The spate of floods in Assam, West Bengal, Gujarat among other parts of the country this monsoon season is part of a global phenomenon that shows a marked increase in frequency and extent of natural disasters in the last six decades or so, data has revealed.
EM-DAT (The International Disaster database) has found that the number of disasters in India went up from three in the decade of 1900-1909, to as many as 186 a century later. And this decade, in the last seven years (2010-16), India has already seen 107 disasters.
Globally, disasters rose from 59 in the first decade of the last century to 4,479 in this century.
Farmers in particular have become more vulnerable than ever due to climate change and the ensuing spurt in disasters, experts say. On Sunday, in his Mann Ki Baat radio address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged as much. “Climate change, altered weather cycles, and transformations in the environment, are also having a big negative impact,” Modi said, before he went on to elaborate on flood relief efforts.
“Life goes completely topsy-turvy as a result of floods. Crops, livestock, infrastructure, roads, electricity, communication links – everything gets affected. In particular, our farmer brethren have to bear a lot of losses because of the damage to their crops and fields,” Modi said in his address.
EM-DAT estimates show that India has suffered losses amounting to $6.3 billion dollars in the 293 natural disasters that have occurred between the years 2000 and 2016, while over a billion people have been affected.