India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sierra Leone: ignored disasters

Hurricane Harvey is not the only one

India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sierra Leone: ignored disasters

Southeast Asian and African countries have also suffered from floods and mudslides, but there hasn't been as much news coverage in comparison to the floods in Texas, United States. India, Nepal, and Bangladesh have been the victims of floods that have affected around 41 million people, as stated by the United Nations. Sierra Leone, on the other hand, has also suffered from mudslides and floods that have displaced more than 3,000 and killed hundreds.

The tragedy of floods and mudslides lies in the fact that these natural disasters take valuable possessions away from people, even if they manage to survive. They lose their home, their belongings, and even their families; since they are left with nothing, sometimes they are forced to stay in the place of the tragedy due to their lack of financial stability and means.

Like Houston, Texas, major cities of these countries have also been affected. Mumbai, for instance, is in a similar situation as the American metropolitan; floods have taken over. Whereas Houston has a population of 2.303 million, according to data from 2016, the Indian city had a population of 18.41 million, as stated back in 2011. This means that with floods like these, a large quantity of people are in more danger in said country than in the U.S.

Floods in Southeast Asia are caused by monsoon rain. Technically, a monsoon is a seasonal reversing wind that affects different parts of Asia depending on the time of the year. Beyond bringing strong winds, monsoons change the atmospheric conditions of the places they affect. One of those conditions is stronger rains. This year has brought the highest rain season the Southeast Asia has had in a decade.

Major cities, smaller towns, and rural areas have suffered the consequences of the monsoon. People from isolate villages in Nepal, like Baderwa, have lost everything. Due to their isolation, it complicated for humanitarian aid to reach those most affected. Food and water are major concerns because flooding prevents access to goods that are necessary to survive. As the Red Cross has reported, communities in Bangladesh work together to feed each other, but without fields to farm and animals, there is little they can do.

Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, was covered by a mudslide. The landslide was caused, apparently, due to building on areas that should be protected by the Government. This lead to the weakening of the land itself.  After the seasonal rains, the soil could no longer hold its ground and became extremely malleable when the season started.

The Red Cross and the United Nations have been organizing campaigns and ways to send humanitarian aid to those affected in these four countries. As Hurricane Harvey takes over social media, millions more suffer from similar disasters all over the world.

 

Latin American Post | Laura Rocha Rueda

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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