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India's extreme weather events | October 2022



Extreme weather events! Our previous video in this series explained the assessment of India’s extreme weather events for the first 273 days of 2022. This video is an assessment for the month of October. This series is Centre for Science and Environment’s and Down to Earth’s attempt to build an evidence base on India’s frequency and expanding the geography of extreme weather events.

In October 2022, India experienced extreme weather events on 30 of the 31 days. While on all 30 days, some parts of the country recorded heavy rains, floods and landslides, on October 4th Uttarakhand witnessed an avalanche that killed at least 16 people

October is usually a lean month in terms of rainfall, as it sees the exit of the monsoon from the subcontinent and the onset of the Northeast monsoon. At least 197 people died due to the extreme weather events in October. This roughly works out to six deaths a day for the month. Uttar Pradesh saw the most deaths (55), followed by Maharashtra (35) and Uttarakhand (30).

The worst-hit states are in the Northwest and central regions, which usually do not receive much rainfall in the month. The events also damaged 6,145 houses and caused 383 animal deaths. Uttar Pradesh, with 2,462 damaged houses, accounted for 40% of India’s total.
Meghalaya accounted for more than 80% of the animal deaths, even though the northeastern state saw extreme weather events on 8 days in October.

The Disaster Management Division of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs releases cumulative figures on human lives lost, cropped area affected, houses damaged and animal deaths. However, there are many data discrepancies. India recorded 1,843,543 hectares of affected crop area till September 2022. By the end of October, the total affected crop area decreased by over 36,000 ha to 1,807,137 ha. The problem lies in Uttar Pradesh, which, despite being the worst affected in October, saw 81,793 ha reduction in the area between September and October. Such a drop in cumulative numbers is statistically not possible. A similar discrepancy can also be seen in animal deaths. By the end of September, Maharashtra reported 4,330 animal deaths. A month later, the state’s cumulative number of animal deaths decreased to 4,301.

Poor loss and damage accounting has a direct impact on the rehabilitation of people. The issue was also at the heart of the recently concluded 27th Conference of Parties (COP27). India has plans to demand climate funds under the facility, for which it will need to get its loss and damage numbers right.

Down to Earth is Science and Environment fortnightly published by the Society for Environmental Communication, New Delhi. We publish news and analysis on issues that deal with sustainable development, which we scan through the eyes of science and environment.

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