The year 2020 is halfway but it has unfolded many events that may define the course of the world for years to come. The last six months have brought shocks in the form of natural disasters, political upheavals, and economic failure; all under the blanket of coronavirus pandemic.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus that emerged from China, global health issue has emerged as a major crisis particularly after it brought down the world’s economy to a standstill. Earlier it was suspected as a viral pneumonia infection. Later, when the world failed to cure and contain the infection, it was finally declared a global pandemic that went on to infect over 9.95 million people and cause 497,000 deaths to date.
Tragic Events of the Year 2020
The year 2020 only marked the beginning of a chain of devastating events that have rocked the entire world. One can wonder if it can get any worse or is just halfway through? Here are a few events that might seem sudden but also have a systematic basis and need the attention of the world leaders since they appear to stem from something brewing from centuries.
The Australian wildfire season 2019–2020 started in June 2019. The fires peaked between December and January which forced the Australian government to employ national defense forces to contain and extinguish more than 200 fires blanketing New South Wales. The world was already fighting a climate change crisis that intensified the effects of this bushfire.
Estimatedly, 18 million hectares of land got burnt, almost 6000 buildings got destroyed, 34 people and over one billion animals died before wildfires were stopped. Smoke pollution that erupted from the fires, killed more than 417 people according to the Medical Journal of Australia.
Australian wildfires were a natural calamity but their cause is rooted in climate change which is a result of human actions.
Coronavirus pandemic is in fact defining tragedy of the year 2020. On January 22, China locked down the city of Wuhan where the virus was initially reported. By then it had infected over 500 people and killed 17.
Europe’s outbreak began on February 23 killing 3 people and affecting more than 150. Italy closed down 10 towns and implemented emergency measures.
Iran recorded 95 cases and 11 deaths on February 25.
The United States registered 521 COVID-19 patients on 8th March. 21 deaths were recorded across 33 states. By the end of June, it is the epicenter of Coronavirus outbreak with more than 2.7 million confirmed cases and more than 0.13 million confirmed deaths.
Italy that was the next epicenter of COVID 19 soon after China and Iran had to lock its cities down to contain it.
Finally on March 11, WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic after more than 120,000 infections and 4000 deaths worldwide by then. Even many famous celebrities and other famous people were also affected.
US – Iran Conflict
The year 2020 has also witnessed an escalation in the US-Iran conflict. The United States killed Iranian General and 9 others in a drone strike near Baghdad Airport on 3rd January. According to the reports, President Donald Trump had ordered the assassination of Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani.
He was the head of Iran’s Elite Quds Force. Soleimani was wanted by many countries for increasing Hazbollah’s influence in Lebanon and military presence in Iraq and Syria. Tensions between these two countries are at an extreme level right now. Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameni has warned that this action from the US will be avenged. Here’s what everyone thinks about this assasination.
On 8th January, in retaliation to the assasination of Qasem Soliemani, Iran launched a ballistic missile on two Iraqi bases that reportedly housed American troops. After a few hours Iranian military shot down the Ukranian plane that killed all of the 176 on board. The president referred to it as a great tragedy and an unforgivable mistake for which the whole government faced severe criticism. Mass protests erupted throughout the country demanding the removal of Ayatollah as the supreme leader of Iran.
China – India Border Clash
China and India are also not on good political terms due to recent developments. The first standoff began on 5th May where military units from both sides got engaged in a fistfight and stone-throwing conflict. Five days later another clash took place where a lot of injuries were reported. However, the clash that took place on 15th June was disastrous.
India lost 20 soldiers which was the first ever causality report from the Ladakh border. Any clashes between both the countries pose extreme danger to the world peace since both these countries are nuclear armed. Also India has strategic military relations of the United States of America, the country which is making headlines for trade wars with China.
Somalia declared national emergency on 1st February regarding the worst swarms of locusts in 25 years. The unusually large number of swarms started to destroy their already limited food supply. The plague began in 2019 and continued to 2020. It has infested 23 countries in total by now. From East Africa the swarms travelled to Arabian Peninsula and South Asia.
Worst Locust attack hit India on 26th May threatening the crops yield in subcontinent. Due to extreme weather conditions the swarm travelled to India after badly affecting the crops in Pakistan and Iran.
Stock Market Crash
Coronavirus concerns caused the Dow Jones Index to suffer its biggest fall in history. It closed down at 1,190.95 in New York on 27th February. This dramatic crash marked the beginning of the coronavirus recession which the IMF suggests will prove to be far worse than The Great Recession of 2007-2009. Particularly, for the UK Economy, coronavirus proved worst than Brexit in terms of growth rate and unemployment rate.
US Oil Price Crash
The price of American oil dropped to a negative value for the first time in history on 20th April. These hilarious memes explain the situation in the US after the price of one barrel lowered down to -37.63 USD; such a drop in oil prices was a consequence of lack of demand in the energy sector due to COVID and increase in oil supply from Russia and Saudi Arabia.
George Floyd Protests
First half of the year 2020 also saw re-surgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.The protests began on 26th May in response to the brutal killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer. The protests were carried out to stand up to systematic racism, police brutality, and white privilege in the US. They are still active for more than one month and have managed to prosecute the criminal and command new legislative proposals in few states.
On Jun 7, the UK stood up with America against racism because Great Britain is also suffering from this crisis for a long time. Many statues of false heroes and confederates were taken down by the citizens of the UK.
Other Events in Different Countries
The above-mentioned events are of global significance. The year 2020 has not remained so lucky for the countries at individual levels as well. For example, Pakistan faced a plane crash that resulted in 98 precious death. In the case of India, it was about the deaths of Bollywood celebrities and the alleged suicide of Sushant Singh Rajpoot that shook the country’s film industry to its core. Further, different countries faced natural disasters like Earthquakes, storms, and floods, etc.
All the above mentioned events happened in year 2020 but they were not sudden. The threat of a pandemic was always there, the countries kept on fightfing even before, the trade wars were also not old and recessions in economic system powered by neo-liberal economics are also a norm.
Need of the Hour
Now it is the time that world leaders get their priorities right, re-evaluate the existing systems, check for the shortcomings and devise a plan for a better world which is impervious to disasters that can put human lives at stake.