Friday, August 30, 2013
Floods Ravage Sudan And The World As We Sit Watching
As Floods Ravage Sudan Young Volunteers Revive A Tradition Of Aid
By ISMA’IL KUSHKUSH
KHARTOUM, Sudan — Their temporary headquarters are a beehive of young volunteers buzzing in and out of rooms, up and down stairs, carrying bags of donated food, medicine and large packets of plastic sheets.
“What happened to your house?” one volunteer asks on the phone, as others load aid on trucks or create maps and charts on laptops. “And where do you say you are? We’ll have a team out there soon.”
They are the members of Nafeer, a volunteer, youth-led initiative that responded swiftly to the humanitarian crisis caused by heavy rains and flash floods that struck Sudan this month.
The deluge has taken a heavy toll. Beyond the dozens of people killed, more than 300,000 people have been directly affected, with 74,000 homes damaged or destroyed, according to the United Nations. The spread of diseases like malaria is also reported to be on the rise.
The impact of the heavy rains and floods has been felt in most of Sudan, including the camps for displaced people in the war-torn region of Darfur. In one case, six United Nations peacekeepers were swept away by a current. Four are still missing.
But the area around Khartoum, the capital, suffered the hardest blow. More rain is expected, and as the Nile and the Blue Nile rise to record levels, many fear the worst is yet to come.
“We saw that the heavy rains and floods were going to impact the lives of many, and we felt we had a social responsibility to help people,” said Muhammad Hamd, 28, a Nafeer spokesman. “The idea came out of a discussion on Facebook among friends.”
A “nafeer” is a Sudanese social tradition that comes from an Arabic word meaning “a call to mobilize.” The group’s formation was all the more important because the Sudanese government was slow to respond, some critics say.
“It was a weak response,” said Khalid Eltigani, the executive editor of Ilaf, a weekly newspaper. “The Nafeer youth broke the silence on the flood situation.”
Government officials said that the level of rain this year had surpassed their expectations, but they maintained that matters were under control.
“There is no need to declare a state of emergency,” said Sudan’s interior minister, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid.
Mark Cutts, the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan, described the situation as a “huge disaster,” which his agency called the worst floods in 25 years. Aid has arrived from United Nations agencies, Qatar, the United States, Japan, Egypt, Ethiopia and others.Z
The rainy season started late this year in Sudan, but when it arrived, it came with a vengeance.
“We can attribute this to climate change,” said Nagmeldin Elhassan of the Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources, a government agency.
Mr. Elhassan, who has contributed to reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, referred to studies that predicted what he called “incidents of frequent and intense droughts and incidents of high levels of rains” in the region and “shifts in rain patterns,” like later start dates of the rainy season.
Poor urban planning, however, may have also contributed to the immense damage caused by flash flooding, especially around Khartoum.
“You have to imagine yourself in their place — no shelter, no food, no water,” she said. “You wouldn’t stand it.”
End of excerpt
Floods Kill Many People In Sudan
Thousands of people have died in extreme weather events in just the last five years. Yet, no international outcry over this. No outcry over the agriculture lost. The biodiversity. The lives. No urgent calls to do what is now necessary to prepare this world for what is coming now and in our future. We will see more events like this taking place as we continue to push the envelope of our climate system. We will continue to see more people in our world especially who live in poverty subjected to the worst of these catastrophes because of poor infrastructure, sewage and lack of preparation and the disease it brings as well as political stagnation, ideology and pride. This is indeed the greatest moral challenge of our time and yet, we continue to monopolize time needed to solve this squabbling with those in a minority who for their own arrogant selfish reasons would rather sit and massage their egos rather than see this reality.
And if we look at just the last couple of months we see these events happening more severely globally. However, it seems to now be treated as war is. People are becoming desensitized to the true urgency of the climate crisis because the media hides the truth. The media covers for those making profit from deception.
It is wonderful to see youth in Sudan taking up the call to provide aid in place of a government that is uncaring or overwhelmed by this. However, this is hardly enough to bring the aid truly needed.
Late monsoons with extreme flooding and deluges as the Himalayas on the whole continue to melt.
This video is in Pakistani, but you only need eyes to see.
Russia's Far East Hit With Most Severe Flooding In 120 Years
China has been one of the epicenters of climate change with more severe and extreme flooding, drought and storms.
Colorado, US. Flooding, Hail storms, Wildfires
The Philippines as well has been hard hit by more severe storms:
Greece only a couple months ago.
Torrential rains hit Athens over only a few hours. This while another monster storm hits the Midwest in the US and heavy snows hit East China. Extreme weather globally is now being called the "new normal" but is anything but. Shifting weather patterns are now putting our global agricultural output in danger and causing economic and social upheaval particularly in poorer areas of the world. This is what obfuscation, political partisanship, ideology, warped political alignments and oil lies have brought us. We simply cannot afford to keep burning oil and thinking it has no effect on our environment and climate.
Take a look at this recent storm in Belgium:
Days Of Torrential Rain In China
Alberta Flooding, India Monsoons, Flooding Lourdes
Central Europe Floods, Midwest Floods, Heatwaves, etc.
So are we to now continue on this road where these events are just "move along nothing to see here" to suit an elitist minority that cares more for their stock portfolios? Or are we going to come together as citizens of the world untied to arrogance, pride, biases and prejudices to open our eyes? To at the very least spread that tradition of aid?
Climate change is real and no temporary "lull" being pushed by the usual subjects for their own agenda can cover up the trend we have been seeing as the time lag effect of our folly now falls down upon us.
“There is no doubt that humans are changing the weather, mainly through changes in the atmospheric composition from burning fossil fuels. The resulting global warming is clearly evident in temperature increases, melting glaciers and Arctic sea ice, rising sea levels, and changes to more extreme rain storms. Stronger drought, heat waves and wild fires are also a result."
Kevin Trenberth, who studies the influence of climate change on extreme weather as head of the Climate Analysis Section at the USA National Center for Atmospheric Research.
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