Floods in Bihar and Assam (India)

While attention was paid – and rightly so – to the effects of hurricane Gustav in the Carribean, in Haiti, Cuba, and the coastal areas at and near New Orleans, and while US federal, state and city authorities acted appropriately to avoid a major disastre, natural disasters in India also took their toll. Monsoon rains caused the river Kosi in Bihar, northern India, to change its course, provoking massive floods, resulting in many casualties and in the internal displacement of between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people. Today, flooding caused by the Brahmaputra river, threatens people and villages in the North-Eastern Indian state of Assam.

In the coming years we will increasingly be confronted with such massive natural crises and catastrophes. I would want to plead that these be considered not merely as national issues, but as matters of worldwide concern, as events that touch all of us as world citizens, responsible for one another. Two days ago, I signed an AVAAZ petition concerning low islands in the Pacific Ocean that already suffer the consequences of rising sea levels due to climate change … it gave me this sense of being co-responsible for what will happen to my fellow human beings on these islands.

I would like to encourage the development of a sense of responsible and caring world citizenship …

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