• Floods devastate millions of lives - and not just in Queensland.

    Posted by Gershon

    1 February, 2011

    As 75% of Queensland is declared a national disaster zone due to the flooding that is now inundating the state, other regions across the globe are being wracked by similar catastrophes. Queensland is in the midst of the most severe floods it has experienced since 1974, with 18 lives already lost and dozens more missing. Roads have been closed, businesses shut down, rail lines cut and homes destroyed by the rising waters.

    As Australians our heart naturally goes out to our fellow countrymen whose lives are being thrown into turmoil by this disaster. Indeed many, like myself, have a particular and personal concern for family and friends that are being directly affected by the flood waters (some reading this may even be victims of the flood themselves). It is always heart wrenching to see those close to home face such tragedy.

    As Christians concerned about global justice, it's worth taking a moment to expand our net of empathy to also consider others across the world that are undergoing similar trials.

    Colombia
    Colombia is still trying to recover from what the nation's President, Juan Manuel Santos, has described as the worst natural disaster in the country's history. Widespread flooding has lead to the death of more than 300 people and continues to affect a further 2.2 million.

    Sri Lanka
    The past 12 months have seen record rains in Sri Lanka, with one eastern district witnessing more rain than it has at any other time in the past century. Between 26 December and 11 January, 33, 000 families were displaced to 351 relocation centres, overall it is estimated that close to one million people are being directly affected by the floods. The widespread rains have prompted the Sri Lankan government to speed up the implementation of its climate change adaptation plans.

    Philippines
    The Philippines often takes the brunt of Pacific weather systems, and this year has been no exception. Heavy monsoon rains have lead to widespread flooding across the nation, with 1.29 million people from 144 towns being affected. So far 40 people have died and 338,000 people have been forced to flee their homes.

    Brazil
    The south-east of Brazil is used to heavy summer rainfall, but this season the amount of rain has been unusually high. The rain has led to flooding and numerous landslides which together have claimed the lives of at least 257 people.

    As we take time out to pray for the victims of the Queensland floods and consider what we can give to assist their plight, perhaps we should do the same for those in developing countries where the devastation and loss of life is no less tragic. These floods are a powerful reminder of how much humankind are still at the mercy of the environment in which we live.

    Sadly, scientists are informing us that floods like those discussed above are set to increase in intensity and frequency if climate change continues unchecked. MDG7 - Ensure Environmental Sustainabity - is a key campaign focus for Micah Challenge in 2011. Keep an eye on the website for what you can do to take action over the coming months.

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    By Gershon Nibalker, Advocacy Coordinator for Baptist World Aid Australia and a member of the Micah Challenge Campaign Strategy Group. This article originally appeared on the Catalyst website.