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After Amphan, Nisarga sounds a warning bell

The developing severe tropical cyclonic storm from the Arabian Sea – Cyclone Nisarga – is predicted to help 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 4 and 3 in Thane and MumbaiSindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad, Palghar and Thane districts. Like Amphan, which battered West Bengal and Odisha recently, Nisarga is expected to submerge low-lying areas, uproot trees, destroy uncemented houses and critical infrastructure, and worse, kill people and animals. The aftermath of the storm is going to be challenging too. Nisarga comes at a time when Maharashtra has already been inside the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, and then there is severe force on the health care system and personnel.

After Amphan

Both Nisarga and Amphan are trailers of the things the future is going to appear to be for India’s western and eastern coastlines, due to the climate crisis. The climate crisis is making these cyclones more and stronger destructive by enhancing the sea surface temperature and rainfall through the storm; raising sea levels, which raises the distance a storm surge can reach; and allowing storms to get strength quickly. Indian cities have to adapt quickly to this particular new reality. A top-notch-down climate resilience and adaptation policy will never suffice; the weather crisis will need micro-level adaptation and planningresilience and adaptation plans.

To achieve this, city governments should be politically and financially empowered; and get adequate personnel who understand the climate crisis. On their part, 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. For hundreds of years, cities have already been centres of commerce, innovation and culture. They should now develop the capacity, the capacity, and the will to use on the weather crisis.

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