Deadly flooding in Kerala is a warning for world leaders to take urgent action on climate change

31/8/18: Ahead of major Climate Conference in Bangkok, women continue to die in climate disasters 


The recent catastrophic flooding in Kerala, India, which has killed nearly 400 and displaced one million people – should act as a wake-up call to world leaders on the deadly impact of climate change. Yet, last week’s events in Canberra proved that climate policy is not a priority for this Government.

“Another week, another climate disaster,” says Michelle Higelin, Executive Director of ActionAid Australia. “We see time and again that, while women and their communities are losing their homes, their lives and their livelihoods as a result of the devastating impacts of climate change, Australia is failing to provide leadership when it comes to climate policy.”

Higher than average rain and shifting weather patterns have caused the worst monsoon season in the Kerala region since 1924. As a result, rivers are overflowing, villages are being submerged and dams are bursting their banks leading to landslides and severe flooding.

Last week ActionAid began mobilising a women-led response to the disaster, with the aim of reaching 45,000 people in urgent need of support. The organisation is working with women to lead in organising their community, facilitating distribution of relief assistance and in reconstruction efforts.

“The hundreds dead and one million people forced to seek refuge in relief camps due to the flooding in Kerala are the latest innocent victims of world leaders’ failure to stop climate change from spiralling out of control,” says Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change for ActionAid International. “This disaster must be a signal to leaders to commit the resources needed on a global scale to cope with extreme climate events.”

Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bangkok next week, ActionAid is urging the Australian Government to see the flooding in Kerala alongside the drought in New South Wales as alarming evidence of the need to take urgent action to reduce carbon pollution.

ActionAid representatives from all over the world will be mobilising at the Conference (4-9 September) to ensure that the voices and needs of those most vulnerable to climate disaster, women and young people, are firmly on the agenda.

“Communities around the world are already facing climate disasters, which are only increasing in frequency and ferocity, and it is women who are bearing the brunt of decades of inaction by men in power. We want to see real commitments in Bangkok to save women’s lives,” says Ms Higelin.

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