Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Bogotá ( - Torrential rains in Colombia wreaked more havoc around the country this week, including an area outside the capital where an avalanche of mud and debris smothered an entire town, killing at least one person.  Some 80 people have been killed in Colombia this year due to rain and flooding, with most of those deaths during the last couple of weeks.  Earlier this month, 20 people in a bus were killed when an overflowing river in the lush coffee-growing region swept the vehicle off a steep highway.  This year’s death toll adds to the 300 or so killed during the second half of 2010 when the unusually heavy and persistent rains began, fueled by the “La Niña” weather phenomenon, a South American counterpart to “El Niño.”  There are also concerns of more problems in northern Colombia along the Magdalena River.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said late Monday the lashing rains and its destruction of life and property is “without precedence in the history of Colombia.”  The resurgence of the rains also threatens to derail Colombia’s economy, which only recently got back on track and is expected to grow between 5% and 6% this year. Analysts say the recent rains may destroy coffee crops, just as they did last year, and make it difficult for some multinational companies to transport oil and coal to shipping ports for export.  Nearly all of the nation’s 32 states, or departments, are under a state of emergency, and around 3 million people have been left homeless since the devastation began last year.

“La Nina” climate phenomenon is caused by the cycle of water evaporation from the ocean and atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean, increasing rainfall and humidity in northern South America, including Colombia, Venezuela and northern Brazil.  The worry is that if the rains continue - and Colombia’s meteorological institute Ideam says the intense rains could last into June - the temporary fix for the large breach might be washed away.  Besides the heavy rain, soil erosion is due to irresponsible logging and reforestation neglect, which destroy the natural balance.

Despite all this advancement, at every moment everyone is suffering due to at least one of the following threefold miseries: (1.) adhyatmika klesha; (2.) adhibhautika klesha and (3.) adhidaivika klesha. The miseries caused by nature (adhidaivika klesha) like floods, droughts, famines, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. are devastating calamities imposed upon us through the agency of nature. ... And moreover, we are being constantly tormented by the changes in the weather such as scorching heat, freezing cold and untimely rains. Thus a wise person should ponder, “Why our lives should be ridden with the anxiety of facing and tackling one problem after another? Is this all that life is meant for? Or is there a life of eternal joy that is never inhibited by sufferings?”

Śrīpad Radheshyam Das :
“Discover Your Self” - ‘Vedic Wisdom’ - ‘Cause of Suffering’
Director, ISKCON Youth Forum, Pune President, ISKCON, Pune

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