Sometimes the real news is the news that doesn’t get reported.

Like the  fact that natural disasters such as floods and typhoons  this year have affected 310 million Chinese, with only a few hundred deaths.

This week, it is 300 000 displaced by flooding caused by typhoon Sepat, the same one that displaced 400 000 due to flooding in the Philippines last week.

I don’t know how they did it in China, but here people were sheltered in government shelters such as schools and many found shelter with nearby relatives. Most of the flooding was in low lying areas, and those with concrete houses on high ground were safe.
Flooding in India, Nepal and Bengladesh has killed several thousand and displaced a couple million.

But here too we see local governments stepping up to help their own people.

Reuters notices this trend, and the reporter writes:

Countries like India often have vast state resources that dwarf anything Western aid groups or UN agencies can provide….

Western experts acknowledged that states like India and Bangladesh are able to provide much of what they need themselves — thanks to their large militaries, significant food stores and long experience with disasters.

But aid officials are worried that pride, not lack of need, might also be making these countries hesitate to ask Western countries for aid. But the real story is that outside aid is always needed, but now often the need is for longer term help in recovery, and often that aid is funneled via local officials.

So the death tolls of hundreds or even a few thousands are high by modern standards, these numbers are dwarved in comparison to the hundreds of thousands who died from flooding during the twentieth century,


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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