Floods raise concerns about climate change: DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE asks donors to contribute to relief and rehabilitation in South Asia



    MONTREAL, Sept. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - An unusually hard-hitting monsoon
season in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan has raised concerns about the
impact of climate change on the world's poor. Since the torrential rains began
in June, at least 1,000 people have died and over 3 million have been forced
from their homes.
    "Although the carbon footprint of the poor is a fraction of that of the
rich, they are the ones that suffer the most from the extreme weather
phenomena for which global rising temperatures are at least partly
responsible. South Asia is highly vulnerable to such climate shocks, as many
of its people already live in conditions of extreme poverty, and are unable to
withstand such meteorological disasters," says Mary Durran, Advocacy and
Research Program Officer at DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE. The carbon footprint is a
measure of greenhouse gas emissions.
    India is particularly at risk as almost half of its population relies on
the Himalayan glaciers for its water supply. The ever rising temperatures are
melting the glaciers, causing extreme flooding. "When the glaciers finish
melting, the populations will be facing drought," warns Barbara Trachsel,
Emergency Relief Program Officer at DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE.
    The combination of monsoon and glacier floods has destroyed
infrastructure and damaged harvests in north-eastern regions of India, which
will have a severe impact on the country's agricultural production.
    DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE has already sent $ 50,000 to its partner Caritas
India in order to respond to emergency needs for shelter, water, sanitation,
food and medical services. Caritas India's project targets 270,000 persons in
the country's north-east.
    According to Caritas India's Executive Director Varghese Mattamana, "The
current inundation is so massive that it has totally altered the habitation
pattern of decades, if not centuries, with the flood waters surging through
relatively safe villages, farmlands, fields, buildings and other
infrastructure."
    "The present situation is such that the marooned population has no option
than to depend on external help for survival. Caritas teams (...) are already
working on the ground and this appeal will help us respond further to the
urgent needs of the survivors." DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE asks Canadian donors to
contribute generously to its South Asia floods emergency fund. www.devp.org




For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Eleonore Fournier-Tombs, (514)
257-8711 ext. 307, eleonore.fournier@devp.org


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