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Friday, Sep 25, 2020 11:15 [IST]

Last Update: Friday, Sep 25, 2020 05:40 [IST]

Change is real

What should be typically happening in the months of June-July is now happening in the month of September. Incessant rains, across Sikkim and the Darjeeling Hills and North Bengal have triggered massive landslides this past week, causing widespread damage to National Highway (NH-10) at different locations. Landslides have also severely crippled road connectivity within Sikkim, with most state highways snapped.
Landslides are common disaster phenomena in many countries causing great economic losses. The Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalayas in India is known to be the most severely affected. Even a glance at landslide statistics gives some idea of the enormity of damage done and the ever present threat to lives and property. It has been observed that even 50 mm of rainfall in an hour would cause landslips. Unauthorized structures in the unsafe zones, absence of an adequate drainage system and unplanned growth of settlements have accelerated the process of ecological imbalance.
The impacts of climate change in the Himalayas are real. Climate change is real and is already harming people and ecosystems. Its reality can be seen in melting glaciers, disintegrating polar ice, thawing permafrost, changing monsoon patterns, rising sea levels, changing ecosystems and fatal heat waves. Melting glaciers, erratic and unpredictable weather conditions, changing rainfall patterns, and increasing temperatures are impacting on the people and wildlife of the region. The Himalayas is one of the world's most sensitive hotspots to global climate change, with impacts manifesting at a particularly rapid rate. A situation that is predicted to intensify in coming years, with dire and far-reaching impacts on food, water and energy security, as well as biodiversity and species loss.
While climate change affects us all, we are still not acting as quickly as we should to address its causes, mitigate the damage, and adapt to its effects. Many people still do not understand the risks climate change poses to global economic and social structures. And, sadly, many who do understand are dismissive of the far-reaching benefits a global shift to sustainability and clean energy would bring about.
Addressing the dangers of climate change is not only an existential imperative; it is also an opportunity to move towards a cleaner, more productive, and fairer path of development. Only an educated global society can take the decisive action needed to get us there.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi