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Remove Farakka barrage to save Bihar from floods, says Nitish

Nitish Kumar made the demand a day after the overflowing waters of the Ganga river entered Patna city and created fear among residents living in localities near its banks

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Bihar, August 21, 2016 On Sunday Chief Minister Nitish Kumar demanded removal of the Farakka barrage on the Ganga river and the formulation of a national silt management policy to protect the state from devastating floods in Bihar.

“It is not possible to protect Bihar from devastating floods without removal of Farakka barrage on the Ganga river,” Nitish Kumar told the media here before going for an aerial survey of the flood-affected six districts — including Patna, where the situation has worsened due to rising water level in the Ganga and its tributaries.

Representational Image. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Nitish Kumar made the demand a day after the overflowing waters of the Ganga river entered Patna city and created fear among residents living in localities near its banks.

“I have been raising this demand for some time but the central government has so far ignored it,” he said.

Nitish Kumar said the Farakka barrage on the Ganga river in West Bengal has brought big disadvantage for Bihar. “It is for the central government to make a fresh study or research on damage by the Farakka barrage to Bihar.”

He said silt deposited in the Ganga in Bihar due to the barrage is something the central government should take care of to save the state from devasting floods every year.

Nitish Kumar said silt management is the right answer to the problem. “Formulation of a national silt management policy is a must now for ensuring uninterrupted flow of water not only in Ganga, but all the other rivers.”

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Meanwhile, Bihar Disaster Management Department Principal Secretary Vayasji told media here that there is no threat of flood to Patna. “I would like to appeal to people not to go by rumours or reports in some media; there is no threat of flood in Patna, it is safe,” he said.

The Chief Minister said five teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) have been deployed in flood affected districts for relief and rescue operations.

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According to officials of the water resources development department, the Ganga has been flowing above the danger mark and the situation is alarming. All the drains, which lead into the river, have been sealed in view of the rising river water level.

An alert has been issued and the administration has appealed to people to keep calm. (IANS)

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In 30 Years Cities Will Face Dramatic Rise In Heat And Flood: Researchers

flooding risks may be coming faster than expected

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A tree art installation made up of individual trees and Hydrangeas is seen in front of the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 22, 2018, to celebrate Earth Day and promote the planting of trees in an effort to combat climate change.
A tree art installation made up of individual trees and Hydrangeas is seen in front of the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 22, 2018, to celebrate Earth Day and promote the planting of trees in an effort to combat climate change. VOA

In just 30 years, cities around the world will face dramatically higher risks from extreme heat, coastal flooding, power blackouts and food and water shortages unless climate-changing emissions are curbed, urban researchers warned Tuesday.

Today, for instance, over 200 million people in 350 cities face stifling heat where average daily peak temperatures hit 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) for three months of the year, according to a study released by C40 Cities, a network of major world cities pushing climate action.

But by 2050, more than 1.6 billion people in 970 cities will face those conditions, researchers predicted.

The number of people who are both in poverty and battling brutal heat — usually without air conditioning — will rise tenfold, they said.

“This is a wake-up call,” said Kevin Austin, deputy executive director of C40 Cities, at an international meeting in the South African city of Cape Town on adapting to climate change.

“The magnitude of people affected by heat will be (much) greater than today if we continue to increase greenhouse gases at this rate.”

But cities can take action to directly curb the risks, besides working to cut emissions, he said.

In Seoul, for example, a major elevated thoroughfare through the center of the city has been removed, opening up access to the river and lowering urban heat in the area by at least half a degree Celsius, he said.

South Korea’s capital also has planted more than 16 million trees and created shaded cooling centers for those without air conditioning.

hot planet
hot planet, Pixabay

“We want to encourage cities to adopt more of these solutions and implement them as quickly as possible. In the worst case scenario, they will need to do them quickly,” Austin said.

More drought, less water

The research, carried out by the New York-based Urban Climate Change Research Network, looked at data from more than 2,500 cities and predicted likely conditions if emissions continue to rise at their current rate.

It found that Cape Town’s ongoing battle with drought-driven water shortages could become far more common, with over 650 million people in 500 cities — among them Sao Paulo and Tehran — likely to see their access to water reduced by 2050.

Many thirsty cities are already aiming to set caps on water use per person, with Los Angeles pushing for 200 liters a day, Melbourne for 155 litres and Cape Town a dramatically reduced 50, Austin said.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that an average American today uses at least 300 liters of water per day.

Sharing advice on how to make cuts happen — including insights gained in Cape Town, which has slashed its water use by half in the face of extreme drought — can save cities time and help them make changes faster, Austin said.

But more cities “need to transition in a planned way, not in response to disaster,” he added.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said dealing with a crisis when it arrives leaves little room to maneuver.

dehydrated, drought
dehydrated, drought, Pixabay

“In a crisis like this there is no time to go by trial and error. You unfortunately have to get it right the first time,” she said at the Adaptation Futures conference in Cape Town.

Power risk from floods

The C40 Cities study also found that by mid-century over 800 million people will live in 570 coastal cities at risk of flooding from weather extremes and sea level rise.

Flooding presents a particular risk to urban power supplies, with many power stations located in flood-prone areas – and everything from transportation to heating and hospitals at risk if power plants flood in cities from London to Rio de Janeiro, the study noted.

Decentralizing power systems – including by getting clean energy from a larger number of smaller power plants – could help cut the risks, researchers said.

But flooding risks may be coming faster than expected.

Patrick Child, the European Commission’s deputy director-general for research and innovation, said a predicted one-meter (3-foot) rise in global sea level, once anticipated by 2100, is now expected by 2070.

Last year already saw the highest-ever documented economic losses from severe weather and climate change globally, he said.

Experts at the adaptation meeting also predicted that extreme weather could bring cascading problems for cities, with flooding, for instance, triggering everything from disease outbreaks to road failures, food shortages and closed schools.

Looking at just one type of problem — such as a health threats from extreme heat, or sea level rise — isn’t enough to capture the risks, said Cynthia Rosenzweig, a climatologist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the authors of the report.

flooding
flooding, Pixabay

“In cities, all of these impacts interact with each other, and are all happening at the same time,” she said.

Solutions also need combined approaches, with engineering efforts to cut flooding, for instance, working hand in hand with things like better protection of flood-absorbing wetlands, Rosenzweig said.

She said she hoped the research would help city officials prioritize what changes need to happen first to better protect their citizens from climate threats.

Also read: Beat The Summer Heat With The Right Drink

In cities “it’s often overwhelming, with so many things to do,” she said. (VOA)