Ahmer Ali, 28, returned with six family members to find his house virtually destroyed and his rice crop gone. This plight is not shared by Ahmer and his family alone; thousands of southern Indians were affected by the floods in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states by torrential rains after severe drought.
This natural disaster killed at least 269 people and the damages in the two states are estimated to be $4.6 billion. The torrential rains were the worst in decades and displaced more than 2 million people. The water has now slowly started to recede and people are slowly moving back to their ‘home’.
A walk through a small farming village in Karnataka — almost all the mud and straw homes of the poor have been washed away; the sturdier homes are also seriously damaged. Those people who now don’t have a home are waiting for the government to intervene so that they find shelter soon. ‘‘We have been through tough times, guess this will also pass.’’ Ahmer said. Though this is one of those many ‘tough times’ for Ahmer, and he may cope up with the aftermath of this disaster, what about the 269 who didn’t live through to tell us this story? Is it time for action yet? Or do we need more of such disasters before we wake up from slumber?
Couple of days ago, I heard this powerful speech by Rajendra K. Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and 2007 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize at the 45th Annual Nobel Conference in Minnesota. He talked about water – the link between climate change and water. He went on to talk about how scarce resources could lead to conflicts.
“Due to the very large number of people that may be affected, food and water scarcity may be the most important health consequences of climate change,” Pachauri said. “There is no more crucial issue to human society than the future of water on this planet. We must work diligently to see that the worst effects don’t come to pass. We have very little time. Unless we act with a sense of urgency, there will certainly be conflict and a disruption of peace.”
Long story short: Is climate change disrupting global peace?
It certainly is…