Monsoons around the world have been particularly devastating this year — from the refugee camps in Myanmar and Bangladesh to south India to the trapped kids in Thailand, the heavy rainy season has been brutal and unrelenting.
In south India, BBC has reported that approximately 324 people have died due to the rains — many of which were killed because of landslides caused by the torrential downpours. More than 200,000 people have been rendered homeless in the area.
Similar problems have been seen in the Rohingya refugee camps on the border of eastern Bangladesh. All sorts of poverty-stricken areas around southeast Asia and India are built on a silt-laden ground that is easily washed away when rains come through. Not only does this threaten the lives of those who live in these houses, or are traveling away from them for their own safety — it can destroy the only property they have, and though often times that isn’t very much, it’s what they have been using to survive on a daily basis. The basic necessities.
Thousands in Myanmar have been displaced due to the monsoons. If you have wondered why many southeast Asian houses are up on stilts — this is a primary reason why.
There are also tangential problems with the flooding — for example, areas that are dependent on well water can experience serious difficulties when all of their wells are flooded. Businesses that depend upon livestock or other ground-level commodities can be lost with the water, thereby sending those further into poverty.
Thailand saw some difficulties with the rainy season during the Thai cave rescue, but Thailand’s infrastructure — while still heavily affected by the rain — is better equipped to deal with it. Still, reservoirs built for flooding are reaching maximum capacity, and while some villages are on standby for evacuation, there may still be dangers in moving large amounts of people, as well as their property left behind.
For the rest of Thailand, the rains can cause flooding which may be treated more like a heavy snow day in the northern United States. There may be damage to property here and there, and accidents will be more likely to happen, but ultimately it is handled properly and with the existing infrastructure from the Thai government as well as private citizens who have been doing this for generations.
And so, like many natural disasters around the world, it is usually the poor — those with full exposure to the elements — who get hit the hardest.