In less than a month, Cyclone Amphan has wreaked havoc in West Bengal, swarms of locusts have been spotted ravaging crops in four different states, and a heatwave has gripped North India. All this in the middle of a pandemic that has, to date, already affected over 1 lakh people in India.
And now stories have come up of 46 forest fires burning for four days in Uttarakhand’s hilly terrain, making it the world’s warmest region on May 26.
Though these forest fires are not as severe as those in the past, it is the latest grim indicator of the on-going climate crisis.
Just two weeks ago, on May 16, Cyclone Amphan ravaged West Bengal, leading to an estimated loss of $13.2 bn.
This image is from Jadavpur and adjoining areas in South Kolkata. Look at what #CycloneAmphan has left behind, total destruction. #CycloneAmphanUpdate #Amphan #AmphanUpdates pic.twitter.com/x1OKoIvk2I— Dibyendu Mondal (@dibyendumondal) May 21, 2020
In its wake, it claimed the lives of 82 people, while destroying India’s majestic, heritage, mangrove forest, Sunderbans.
Cyclone Amphan also triggered flash floods in Assam, with continuous heavy rainfall that has reportedly affected over 2 lakh people.
In addition to this, the on-going locust attacks is the worst India has seen in 26 years and it is a cause of great concern. Because they were sighted earlier than expected and across areas where such sightings are not common.
Contrary to their normal sighting during July- October along the Pakistan border, locusts have swarmed across Jaipur, MP’s Gwalior, Nagpur, Morena, Sheopur, etc. in May. In fact, the first sightings were reported early on, in April itself.
The visuals of locus entering india in specific in the parts of Rajasthan and UP are horrifying. It’s estimated that a sq km of this sworm can eat food as much as 35,000 people ! 2020 is turning even more brutal #LocustAttack pic.twitter.com/CCE4vAUbZn— Ragi Vipin (@vipinragi26) May 25, 2020
According to reports, climate change is one of the main reasons why locusts attacks have been increasing in frequency and altering patterns. The unexpected rains in June 2019, on the Indian side of the Thar desert, prompted the first locust attack since 1997 in Rajasthan.
Climate change is a real threat, day by day we are facing unusual weather conditions, cyclones and have to face threats like locust storms, First of its kind stuck Panna#LocustAttack @mpforestdept @CentralIfs pic.twitter.com/thCSBRvTXy— Panna Tiger Reserve (@PannaTigerResrv) May 24, 2020
Not to mention the minor but frequent earthquake tremors felt across various parts of India, in the last few weeks.
Additionally, the Uttarakhand wildfires, Cyclone Amphan, and locusts attacks come at the heels of the devastating wildfires that ravaged Australia, less than five months ago.
These are grim but hard-hitting indicators that while nature may have rejuvenated a little during the lockdown, the climate crisis is still real and a cause of grave concern. And we still need to work hard to ensure that the planet we are leaving for the future generations, is more than just another natural or man-made disaster waiting to happen.