Need to asses climate change, says disaster management chief

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Cautioning that the Uttarakhand disaster may be a warning towards “extreme weather”, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) vice chairman M. Shashidhar Reddy Monday said detailed assessment of impact of climate change is needed.

    Speaking at the inauguration of South Asia Regional Consultation on Climate Change Adaptation, Reddy said: “Nothing more serious could have been witnessed. It is an example of extreme weather events we all are concerned about.”

    “We need to make a serious efforts to understand the implication of such disaster to which south Asia is vulnerable. The pace at which climate change is taking place… we need to focus on some key areas,” he said.

    Asked if the ecological imbalance created in the Himalayan area had any direct role in causing the disaster, Reddy said: “There is no doubt that ecological imbalance has been created in the Himalayas. But it did not have a direct role in this particular disaster, though it made the impact higher.”

    “Nature can be so overwhelming. Even a country like Japan, which has a highly developed disaster warning system, was devastated,” he said.

    Reddy added that inability to give exact forecast of rain was also a major factor.

    “The forecast should be able to tell the exact intensity of rain in terms of millimeter per hour,” he said.

    “India is planning to start aircraft probing of cyclones,” Reddy said.

    “The aircraft will fly in the eye of the storm, and the observation can reduce error in forecast. This will be useful for the entire south Asia region,” he said.

    Meanwhile, United Nations Resident Coordinator in India and Chair of India’s United Nations Disaster Management Team (UNDMT) Lise Grande lauded India’s rescue operation and the role of the Indian army.

    “The way the army dealt with the rescue operation is very heroic,” she said.

    Grande said the need of the hour was to asses the possible damage due to climate change and act immediately.

    David McLoughlin, deputy representative, Unicef India, said: “We need to develop resilience at the local level, not waiting for the first emergency to come,” he said.