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About this book

In the last two decades, coastal regions have relatively endured some of the fiercest oceanic and geophysical disasters than the earlier decades. Yet, disaster management governance fails to match the human, nonhuman and environmental calamity which is unfolding in its most frequent and unpredictable pattern. Between the Asian Tsunami of 2004 to the devastating Chennai and Kerala floods of 2018 the socio-industrial-livelihood impact alerts governments towards a greater and more serious compliance to laws for coastal conservation. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) in 2018 had shocking statistics to share as the deaths and damages related to only Tsunami disaster at the coasts to 251,770 and US$280 billions respectively in the last 20 years (1998-2017) as compared to 998 and US$ 2.7 billion in the previous 20 years (1978-1997). Coastal conservation is no more a question of casual governance but has become a need for survival. The region of South Asia which ranks much higher in its vulnerability, weak resilience and relatively undersupplied governance structures ought to take this responsibility on a priority. The spirit of Hyogu Declaration and the Sendai Framework for Action suggests preparedness and resilience building as key approach areas in coastal governance.

The book is incomparable in its holistic and transdisciplinary social science based approach to disaster management which links conservation of marine flora and fauna, ecosystems and land management with decision making processes and coastal regulations. These grass root findings from the subcontinent are substantiated by a section on the most powerful court battle on the Kerala Floods as a guideline for readers to discerningly identify an ‘Act of God’ often used as a veil to hide lack of preparedness, apathy and political greed. This book becomes indispensable reading for anyone involved in research, administration or any level of decision making for the mitigation and prevention of disasters.

Table of Contents


Disaster Management in Coastal Areas: An Introduction

The coastal regions are five times more vulnerable to disasters than the hinterlands. About 80% of disasters are linked to water and the coastal areas are most exposed to water. More than 80% of the earth’s surface is water and now humans are in search of water on the moon. The majority of countries in Asia have are near the sea. India, a sub-continent in itself, has a 10,000 km coastline. Sri Lanka, an island country, is situated at the confluence of two seas and an ocean. Bangladesh is considered one of the most vulnerable countries in terms of the vagaries of disasters that are connected to the sea; its geo-morphological features are such that a large part of its coastline lies at a level lower than the MSP.
Nivedita P. Haran

Policies, Law and Regulations for the Mitigation of Coastal Disasters


Coastal Conservation in Sri Lanka: Problems and Prospects

Coastal conservation has become a very important concern in the process of sustainable development. Most countries have designed and implemented legislations and practices against erosion and to conserve coasts. Similar to other countries, Sri Lanka has a fully operative Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), which is periodically updated. The 2003 Coastal Zone Management Plan has been followed and was built upon the 1997 Coastal Zone Management Plan with additional components introduced to address the current requirements (Dissanayake, Strategies for the Improved Management of Coastal Zone of Sri Lanka. University of Moratuwa, Department of Civil Engineering. Retrieved from http://​dl.​lib.​mrt.​ac.​lk/​bitstream/​handle/​123/​1389/​pre-text.​pdf?​sequence=​4&​isAllowed=​y, 2005). However, several issues related to coastal conservation, which reduce the effectiveness of the coastal conservation in Sri Lanka, are evident.
The main purpose of this study is to analyse the effectiveness of existing plans and policies regarding coastal conservation. This study is mainly based on secondary data.
R. Lalitha S. Fernando, H. M. I. U. P. Herath, R. B. P. M. Rathnayake

The Coastal Zone Policy in Bangladesh: An Appraisal

The chapter examines operations of coastal zone policies in Bangladesh. The coastal zone of Bangladesh covers nineteen southern districts with a total land area of 47,201 square kilometres. The life and livelihoods of the people in the coastal zone are adversely affected and disrupted by various naturally occurring as well as human-induced disasters which have decelerated development in the said region. Sundarbans provides sustainable livelihood for millions of people who are inhabitants of the region and acts as a shelter belt to protect the people from storms, cyclones, tidal surges, sea water seepage and intrusion. The coastal metropolitans consist of the main port city, commercial capital and Export Processing Zones.
Bangladesh is often defenceless to climate change. The coastal region of the country specifically is ill-famed for vulnerabilities and natural disasters. Sea level rise, storms, cyclones, drought, erosion, landslides, flooding and salinization are already displacing large numbers of people. Multiple approaches to address the liabilities and prospects of the coastal zones like eco-friendly commercial activities and other sustainable use of natural resources have been considered. The three main components found were coastal zone policy, coastal development strategy and priority investment program.
All of the policies have clear implications for coastal development, but in most cases do not have specific sections on coastal areas and often fail to capture the distinctive combinations of vulnerabilities and opportunities that characterize the coast. Therefore, in order to ensure more effective implementation of ultimate policy goals, the policies need to be reviewed and updated.
N. Nabila Hoque

Disaster Mitigation & Planning for Tsunami in Coastal Areas

India is a peninsular (peninsula A peninsula or almost an island which is surrounded by water on three sides.(Latin: paeninsula from paene “almost” and insula “island”) India is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on the west, Bay of Bengal on the East and Indian Ocean on the south) country which is vulnerable to various kinds of natural hazards. Tsunami is one such hazard which threatens all coastal states intensely. North Andaman, Sumatra and Car Nicobar in Bay of Bengal and Makran Trench in the Arabian Sea are major faults which make India susceptible to earthquakes as well as tsunamis. Tsunami is an unpredictable hazard in which time of occurrence, epicenter and its intensity are erratic prior to the strike. It is only after its occurrence that the early warning systems are able to procure and disseminate information about data such as its time of occurrence, its intensity and travel time of waves to the concerned control rooms. Through this study it is found that most of the time, communication failure, lack of education and unclear planning of evacuation are the main reasons which lead to the devastation and weak community resilience. This chapter underlines the importance of knowledge and experience of disaster risk reduction to identify key management lessons learned from Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. The mechanism for reinforcing the coastal areas vulnerable to tsunami are discussed, along with best practices especially related to the coastal areas of Kutch district in Gujarat state. An existing scenario of tsunami hazard management in and around the coastal areas of Mandvi taluka of Kutch district has been studied through selected cases and their analysis vis-à-vis the existing plans for evacuation and knowledge management in the rural areas.
Mehul Padharia

Land, Agriculture and Food at the Coastal Rim


Coastal Agriculture and Future Challenges

Coastal areas provide excellent soil and climatic conditions for agriculture. They play an important role in the economy, providing food and raw material for industry. Agricultural products find markets in tourism and craft, while port facilities facilitate trade. However, coastal agriculture faces several challenges due to temporal ocean/sea activities producing saline air and water and the inundation and erosion of coastal land. Upstream activities can affect the quality and availability of water. Agriculture is also influenced by the positive and negative interactions with companion sectors. Negative influences are competition for land, water, capital, labor and pollution originating from coastal or outside sectors and agriculture’s own negative practices, such as irrigation practices. Agrochemicals and silting of coral reefs and ports cause pollution for fisheries and marine biodiversity and negative influences on other sectors.
These challenges can be overcome with moderation of ocean/sea activities and overall integrated coastal planning, including agriculture. Planning requires collection of information on biophysical and socio-economic environments, interactions with other sectors, governance, and addressing challenges, opportunities and alternatives. Planning should conform to national and international laws and facilitate eco-friendly conservation agriculture avoiding negative impacts. A participatory approach involving all stakeholders is required, including changes in cropping patterns and cultivation methods.
Anurudh K. Singh

Land Mismanagement and Coastal Disasters

Land mismanagement along the coasts results in the intensification of ecological vulnerability which is the ultimate cause for an increase in the frequency of disasters such as floods, drought, landslides, cyclones and so on. Natural waterbodies such as lakes, ponds, aquifers have all been destroyed and are the victims of land mismanagement. The measures suggested by the Gadgil (2011) and Kasturirangan (2013) report that suggested certain land-use restrictions along the coasts were left unattended and even the CRZ notifications of 1991 and 2011 were flouted at the cost of protecting the ecology of the fragile regions. This chapter highlights how the changing land use along the coasts in the form of illegal construction, encroachment of low-lying areas and river beds, rampant urbanization, creation of resorts and tourism industry and changing agricultural production has resulted in the making of the unprecedented Kerala disaster.
Gaurika Chugh

Farmers, Climate and Disaster Management in a Coastal Region

The community worst affected by natural disasters is the farming community. Nature, which is supposed to nurture them, has become the cause of their anguish and disappointment due to the frequent occurrence of natural calamities such as floods and cyclones. Climate change has precipitated these natural disasters. Through their research, economists and sociologists have concluded that disasters, both man-made and natural, result in crop loss leading to farmers’ indebtedness, helplessness and consequently loss of life in India. For states like Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Kerala and Odisha these disastrous events have taken a heavy toll on the states’ economies as losses are estimated as being in the millions of rupees. Hence, effective disaster management will to some extent save the country and the farming community from such agony. Moreover, structure, density and socio-economic indicators of the population determine their level of vulnerability. Therefore, while delivering justice, the nature of vulnerability has to be incorporated into public policy so that the fault lines of social justice are adequately addressed. Hence, ‘building the resilience of the nations and communities to disasters’ is of utmost importance for policy-makers in India.
This chapter is an attempt to examine the nature and level of vulnerability of the farming population. In addition to this it also examines existing public policies such as the crop insurance scheme and crop-loss compensation schemes that address these vulnerabilities. It provides recommendations to address the governance challenges in a post-disaster situation.
Swarnamayee Tripathy

Conserving Marine Flora and Fauna


Marine Animals and Coastal Disasters

Coastal disasters are increasing and one important cause which is being underplayed under a powerful climate change lobby is overconsumption along the coasts both of land and sea resources. Fish and other sea animals, coastal vegetation and plankton are fast depleting, which is leading to reduced carbon sequestration which can withstand sea level rise and counter negative climate impacts. The laws and policies along the coasts are expected to develop a zero tolerance policy toward overuse of coastal ecosystems and to generate sustainable systems, which is the only solution at hand that involves coastal communities.
Amita Singh

Protecting the Non-Human Animals of Coastal Ecosystems from Disasters

There exists great discrepancy in a manner that human and non-human animals are treated during disasters despite an enormous role that the latter play in the lives of the former. Every year there are a large number of animal deaths due to disasters and intensified human suffering due to this loss, yet the focus of laws, regulations and machinery for rescue and rehabilitation remains quite insensitive towards them. The impact of disasters on animals is visible from the flooding and destruction of their habitats from coastal to mountain ecosystems, from tropical to temperate forests and from villages to cities. Experience has shown that when floods strike in coastal areas, the official management structures of NDMA, SDMA and DDMA spring into action to save humans whereas non-humans are left behind for lack of concern, arrangements or even attitudes of officials. Even laws such as the CRZ 1991 and the DMA 2005 have been conservative, closed and deficient in incorporating within their folds lives other than humans and since there is little sensitivity on this front, the officials fail to collaborate with wildlife officials, city municipal bodies and animal owners in their plans for preparedness. Community resilience measures have simply shown adhoc arrangements, which are either personality driven or driven by the need for economic viability. This chapter asserts that human and non-human arrangements for preparedness and rescue overlap and can contribute to the mutual strengthening of resilience building.
Surinder Verma, Shalini

Tackling Vulnerability and Resilience in Coastal Ecosystems


Building Resilience in Coastal Ecosystems: Problems and Prospects

Coastal ecosystems are inherently vulnerable, being exposed to the forces of seas and oceans while braving internal disturbances. These zones are considered to be quite lucrative and are used for different and sometimes competing purposes such as waste disposal, habitation, harbors, polluting industries, agriculture, tourism and recreational activities. An important concern with coastal regions is that they are subject to recurrent hazards; cyclones and floods are annual episodes in these areas. Against this backdrop building resilience in local communities to withstand these changes becomes imperative. The first step in building a resilient habitation is to identify risks both at the micro and the macro level. Second, it is important to identify the vulnerabilities of communities and potential exposure to disasters. Third, a risk management and mitigation exercise needs to be undertaken. This chapter lists the various building blocks of ‘resilience’. However, an important problem in theorizing resilience is that it cannot be easily quantified. Due to this reason, its relevance is sometimes ignored. Thus, a mix of quantitative and qualitative variables taken together would better explain the resilience quotient. The notion of ‘resilience’ is widely accepted among scientists and environmentalists alike. However, when it comes to operationalizing the concept, there seems to be a lack of consensus. There is an apparent disconnect between the theoretical understanding and practical application of what entails ‘resilience’. Nevertheless, empirical examination suggests that world-wide, coastal management plans have incorporated the notion of resilience, either explicitly or implicitly. The challenge, however, is to implement it effectively.
Akanchha Singh

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Risks to Coastal Communities

The usual holistic approach of disaster management calls for identifying appropriate and viable preventive and mitigation measures to facilitate adequate preparedness. Recurrent floods and cyclonic events are reminders that coastal communities are increasingly at risk from many chronic and episodic hazards and vulnerable to unforeseen events. Additionally, many coastal resources are highly stressed, and vulnerability is on the rise with increasing informal settlements around the coasts, declining fish yields, conflict in use of coastal space and resources, depletion of mangrove cover and coastal erosion leading to unsustainability. In India, there is a need to develop resilience as an effective approach toward enhancing capacities and sustainable recovery. As per the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre Guiding Manual for coastal areas, eight ‘Elements of Resilience’ have been highlighted, in which governance, resource management and land use are key priorities. Achievements for many of the Sustainable Developmental Goals, which is a multilateral commitment, are invariably connected to the detrimental impact of coastal hazards, and in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, there is an indispensable imperative to reduce coastal vulnerabilities. This also signifies the importance of developing community resilience as the most effective approach to reducing the long-term impact of coastal hazards through initiatives which are aimed at ensuring a sustainable farming/livelihood recovery in the aftermath of a disaster, as well as reducing people’s vulnerability to these hazards. In order to strengthen the rationale for integration, this chapter aims to look at the inter-linkages and convergence between these resilience elements and the Sustainable Developmental Goals in regard to natural hazards and their impact on the coastal communities in India.
Sushma Guleria

Disasters and Climate Change Adaptability at Odisha Coast

‘Having become increasingly frequent in the late 1990s, the sustained high level of climate-related events pushed the average number of disasters per year to 329 in the latest 20-year period. This is double the average of 165 events per annum in 1978–1997, although better reporting of disaster data in the latest decades partly accounts for the apparent increase’. (UNISDR Report 1998–2017)
The increasing effect of climate change along the coastal areas has made those habitats very vulnerable. For example, tropical cyclones over the Bay of Bengal occur in two distinct seasons: the pre-monsoon months of April–May and post-monsoon months of October–November. In the past 2 decades alone, Odisha has suffered two such severe cyclones, that is, Super Cyclone 1999 and more recently ‘Titli’ (2018), which have shattered many lives, livelihood and the economy of Odisha.
Disasters such as tropical cyclones, floods and coastal erosion have resulted from a sea-level rise, which has constantly increased over the past 2 decades. This affects human adaptation of coastal inhabitants in in many ways: by causing environmental degradation and economic hardships and concomitant mental distress. In this regard, some recent developments in disaster mitigation warrants our attention, for example, Odisha is one of the first few Indian states to have developed a public address system for sophisticated early warnings as part of a state disaster reduction plan. This chapter critically reviews the physical impact of disasters on coastal Odisha and human adaption to disasters in reaction to its impacts on environment and economy of Odisha in particular.
Niranjan Sahoo, Maheswar Satpathy

Women in 2018 Kerala Floods: A Sociological Narrative

Every disaster makes women weaker than what they earlier were. They are primary home makers and are shattered when they find their home destroyed or washed away. The present study is a sociological narrative on how women and girls cope with floods and how important is home for their psychological, cognitive and their holistic well-being. Their very existence as a woman is threatened in a shelter as some of their basic needs, such as sanitary pads, infant feeding, toilets and basic female-specific medicines, which are integral to their existence as a woman remain unfulfilled; this drives them to immense frustration and depression. Much of how women feel about their basic needs are also cultural inhibitions which are aggravated during disasters where only uniformed men of army and disaster response forces are suppliers to their needs. This chapter is specific to women of the state of Kerala in India, which excels every other state in India, both in women’s education and in medical services.
Nisha Jose, Sony Kunjappan

Climate Change and Coastal Disasters of Bangladesh

This chapter aims to examine and explore public policies related to the impact of climate change on the coastal zone of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is vulnerable to a variety of climate risks. Disasters such as cyclones, storm surges and floods have become more frequent and turbulent due to the impact of climate change. Cyclones alone have caused the death of 250,000 people globally, among which 60% belonged to Bangladesh (UNDP 2004). Around 17% cyclonic storm surges in the Bay of Bengal have had landfall in coastal Bangladesh and caused immense loss of life, livelihood and destruction of vital assets. Sea level rise and saline water intrusion in the coastal zone, combined with an adverse effect on agriculture and availability of fresh/drinking water is phenomenal. It is projected that 45-cm sea level rise will inundate the world heritage site, Sundarbans mangrove forest, on which millions of families depend (World Bank, Bangladesh Country Assistance Strategy: 2011–2014. Dhaka: Bangladesh Country Management Unit, South Asia Region, The World Bank Office, 2010). Coasts and islands are highly exposed to a variety of climate hazards (Westmacott, Where Should the Focus Be in Tropical Integrated Coastal Management. Coastal Management, 30, 2002). Increasing human activity within the coastal zone has led to a series of environmental issues that require to be addressed. Rapidly growing population, deteriorating environmental quality, loss of critical habitats, diminishing levels of fish and shellfish and reduced biodiversity increases vulnerability to natural hazards (Leary et al., For Whom the Bell Tolls: Vulnerabilities in a Changing Climate. In N. Leary, C. Conde, J. Kulkarni, A. Nyong & J. Pulhin (Eds.), Climate Change and Vulnerability (pp. 3–30). London: Earth Scan, 2009). Effective disaster risk management in such vulnerable coastal areas of the country relies on a strong legal policy, inter-institutional coordination mechanism and, of course, community participation (IISD, Livelihoods and Climate Change: Combating Disaster Risk Reduction, Natural Resource Management and Climate Change Adaptation in a New Approach to the Reduction of Vulnerability and Poverty. IUCN, SEI, IISD and Inter Cooperation. Retrieved on January 15, 2009, from http://​data.​iucn.​org/​dbtw-wpd/​edocs/​2003-034.​pdf, 2003: 3–7). Bangladesh developed strategies and policies to respond to climate change-induced risks effectively in a coordinated manner.
Nasim Banu

Role of Insurance in Building Resilience for Coastal Zones: Market Versus the State

Extreme weather-related events and disasters cause huge losses in terms of death and destruction of property and assets. Reducing risk and building resilience of communities are two critical building blocks underlying disaster management approaches today. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction of 2016 puts the primary responsibility on the state to undertake disaster management policies based on this premise. Disaster risk reduction and building of resilience involves reducing loss of life and protecting livelihood and assets. One of the instruments for reducing risk of disasters is insurance.
This chapter explores the role of insurance in protecting lives, assets and habitats in the context of a developing country like India. It also tries to draw lessons from the insurance schemes available in developed countries such as the USA. Insurance is one of the key instruments to reduce and diversify risk. The insurance sector is dominated by private players. However, risk arising from natural disasters is different from risk in financial markets as disaster risk only has a downside. It is often found that disaster risk insurance is not very effective when provided through the market mechanism by private players for a number of reasons. Therefore, the government has to step in to provide insurance for natural calamities such as floods and drought. The primary objective of this chapter is to analyze the scope and feasibility of insurance schemes provided by the government and how far they are successful in building resilience of people and their assets.
Shubhalaxmi Sircar

Case Studies


Coastal Flooding by Dam Mismanagement: Investigative Post-Disaster Study on Criminal Negligence or An Act of God

This chapter presents one of the most closely watched battles of a single citizen to save his coastal homeland. It is an investigative effort of an ordinary person to interrogate the state government’s usage of the morally outrageous ‘Act of God’ argument as a cause of floods. This chapter is a first-hand account of investigations made by the author before filing the first PIL (Public Interest Litigation) against the Government of Kerala calling it criminal negligence on their part rather than an ‘Act of God’. The author has also unraveled the concealment of facts in the Counter Affidavits filed by the Government to confuse the court with jargon, data, graphs and government memos.
Having convinced the Amicus Curiae during several meetings the author was asked to present his arguments as ‘Notes to the Registrar of the High Court’. The report of the Amicus Curiae concluded that there was sufficient evidence of non-compliance of guidelines and criminal negligence on the part of the dam authorities which had indeed caused the flood. The High Court has admitted the case and hearings have begun.
This chapter may inspire coastal inhabitants to play a proactive role in protecting their coasts as the planet frantically moves in the direction of the last gasp before it sinks. The author has also alerted the Court that the parameters that caused this situation are disturbingly still in place as not even an independent investigation is being conducted to address issues of accountability of authorities. The chapter uses the data submitted by the dam authorities themselves in their Counter Affidavit to establish blatant non-compliance of several guidelines on dams and reservoirs by Central Government Agencies. It exposes the argument of disasters being an ‘Act of God’ used by authorities to conceal their culpability and to make accountability fuzzy.
N. R. Joseph

Coastal Ballads and Conservation Ironic: Understanding Implementation Slippages of the CRZ Law

The passage and progress of the Coastal Regulatory Zone law from 1991 until today has carried it through a number of environmental and developmental challenges. This law applies to the conservation of fragile ecology and ecosystems surrounding all water bodies such as rivers, creeks, lagoons, estuaries, coral reefs, mangroves, swamps and backwaters. The need for considering environmentalists of the stature of Madhav Gadgil and the Kasturirangan report for preparing a report on the Western Ghats and then succumbing to the populist resistance which followed against their recommendations suggests a need to raise one pertinent question before expanding development into fragile eco-zones: Can the fragile ecology of riverbeds and coasts be preserved without substantive land-use restrictions over them? This chapter attempts to find answers to this question and to demonstrate that the gap which is created due to state failure in acting as a custodian of ‘environmental resources’ has placed the judiciary in a powerful position with immense freedom to interpret the CRZ regulations. This has weakened the spirit of law by reducing the scope and effectiveness of regular administrative agencies expected to implement the law and conservation requirements. This chapter highlights that any wavering on implementing CRZ law will push the fragile vicinity of water bodies into increased vulnerability to disasters, leading to massive socio-economic destruction and loss of lives.
Amita Singh

Environmental Sociology of Floods in the Colombo District of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island which is called the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, lying to the south-east of India, in a major strategic location of the South Asian Region. Sri Lanka has been exposed to a large number of disasters in the past few decades. Among those disasters, flooding is prominent and it impacts not only miscellaneous aspects of people’s lives but also the changing of environmental structure. Against this background, an environmental sociological study was particularly utilized to identify and find resolutions to the massive range of impacts caused by flooding in the urban sector. The research was conducted using explorative methodology and questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were administered to collect data from Kohilawaththa and Kolonnawa in the Colombo West. The study revealed that the people’s activities are based on less environmental consciousness which impact on increasing environmental degradation as well as flooding. Besides, the land usage, urbanization, culture of vulnerability and political authorization create more vulnerable context within this flood-prone areas. Apart from that, people were displaced and their living status is unstable with the complexity of the pattern of flood frequency. Moreover, this disaster adversely interrupts sustainable development effort of the country and re-directs the development.
Dinushika M. Yapa Abeywardhana

Loss and Damages from Cyclone: A Case Study from Odisha, a Coastal State

Natural disasters such as cyclones result in tremendous loss and damages to life and property of coastal communities. However, studies assessing loss and damages are limited in the literature. This study attempts to document the loss and damages incurred by the marine fishing community affected by Cyclone Phailin in 2013, on the coast of Gopalpur in Odisha (India). A survey composed of 300 responses was conducted and it was found that a high percentage (72.67%) of the community experienced decline in income after the cyclone. This may be a result of damage to fishing gear from the cyclone. Although most fishermen were able to start fishing one to three weeks after the cyclone, their income returned to previous levels (before the cyclone) at a much later time. Fortunately, there were no deaths in the surveyed households as a result of the cyclone. Lastly, it was seen that the time and average cost to rebuild houses was greater than that to repair gear. Given the importance of assessing loss and damages in vulnerable communities, this study contributes to the literature by providing a basic overview of the experiences of coastal fishing communities in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin.
Trupti Mishra, Krishna Malakar

Downstream Impact of Melting Glaciers: Climate Change in Nepal and Beyond

Background: When glaciers melt the coasts do not go unaffected. This chapter presents a source-based approach to coastal flooding. The cause is identified as ‘Climate Change’, which has become a very serious world-wide concern because of its adverse effects on livelihood and the environment, from hills to the coasts. Coasts in South Asia cannot be studied in isolation from the changes taking place over the Himalayan glaciers, which are receding rapidly in their cover of almost 33,000 km2. This range constitutes a major source of water draining through the nine largest rivers in Asia serving more than 1.3 billion people in their livelihoods. Glaciers are also receding in other parts of the world. Glacial retreat is the most visually convincing evidence of climate change, sea level rise and coastal flooding, which are a scientific reality. On the other hand, it has been much exaggerated due to the argument between the developing and developed nations.
The Problems: Average global temperatures are expected to rise by 1.4–5.8°C by the end of the twenty-first century. Greenhouse gases from human activities are among the major causes of the alarming situations of climate change and global warming. Weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable and extreme–dry seasons are becoming dryer and wet seasons wetter. This phenomenon is causing fear for about long-term reduction in total water supply, affecting lives and livelihoods and food security.
Conclusions: It is high time for negotiations among the developing and developed nations to avoid misunderstandings and to develop the necessary legal and scientific tools that create favorable market conditions and strengthen scientific knowledge on observation of the planet. Effective implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change provisions can help to minimize the current effects. More importantly, all countries should commit to and apply the Kyoto Protocol.
Meen B. Poudyal Chhetri

Preparedness and EWS Technology


Artificial Intelligence Based Early Warning System for Coastal Disasters

Disaster indicates a serious disruption or deviation from the norm that generally occurs for a short period of time and affects the community and society as a whole by way of widespread harm or damage to humans, wildlife, environment, infrastructure and economy. It requires a response that encompasses multidimensional processes in order to mitigate, respond to and recover from its consequences. Disaster that impact the coastal areas is the focus of this chapter. Coastal areas are one of the most sensitive and altered ecosystems world-wide, as they are subject to many disasters and risks including high winds resulting in cyclones and underwater earthquakes initiating strong tidal waves or tsunamis. These disasters are responsible for the loss of lives and/or infrastructural damages in coastal areas. To address this entails the designing of early warning systems that disseminate relevant information effectively and efficiently, as alarms or warnings, to communities at risk during or before such disasters so that timely and adequate steps can be taken to minimize the loss and damages associated with such disasters. In this chapter, an attempt has been made to design an early warning system that uses artificial intelligence to predict the horizontal in-city flooding caused by underwater earthquakes. For experimental purposes, the tsunami dataset would be considered by the proposed early warning system.
Rabindra Lamsal, T. V. Vijay Kumar

Path Ahead


Critical Coastal Planning to Prevent Coastal Elegy

The latest reports on increasing coastal vulnerability are hair-raising accounts of massive destruction, damage and disappearance of wealth which mankind has throughout history been thinking to be its model of progress and strength. If one makes a modest assessment of projections on coastal sea level rise for 2050, more than 36 million people (projections on 2010 census) would be affected in India alone and around 630 million across the world coasts (Kulp and Strauss, Nat Commun 10, 4844, 2019). Coasts have been treated with ruthless negligence. Their pristine and rare ecosystems continue to disappear, hastening an end to a large majority of species through floods, soil erosion, marine life and bleaching of corals. This depressing scenario is comparable to an ‘Elegy’, a funeral song, and is so thunderous in the coastal rim that all melodious coastal ballads are gasping for life. However, no government can escape behind the ‘Act of God’ argument as projections are sharp and have evolved in the direction of well-targeted data on early warning systems. This chapter suggests a multidimensional approach to mitigate coastal disasters since science has now developed the capacity to ascertain the cause of disasters with greater clarity. A multidimensional approach would require that institutional strengthening, information dissemination and proactive judiciary would together make coasts better prepared and hopefully escape damages and losses from many disasters.
Amita Singh
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