Monsoon season tragedy in South Asia

Rains, floods, landslides . . .

India, Nepal and Bangladesh have been reporting worsening monsoon casualties since the beginning of the monsoon season in June. Floods and landslides caused by two weeks of heavy monsoon rains have killed some 130 people and displaced over two million across South Asia. Local authorities have been transmitting public and SMS alerts to citizens, urging them to find higher ground or to seek shelter from lightning, flash flooding, and landslides.

Climate change effects . . .

Governments of the affected countries are allocating all possible resources to help minimize loss of life. Last year, the monsoon season claimed over 1,200 lives and displaced over a million more. Climate scientists have reported that weather patterns will continue to be more erratic, with wet seasons poised to become wetter, and dry seasons becoming dryer. Vulnerable populations, like the Rohingya refugee camps in Southeastern Bangladesh, are most at risk due to a lack of services and reliable infrastructure.

Aid in trade?

Bangladesh has been one of the largest recipients of Canadian development assistance over the last 40 years. Canada’s high commissioner to Bangladesh announced two weeks ago the appointment of a senior trade commissioner to explore bilateral trade opportunities, citing aerospace technology and helicopters as Canadian exports of interest to Bangladesh. Given the current situation, it may be worthwhile to see how trade and aid might find common ground, such as exploring wastewater and disaster management cooperation.