At a time when the nation is grappling with the pandemic, a cyclone that struck India left behind a trail of destruction estimated to cost around billions of dollars. A report by GIS consultancy RMSI pegs the losses caused by Cyclone Tauktae to be around Rs 15,000 crore—about $2 billion. Tauktae is the third cyclone to hit India since the onset of the Covid pandemic in 2020, the other two being Amphan and Yaas. Amphan, which hit the country in the first half of 2020, was proclaimed the world’s costliest disaster by the Aon catastrophe report. The cumulative impact of these three cyclones on India is estimated to be around $20 billion. That means close to 1% of the country’s GDP was wiped out by just three natural disasters. This, experts say, is only set to worsen.
The Indian Meteorological Department has warned that the Arabian Sea is witnessing an increase in intense cyclones, thanks to the rapid warming of the Indian Ocean. Scientists observed that increase in Arabian Sea cyclones was directly proportional to this warming. If this trend continues unchecked, massive destruction is expected in the coming years as about 14% of India’s 1.3 billion people live in coastal cities. Scientists are urging immediate combat measures, including climate-proofing of our cities, to mitigate the impact of disasters. To begin with, it’s imperative for world nations to come together to build the next mega science project, on the lines of CERN and the Giant Magellan Telescope, for climate modelling.
Earlier this month, the UK’s Royal Society elaborated on how climate-proofing would be impossible without developing next-generation climate models. Such a task cannot be achieved by any one nation as it requires staggering levels of super-computing, possible to achieve only by setting up an international centre. Bodies in the UK and Australia have already begun negotiations to this effect as there’s no time to lose. Between 2000 and 2019, the Earth witnessed an average of 185 disasters annually. In 2020, that number shot up drastically, with 207 natural disasters being recorded in the first six months alone. It’s important for India to also raise its voice for such a centre to save its people and infrastructure