Archives  >  2019  >  September  >  30th

India, Flooding

1. What’s the story?

India is reeling under heavy rains, once again. A spate of late monsoon rains across Northern and Western India has left multiple states underwater. Maharashtra, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh have been the most affected. More than a hundred people have already been killed, and several hundred are homeless. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), along with the appropriate state governments, have been carrying out rescue efforts throughout this weekend.
 
Tell me more.

A significant amount of retreating monsoon rains has flooded a large area of the country, bringing life to a standstill. The River Ganga has been flowing above the danger mark, with Eastern Uttar Pradesh being the worst hit.

“A spokeswoman for the Disaster Management and Relief Department, Sandhaya Kureel, said that … fatalities were caused by house collapses, lightning and drownings in Uttar Pradesh state. They included at least five people dying of snake bites in flooded areas.

The temple city of Varanasi was lashed by 19cm (7 inches) of rain on Thursday and Friday, flooding the bathing areas of the Ganges River used by thousands of Hindu pilgrims.

Schools were shut on Saturday as the downpour caused disruptions in the state capital, Lucknow, and several towns, including Amethi and Hardoi.”

Meanwhile, in Bihar, the situation is even worse. Most localities in the capital city of Patna are underwater, with prolonged power cuts and property damage. Boats have also been deployed on the streets to rescue stranded citizens.

“Heavy rain continues to batter Patna where three days of unprecedented downpour has flooded homes and hospitals, bringing life to a standstill for thousands of people. Three teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in the city and more rescue teams are expected to reach later in the day. Boats are out on roads for rescue operations.

Several state-run hospitals including the Nalanda Medical College and Hospital, which is one of the largest in Patna, are flooded. Videos shared on social media showed patients sitting on beds in flooded hospital rooms. To evacuate people, 32 boats have been pressed into service in flooded parts of the city.”

Monsoons have been particularly disastrous for Bihar this year, with  the state succumbing to flooding after every brief spell of rains.
 
So, what now?

While every monsoon season comes with its own set of variations, scientists highlight that extreme rainfall events are on the rise in the country on a long-term scale. There are longer dry spells, and more intense rainfall concentrated in fewer days.

This explains why Bihar was facing rain deficit of upto 20% until September 19. However, the current heavy rain spell brought down the rain deficit in the state to -2 %, as the monsoon season nears it closure.

Normally, monsoon begins to retreat around September 1. However, this year it is seeing a delay of over a month. At present, the overall monsoon remains excess to the tune of 9% over the entire country.”

Do consider donating to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund here, if you’re so inclined.

Climate change is real, y’all.



2. Where else should I be looking at?

Bhavkhedi village in Madhya Pradesh, that’s where. In a horrific chain of events, two Dalit children were beaten to death there for defecating in the open.
 
““The panchayat built latrines for everyone but not for us. When I was told I am eligible for a house and a latrine, I applied for both with a secretary. But was told it had been rejected.” 

Bablu Valmik, whose son Arun and sister Khushi were beaten to death on Wednesday for defecating in the open, is inconsolable. 

“What was their fault? They had just gone to relieve themselves,” he said. “If those who killed them are so strong, they should have killed me instead.”

The Valmik family is now ready to move. They’re afraid of the dominant Yadav clan – members of whom have been accused of killing the two children. “Although the Yadavs are quiet now, I’m scared they’ll come for us next,” they said.

This horrific act, however, seems to be but the tip of an iceberg regarding caste-based discrimination in this area.

“Bhavkhedi has two government schools – a primary school where Avinash Valmiki was enrolled as Abhi Jamadar and a middle school where Roshni Valmiki was enrolled as Suman Jamadar. Teachers in both schools denied there was segregation and untouchability practised there.

But a 10-year-old child confirmed it. “We always wash our hands after speaking to Avinash because he is from a lower caste,” said Satvir Singh, a student at the primary school, belonging to the Yadav community. “Avinash always sat at the back of the classroom.”



3. What more?

In news that should surprise no one, a recent survey has shown that childhood in Kashmir is rife with trauma.

“Every third child in Shopian district, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), has a clinically diagnosable mental disorder, said a survey published in the Community Mental Health Journal earlier this year. Around 1.8 million adults in Kashmir Valley — 45% of its population — showed symptoms of mental illness in 2015, according to Doctors Without Borders. Thus, even prior to the incidents of August 5, the disastrous results of a history of violence, illegal detentions and torture in the Valley were visible on the region’s children.

Kashmir’s children have become pawns in a political game … Between 1990 and 2005, a total of 46 schools were occupied by the armed forces and more than 400 schools gutted between 1990 and 2005, according to a 2006 report of the Public Commission on Human Rights. Such destruction of educational infrastructure, in addition to the unlawful detentions, leaves a lifelong impact on children, perpetuating a cycle of trauma, fear and bitterness.”



4. Anything else?

Defying all expectations, Donald Trump might find himself facing impeachment in the near future. (Quick recap: Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body levels charges against a government official.) Here’s how it has all gone down, till date.  

Donald Trump is facing on one of the most perilous periods of his historically perilous presidency

Reports that he urged a foreign leader to investigate Joe Biden, seen as his main rival in the 2020 presidential election, have rocked Washington and intensified calls for Trump to be impeached.



It is illegal for a political campaign to accept a “thing of value” from a foreign government. Democrats say an investigation into a political opponent – for which Trump appears to have been pushing – would amount to a thing of value.

It has also been suggested that Trump may have threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine. About a month after the call, the US delayed $250m in such assistance. The money was released this month, after the existence of the whistleblower complaint became public.”



5. Is that all?

In particularly horrifying news coming out of China, it has been alleged that the nation is harvesting thousands of human organs from its Uighur Muslim minority.

“China was accused of the widespread harvesting of human organs from persecuted groups in the country, at a tense meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council…” last week.

“According to testimony from the China Tribunal – a pressure group which campaigns on organ harvesting –  the government of China has been taking hearts, kidneys, lungs and skin from groups including Uighur Muslims and members of the Falun Gong religious group.

Falun Gong members were “cut open while still alive for their kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, cornea and skin to be removed and turned into commodities for sale,” the report said.

The body parts were then used for medical purposes, it said, citing extremely short waiting times for organ transplants in Chinese hospitals as evidence of the practice.”



6. Before you leave…

Read how, in this Indonesian island, the dead still live with their loved ones.

“As a host, 90-year-old Alfrida Lantong is somewhat passive. Lying resolutely on her back and gazing up through a pair of thick, dusty spectacles, she roundly ignores her son’s murmured greeting as he enters the room, and she pays little heed to the gaggle of grandchildren clustered around her.

But Alfrida can hardly be blamed for her unresponsiveness. After all, she has been dead for the last seven years.”



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