For the past week, our nation has turned its attention to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Half a world away, South Asia is also being battered by devastating storms. 1,200 people across Nepal, Bangladesh, and India have already lost their lives to floods and landslides and another 41 million people are facing the worst monsoon season in years.
“On Tuesday, you had this deluge, Ailsa, that dropped a foot on rain in 23 hours,” NPR’s Julie McCarthy said in a recent interview. “And there are pictures of people, not unlike Houston, wading through this waist-deep water. Many parts of Mumbai sit just above sea level. And this also coincided with high tide.”
“This is also a city of 20 million people,” she added on Mumbai. “It’s a mecca for people migrating to the city for jobs.”
At the moment, the city has been admirably resilient, but it still facing lingering consequences. A 100-year-old building recently collapsed, and rescue teams recovered several bodies from the scene. One doctor described walking home in a downpour and people were waving him off the street because there were open manhole covers, but he fell in. Days later, his body washed up on the shore.
And, of course, it will be a long time before things are ‘business as usual’ for the city. School and institutions have been transformed into shelters—and India doesn’t have a sophisticated infrastructure for disasters.
Mumbai is just the latest city to be hit, but there is destruction all across South Asia. The country’s disaster management says that more than 600,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged.
Source: NPR, IFL Science