The flood came when India was still plagued by a week-long water crisis amid severe droughts and heatwaves across the country, killing at least 137 people. Experts said that the country has five years to remedy the water shortage caused by the continual depletion of groundwater supplies, or that more than 100 million people no longer have direct access to water.
In Afghanistan, the drought devastated traditional agricultural areas and forced millions of people to move or starve, while in Bangladesh, heavy monsoon torrents devastated entire communities and closed vital roads. The hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who live in fragile makeshift camps on the Myanmar border of the country are at particular risk.
This is the sharpness of the climate crisis. What seems to be an urgent but still future problem for many industrialized countries is the killing of people in parts of Asia, and a new refugee crisis is underway, far worse than the one Europe has encountered in recent years.
Agriculture in South Asia has depended on the annual monsoon for centuries. If the rains arrive too late, as this year, this can lead to widespread drought and water scarcity. Since the late 19th century, scientists and government agencies have attempted to model and predict the monsoon. This is an important task to help and support the approximately two billion people whose livelihood depends on the monsoon.
However, climate change is making this task increasingly difficult. According to a study in the journal Nature, the warming of the Indian Ocean, the increasing frequency of the El Niño weather phenomenon, air pollution and land-use change in the subcontinent have led to a steady decline in rainfall, which increases the variability of monsoon and production is more difficult to model accurately.
The nature study found that the frequency of extreme rains caused by floods and landslides has actually increased as the total amount of rain has declined cruelly and has led to drought.
Researchers indicated that there had been a tripling of "widespread extreme rainfall events" in central India between 1950 and 2015, potentially leading to "catastrophic effects on life, agriculture and property".
"The overall intensity and frequency of extreme events is increasing in the region," says the study. Projected changes showed that "extreme rainfall in most parts of the subcontinent will continue to increase until the end of the century".
A combination of rising temperatures and increased droughts and floods raises the very real question of whether parts of India may soon be uninhabitable for humans. Scientists believe that not only India, but also much of the Middle East and North Africa are increasingly hit by extreme heat waves that can kill even perfectly healthy people.
Climate change is no longer a future event. We already seem to be relying on 1.5 ° C warming, once hoped to be the man-made limit of climate change, and are now well on the way to reaching the 2 ° C ceiling set by the Paris Agreement to break through.
The spreading climate emergency will affect the entire world, but not the same or all at the same time. Parts of the globe will experience manageable temperature peaks or changing weather, while others face deadly droughts, heat waves, floods and extreme weather. Those who survive these climate shocks may find that local agriculture and infrastructure are devastated, making them even more vulnerable in the future.
It is expected that sea-level rise and coastal flooding will hit another million people in some of the world's least developed countries.
According to the United Nations, over 120 million people could go into poverty over the next decade due to climate change and "choose between hunger and migration".
Stanford University researchers have previously warned that climate change is making poor countries poorer and increasing global inequality between nations.
The rest of the world must suffer, "said Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights last month. In order to better cope with the immediate effects of climate change, they will not escape the effects of the crisis in other countries
People affected by climate change do not stay behind when their children are drowning or dying of heat stroke or thirst The Norwegian Refugee Council estimates that 26 million people are displaced every year by disasters such as floods and storms or one person per second. "According to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, around 135 million people could be displaced as a result of land and soil degradation by 2045.
Most of these people are internally displaced, practically refugees within their own country the number of people who are forced to over d escaping borders is rising – also due to violence and persecution – reaching 70 million this year, a record high.
According to government documents released by the ABC this week, Australia will face up to 100 million climate refugees in the coming years alone, as much of the Indo-Pacific is affected by rising sea levels and extreme weather.
Australia, one of the worst offenders for global emissions, has one of the most draconian policies on dealing with refugees in developed countries and places them among groups of people in United Nations and human rights offshore detention camps.
Other countries have responded to existing refugee flows – many of which are already affected by climate change, even if not widely talked about – with a shift towards nativism and often violent rhetoric against immigrants.
A further complicating factor is that the United Nations Convention on Refugees currently does not recognize those who are fleeing climate change as eligible for international protection. This could allow countries to refuse protection or consider entry as illegal immigrants.
South Asia is already suffering from climate change, a crisis fueled by industrialized consumption patterns and fossil-fueled capitalism. However, the effects of this crisis will not be limited to the region for long, and people will not be dealing with the sharp end of the crisis.