1 September 2017
- Kolkata, Mumbai and Miami ranked as most vulnerable coastal cities exposed to flooding
- World must act to tackle climate change to avoid future flood induced mayhem
As floodwaters cause death and destruction in South Asia and Texas, Christian Aid is warning that both India and America will continue to top the list of countries most at risk from urban coastal flooding.
In its report Act Now or Pay Later: Protecting a billion people in climate-threatened coastal cities published last year, the charity showed that projections for the year 2070 put India’s Kolkata and Mumbai top of the list of cities whose populations are most exposed to coastal flooding, with 14 million and 11.4 million respectively. The first seven cities on the list are from Asia, including Dhaka in Bangladesh at three, which is also currently suffering from the floods.
The same report showed that the US is predicted to suffer the brunt of the financial losses from coastal flooding by 2070, with Miami ranked top with an eye-watering $3.5 trillion of exposed assets and New York third with $2.1 trillion.
Report author Dr Alison Doig said: “Right now in South Asia and Texas we’re seeing the havoc that is unleashed by flooding on this scale. Sadly both India and America will continue to suffer from flood induced mayhem unless the world acts to tackle climate change which is causing sea level rise and intensifying rainfall.
“In South Asia people are facing the prospect of their homes and livestock being washed away which means the death toll will likely rise as food shortages become widespread. More than 1200 people have died and millions of people are already displaced across the region.
“That is why Christian Aid has launched an emergency appeal to help those in need get food, shelter and medical help so they can fend off disease and start to rebuild their lives.”
As well as the flooding impact of sea level rise, climate change also has the potential to cause bigger floods as rainfall intensifies.
Dr Doig said: “Research by MIT suggests that the most extreme rain events in most regions of the world will increase in intensity by 3 to 15 per cent, especially in places such as parts of the Asian monsoon region. Likewise the Royal Meteorological Society states that a warming climate means more moisture can be held in the atmosphere, leading to heavier rainfall when it does occur.
“Climate change is a threat multiplier which will increase the chance of more mass floods. If we want to address the underlying causes it’s vital we speed up the decarbonisation of the global economy and invest much more in clean, renewable energy. Otherwise we can expect to see more horrific images of flood victims in future.”