Urban Poor and Climate Shocks 5 November 2022
The climate crisis is attributed to extreme weather events, which have increased frequency in recent years. News reports about flooding in cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru are common. Recently wheat crop production was significantly reduced in northern India due to heat waves.
Even though these extreme climate changes impact everyone, the poorest and most vulnerable people suffer the most, which lowers their chances of improving their socio-economic situation.
Currently, more than 50% of the world's population resides in cities, and urbanization is growing. Urban poverty is becoming more prevalent due to this growth, especially in developing nations. Because their homes are frequently situated in dangerous areas, the urban poor are particularly susceptible to climate change.
Impact of Climate Change on the Urban Poor
- Makes them More Vulnerable to Disasters: Slum dwellers are particularly vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters.
- They typically reside in less desirable, more affordable areas that are more vulnerable to landslides, sea-level rise, flooding, and other hazards. These areas are usually located in urban areas.
- Socio-Economic Impacts: The costs of extreme weather events, such as heat waves or frequent flooding, include lost workdays, livelihoods, housing, and essential economic assets.
- Adverse health effects, such as increased morbidity and mortality from heat stroke and vector-borne diseases, go hand in hand with the economy's significant hit.
- Loss of Housing and Assets: Housing and asset damages are another major worry, particularly during floods.
- Living conditions that are too crowded, inadequate infrastructure and services, unsafe housing, poor nutrition, and poor health worsen the situation.
- Impacts of Delayed Responses: The most crucial factor in addressing the vulnerabilities of the poor continues to be the response time. Delayed action exacerbates losses and prolongs rehabilitation, which has a negative impact on resilience.
Ways to Shield the Urban Poor from Climate Change
- Insurance Plan: An insurance plan can increase household resilience. Only some people use insurance products that cover homes and personal property despite being available. Due to the diversity of the customer base, the industry must create products for particular market niches.
- The State may need to step in to meet the needs of those with the lowest purchasing power.
- It is necessary to implement Prime Minister Grih Bima Yojna for the poor, modeled after Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojna.
- Reduce Response Time: Whether from the State or insurance companies, it is necessary to shorten the period between exposure to climate risk and the accrual of benefits.
- The direct benefit transfer architecture can be used to respond to the policy action, and its scope can be expanded.
- The insurance industry can plug the state delivery system, and the claim-filing procedure is made more accessible.
- Integrated Interventions in Key Areas: Social protection, public health, livelihood, housing, community infrastructure, and urban planning are six policy areas that require integrated interventions at various scales (household, community, and city levels) to strengthen the resilience of the urban poor.
- To ensure that pro-poor climate resilience solutions promote transformational change to address the underlying causes of vulnerability, three enabling factors—capable, accountable, and responsive governance; climate and urban data; and climate and urban finance—need to be put in place.
- Data gathering and sharing: Flooded areas could be located using satellite imagery, and those eligible for assistance could be found in local government databases.
- It is possible to transfer insurance claims directly without the beneficiary filing a claim. A new goal-driven data-sharing agreement between the State and the industry could make this possible.
- Local governments play a key role in addressing risks. This is particularly true of city governments. To increase the urban poor's resilience, local governments play a crucial role in providing essential services.
- Incorporating risk reduction into urban management will help city officials increase their resilience.
- Through integration with current urban planning and management practices, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction can be addressed and sustained over time.
- The fact that local governments in this situation rely heavily on state and federal funding presents a significant challenge; as a result, substantial financial support is required.