In the recent time frame, it’s getting obvious that the removal of vegetation, changes in land cover and climate change are increasing the risk of flood. Extreme floods are triggered by intensifying precipitation for a longer duration with close repetition.
The global temperature is rising rapidly. At present, the average global temperature is 1.1 °C higher than the beginning of the 20th century. Rising global temperature increases the evaporation, as a result, there is an increase in precipitation frequency, change in wind flow direction and change in duration, leading to likelihoods of the extreme flood.
Globally, floods cause more than $40 billion damage on average every year. According to the report of the McKinsey Global Institute in August, the economic impact is greater in Asia than anywhere else. The recorded floods are the beginning of a new norm, and the new records will continue to exceed in the coming years.
In Nepal, degradation of Chure for timber and riverbed materials such as sand, concrete, and boulders have increased the flood threat for districts below the Chure belt. Deforestation in the Chure-Bhavar range has weakened its water-holding capacity and disturbed the water recharge system, causing flood and landslide in low-lying areas.
23 people died on the 10th of July due to floods and landslides in Myagdi, Lamjung, Kaski, Rukum West, Jajarkot and Gulmi districts. As per The Nepal Disaster Risk Reduction Portal, 21 August, 249 people have lost their lives as a result of Monsoon-induced floods, flash floods, heavy rain and landslides since the beginning of the season in 2020.
In Baglung district, at least 14 people died and 41 were missing from a massive landslide and flood that occurred on 3 September and 2,743 households, 2,617 hectares of private land have been affected by Koshi river, up to the 2020 monsoon.
Humans and animals are equally affected by such disasters. Many wild animals from protected areas had died in 2017, for instance in Chitwan national park, a flood from Narayani river entered the park and at least 11 one-horned rhinos were swept away. 18 blackbucks were dead in the Blackbuck Conservation Area in the same year.
The damage to properties and life are at an increasing rate. To address this problem the Nepal Government must mobilize enforcement and manpower for search and rescue efforts from high-risk areas to provide needed relief assistance to the affected ones.
Governments entities at all levels, business, civil society, individuals – need to be prepared about how to build, adapt and protect our homes, communities, businesses and infrastructure from extreme flood events.
Most urgently, greenhouse gas emissions must be closely monitored and regulated. And let’s emphasize upon nature-based climate solution options such as reforestation, afforestation and land restoration.