Monster storms mainly kill the poor

In every country, the ravages of climate change fall overwhelming on the poor. The people who grow the world’s food are the ones who starve in the aftermath of hurricanes and typhoons.

While Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Caribbean and the US eastern seaboard, Typhoon Son-Tinh tore through the Philippines, China and Vietnam, killing more than 35 people. As expected from climate change predictions, floods were responsible for most of the damage to life and property. It should be noted however, that these ravages of climate change were, for the most part, unmitigated by social justice.

Those who perished from the mudslides, floods and violent waves were caught by surprise or lacked the wherewithal to move to higher ground. They were overwhelmingly poor.

The mainstream news reports have focused principally on the US and China, as if gross domestic product (GDP) matters most to tropical-cyclone damage. Thus far [by Nov. 2] Sandy’s death toll is: 97 in the US, 54 in Haiti, 11 in Cuba, 2 in Jamaica, 2 in the Bahamas, 2 in the Dominican Republic, one in Puerto Rico and one in Canada. Haiti and the US east coast were hit by a tropical storm, and their fatalities came mainly from the ranks of the poor. By contrast, Cuba was slammed with a category-two hurricane in a populous region including its second largest city of Santiago.

Cuba is still the only country that has named all its dead. Most of Sandy’s other victims have died as nameless as livestock.




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