Cyclone Amphan hits India and Bangladesh: the planet is sending us another signal


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While scientific research is trying to understand which ones possible relationships exist between the Covid-19 pandemic and the environmental crisis, in these hours millions of people are facing both issues at the same time on their own skin. This is the case of the population which, as we write, is affected by the devastating Cyclone Amphan, on the border between India is Bangladesh. A cyclone of this power has not been seen in the region since 1999. Mamata Banerjee, governor of West Bengal in India, said she had never seen “a disaster of this magnitude”.

There are 84 victims so far ascertained, and the news on the media is accompanied by the impressive images circulating on social media: flooded roads and countryside, trees, lampposts and traffic lights completely uprooted, cars and power plants destroyed. The cyclone hit peaks with winds up to 185 km / h before arriving ashore, with waves on the coast up to 4-5 meters high and devastating rains. But the effects won’t stop there. Fortunately the cyclone appears to be losing strength, but the impact numbers are destined to rise and only in the next few hours can damage be quantified.

Among these there are not only the immediate ones, but also the longer term ones. Flooded fields will not allow to grow food, devastated infrastructures will not allow mobility, lack of electricity or telephone line, damage to housing will mean not having a place to live: in a nutshell the future of entire communities and regions is put at serious risk.

As if that wasn’t enough, the concomitant Covid-19 emergency has made preventative operations more complicated evacuation, given that many centers were already occupied as facilities for the quarantine, and will make rescue interventions even more complex, in a scenario in which social distancing will take second place and the sanitation conditions will result compromised. In practice, this new extreme event is pushing millions of people into a dramatic situation: to face the risk of contracting Covid-19 to escape the devastation of climate changes.

While some events that affect us are not entirely predictable, there is something that can and must be done to prevent such situations from becoming The standard. We must act immediately to contain the increase in global temperature and in this way mitigate the effects of the climatic emergency.

Events such as cyclones, but also drought, storms, rising seas, are the concrete effects of a changing climate too fast because of human action. And there is no need to look to South-East Asia, since we have direct experience here also in Italy.

These events become more and more frequent and intense as our impact on the Planet increases. Continuing to extract and burn gas, oil and coal, fuel deforestation, pollute and promote unsustainable lifestyles and consumption, means heading towards a future increasingly exposed to both extreme weather events, and the spread of pandemics is infectious diseases. 2020 is also preparing to be the hottest year ever recorded. So what else do we need to read all these signs that the planet is sending us and change course to protect the climate, the environment and all of us?

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