Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pakistan floods have displaced 20 million people

Pakistan PM Gilani says floods affect 20m people - BBC News

Already 36,000 people are reported as suffering symptoms of cholera, and officials are scrambling to contain the spread of this deadly disease. There's great potential for mass outbreaks of infectious diseases in flooded areas, and we are going to see countless more disasters like this in the years ahead. In addition to how awful it is for the Pakistanis suffering through this disaster, I'm concerned that an event like this could at some point coincide with an even more dangerous disease like avian flu or swine flu, and cause mass infections of a deadly, contagious disease that becomes a worldwide epidemic.

The damage to cotton crops alone from the floods already amounts to $1.8 billion, and 17 million acres of farmland are still underwater. Even when the floods recede, how do these farmers rebuild their livelihoods out of this wreckage? I wrote here on this blog about the rage many Pakistanis are expressing about the floods, some by attacking government officials responsible for relief efforts. How many of these Pakistanis dispossessed by the floods will turn to violence and embrace terrorism? Will they target people in rich countries whose pollution has caused these enormous catastrophes? The New York Times sure isn't bothering to ask these questions. On its website frontpage this morning there are no stories about the Pakistan floods, or any of the other climate change-related disasters ongoing around the world.

And as I said in my first post, it doesn't get any better than this.

Climate change is causing these horrible disasters. Say it loudly and clearly to whoever cares enough to think about it. It's the truth, and if we have any hope for ourselves, we need to start making the public face reality.

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