries worldwide to mitigate the effects of climate change. In a country like ours, climate change adaptation is the only way to survive. We need to pool in all of our resources and come up with innovative ways to sustain food production, rehabilitate flood victims and monitor the vulnerability of the communities to save them from another mega flood.