Learning With: ‘Flooding in Mozambique From Cyclone Idai Made an “Inland Ocean,” Stalling Rescues’

Learning With: ‘Flooding in Mozambique From Cyclone Idai Made an “Inland Ocean,” Stalling Rescues’

4. What kinds of relief and aid efforts are underway? How has the flooding affected these efforts?

5. Why have relief efforts focused on the city of Beira in Mozambique? How did the cyclone affect this port city in particular?

6. Nick Mangwana, a spokesman for the Zimbabwean government, said on Twitter:

This cyclone has come at a very huge human cost. We certainly need a regional approach to these effects of global warming. These problems are transnational.

Do you agree? What connection is there between global warming and tropical storms like Cyclone Idai? How should the nations of the world respond to the disaster in Southern Africa?

Finally, tell us more about what you think:

Another natural disaster, half a world apart from southern Africa, is unfolding in the United States, where record flooding has ravaged Nebraska and other Midwestern states. Officials in Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa have declared emergencies or disasters as floodwaters have forced hundreds of people from their homes. In “Like ‘House Arrest’: Flooded Roads and Swamped Bridges Strand Nebraskans,” Mitch Smith writes:

Record floodwaters have ravaged Nebraska, but as they begin to recede, an alarming reality has come into view: Hundreds of miles of highway remain impassable, bridges have been wiped out and routine drives have become treacherous ordeals. In a vast, largely rural state where people rely on two-lane highways and aging bridges to go about daily life, the devastation of basic infrastructure promised to be an expensive and long-term challenge.

“I don’t know how they’re going to get everything fixed that needs to be fixed,” said Ms. Snowdon, who said she had canceled a teaching assignment in a nearby town because it would have required 143 miles of driving. “It’s like a dream and you’re going to wake up and it’s going to be all O.K. But it’s not. This could be a year of traveling.”

For nearly a week, Nebraska and other Midwestern states have been inundated with water as rivers were overwhelmed with rain and melting snow that the frozen ground was unable to absorb. After days of harrowing helicopter rescues, frantic sandbagging and urgent evacuation orders, water levels had dropped in much of Nebraska by Tuesday and the daunting cleanup process was in full swing.

“We deal with flooding all the time,” said Kyle Schneweis, the director of the Nebraska Department of Transportation, but “when you talk about 1,500 miles of our system underwater, that’s an entirely different scope and scale.”

Look at this map and answer the following questions: In what ways are the floods in the American Midwest and southern Africa similar? How are they different? What role does geography play in each of these two natural disasters?

When you read or hear news of large-scale suffering and devastation like this, how do you react? Why? Why do you think some disasters get more coverage — and more attention and help from individuals — than others? Do you ever feel a sense of “disaster fatigue”? What do you think ordinary citizens can do to help the victims of these two natural disasters?