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Catastrophe Across the Globe: Coincidence?

Catastrophe Across the Globe: Coincidence?

By Derby Chukwudi

While catastrophic events sometimes occur simultaneously around the globe, the magnitude of damage this year is enormous according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, there had been numerous weather and climate disasters across the globe. In the month of August alone, there were catastrophic Forest fires in Tunisia; devastating floods in Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Caribbean, USA; earthquake in Belize; a host of infectious diseases outbreak in various countries, etc.

On August 14th, 2017, after three days of torrential rainfall, devastating floods and mudslides occurred in and around Sierra Leone’s capital city, Freetown. According to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, “Sierra Leone had been in the midst of a particularly wet rainy season, with the city of Freetown, experiencing 41 inches (104 cm) of rainfall leading up to the mudslides since July 1, 2017 – nearly tripling the area’s seasonal average.” “The authorities buried 461 bodies in quickly-dug graves in the nearby Waterloo cemetery, near the site of a mass burial for victims of the Ebola crisis that killed 4,000 people in the former British colony between 2014 and 2016,” according to African Planet News report.  Chief coroner Seneh Dumbuya mentioned that “Thirty-eight more bodies were found on Sunday, August 21st bringing the official death toll to 499.” Over 600 bodies were still missing according to The Red Cross.

     Sahara News report, on August 27th that, 110,000 people were displaced by a flood in Benue, State, Makurdi, Nigeria. Helen Teghtegh, head of local NGO Community Links and Human Empowerment Initiative in Makurdi said, “The region had been battered by torrential rains over the past two weeks with the level of the Benue River steadily rising. Many residents in the state capital Makurdi have fled their homes since Wednesday.”
According to Vanguard News “The Nigerian flood was the worst seen since the flood of 2012. River Benue broke its banks and also swept away hundreds of millions of Naira worth of property and valuables in a downpour that lasted over four hours.”

At the same time, in Mumbai, India, several people were killed as heavy monsoon rain deluged India’s financial capital Mumbai on August 29th, causing transport chaos and forcing schools and many offices to close the following day.  “The Santa Cruz observatory of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in Mumbai registered 331.4 mm rainfall on Tuesday, the heaviest since the July 26, 2005, record of 944 mm. Mumbai’s Tuesday excess rainfall was the highest rainfall recorded in August since 1997” The Mumbai News reported.
The Red Cross shared that “At least 950,000 houses have been destroyed after being submerged in the floodwaters. Since June, more than 1,200 people have been killed across India and neighboring Bangladesh following the catastrophic monsoon flooding which has spread across both countries, affecting more than 41 million inhabitants.”
Meanwhile, the majority of the Caribbean, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia were hit by the Hurricane Harvey and Irma. Followed by Mexico’s disastrous earthquake.

Dr. Ian Norris, Professor of psychology and financial literacy, whose family members and friends reside in Texas said, “This experience is devastating. Every house in the neighborhood has their possessions out in the yard. But I am proud of my city. I have never seen so many people working together to help.”

An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) analysis shared that, “These calamities elsewhere have been exacerbated by a lack of prevention infrastructure, like levees, as well as widespread deforestation, which promotes soil erosion. Many of the affected are also among their country’s poorest and live in areas particularly susceptible to mudslides (on densely packed urban hillsides) and torrential rain (on the floodplains of rivers that seasonally overflow)”; according to The Washington Post. “Such extreme weather events — the proverbial “once-in-a-century” hurricane — will become only more common as the planet warms,” EPA’s climate scientists added.

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