In a report that places India 14th among countries most affected by extreme weather events in the last 20 years (The Indian Express, December 5), four of the country’s neighbours are placed even higher. Myanmar is at rank 3, Bangladesh at 7, Pakistan at 8 and Nepal at 11 in the report, prepared by Germanwatch, an independent development organisation.
These rankings are based on a Climate Risk Index (CRI) developed by Germanwatch. It analyses quantified impacts of extreme weather events, in terms of fatalities and economic losses. It accounts for these impacts in absolute as well as relative terms. This explains why the four neighbouring countries are listed as more affected by India.
Although India suffered 73,212 casualties during 1998-2017 and its annual average casualties during 1998-2017 was 3,660, second only to Myanmar’s 7,048, an adjustment for population places Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal above India on the list. For assessing economic impact, the CRI also looks at losses per unit GDP of each country.
During 1998-2017, India faced the super-cyclone in Odisha, other cyclones, floods, landslides and extreme rain and heatwave events. In a separate list that looked at CRI for 2017 alone, India is again ranked at 14, while Nepal is at 4 and Bangladesh at 9.
The report mentions massive rains that affected 40 million people and caused 1,200 deaths in these three countries in 2017. Sri Lanka, whose 20-year rank is 31, is at rank 2 in 2017 (a year in which heavy rain and landslides left more than 200 dead).
Conversely, Myanmar and Pakistan, which are among the most affected 15 for 1998-2017, improve to ranks 69 and 33 respectively for 2017. Myanmar’s position in the 20-year list is largely on account of Cyclone Nargis in 2008, which left an estimated 1.40 lakh people dead.