I WAS serving the United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans — perhaps the most devastating storm in the United States on record, causing an estimated US$108 billion in property damage and 1,200 fatalities.
It was also the year UNU called for recognition of those displaced by gradual environmental change — the so-called climate refugees. In those days, I always assumed such catastrophes would only occur in faraway lands.
That was until last Dec 18, when disaster struck my family and me when prolonged torrential rain caused flooding in eight states across the country, particularly in Selangor and Pahang.
A couple of years ago I relocated to my hometown, Bentong, where I plan to spend my retirement. Sadly, the town was a flood epicentre.