Flash flooding killed two people in Oman this week.  They were in their cars at the time and couldn’t escape before being swept away in the raging torrent.  An additional three people required rescue.  

In Pakistan, heavier than normal rain has caused a deluge sending over a hundred people to their graves.  In the northern mountainous region of the country, a massive flood killed 92 people while a rain-triggered landslide killed up to 23 people.  There are reports or damage to 929 houses there so far, some of those being completely destroyed.  As severe as this sounds, remember that these events happened  the northern mountains.  More than 200 are confirmed dead throughout northern Pakistan.  All told, a total of 200 people have been injured, and 1,500 houses have taken flood damage.  Many roads leading to neighbouring China and Afghanistan are impassible after a spate of landslides.  Owing to many road closures and all around dangerous conditions, it is difficult to render rescue or aid.  Some experts have linked the dramatic, severe weather to climate change.

While Pakistan has had too much rain, India has not had enough.  They are currently in drought,   The Ramkund river, a holy site for Hindus, has run dry.  This has not happened for 130 years and is the result of an acute and devastating drought.   Pilgrims came to Ramkund in droves, as they have so done for years.  They were expecting to bathe in the river, as is extolled in Hinduism.  Hindus believe that such a bath along with its attendant rituals purges the bather of all sins.  Nashik, the city the Ramkund runs through, is considering drilling bore wells to feed the river, but this solution is both dubious and costly.

This drought is so severe that surgeons are limited in their ability to operate, farmers are in such dire straits that some are committing suicide, and the government is frantically trying to keep the accumulating thirsty, angry citizens calm so that the implicit threat of violence does not erupt into realized violence.  This is the case in Marathwada, another region of Maharashtra.  When surgeons in the region are operating, they are taking dangerous hygiene shortcuts, not out of negligence, but because they believe it is the lesser of two evils. Nevertheless, experts fear that this will lead to an epidemic.  There is a trainload of water coming, but for many it is not soon enough, and it is only a stop-gap measure.  The critically low water table is not expected to recover much if at all until mid-July when it is usually rainy.

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