While the mass media are outdoing each other with reports from Texas about the massive destructive impact of hurricane Harvey, little is being said about what is happening in Asia. By Bhagawati.
In the spirit of oneness, a reminder that everybody is affected by such events, no matter where we live.
And here it is – heavy flooding continues to create havoc in South Asia. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) call it one of the worst regional humanitarian crises in years. Torrential downpours in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh have caused the death of about 1,500 people so far, buildings have collapsed and huge environmental damages are already visible.
According to the UN, about 40 million people have been affected so far during the last weeks. And what to say about the flooding that affected China in July…
Already deeply impoverished rural communities have been devastated as landslides and rising waters have taken away homes – as well as people and lifestock. Even cities with existing infrastructures such as Mumbai were hit by massive floods. Last week, traffic in parts of the city came to a near total halt, schools were closed and Mumbai’s largest municipal medical facility, the KEM Hospital, was partially flooded and patients had to be moved to higher floors.
Emergency services everywhere are on overload. Charities are doing their utmost to provide clean water and food in inundated areas, and relief camps are being set up. In Nepal, elephants were employed to rescue trapped residents and even tourists. It is in extreme situations like this that people join hands and help each other in incredible ways but once the situation has returned to ‘normal’, we go on in our old sleepy ways.
Past experiences with annual flooding have shown that once the water has receded, another clean-up work begins with the sludge that remains.
In this video, BBC’s Justin Rowlatt in Bihar explains why streets in a town in North India are inundated by a ‘toxic stew’.
In spite of all the technology and ‘smart’ devices we have invented, we have not been intelligent enough to protect our environment from wide-spread abuse. We build houses that cannot withstand flooding, storms or earthquakes. We build towns and cities that turn into disaster areas in the blink of an eye, and we live too close to the ocean shores. How many wake-up calls are needed? Can this year’s events turn the wheel for humanity to get a grip on what is needed?
In answer to a question, ‘Were there not already highly developed civilizations living on this earth?’ Osho said,
There were, but they all got into the same mess in which we are entering; they all got into the same darkness in which we are entering.
‘And yet their consciousness got lost and man had to start all over again.’ Their consciousness was not lost – they had no consciousness. They had just the same superficial consciousness as we have.
What are you doing to prevent the calamity that is coming closer every day? The death of this earth is not far away – at the most, twenty years, twenty-five years. And that is a very optimistic attitude; for the pessimist it can happen even tomorrow. But even if we give twenty-five years to you, what are you going to do to help human consciousness rise in such a way that we can prevent the global suicide that is going to happen?”
The Razors Edge, Ch 11, Q 1 (excerpt)
Bhagawati is a regular contributor
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