Maharashtra suffered the most deaths due to extreme weather

New Delhi: Of the over 1,700 people who lost their lives to extreme weather events in India in the year 2021, 350 were from Maharashtra. Odisha followed with 223 casualties; and in Madhya Pradesh, 191 lives were lost.

These figures are from the State of India’s Environment 2022: In Figures, the statistical compendium published every year by the Centre for Science and Environment and Down To Earth magazine.

The year had many more warning signs of the calamity that is confronting the nation, says the report as the past decade was India's warmest decade on record. Eleven out of the 15 warmest years were in the last 15 years.

India recorded its fifth warmest year in 2021 when the average temperature remained 0.44°C above normal. The country was 0.71°C warmer than normal in 2016, India’s warmest ever year. In 2021, the country also had its third-hottest March ever, and in 2022, March temperatures beat all previous records.

Just five states – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, and Haryana – accounted for 54 per cent of the heatwave days in the country.

There are 25 glacial lake and water bodies across India, China and Nepal that have recorded more than 40 per cent increase in their water spread areas since 2009. They pose a grave threat to seven Indian states and Union territories and need to be monitored closely, says the report.

There has been an almost 30 per cent reduction in India's expenditure on natural calamities in 2021-22, compared to 2020-21. In six states and UTs, the cut-down has been over 50 per cent, while it has been over 70 per cent in another five.

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