Sunday, 3 September 2017

Why are some floods more floody than others?

You can't have missed the pictures of floods in America. The impact of the storm in Texas and Louisiana has been truly shocking - and the heroism of those working to help those in need cannot be underestimated. Thousands have lost everything, and are now homeless. The water is now receding in places but the clear-up has yet to begin.

You might have missed the extent of the floods in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and now Pakistan. I've seen the occasional bulletin on the news programmes and passing pictures in the papers, but nothing like the coverage we've seen (here in the U.K.) from America.

So, just in case you think this is nothing more than a heavy monsoon, here are some figures. These floods have gone on for weeks - and there is more to come. Thousands have died. And (according to The Guardian) forty million people are affected. 

That's right - forty million people. 40,000,000 people - people just like you and me.

Now I don't wish to minimise the distress of those caught in the floods in America. Their trauma runs deep and their need for help is urgent. Already the relief effort is predicted to cost billions of dollars and Congress is being asked to help.

But I've no idea what it will cost to clean up the devastation in Asia. I know one of the most urgent needs is clean water (available in bottles in America) to forestall a cholera epidemic. I know they need mosquito nets to prevent malaria running wild. Local people are doing what they can. Friends of mine in Nepal have given blood and blankets. 

So where is the international relief effort? I am certain it's there. Volunteers will be working their socks off trying to provide shelter, food and health care. But who will pay?

Where is the disaster relief appeal? 

We've grown accustomed to disasters such as this prompting international appeals for money. It's the only way to raise the sums needed to scrape the surface of such huge need. So why not this time?

Or are we so focused on those wading through water in America that those in Asia somehow don't matter quite so much?

(When I raised this on Facebook I ruffled a few feathers. How dare I accuse anyone of racism, that sort of thing. But sometimes feathers need a bit of ruffling, don't they?)


  1. Oh dear, Jo. I don't have an answer to that one. These hurricanes, cyclones, monsoons bring untold devastation, but why some are reported more than others is a hard one. Whatever the case, we seem to flounder from one disaster to the next. The earthquake in Nepal that you did so much work for seems like yesterday, but since then there have been several others elsewhere in the world and relief organisations struggle to keep up. So much suffering. But why one gets more attention than another could be down to proximity, feelings of kinship, access to social media, local technology to cover the situation, all sorts of things. I hope it's not a matter of colour or culture!

  2. Yes, I think Val is right there. It is very sad.

  3. It's awful that those people who don't have much to begin with get hit with one disaster after another. They just seem to recover from one when another hits. As to why it's not reported? Who knows what goes on in the heads of the press and media.