Climate change + urban development = massive flooding worldwide

“Houston may have broken the US rainfall records, but lost in the dramatic worldwide coverage of Texas has been the plight of tens of millions of people across Asia and Africa who are also counting the human cost of equally intense storms in which months of rain has fallen in just a few hours.

One of the heaviest monsoons recorded in the past 30 years has swamped large parts of India and south-east Asia, affecting millions. Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan have all been hit and major cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Karachi and Dhaka have been paralysed as roads turn to rivers and waters flood villages.

The scale of the flood disasters in the US and south Asia has shocked governments worldwide and left aid agencies struggling. Around 1,200 people are known to have died so far in Asia, more than 40 million people have been affected and millions of hectares of crops have been destroyed.”

“So what is to blame for these severe weather events and some of the worst flooding ever seen? Climate scientists agree that extreme rainfall will increase as the world warms. Other researchers argue that poor urban infrastructure and the rapid, unchecked sprawl of cities on to marshlands and other places that usually absorb excess rainwater have led to flooding.”

“Flooding is already one of the world’s greatest causes of illness and death. According to the Dartmouth Flood Observatory, between 1985 and 2014 floods worldwide killed more than 500,000 people, displaced over 650 million people and caused damage in excess of $800bn. Between 2003 and 2008 large-scale floods that displaced at least 100,000 people occurred in more than 1,800 cities in 40 countries.”

These are extracts from an interesting article in today’s “Observer” newspaper


  • David Howarth

    In Saturday’s Guardian Jonathan Freedland quoted a ‘Fleet Street maxim’: ‘One dead in Putney equals 10 dead in Paris equals 100 dead in Turkey equals 1,000 dead in India equals 10,000 dead in China. The media coverage has certainly reflected this equation. The effects of climate change will also be more keenly felt by developing countries, caused by greenhouse gases produced by (largely) developed countries. Unfortunately the racism reflected in the Fleet Street maxim will continue to ensure a too little, too late response (despite the progress in the Paris agreement).

  • Roger Darlington

    Good points, David. Hope that you’re keeping well.

  • David Howarth

    Yes fine thanks Roger I hope you are too. Although Trump has pulled the US out of the Paris agreement, the good news is there still a considerable appetite in that country to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, so all is not lost:

  • Mavis

    Not all down to Climate change.

    Urbanisation and concrete………….I look at the new driveways in our small village and yes, concrete or black paving.

    All you need is blocks with holes in or two paving stones runways where your tires go.

    We don’t help ourselves enough and think………

  • David Howarth

    Not sure ‘urbanisation and concrete’ have played a big role in the floods in Africa and Asia Mavis


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