Just following a link in my Reuters Alertnet newsfeed this morning led me to the following headlines:
Hundreds of thousands stranded in India floods
PAKISTAN: Deaths reported as heavy rains lash northwestern districts
Flash floods kill 20, destroy 15,000 homes in Sudan
Thousands need rescuing after Ethiopia flood
And from a Reuters news blog, there are these stark descriptions:
Imagine seeing two years of rain in the space of just three days. It's a mind-boggling thought, but that's the fate that befell Barmer last week - a sprawling desert region in western India more accustomed to drought than floods. Many people had to be rescued by helicopters and dinghies after becoming marooned on top of sand dunes surrounded by water over five metres (15 feet) deep. Hundreds of thousands are now displaced. "The desert looks like a sea," commented one army officer involved in relief operations.Death, destruction and displacement are not new. Exceptional weather events, happening regularly though without any provable relationship, are the hallmark of the climate change impact forecast provided by Global Business Network, as it describes, "an increase in the variability of weather patterns globally--more frequent intense rainfall events, more intense heat waves, and prolonged droughts." Any of the events described in these news stories can be seen as an annual anomaly. All together, though, they appear more troubling.
China's worst drought in half a century has left more than 18 million people short of drinking water and destroyed swathes of cropland. Things are especially bad in the parched southwest, where the harshest conditions since meteorological records began in 1891 are sending vegetable prices soaring.
(photo courtesy of ABC News)