Thursday (July 23rd): Plague 8/10: Floods strike East Asia

Parimal Suklabaidya

Name? Parimal Suklabaidya

Westphalian identity? Indian

Age? 60

Why is he in the news? As Assam’s Forest Minister, Suklabaidya has had to deal with the unrelenting monsoon rains that have triggered severe flooding in the Indian state of Assam; displacing tens of thousands of residents in the midst of a pandemic.

Why do we care? Because the floods have displaced tens of thousands of residents in one of the countries hardest hit by Covid (not to mention the locust plague…) While heavy monsoons are nothing uncommon in South East Asia, this year (damn you 2020!) they are particularly bad. 

Why should you care? India is not alone in facing severe flooding. Bangladesh, China, Mongolia and Japan are also struggling with the monsoon floods. With 40 million people in flood-affected areas in China alone, this historic flooding will no doubt result in millions of temporarily displaced people with no shelter, no food, no water, and definitely no PPE (#climaterefugees).

Who else cares? Sheikh Hasina aka Prime Minister of Bangladesh. If you searched Google earlier trying to find the Indian state of Assam, you most likely noticed that Bangladesh is right in-between Assam and the rest of India; meaning it is also being battered with heavy rains and flooding. Moreover, if you’ve read our other dailies, you’d know that Bangladesh not only is faced with a health crisis due to Corona but also a refugee crisis with the incoming Rohingya population. An additional environmental and social crisis would be disastrous, to say the least.

Any further comments? Get used to the #climaterefugees! South-East Asia is flooding away, Siberia is burning the permafrost, and the ice caps are melting. Both the region of Assam and Bangladesh have their shores either below or almost below sea levels and very densely populated areas; a recipe for a catastrophe. Maybe Mr. Parimal Suklabaidya and his colleagues could get started on planting some more trees?

Sarah McFadden

Team Member of Research & Analysis