The Korean Peninsula is currently another victim of inundation, a second crisis striking numerous regions of Indo-Pacific, already reeling with the coronavirus pandemic. In countries like China, India, Thailand, Myanmar, Japan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Laos & Vietnam many regions have been extensively struck with torrential monsoon rains, with a number of casualties, flooding even in major cities and capitals. This accompanied with landslides, leaves affected areas requiring urgent need of evacuation and other immediate relief measures.
Both North and South Korea, face the repercussions of an unusually long monsoon at present, unlike any in the past seven years. More than 40 days of consecutive rainfall in certain areas have left 30 dead and 12 missings and more than 6000 displaced in South Korea, with roads and bridges flooded in Seoul all along the Han river and other regions. Whereas, North Korea reported of sustaining damages across 96,300 acres of farmland, 16,690 homes, as well as roads, and at least 22 people lost their lives with 4 still missing. As if it isn’t enough, typhoon Bavi hit South Korea yesterday and is expected to reach North Korea today (27th August).
In India, over million are affected and displaced from torrential downpours of July-September monsoon rains. It has led to landslides & floods sweeping across Assam, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh all the way to Kerala & Andhra Pradesh, leaving behind a vast number of casualties and numerous missing. Although disaster management officials have had successful evacuations, yet a great many people residing in problem areas are still under imminent danger from the floods.
Many regions of China too face the same threat. 24 provinces are already flood affected, disrupting lives of 63.4 million people with 219 dead or missing. Further rains are forecasted, with 634 rivers swelling over the danger level, and as many as 53 rivers rising towards surpassing historic records. The Three Gorges Dam is accumulating water to its full capacity, while after almost seven decades, Leshan’s Giant Buddha (71 meters) toes are now being washed by the overflowing Yangtze River.
Japan’s northern and southern prefectures were both affected in the month of July, with torrential rains, mudslides and overflowing rivers, causing around 50 dead or missing and the evacuated numbers are around 2500. In case of Myanmar, Ayeyarwady River overflowed on 30 July, causing evacuation of 6,516 locals, while the total number of people affected was around 20,000. During the next few days in early August, Thailand too reported flooding with 680 homes damaged in Loei province, Laos noted 1000 people and 200 houses affected in parts of Xayaboury province, meanwhile Vietnam fortunately had only 2 fatalities but 2,500 hectares of crops destroyed due to the heavy rainfall.
Along with Corona Virus pandemic, this year’s floods are much worse as compared to the last few decades, sweeping death and devastation across Indo-Pacific regions.
The author is presently pursuing post-graduation in East Asian Studies, from University of Delhi. Fascinated with new languages, cultures and societies, her long-standing interest lies in the understanding of East Asia in particular.