Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Monsoon Madness

At least 1,200 people have been killed and millions have been left homeless following devastating floods that have hit India, Bangladesh and Nepal, in one of the worst flooding disasters to have affected the region in years. International aid agencies said thousands of villages have been cut off by flooding with people being deprived of food and clean water for days.  The ongoing floods had so far affected 17 million people in India, with thousands sheltered in relief camps. South Asia suffers from frequent flooding during the monsoon season, which lasts from June to September, but authorities have said this year's floods have been much worse.
 In the eastern Indian state of Bihar, the death toll has risen to more than 500. Anirudh Kumar, a disaster management official in Patna, the capital of Bihar, a poor state known for its mass migration from rural areas to cities, said this year's farming had collapsed because of the floods, which will lead to a further rise in unemployment in the region. 
In the northern state of Uttar Pradresh, reports said more than 100 people had died and 2.5 million have been affected.
In Mumbai, authorities struggled to evacuate people living in low-lying areas as transport links were paralysed and downpours led to water rising up to five feet in some parts of the city. 
In neighbouring Bangladesh, at least 134 have died in monsoon flooding which is believed to have submerged at least a third of the country. More than 600,000 hectares of farmland have been partially damaged and in excess of 10,000 hectares have been completely washed away, according to the disaster minister. Bangladesh's economy is dependent on farming and the country lost around a million tonnes of rice in flash floods in April.
 "Farmers are left with nothing, not event with clean drinking water," said Matthew Marek, the head of disaster response in Bangladesh for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent. According to the Red Cross, at least 7.1 million people have been affected in Bangladesh - more than the population of Scotland.
In Nepal, 150 people have been killed and 90,000 homes have been destroyed in what the UN has called the worst flooding incident in the country in a decade. Around 1.4 million people have been affected in Nepal.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says it is becoming one of the worst regional humanitarian crises in years. The rise in extreme weather events such as hurricanes and floods have been identified by climate scientists as the hallmark of man-made climate change. India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has said climate change and new weather patterns are having "a big negative impact". Those who are going to suffer the most from climate change are also those in the most poorest and undeveloped countries.
When it comes to remedying global warming, socialists ask, can capitalism deliver? Or more pertinently what could be done in a socialist society?
On the advent of socialism, a considerable reduction in CO2 emissions would be obtained by ending the enormous wasteful economic activity and production inherent in capitalism. Principal contributors to this waste are the maintenance and preparedness of the armed forces and occupations and products handling money. The enormous sums of money spent on the military represent the use of land, facilities, machinery, materials and human resources to keep it in a constant state of preparedness for and participation in war. Socialism would eliminate the need for these industries and thereby rapidly introduce a large cut in power generation and consequent CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. This would serve to relax the onus on (i) the introduction of the mitigating technologies discussed above and (ii) enable the power generation required for the pent up demand for improved living standards in the developing world to be met. It is hard to disagree with the conclusion that the opposition of the hugely powerful companies with vested interests in fossil fuels will be too great for any government to overcome. To conclude, in the first period of socialism clearing up this mess left by capitalism would be a priority project a necessary and formidable challenge, but surely one that would be grasped wholeheartedly in a sane, socialist world.
If you care about the environmental stability of the planet contact:

The World Socialist Party (India): 257 Baghajatin ‘E’ Block (East), Kolkata – 700086,

Tel: 2425-0208,

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