Has this flood damage been in part a ‘man-made disaster’?
As floods which swept Germany and Poland are finally receding and Angela Merkel estimates that several billion euros will be needed to repair the damage, as 75,000 are evacuated from Southern Alberta in Canada and over 600 have died in flash floods and landslides in northern India, Devinder Sharma says this “appears to be a man-made disaster”.
In an article published two days ago he refers to warnings about the environmental consequences of ‘lop-sided development’ given which were disregarded by most of the media and politicians who emphasised on the need to bring in more investments into the now devastated Himalayan region – the prime minister even decided to override the Ministry of Environment & Forests’ right to view environmental cost of financial investments being made in the country.
Yet, he continues, “the same media is now shrieking and shouting asking why the politicians ignored the warnings on the environment front. The same experts, who kept quiet all these years, are being invited to explain how and why environment protection was ignored. But the bigger question is — what were they doing when the Himalayas were being ruthlessly raped by the mining, timber and construction mafia?”
Media, politicians and ‘we, the people’
“We, the people, too are at fault. We have always preferred to remain a mute spectator when ecological devastation is underway. Not many of us dare to step out, and do whatever he/she can do.
“While the local communities have been on the forefront of raising their voice, its the educated and the elite who try to run down the ecocide saying its a collateral damage and is inevitable . . . those in public limelight, more often than not, remain quiet hoping that their opposition would block their own chances of being on a State or Central committee. Sad but true of the ways the educated are part of the compromise. By keeping quiet, we only lend support to the mafias”.
He recalls writing about the 2004 Indian tsunami:
He continues: “After the relief operations are over, the weather returns to normal, and another match fixing scandal breaks out, the great Himalayan tragedy will be all but forgotten. We will once again return to our wayward ways of exploiting the hills, make our money and leave the poor hapless millions to face the fury of nature whenever it decides to strike back”, and asks:
- how many people do we want to die before we realize the follies of blindly aping the stupid market economy mantra?
- how many millions do we want to be made homeless before we realize the grave mistake of pushing the market economy?
- And who will hold these free market economists responsible for the human loss and suffering?