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Mumbai rains: Five articles on floods in India you must read

As rains play havoc in Mumbai once again, here are some articles about floods in cities across India this year – from Chennai to Chandigarh

opinion Updated: Sep 20, 2017 12:54 IST
HT Correspondent
Waterlogging on railway tracks due to heavy rains at Kurla in Mumbai on  August 29, 2017
Waterlogging on railway tracks due to heavy rains at Kurla in Mumbai on August 29, 2017 (Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

This has not been a good monsoon for cities in India. Bad urban planning, more rainfall than expected, and a severe lack of preparedness combined to throw lives out of gear in many cities across India. Here are 5 articles from the HT archives that explain the worst of flooding this monsoon.

1. Mumbai rains: This deluge of excuses won’t do, authorities have to be held accountable

What happened in Mumbai on August 29 was criminal. Thirty centimetres of rainfall in a day drowned a city celebrated as India’s financial capital and with a civic body with a budget larger than many small states. Lakhs of people were stranded at railway stations or their workplaces or spent the night wading home through flooded roads. As the sun rose heralding a new day, it brought to light fresh horror. Scores of people, most of them aged men and women, were missing. One man seems to have fallen into an open manhole and drowned. His umbrella was found floating nearby.

2. Why floods are the new normal this monsoonSunita Narain

The Indian monsoon is never really ‘normal’. It rains too much or too little. It is variable and more than often unpredictable.This year, even as 40% of the districts in India face prospects of drought, close to 25% districts have had heavy rainfall of more than 100 mm in just a matter of hours. This means we must learn more about how to mitigate floods and how to live with scarcity of water. But the good news is that doing one can help the other.

3. Why Chandigarh, India’s best planned city, went under after three hours of rainRamesh Vinayak

Natural mishaps have an uncanny way to expose all that is wrong with India’s urban planning and infrastructure. The unusually heavy rains on August 21 – the heaviest in 16 years – starkly did that reality check at an unlikeliest of places: Chandigarh, the country’s first and, arguably the most, well-planned city since Independence. A 115-mm downpour in just three hours morphed the much-acclaimed ‘City Beautiful’ into an ugly chaos that its denizens had scarcely ever imagined.

4. Why Chennai - like other Indian cities - will definitely flood againNityanand Jayaraman

What Chennai does to the Kosasthalaiyar river and the Ennore Creek will decide whether the city will survive or succumb with the next above-average rains.Mumbai went under water last week; Chandigarh the week before, and Agartala, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad earlier on during this southwest monsoon. The jury is out on whether the extreme rain events were caused by climate change. But there is little doubt that detrimental land-use change played a big part in turning the rains to floods. Heavy, erratic and extreme rainfall is now unavoidable. But what are we doing to protect ourselves and make our cities less flood prone?

5. Why India is failing to minimise monsoon flood destructionKumkum Dasgupta

In India, floods are a common occurrence every monsoon. This year the situation is dire in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Assam, Bengal and Manipur. According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), on an average every year, 75 lakh hectare of land is affected, 1,600 lives are lost and the damage caused to crops, houses and public utilities due to floods is worth Rs 1,805 crore. To date, the maximum number of lives (11,316) was lost in 1977. The frequency of major floods is more than once in five years.