The Face of Disasters 2019 report was released by the Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS). The report is aimed at bringing about a conversation on building a sustainable future, which is beyond response to disasters.
Findings of the Report
- India is staring at extremes of too little and too much rainfall in 2019. There is a significant drought condition even before the onset of summers.
- Extreme floods in unexpected locations during the Monsoons are fast becoming a new normal in India.
- Other disasters are hidden because of slow-onset or they may be affecting ignored populations or occurring at the same time as more high profile disasters.
- For instance, during the June to September monsoon of 2018, Punjab experienced a “normal” monsoon with rainfall just 7% higher than the average rainfall in the State. But this figure masked the fact that Ropar saw 71% excess rainfall while Ferozepur experienced a 74% shortage.
- Similarly, eastern Uttar Pradesh saw a minimal shortage of 16% lower than usual. However, Kushi Nagar received 82% less while Kannauj actually had a surplus of 62%.
The report also outlines the following eight key areas:
Water and the changing nature of disaster risk: A ‘new normal’ of rainfall variability is bringing challenges of too much and too little water, often in parallel.
- No disaster is ‘natural’: Risks lurking under the radar slip through the cracks because they don’t meet the idea of a ‘natural disaster’.
- The silent events: The disasters that go unseen leave those affected at even greater risk.
- Land becomes water (and water becomes land): Changes to the coastline are already affecting livelihood sources and will be hotspots for vulnerability in the future.
- The complexity of disaster impact: Beyond official ‘damages’, the long-term and uncaptured disaster impacts have life-changing consequences for affected communities.
- The urban imperative: Risk is rapidly urbanising and will affect everyone.
- Transformations in the third pole: Himalayan glaciers are melting, with serious implications for the whole region.
- Planning for what you can’t see: Earthquake risk is looming large under the radar, but are we prepared?
Additionally, the report also looks into the changing face of disaster risks and the need to look at ‘disasters’ from a broader perspective, with roots in resource management practices.