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Phil, thanks for raising this. You are at least partly in tune with what Paul Kingsnorth is saying over at the Dark Mountain Project:

But you too seem to have overlooked what's happening in Sri Lanka, where over 325,000 people (BBC News figures) have been displaced by flooding that's happening right now (at least 21 are thought dead):

And this doesn't get a look in on the headines on the main BBC News web site, while such trifling stuff as how Tesco's Christmas period sales had been 'hindered' and 'subdued' by a bit of snow, does.

Thanks for pointing us to the Sri Lankan's plight too John.

It looks like Australian collateral damage is a lot less, compared to other less well publicised countries' woes.

Yes shame on them all. So much for impartiality of news. It is at last possible to begin to find out what is going on hopefully through the internet and such points as you are making Phil. I read a really good book once by Roland Barthes explaining the self-interestedness of news coverage. Why also are pictures of Africa nearly always of starving malnourished people or fighting, that is nothing that is positive gets coverage?

In Australia we certainly received good coverage of disasters occurring in other countries and respond rapidly with assistance in any form needed. But with respect, an area the size of France and Germany combined is massively flooded in Queensland. The devastation is so great to so many large towns, the capital, the Great Barrier Reef, the agricultural land (Queens;and is the food bowl of Australia) and mining that recovery, according to leading authorities here, will be measured in many years. The cost is almost beyond counting. A magnificently well co-ordinated effort led by the Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh (a descendent of Bligh of the Bounty) has minimised the human misery but days later we still have 50 people unaccounted for and sixteen dead, particularly in the Lockyer Valley where a several metre high inland tsunami of mud and flood water swept through destroying everything in its path, towns and farms, without warning and in a matter of minutes. Northern NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania have all been flooding.This is now rated as Australia's greatest natural disaster and it follows on from what has been in many parts of the country a record breaking drought up to a decade long . many in the countryside have been hit severely by that drought only to lose everything to flood. Whole towns here have been wiped off the map. The rebuilding effort required is almost beyond contemplation. Nevertheless community spirit is extraordinary. Today (Saturday 15th Jan) is Salvation Day and virtually the entire population of Brisbane, two million, has turned out to help in whatever way they can the thousands of home and business owners who have lost everything or at the least received a terrible setback to their lives.

I'd like to think that we recognise human tragedy, trauma, and pain wherever it is. It is not less real in so-called first world countries. Australia's smaller population will result in a smaller death toll. We may never know the final figure - bodies have been swept far away, or buried under the tons of mud that are spread over the countryside. Certainly we are warned to expect the figure to rise much higher than 16 as the flood waters recede.

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