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UN calls for increased focus on Asia floods
It is now four months since the beginning of the rains that led to the devastating South Asia floods. During this time, more than 4,000 people have been killed and 66 million people were made homeless or were otherwise affected by the floods.
Concern has been working in some of the worst hit areas, providing food and supplies, conducting search and rescue operations and carrying out training on how best to prepare for future disasters.
The floods have generated a lot of media coverage, with a focus recently on remarks made by John Holmes, the United Nation’s emergency relief coordinator. Along with leading international humanitarian organisations, John Holmes is calling for increased attention to be paid to the continuing flood situation. He has commented that "even after the flood waters recede, families will be living in the open and will be in need of more permanent shelter before the arrival of winter." Without a "more forceful international response", he says, this could lead to "an even greater catastrophe that will have debilitating social consequences for the affected population."
The UN has also focused on placing the floods in the wider context of climate change, according to Guardian Unlimited. The emergency in Asia has been the worst incidence of what has been a record number of floods, droughts and storms around the world this year. This, the UN has claimed, is evidence of a climate change “mega disaster”. John Holmes has expressed frustration at how little media attention in the west is being devoted to what he terms "creeping climatic catastrophe". "We are seeing the effects of climate change. Any year can be a freak but the pattern looks pretty clear to be honest…this is here and now, this is with us already", he said.