When crises converge: Responding to natural disasters in South Asia during Covid-19
Protecting the most vulnerable to cascading risks from climate extremes and the COVID-19 in South Asia
South Asia is at a crossroad of the cascading risks emanating from the rapid spread of the Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) and climate extremes in monsoon months. Every year, people in the subregion suffer from various climate hazards such as floods, droughts, tropical cyclones and heat waves. This is likely to continue this year in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Impact-based forecasting signals an evolution from “what the weather will be” to “what the weather will do” and thus bridges the gaps between national weather services and the end users such as disaster risk management and development sector communities. It is a user-friendly way of communicating the climate risk information to support risk-informed and strategic decision-making for enhanced preparedness and in-season policy interventions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that biological and natural hazards intersect with each other and increase the complexity of overall disaster impacts on populations and economies. But disaster management and risk analytics have been slow to capture the intersections of natural and biological hazards or capture the dimensions of interconnectedness and cascading effects to the social, economic, and environmental ecosystems.
Strategies for managing disaster risk currently rely on weather forecasts (daily to 10 days) and seasonal predictions (three to six months). Until recently, the subseasonal scale (defined as timescale from two weeks to two months) has been considered a "predictability desert" because it has not been possible to provide accurate predictions for this timescale. As a result, many preparedness activities are held off until short-range weather forecasts indicate that a hazard is imminent and the exact location is known, so that resources are not wasted in the case of a false alarm.