Leading candidate for what?—political tensions have reached such heights that many experts
consider South Asia the leading candidate for a nuclear war.
Jeopardize the future—
One-third less than $1.00/day—
Natural hazards, 2/3rds flooded in 1998—earthquakes, flooding, and typhoons from the Bay of
Bengal. In the delta area of Bangladesh, where the search for fertile land has driven people into
hazardous areas, putting millions at risk from seasonal flooding as well as from the powerful
cyclones (tropical storms) that form over the Bay of Bengal. Flooding has become a serious
problem in these areas because the Himalayan slopes have dispersed sediment to the sea by the
Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, gradually building this low-lying delta environment. Every year
when they farm it increases their risk and the number of people affected by natural disasters. In
September of 1998, more than 22 million Bangladeshis were made homeless when water covered
2/3rds of the country. With populations so high in Bangladesh and northern India and growing
rapidly, there is a strong possibility that flooding will take even higher tolls in the next decade.
Forest destruction, vanished, dung cakes, Chipko—Tropical monsoon forests and savannah
woodlands once covered the region besides the deserts in the northwest. Most areas where trees
covered, they have vanished as a result of human activities. The Ganges Valley and coastal plains
of India were largely deforested hundreds of years ago to make room for agriculture. In other
places, forests were cleared more gradually for agricultural, urban and industrial expansion.
Recently hillslopes in the Himalayas have been logged for commercial purposes. Forests can only
mostly be found in the far northern, southwestern and east-central areas. As a result of
deforestation, many South Asian villages suffer from a shortage of fuelwood for househod
cooking, forcing people to burn dung cakes from cattle.
Mountains: Himalayan, Karakoram, Everest, Kathmandu, Kashmir—recently hillslopes in these
have been logged for commercial purposes.
River Lowlands: Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra—These were largely deforested hundreds of years
ago to make room for agriculture.
Largest delta in the world—Ganges-Brahmaputra delta which is partly in Bangladesh and India
Peninsular India: Deccan, western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, rainshadow—On the Deccan Plateau,
rainfall is dramatically reduced by a strong rain shadow effect. A rain shadow is the area of low
rainfall found on the downwind side of a mountain range. As winds move downslope, the air
becomes warmer and dry conditions usually prevail. Western ghats have an uplifting and cooling
of moist monsoon winds occur over this. Southward is the familiar shape of peninsular India,
made up primarily of the Deccan Plateau, which is bordered on each sides by narrow coastal
plains backed by north-south mountain ranges. On the west are the highest Western Ghats, which