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Kashmir’s Epic Floods: A Wake Up Call To Climate Change

By Countercurrents

09 September, 2014

The death toll from floods in India and Pakistan has passed 375 as authorities continue efforts to rescue hundreds of thousands of stranded people.

In Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir at least 175 people have been killed, many of them swept away by surging rivers.

More than 200 people are now thought to have died in Pakistan, where flood waters have destroyed thousands of homes and large areas of farmland.

Both countries' armies have rushed to rescue those stranded. Although rain slackened over the weekend, thousands of people remain trapped in their homes.

On social media, the hashtag #KashmirFloods trended in both countries. Many issued distress calls on Twitter, either seeking relatives and loved ones who were missing or alerting others to their plight. Netizens even attempted to map those in need of aid in Srinagar, the picturesque capital of Indian Kashmir, whose streets turned into canals over the weekend.

In an article published in Business Standard eminent environmentalist Sunita Narain asked people to wake up to the larger reality of climate change which definitely is wreaking havoc in Kashmir:

Every year, like clockwork, India is caught between the spectre of months of crippling water shortages and drought and months of devastating floods. In 2014, there has been no respite from this annual cycle. But something new and strange is indeed afoot. Each year, the floods are growing in intensity. Each year, the rain events get more variable and more extreme. Each year, economic damages increase - and once again, development gains are lost in one season of flood or bad drought.

Scientists now say conclusively that there is a difference between weather and its natural variability and climate change, a pattern brought about by human emissions that is heating up the atmosphere faster than normal. Scientists who study the monsoons tell us that they are beginning to make that distinction between "normal" monsoons and what is now showing up in terms of abnormal extreme rain events. This, remember, when the monsoons are an extremely capricious and confounding natural event, hard to predict and even harder to pin down. But, even then, scientists can find the change.

The Indian monsoon has become more intense. Studies show extreme rain events are becoming more frequent as compared to moderate rain events.

Another eminent environmentalist Devinder Sharma raised the same question in a tweet





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