Climate Change Blamed for Southern India's Worst Flooding in More Than a Century
The heaviest rainfall in more than a century triggered massive flooding in Southern India, reports Reuters, as thousands have been driven from their homes. Since heavy rain began on Nov. 12, more than 1,000 people have been injured and 269 have died.
We are all pained by the devastation in TN. Took stock of the damage, on the ground & through an aerial survey. https://t.co/veEdDipooV— Narendra Modi (@Narendra Modi)1449146450.0
The area saw as much as 14 inches of rain in a 24-hour period earlier this week (twice the amount of rain the area averages for all of December), according to Khaleej Times. And it's not over yet. The national weather service predicted three more days of "torrential downpours" in the southern state of Tamil Nadu—home to nearly 70 million people. "There will be no respite,"said Laxman Singh Rathore of the India Meteorological Department.
Local businesses and even the airport have been shut down due to the flooding. Roads remain impassible, and 3 million people have been cut off from basic services. Relief has come from helicopters dropping food, water and medicine, and the military has employed fishing boats to pick up some 18,000 stranded residents.
The scale and horror of #ChennaiFloods https://t.co/DH05Zv2ipp— Saikat Datta (@Saikat Datta)1449153650.0
To reach the hospital in Chennai, physician Rupam Choudhury waded through neck-deep water to reach high ground where a military truck could bring him to the hospital. The hospital "was running out of oxygen for patients and diesel for power generators," he said. "Most mobile networks were down in the city and food supplies running low."
Visuals of woman swimming across a flooded road of Chennai for safety #ChennaiFloods WATCH: https://t.co/ZzlyJoAS8q https://t.co/2fZFS9QzlE— ABP News (@ABP News)1449030339.0
More rain forecasted as record rainfall, floods in #India kill 269 - https://t.co/KoO4Zwvic3 #ChennaiFloods https://t.co/BNot2r7I0r— Khaleej Times (@Khaleej Times)1449146919.0
Prime Minister Modi has ordered "an extensive relief and rescue operation" in the area, reports Reuters. Still, many Indians have bemoaned the slow response of relief efforts. "The police want to help but there are no boats. We are trying not to panic," said resident Ramana Goda, who was forced to leave his home with his family because of the flooding.
"Weather experts say the seasonal northeast monsoon was responsible for the flooding in the city of six million, but was amplified this year by El Nino, a warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean that can have far-reaching climate effects," said Reuters. Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed climate change for the deluge, tweeting that India is already feeling the effects of climate change before heading to the UN COP21 climate summit in Paris this week.
India is also experiencing the impact of climate change & is concerned about our coast, islands, glaciers: PM @narendramodi in @FT #COP21— PMO India (@PMO India)1448866819.0
This is not the first time that an Indian government official has blamed extreme weather in India on climate change. Earlier this year, a heat wave ravaged parts of India, killing more than 2,500 people. This led India’s Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan to blame climate change for what became the fifth deadliest heat wave on record. Scientists have said again and again that extreme weather, including droughts, floods and heat waves, are on the rise because of climate change.
Check out this video of the devastating flooding from Mashable:
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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