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Himalayan Floods: Unearthing the Climate Crisis Impact

Heavy rain has caused a glacial lake to burst unleashing flash floods in India’s Himalayan state of Sikkim on Wednesday 4th October. 


Currently, more than one hundred people are missing in the region, and at least 86 were killed alongside mass destruction such as the submersion of fifteen bridges and dozens of roads.


Anup Malik, a senior official of the Indian Forestry Service says that the flood is “nature’s fury” stating that climate change is the justified cause of this tragedy.


Local Impacts:


Mukesh Kumar, a migrant worker in the region of Rangpo claimed that if “had we not left for another two minutes, we might have drowned” affirming the level of distress across Himalayan towns.


An estimated 4,000 tourists were in Lachung and Lachen due to the severely restricted access to the northern part of the state. State authorities and the army have provided those tourists who are trapped with food and communication facilities to contact their families.


Local businessman, Baiju Sharma told reporters “you are standing on his house” referring to the rubble that earlier stood as his neighbour’s house.


Many locals, alike Sharma, experienced the loss of homes, belongings and loved ones and others escaped minutes before the flash flood hit the affected areas.


However, the amount of action authorities have allocated to tourists in comparison to locals who have been affected has caused public controversy. 


One took to Twitter saying, “they are going ahead with several projects in fragile Himalayas just to accommodate more tourists while locals are still dying”, projecting the opinion that the locals should be a higher response priority.


Future of the Himalaya’s:


As the human-caused climate crisis is evidently accelerating, scientists clearly state that eruptions of extreme weather will become more frequent and more intense across the globe. 


The location of the Himalayas is already prone to flash floods, landslides, and flooding although the intensity of these natural disasters can be expected to worsen.


As WWF, World Wildlife Fund, admits that “climate change in the Himalayas poses a serious threat” demanding that the vulnerable nation must “move rapidly and build resilience on these impacts and adapt to climate change”.

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