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Wonky climatic conditions have now become a fact of life. We ought to be better prepared
The Monsoon this year has been behaving in a most erratic manner. The rain gods gave decided to play hide-and-seek with several regions witnessing rain in abundance while others have been left high and dry. The most unpredictable nature has been that of the south-west winds on whose mercy the rains are dependent. Worryingly, say met officials, such weather patterns have become an annual phenomenon over the past decade. States like Kerala and Maharashtra and regions in the North-East of the country along the Konkan coast have received rains in abundance — torrential downpours have led to cities and towns in these areas coming to a grinding halt even as loss of lives and property have been reported. State Governments are having to up their game on disaster management and already, the horrors of the 2005 deluge have come to haunt the financial capital of the country. Deaths in the North-East, which is grappling with a flood-like situation, have risen. At least 20 people have lost lives and more than four lakh residents have been forced to flee their homes to seek shelter in refugee camps. And this is just the beginning as nature's fury will be felt with even more force as the monsoon intensifies over the next couple of months.
The situation is completely different in the North of the country, however, which is witnessing mild to extremely dry conditions thanks to a weak monsoon that, in defiance of the Indian Meteorological Department's (IMD's) prediction promising bountiful rainfall between June to September, remained subdued this past month. The situation in the National Capital Region is particularly bad as the heat shows no signs of abating even while the humidity increases but the rains are yet to make a substantial appearance. The IMD has, yet again, predicted the onset of pre-monsoon showers by June 24, pinning its hopes on the Madden-Julian Oscillation principle which, according to it, will help wind circulation and lead to the arrival of the rains. We live and learn.
Wonky climatic conditions are now a fact of life. Our emphasis should be on better preparing people for the vagaries of the weather and the impact of climate change. We really ought to be better prepared. Areas that receive a bountiful rainfall ought to be on top of their game in terns of water-conservation capabilities. And those which that receive scanty rains must implement effective water-management strategies. In the agricultural sector, farmers need to be better equipped with modern technology and guided on effective water-usage practices.
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