India’s G20 presidency can show the way on disaster management



International Desk, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

The G20 nations, with a population of 4.7 billion, have large exposure, risk from asset concentration, and vulnerability to natural disasters. In the current World Risk Index, four out of the top 10 vulnerable countries are G20 nations. The combined estimated annual average loss in the G20 countries alone is $218 billion, equivalent to 9 per cent of the average annual investment in infrastructure made by them.

Disaster risk reduction measures can play an important role in preventing such losses. Reducing risk can be achieved mainly by reducing vulnerability and exposure to risk through measures such as better economic and urban development choices and practices, protection of the environment, reduction of poverty and inequality, etc. Disasters can set back development gains. Hence, risk reduction is an important strategy if a country’s economic ambitions are to be realised.

Setting up early warning systems, undertaking periodic risk assessments, constructing disaster-resilient infrastructure, etc, are important strategies. For example, in our country, effective implementation of flood risk management strategies can help in reducing and managing extreme weather conditions.

India has highlighted the importance of disaster risk reduction by initiating a new workstream in G20. The five priorities outlined in the first meeting of the working group were coverage of early warning systems to all, focus on disaster and climate-resilient infrastructure, improving financing frameworks for national disaster risk reduction, improving systems and capabilities for response to disasters and application of ecosystem-based approaches to disaster risk.

A second meeting of the Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group will be held in Mumbai between May 23-25. This is an opportune time to focus and deliver on the goals of disaster risk reduction. We may think about the future programme along the following five broad themes.

First, we need to re-imagine financing disaster risk reduction. The financing requirements flowing through government budgets are not independent of a country’s fiscal position and hence may be limited. Innovative financing tools including creating reserve funds, dedicated lines of credit and tapping resources globally should be explored. While green financing has gained traction in global financial markets, the same cannot be said of disaster risk financing.

For countries like India, where government budgets are increasingly focusing on capital expenditure, this need is more acute. Infrastructure, such as roads, rails, airports, and electricity lines created through public revenues need to be resilient to disasters and may require more funds incrementally. There is a need to finance this additionality using options that are reflective of the social benefits of such disaster-resilient infrastructure.

Differential strategies to deal with extensive risk (risk of losses from frequent but moderate impacts) and intensive risk (from low frequency and high impact events), should be worked out. A large portion of the losses accumulate from extensive events. Cumulatively, dispersed events such as heatwaves, lightning, local floods, and landslides cause enormous losses. Implementing targeted approaches to reducing losses from extensive risk events, can have an impact in the short to medium-term horizon.

Bringing about a meaningful convergence of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation efforts should be a third theme. If we develop analytical and implementation capacities for disaster risk reduction they will help climate change adaptation efforts as well. For example, building flood-management structures under disaster risk reduction strategies will have synergies with adaptation efforts. Similarly, the effectiveness of adaptation measures should be measured against their disaster risk reduction potential.

Some aspects of the Sendai Framework — for example, priority access to early warning — are achievable. Access to early warning systems should be treated as global public goods, with all populations irrespective of their economic strength, having reliable access to systems such as cyclone early warning. The UN Secretary General’s initiative on early warning for all should be the guiding principle. The G20 can show the way by setting up a suitable mechanism to ensure that the call for a universal early warning system is implemented in practice.

Finally, we must view disaster risk reduction as a multi-tiered, multi-sectoral effort. If efforts are integrated vertically from local to sub-national to national to global, and horizontally across sectors, the level of readiness to manage unknown risks may be high. The world is interlinked and interdependent, and the G20 can help develop such strategies.

Since his days as chief minister of Gujarat, being prepared for meeting disasters has been close to the vision of the Prime Minister. His 10-point agenda, which was outlined after the adoption of the Sendai Framework, guides the country in the implementation of the framework. India has transformed the way the government finances disaster risk reduction and made targeted efforts to reduce losses from disasters. The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure is presently chaired by India and the United States. The creation of the new workstream under the G20 is reflective of the prime minister’s commitment towards disaster preparedness.

The recently concluded high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the midterm review of the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (HLM) held in New York mentions the importance of G20’s efforts in the implementation of the Sendai Framework.

The G20 provides a broader platform to drive global goals on disaster risk reduction. The perspectives that G20 as a group will bring to the table would be unique. For example, any talk about risk financing will not be merely about additional financial resources, it will also include more efficient, effective and predictable financing mechanisms. This will maximise the impact of the financial resources available from multiple sources such as governments, multilateral institutions, capital markets, insurance companies and philanthropies and communities. The Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction is an opportunity for the G20 to take a lead in the implementation of the Sendai framework over the next seven years.

Source: Indian Express

   

Slovakian Prime Minister Fico is in critical condition after being shot



International Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was injured in the shooting. He was shot several times. As a result, the condition is critical. He is being taken by helicopter to Banska Bystrica. This measure has been taken because it will take a long time to get him to Bratislava because he needs urgent treatment. It will be understood in the next two or three hours what is his condition. Online Al Jazeera reported that this was said on his verified Facebook account. He was shot in the town of Handlova on Wednesday afternoon. President Zuzana Kaputova condemned the brutal and merciless attack.

A person has been arrested on suspicion. Parliament was in session at the time of the incident. Deputy Speaker Lubos Blaha informed the members about the matter. He then adjourned the session until further notice. President said - I am saddened by this news. I am wishing Robert Fico much strength and a speedy recovery during this difficult time. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned the attack. He told X- Such violence has no place in our society. It undermines democracy. My condolences to Prime Minister Fico and his family, she added.

Meanwhile, local media reports said he was shot four times in the stomach outside the House of Culture in Handlova town on Wednesday afternoon. As soon as he was rescued from there, the police surrounded the spot and arrested a suspect.

;

India may face US sanctions!



International Desk, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

India has taken over the management of Iran's Chabahar port for the next 10 years. An agreement in this regard was signed by New Delhi and Tehran on Monday (May 13) which was not taken well by the United States. In this incident, Washington issued a warning to India and said that the US sanctions on Iran are still in place. So those who want to do business with the country should consider the US sanctions.

In a press conference on Tuesday (May 14), when asked about the Tehran-New Delhi agreement, US State Department Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel said that the US sanctions on Iran are still in force. Those looking to do business with Iran should consider the 'risks involved'.

He also said that we are aware of the agreement between India and Iran regarding the port of Chabahar. I have nothing to say about India's foreign policy. However, their agreement with Iran on the port of Chabahar falls under the bilateral relations of the two countries. US sanctions on Iran are in force and will remain in force.

Vedanta Patel said, if anyone is thinking of doing business with Iran, then sanctions may also be imposed on them. Let them remember that.

According to the report of the Indian media NDTV, due to the control of the port of Chabahar, India will be able to dominate the water transportation through Afghanistan, Iran to Russia. It can be used as an alternative route to reach Afghanistan and West Asia bypassing Pakistan. The port is also set to become the country's main gateway to the greater Eurasian (Europe-Asia) region.

Sources say that this could be New Delhi's trump card to compete with Pakistan's Gadar Port and China's Belt and Road.

A weapon to strengthen India's strategic position, Chabahar's nearest port is Kandala in Gujarat. The distance is 550 nautical miles. Distance to Mumbai is 786 nautical miles. India's Shipping and Ports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that there is a plan to link Chabahar with the 7200 km wide international North-South Transport Corridor. It can be a hub for increasing connectivity between India, West Asia, Eurasia and reducing transport costs and time.

Pakistan was offering West Asian countries to increase trade using Karachi port. But India presents Chabahar as a profitable alternative. Countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan want to increase business in the Indian Ocean region through this. Businessmen of this country can also reach West Asia easily and cheaply. America also wants to join Chabahar port through INSTC.

;

Eight dead, 59 injured as a 'huge billboard' falls in Mumbai dust storm



International Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Eight people died after being buried under a huge billboard in Ghatkopar, the capital of Maharashtra state of India, in a strong dust storm. 59 people were injured. And 67 people were rescued alive, according to Mumbai police.

The country's media reported the accident on Monday (May 13), NDTV.

According to the report, around 4:30 pm on Monday, a strong storm suddenly darkened the sky in Mumbai. Before you know it, the dust storm starts. A huge metal advertisement board was uprooted in Ghatkopar area due to the storm. Many were buried under the collapsed billboard.

Several videos of this incident have been released. They showed an advertising billboard collapsing over a petrol pump; Due to which the roof of the petrol pump collapsed. Some cars standing at the petrol pump were also crushed. The metal structure of the billboard penetrated the roofs of many cars. After calculating the size, the police said that many people may be buried under the billboard.

Swapnil Khupte, an eyewitness to the incident, told news agency ANI, "I was there when the billboard fell in the dust storm. The place was already crowded with cars, bikes and people. As a result, they all got stuck after the billboard fell. We were trying to rescue the trapped people. But we couldn't find them." We couldn't figure it out."

According to the police, members of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are on the spot. Rescue operations are underway for survivors trapped under the debris.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shindhe said, rescuing people is our first goal. The government will take responsibility for the treatment of those injured. And the families of those who lost their lives will be given Tk. 5 lakh.

He also said that the authorities concerned have been instructed to check such billboards in Mumbai.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Farnavis said in a post on X that the state government has ordered an investigation to find out how the incident happened.

A warning was issued by the Maharashtra Meteorological Department shortly before the storm hit on Monday afternoon. Residents of Mumbai, Palghar and Thane were warned of any major change in weather. A few minutes after that, the city of Mumbai was destroyed by the storm.

As a result, all traffic in the city came to a standstill. The storm also uprooted many trees and electricity poles in Mumbai. Rail and metro services also stopped. Meanwhile, the billboard in Ghatkopar also collapsed due to the storm. 

;

India fears highest power shortage in 14 years



International Desk, Barta24.com
photo: Collected

photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Heavy summer heat wave in India could set electricity demand at record highs. And due to lack of such supply, the government fears that the electricity shortage in June could be the highest in 14 years.

The Central Electricity Authority has said that the maximum power shortage at night in June this year may reach 14 GW. Due to solar power generation being stopped in the evening and night and water power not being as expected, there is a risk of increasing the deficit level.

According to government statistics, India's electricity demand and supply deficit is at its highest since 2009-10. Hydroelectric production is at a four-decade low.

Alternative power generation has not grown that way. All gas-based power generation plants in India have already been ordered to operate at full speed.

In this situation, Power Minister RK Singh sat in an emergency meeting last week to check the situation. In the meeting, it was decided to postpone the maintenance work of the power plant. It has also been said that the closed thermal power plants of 5 GW will be restarted.

Last September, India's electricity demand reached a record peak of 243 GW. Centre's estimate, this time April-June it could be 260 GW.

According to Grid India Projects, the peak demand at night in June could stand at 235 GW. Out of this, 187 GW is supposed to come from thermal power. About 34 GW could come from non-conventional electricity.

In such a situation, the central government is taking various steps including postponing the maintenance of production plants to meet the deficit in June.

;