NEW DELHI: The Uttarakhand disaster this week and what Kerala had seen over the last weekend may put a question mark over the states’ adaptation measures at a time when extreme weather events linked to climate change have almost become a routine. Records of both IMD and private weather forecast agency Skymet clearly show that the two states had prior impact-based warnings of extremely heavy rainfall. But the absence of disaster reaction mechanisms at local levels, advanced landslide prediction systems and some basic ground work of evacuation from the low-lying vulnerable areas resulted in loss of lives and properties. “Uttarakhand disaster was due to an interaction of easterlies with abundant moisture over Indo-Gangetic plains and a middle latitude westerly system… It was well predicted by IMD,” said Madhavan Rajeevan, former secretary, ministry of earth sciences. Rajeevan, a climate expert, admitted though that there is need to have “highly advanced landslide prediction systems” — a prerequisite for taking any quick measure to face the challenge of climate change. He said, “Both the states are hilly and heavy rains are expected over hilly regions. It led to landslides which caused most deaths.” Environmentalists wonder why such ecologically fragile regions are opened for the kind of work which could lead to deforestation.

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