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Rising sea levels threaten 40mn Indians specifically of Mumbai and Kolkata: Report

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Mumbai: By 2050 nearly 40 million Indians will be at risk from rising sea levels, specially people of Mumbai and Kolkata, they will be experiencing maximum exposure to coastal flooding in the future due to rapid urbanisation and economic growth, according to a UN environment report.

The Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6): Regional Assessments said that the worst impacts of climate change are projected to occur in the Pacific and South and Southeast Asia.It said seven of the 10 most vulnerable countries worldwide are in the Asia Pacific region.

India tops the chart with nearly 40 million people in the country predicted to be at risk from rising sea levels, followed by more than 25 million in Bangladesh, over 20 million in China and nearly 15 million in the Philippines.

The report said that in many coastal areas, growing urban settlements have also affected the ability of natural coastal systems to respond effectively to extreme climate events.

“Some countries, such as China, India and Thailand, are projected to face increased future exposure to extremes, especially in highly urbanised areas, as a result of rapid urbanisation and economic growth,” it said.

“Many of these cities are already exposed to coastal flooding, but have limited capacity to adapt due to their fixed location,” it said.

The report, published ahead of the UN Environment Assembly taking place in Nairobi next week, said the worst impacts of climate change are projected to occur in the Pacific and South and Southeast Asia.

In 2011, six of the ten countries most vulnerable to climate change worldwide were in Asia and the Pacific.The report said livelihoods can be impacted negatively by natural disasters, economic crises and climate change.

On coastal areas highly exposed to cyclones and typhoons the poor tend to be more exposed to natural disasters because they live on hazardous land.

By 2050, areas of storm surge zones are expected for Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, with a combined total of over 58 million people at risk.

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