40 million Indians at risk from rising sea levels: U.N report

Nearly 40 million Indians will be at risk from rising sea levels by 2050, with people in Mumbai and Kolkata having the maximum exposure to coastal flooding in future due to rapid urbanisation and economic growth, according to a U.N environment report.

The Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6): Regional Assessments said that the worst impacts of climate change are projected to occur in the Pacific and South and Southeast Asia.

It said focusing on the population at risk from sea level rise by 2050, seven of the 10 most vulnerable countries worldwide are in the Asia Pacific region.

India tops the chart with nearly 40 million people in the country projected to be at risk from rising sea levels, followed by more than 25 million in Bangladesh, over 20 million in China and nearly 15 million in the Philippines.

It said that changes in settlement patterns, urbanisation and socio-economic status in Asia have influenced observed trends in vulnerability and exposure to climate extremes. The report said that in many coastal areas, growing urban settlements have also affected the ability of natural coastal systems to respond effectively to extreme climate events, rendering them more vulnerable.

“Some countries, such as China, India and Thailand, are projected to face increased future exposure to extremes, especially in highly urbanised areas, as a result of rapid urbanisation and economic growth,” it said.

(Agency)

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