Thursday, 13 January 2011
The Brisbane floods have left around 40 known dead, and possibly many more to come after the clean up has begun. Rightly this has received a great deal of airtime on TV and radio in the UK. The connection between the UK and Australia is very strong and thinking about this I may well have a few distant relatives suffering from this flood as I had a long dead aunt out that way. I suspect news will filter through slowly from there. Because of the connections and of course the excellent live pictures and audio reporting, we have a great deal of detail to fill the otherwise 'quiet' news room in the early part of the year.
I was struck however by the lack of reporting on the deaths of over 250 people in Brazil! I came across this story only today and wondered why this was not mentioned before? Silly question, they are only poor Brazilians living in shanty towns on hillsides prone to mudslides. Why should we car? They don't peak English, a great disadvantage, the TV coverage is not so good, and anyway, they are just going to lose any aid we send in some corruption somewhere, let's just pass by on the other side shall we? I am glad the Independent managed to report this tragedy as if this was as important as the Australian one which has cost less deaths but a great deal more money.
The weather front that has crossed the southern Pacific and brought the heavy rain to Australia has also moved on to other parts of the region. The Philippines also endured heavy rain and this too resulted in many deaths from flood damage. Around a million people, mostly poor, are suffering and at least 40 have died. Not much reporting on this, there again the only mention of the Philippines concerns Islamic terrorism, floods or corruption, so why bother we ask? One nation not much reported now the Tamil Tigers have been all but obliterated is Sri Lanka. When part of the British Empire (are you standing to attention?) this land was known as Ceylon and a producer of much of the tea that we consume. Thirty years of needless conflict have curbed the tourist trade and the last time Sri Lanka received attention concerned the Boxing Day Tsunami of a few years ago. One wonders if that had happened at a busier time if it would have received such attention? Today the damaged area is not much better off, the aid having disappeared and those who suffered receiving less than they ought. Now again the monsoon rains brings flooding, and we know of at least 18 dead and large areas damaged but it does not affect us much so we can pass on regardless. Much more important to know what some celebrity is wearing or where he, she, or it shops isn't it?