The Chennai floods have taken a heavy toll, leaving about 200 people dead, 400,000 displaced and over 20,000 hectares of cropland under water.
Is this devastation just "nature's fury"? Or is inept urban planning to blame?
As floods become increasingly frequent in India, unrestrained "development" is being seen as the main culprit.
Here are some numbers to show how sordid the state of affairs is.
Primary reasons why floods have become so frequent in both rural and urban India.
Climate change: Alters weather patterns and causes heavy rainfall.
Urbanisation: This has led to encroachment on flood plains, loss of natural water storage basins, inadequate drainage systems, indiscriminate waste disposal.
In recent years, several south Asian cities such as Dhaka, Rawalpindi, Mumbai, Jamshedpur, Patna and Ahmedabad have been ravaged by floods. One thing common to all these cities is unrestrained construction, and inadequate civic infrastructure. And it's now seen as a major cause of flooding.
Chennai conforms to the pattern. The city has only 855 kms of storm drains as against 2,847 kms of urban roads. According to a study, between 1997 and 2001, some wards of the city lost about 99% of their vegetation to "development".
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