The death toll in South Asia has surpassed 1,400 in the aftermath of weeks of torrential monsoon rains across Bangladesh, India and Nepal this summer. Over 41 million people are affected by the flooding and landslides that have destroyed homes and shattered lives. It’s the workings of capitalism and the callous indifference of Washington and other imperialist powers that are behind the acuteness of this catastrophe.
In India, where an estimated 30 million people have been hit, the infrastructure of Mumbai — the country’s Wall Street and home to the Bollywood movie industry — collapsed under the relentless monsoon rainfall, see above. Like Houston, Mumbai has experienced explosive growth, doubling in population to 22 million over the last 25 years, and capitalist profiteers have systematically covered water drainage land with housing, streets and factories. Over 1 million people are crammed into the Dharavi slum, with 15,000 single-room factories. The city’s storm water drainage system, originally designed in the 1860s when the British ruled India, cannot begin to handle the monsoons.
Comparing the situation in South Asia to Texas, Jono Anzalone of the Red Cross told NPR that unlike in the U.S., the governments in India or Bangladesh “simply don’t have the resources.”
But the problem isn’t “resources.” India and Bangladesh have vastly larger populations and gross domestic product than Cuba, another regular victim of dangerous hurricanes. But unlike the capitalist countries in South Asia, the working people of Cuba overthrew capitalism and U.S. colonial rule and use their control of state power to mobilize the country to meet hurricanes and any other threat they face, including the unremitting hatred of Washington. Cuba’s working people — armed with their revolution and human solidarity — are the “resources” workers of the world need to emulate.