Hurricane Harvey hit Houston hard this past week. I’ve a few friends in the Houston area and I praise God that they’re safe.
One of my friends goes to the University of Houston. Her classes have been canceled since last Thursday and much of her school is still underwater.
It’s fantastic to see the state, as well as the country, come together to support Houston. I’m proud to see my family and friends in the Dallas-Fort Worth area send support in any way they can. Please continue to keep Houston in your thoughts and prayers!
Without taking away from the importance of Houston, I want to call your attention to a similar tragedy that has occurred in South Asia. The countries of Nepal, India and Bangladesh are currently in their monsoon season, which lasts from June through September, so flooding is expected.
However, authorities have said the flooding this year has been the worst they’ve ever encountered. Allow me to put it into perspective.
There are about 2.3 million people living in the Houston metro area. This number doesn’t account for all the surrounding cities, such as Rockport, which has been affected just as much as Houston. Current estimates state that over 100,000 homes have been flooded and more than 30,000 people are staying in emergency shelters.
However, the monsoons have also had a massive effect on South Asia and its inhabitants. In India alone, floods have affected over 17 million people so far. In Bangladesh, nearly a third of the country is underwater and, in Nepal, over 90,000 homes have been destroyed so far.
Keep in mind, most of the people affected rely on agriculture to make a living and support their families, so this flood isn’t only jarring their current lives but destroying their future livelihoods.
I’m in shock over the devastation in Asia. I can imagine the scale of the damage in Houston from my experiences traveling there, what I’ve heard from my friends, and what I’ve seen on the news. But I don’t know how to begin visualizing the damage caused in Southeast Asia, especially in India.
The sheer numbers are mind-blowing!
Thankfully we’ve systems in place to help us get back on our feet, but sadly, other countries have to rely on international aid and hope that it can get there in time for their survival. I’m surprised the monsoon flooding didn’t get more coverage in the news. I understand that Houston is closer to home and touches us on a more personal level, but the casualties in South Asia are astronomical. In their half of the globe, Houston may be an afterthought while their flooding is emphasized in their news.
Maybe our media shies away from reporting on the monsoons because they're a seasonal occurrence, not an unexpected event. I only heard about this through a friend who mentioned it in passing. The sheer size of these monsoons is not normal. The magnitude alone in proper context merit news coverage.
It was by doing my own research that I was able to find out just how serious the flooding in Asia really is.
Different people in different places need both our thoughts and prayers all the same.
Jono Anzalone, Vice President of International Services at the American Red Cross said it best in an interview: “No one life is greater than the other.”
Wesley Rodriguez-Diep is a sophomore studying international relations.