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Disasters Made Worse by Warming and Crumbling Infrastructure -- ASCE U.S. Report

By       Message Arshad M Khan       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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Within a week we have suffered floods in France, Toronto, and now a record-breaking monsoon season in Kerala, India, which has flooded or endangered 12 of its 14 regional areas. Almost a quarter of a million people are homeless, forcing them into some 1500 relief camps. Sadly many have lost their lives, the toll in Kerala and the states of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh rising to 900 -- the rain water sweeping through villages, bursting irrigation dams and causing mudslides.


Kerala is not the wealthiest state in India; hence, its accomplishments in education and healthcare are all the more remarkable. For those who wish to lend a helping hand, try keralarescue.in or donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in/.


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This week Kerala, last week France and Toronto, and in July, Western Japan. Exacerbated by global warming, the disasters keep mounting, yet Donald Trump and other ostriches have steadfastly stuck their heads in the sand. It's all a hoax, they will continue to repeat as a forest fire begins to singe their rears. With their luck, a flash flood might quench it.


Such is the state of our world as the window to act on climate change closes a little more each day!

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After a violent storm in Genoa, a 200-meter section of the Morandi Bridge, part of the A10 expressway, collapsed including a load-carrying pylon. Vehicles plunged 50 feet killing at least 38. People are blaming shoddy materials in often a mafia-controlled Italian construction industry amid concerns over a generally crumbling infrastructure.


If the collapse has drawn the attention of other Europeans to their own bridges and roads, America's infrastructure is worse. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in its last report (2017) gave it an overall D+ on the American schools' grading scale that runs from A to F. Bridges received a C+, not really reassuring for the trucker driving an 18-wheeler.


Mr. Trump promised us a 'beautiful' infrastructure on the campaign trail. Not much of that beauty yet. The ASCE estimates an expenditure of $206 billion per year for 10 years to set things right -- not really excessive when one considers the three-and-one-half-times that amount ($717 billion) just approved in the latest defense-spending bill.

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Any analysis of U.S. infrastructure would also reveal a serious void: no high-speed rail. It is the only country among major industrial nations, including China, without such a network. As rail travel is less polluting than airplanes, this void also stresses the environment when CO2 levels are already sky high.


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Arshad M Khan is a former Professor. Educated at King's College London, Oklahoma State University and the University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research. He was elected a Fellow of the (more...)
 

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