Drought is driving up the cost of staples and exports in several regions of the world. Maize is ballooning throughout Africa. Rice is in trouble in Thailand. Prices for two different species have risen around $20 per ton. Coffee is in trouble in Brazil. While the arabica strain is actually doing well, the robusta strain is down about 16%. A rash of fires and suicides in India has only recently been relieved with the very late but very deadly monsoon rains. The almost non-existent snowpack over the winter is part of the reason then Fort McMurray fire is raging out of control. The weather has been very wet in most of Alberta, but unfortunately, Fort McMurray didn’t get much of that rain.
Drought in Zimbabwe is heart-wrenchingly devastating, with millions of starving people and little to no rain expected for months. In fact, more than a quarter of their population is on the brink of starvation. The government there is seeking $1.5 billion in aid to feed those at risk. Damages in the billions tend to be in relation to infrastructure, not food.
Meanwhile, parts of the world are inundated with deadly flood waters. Recent flooding in Sri Lanka has left at least 37 dead, and 150 missing. A further 28 people were discovered buried in mud, wounded. Massive rains triggered flooding and horrific mudslides. The region affected received 100mm of rain in just one day. The death toll could have been a lot worse were it not for heroic troops using boats and helicopters to rescue 200 trapped people. The government has forced 137,000 people to evacuate, and many of those will have nowhere to return. The Red Cross was unable to access many people who needed rescue as roads were blocked by mud and trees. Meanwhile, in Bangkok, Thailand, a four-year-old girl is dead after a massive storm caused her home to collapse. A cupboard fell on her head. Two other people were seriously injured, and 62 homes were obliterated. This drastic amount of devastation happened in a mere two hours. In Indonesia, major flooding has killed at least 17 people, with another three possibly dead.