South Asia: 1,300 Dead, 40 Million Impacted in Climate Change-Linked Flooding

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AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We turn to the devastating floods in South Asia, where more than 1,300 people have died in Bangladesh, India and Nepal in recent months, after the region was hit by the worst flooding in 40 years. The impact of the flooding is staggering. Some 40 million people have seen their homes, businesses, crops destroyed—one-and-a-half million homes destroyed. Thirty to 40 percent of those killed were children. Vast swaths of farmland have been destroyed. In Bangladesh, a third of the country is underwater. In Nepal, local residents said entire villages have been destroyed.

So we’re going to go to the capital of Nepal now, to Kathmandu, where we’re joined by David Molden, director general of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development. The group works in eight countries across South Asia: in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Burma, Nepal and Pakistan.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, David Molden. Can you describe what’s happening in Nepal? It just sounds unspeakable.

DAVID MOLDEN: It is indeed staggering, with the flood event that happened. I was in the plains of Nepal. Nepal is famous for the mountains, but connected to it is this vast plains that stretches from the mountains to the seas. And it looked like the monsoon was failing. But then, on the 11th of October, some massive rains hit. So we got about 20 inches of rain in 40 hours. And the floods started up in Nepal and in Assam. They moved into India and then finally moved into Bangladesh, inundating large areas of land, as you have just said.

Now, one factor is that this area, South Asia, has about 40 percent of the world’s poorest people. And actually, most of those poor people live in that flood-affected areas. And most of them are dependent on agriculture and the environment for their livelihoods. So what you saw…

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