Monday, August 13, 2007

Global flooding update

The story continues. As flood waters recede in Bangladesh and eastern and northern India, the country promises to learn from its lack of preparedness for what should have been predictable. Reuters reports:

Authorities also promised to learn lessons from the catastrophic flooding which killed more than 583 people in India and Bangladesh in the last three weeks and left hundreds of thousands homeless, exposed and vulnerable to deadly diseases.

However, similar pledges are made most years following the deadly floods which plague the region -- many people in Bihar, one of the worst-hit states this year, will remember suffering similar devastation in the floods of 2002, 2003 and 2004.
This lack of commitment and political memory is almost as predictable as the monsoons, and demonstrates one of the main concerns of Climate Frog.

Bihar's Disaster Management Department says it intends to rebuild housing of brick, and on higher ground than the destroyed housing. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, where two-thirds of the country was submerged, there were over 50,000 cases of diarhea reported. Healthcare workers complained of a major shortage of boats to get around to marooned people. And engineers recommended building stronger levees, though it was pointed out that once breached, the same levees would prevent flood waters from draining back into the rivers.

Meanwhile the monsoon rains are now devastating west India and Pakistan. Forty inches of rain fell on the Indian state of Guijarat last week. Rains caused buildings to collapse in the Pakistani city of Karachi.
The Indian authorities, already at full stretch after thousands of square miles were inundated in the east, have had to shift resources to help the new flood victims. Helicopters have dropped food parcels in some remote areas, but people are desperate for drinking water as temperatures soar.
The aftermath of flooding in poor, tropical regions:
Many survivors of the floods fear rising debt and hunger as they contemplate the future without homes, crops or livestock. John Holmes, the UN emergency relief co-ordinator, has blamed climate change for the severe rains and called for urgent action to help people living in vulnerable areas cope with extreme weather.

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