Magazine article New Internationalist

Not Such a Natural Disaster

Magazine article New Internationalist

Not Such a Natural Disaster

Article excerpt

Described as 'the first great natural disaster of the year', the wave of flooding that hit the Asia-Pacific region in January 2009 led to the displacement of at least 100,000 people, reports United Press International. Although tropical storms are a frequent occurrence in the area, this year's flooding was unusual because so many countries - Fiji, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia among them - were affected simultaneously. In the Mindanao region of the Philippines, the damage reached 'humanitarian crisis proportions', according to local officials, and in Fiji a state of emergency was declared.

While the non-stop rains caused rivers to burst their banks, critics claim that the series of floods cannot simply be blamed on the weather. Garbage pollution, poor infrastructure, urban development, deforestation and ineffective flood control programmes all played their part. …

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