India: India to face more flood threats

India is likely to face more floods in future, the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has warned in a report issued in the wake of the worst floods to hit Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in the northern part of the country in more than 60 years.

“India will be hit more and more by extreme rainfall events,” said the CSE whose researchers have found that heavy (>100mm/day) and very heavy (>150mm/day) rainfall events in India have increased over the past 50-60 years, according to local media reports. India will get more rainfall but in a much shorter duration, say the results, also predicting extreme precipitation during monsoons.

The study stressed that such extreme weather conditions are being induced by climate change. “The Kashmir floods are a grim reminder that climate change is now hitting India harder. In the last 10 years, several extreme rainfall events have rocked the country, this being the latest calamity in the series,” said Mr Chandra Bhushan, CSE Deputy Director General and the head of its climate change team.

Anticipating more such calamities in India, CSE Director General Ms Sunita Narain called for a policy change based on the predictions made by climate models. “The Indian government must discard its ostrich-like policy and get out of its denial mode. We will have to see the linkages between climate change and events such as those unfolding in J&K,” she said.

Separately, Dr RK Pachauri, director general of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), also warned that more such floods will occur in the country due to erratic weather patterns. Coastal floods and storm surges are also expected to increase in the future.

Meanwhile, insurance companies are expected to be hit with a loss of INR8 billion (US$131.3 million) to INR9 billion from the J&K floods which have displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Claims are expected on motor, household and shopkeeper policies.

Apart from direct cover by owners, a New India Assurance executive said that financial institutions, agencies and banks had taken insurance against loans given to individuals for houses, motor vehicles and shops.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has asked insurance companies to settle claims quickly. The regulator has increased the limit of losses required to be surveyed for settlement of claims in flood-hit J&K to INR50,000 from INR20,000. It said that the special dispensation is given to ensure expeditious settlement of claims and to mitigate hardship faced by policyholders in the affected region.

Source: eDaily