After Amphan, Nisarga sounds a stern warning bell

The developing severe tropical cyclonic storm from the Arabian Sea – Cyclone Nisarga – is expected to make landfall in Raigad district, south of Mumbai, by Wednesday afternoon, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. The IMD has sounded a red alert for June 3 and 4 in Mumbai and ThanePalghar, Sindhudurg, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Thane districts. Like Amphan, which battered West Bengal and Odisha recently, Nisarga is predicted to submerge low-lying areas, uproot trees, destroy uncemented houses and critical infrastructure, and worse, kill people and animals. The aftermath of the storm will be challenging too. Nisarga comes at a time when Maharashtra is within the grip from the coronavirus pandemic, and then there is severe strain on the medical care personnel and system.

After Amphan

Both Nisarga and Amphan are trailers of the items the longer term will almost certainly look like for India’s eastern and western coastlines, due to the climate crisis. The climate crisis is making these cyclones stronger and more destructive by enhancing the sea surface rainfall and temperature through the storm; raising sea levels, which boosts the distance that the storm surge can reach; and allowing storms to get strength quickly. Indian cities need to adapt quickly to the new reality. A high-down climate resilience and adaptation policy will not suffice; the climate crisis will be needing micro-level planning and adaptationresilience and adaptation plans.

To accomplish this, city governments needs to be politically and financially empowered; and get adequate personnel who comprehend the climate crisis. Government departments must stop working in silos; to develop a long-term resilience strategy, they need to work together because the climate crisis affects all sectors, on their part. For years and years, cities happen to be centres of commerce, culture and innovation. They need to now develop the ability, the capability, and the will to battle the climate crisis.