Shelagh Fogarty is Leading Britain's Conversation.
2 September 2017, 20:52
There is an enormous rock hurtling through space that has been given the inappropriately benign name of Florence.
Florence was the name of the little girl in the Magic Roundabout that used to hang out with a stoned rabbit, a talking dog and a weird old man on a spring who wanted to get her into bed.
That is what children used to watch on TV with the full collusion of their parents, who, on reflection, ought to be prosecuted for corrupting the morals of minors.
Florence is also a city of great beauty and artistic importance that is justly celebrated the world over.
It will be a smouldering pile of bricks and broken statues if the space rock called Florence were to hit it.
Assuming that the giant asteroid that is heading right at us misses us completely, or strikes somewhere that no-one will miss, like Southend, then the biggest story of the year so far, in a year that has been packed with big stories, is the great deluge.
Heavy rains have caused the worst floods in years and the casualty numbers continue to increase.
More than 1,200 people have died, with 40 million affected by the devastation which has also destroyed or damaged 18,000 schools, meaning that about 1.8 million children cannot go to classes.
The effects of the floods will be felt for generations if those children are denied the education the need to make a better life for themselves and for their own offspring in the future.
The charity Save the Children warned that hundreds of thousands of youngsters could fall permanently out of the school system unless the relief efforts concentrate on getting them back into the classroom.
The area is poor enough as it is. This is the last thing they need.
On top of that, the floods have been causing landslides which damage roads and pull down electricity pylons, denying the residents the power that they would need to run their homes if those homes hadn't been swept away by the floods.
The waters have covered vast areas of farmland and have destroyed about a million houses.
What a terrible thing to happen to the southern states of the USA...no wait, that wasn't Texas and Louisiana, it was India and Nepal, so you probably didn't hear too much about it, because everyone in the news media was concentrating on whether English-speaking people were getting wet.
Forty people died and 100,000 homes were affected in Houston, while thousands died and a million homes were destroyed in Asia.
From the coverage in the press, you'd have thought it was the other way round.
I suppose the misery of some humans is more newsworthy than the misery of others.
Journalists at the scene in Texas have been reporting, in hushed tones, that many of the victims in Texas do not have flood insurance.
How many in India would even know what that was?
Millions in Asia are cut off with no food and water.
In Houston, the residents are not likely to starve to death and they are not dependent on flooded farm land for survival.
Furthermore, Donald Trump isn't going to come to their rescue with a very public show of charity for the people of India, because nobody there has bought one of his hats.
By the way – that offer of a nice round million dollars for the people of Texas and Louisiana that Trump announced and then had his people reiterate on television, to make sure that everyone knew, is the same as someone on an average salary donating £70 of their annual earnings.
Unless he's lying about the amount of money he makes.
He wouldn't do that would he?