Flash flood emergency in South Asia

1,200 people have been killed by flooding in South Asia, which has affected India, Nepal and Bangladesh. This occured after a monsoon on 29 August Flooding was so severe in Mumbai that a four storey building collapsed onto a busy street as flood waters caused chaos across the country. Said building contained a nursery school that was due to open 30 minutes after its collapse.

Pakistan was also hit by the monsoon and severe flooding in areas of the city led to a number of deaths. 18,000 schools across the affected area have been damaged or destroyed, meaning that around 1.8 million children could not attend classes.

Save the Children have warned that unless education is prioritised in the recovery efforts, hundreds of thousands of children could permanently fall out of the school system as Pakistanís drive to overcome itís historic problem with education is threatened.

The scope of the flooding is enormous. An estimated 40 million people have been displaced by the monsoon and are struggling to rebuild their lives. This is larger than the population of Poland –  all affected by the rainfall in drought season. Mumbaiís underground train system has also been flooded, which transports more people than the population of Denmark daily, causing a logistical nightmare  for a city looking to return swiftly to normality. Further heavy rain has continued to fall throughout September in spells, and flooding is not over.

Global instability in the fallout of the unrest in Myanmar further complicated the problem, with thousands of refugees arriving in India to seek shelter.

Additionally, the well publicised hurricanes across the Caribbean and US means that international aid efforts are not focused on the disaster. In usual cirumstances, a disaster of this nature would be the focus of the international media, which brings with it money from donors and increased resources for non-governmental response agencies.

The concern is that the hurricanes in the US have diverted essential attention away from the affected areas, with potentially catastrophic consequnces.

It will be a difficult time for the areas affected going forward, particularly due to the high population density in the larger cities in South Asia.


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Nick Stokes

May 2021
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