August 19, 2016

Mitigating extreme weather patterns

Myanmar is ranked the second worst country to be affected by extreme weather patterns resulting from climate change, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2015.
The Berlin-based climate think tank Germanwatch assessed the effects of the country’s extreme weather events in the years between 1994 and 2013. According to the report, Myanmar is at greater risk of extreme weather conditions such as cyclones, flooding, severe heat and drought due to deforestation.
Myanmar’s economy is driven by agriculture: 70 percent of its population relying on farming for a livelihood and thus the effects of climate change pose a serious challenge. It is therefore important for the government to avoid some of the mistakes made elsewhere in the past. The government should instead choose an approach that is best suited to the sustainable development of the country, and to make decisions in partnership with civil society.
Dr Tun Lwin, a climatologist and a former director general of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, quoted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as projecting a record strong El Nino effect that could last into the early spring of 2016 from this winter. It will cause a scarcity of water, both for farming and for drinking, and in particular where water-supply facilities have been destroyed by the recent floods. To make the matter worse, central Myanmar is expected to receive less rainfall between now and October due to the retreat of a southwesterly monsoon. These conditions have the potential to wreak further havoc on agricultural output. The clock is ticking and we must act fast to help protect the country’s farming communities.


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