2 September 2017

A singular storm in Houston; a recurring nightmare in Mumbai

In this Aug. 15, 2017, file photo, flood affected villagers travel by boat in floodwaters in Morigaon district, east of Gauhati, northeastern state of Assam. This week’s flooding in Houston is unprecedented, but such devastation is chronic across South Asia. Experts say local officials are ignoring dangers and pursuing development plans that only increase the risk of flood-related death and destruction as annual monsoon rains challenge cities to cope.
Two massive, rain-soaked cities on opposite sides of the world are struggling with swirling, brackish waters that have brought death and devastation. For Houston, it’s unprecedented. For Mumbai, it’s painfully common.

For India’s financial capital and other South Asian cities and farmlands, floods are regular, cataclysmic occurrences made worse by breakneck urban development and population booms that will only become more challenging as climate change increases disaster risk.