While much of the attention in the United States has been focused on Hurricane Harvey and the flooding in Houston, halfway around the world, another flooding event has proven to be even more deadly. India’s largest city of Mumbai has been hit hard by massive rain storms, which have inundated the city with inches of water everywhere, and killing hundreds.
The storm itself has devastated the city to the point that areas are drawing comparisons to living in a warzone, as rescue workers are joined by civilians and soldiers in attempts to rescue as many people as they can. The latest tragedy was the collapse of the Bhendi Bazaar, which led to the deaths of at least 34 people, including a 3-week-old infant.
The building collapse was the third this summer in Mumbai, and stories like this are all too common throughout the region, as older construction and lower building standards are unable to withstand weather events, especially those like the storm which have struck this month. Aside from the large building collapses, smaller structures, like homes and single occupancy businesses, have also been lost, along with many of their inhabitants.
The Bhendi Bazaar building was 117-years-old, and had been served with a notice of impending structural obsolescence in 2013, but was still occupied. At least nine families lived in the building, and a kindergarten was located underneath the collapsed portion, though it was thankfully not yet open at the time of the tragedy.
Elsewhere across India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, flooding has completely wiped some smaller towns and villages off of the map, and the list of those missing or dead is expected to continue to rise as rescue efforts do what they can to save who they can. But with hundreds of millions of people living in the affected regions, the task is daunting.
The monsoon rains are among the worst in years, and the rainy season still has several weeks to go, leading to fears that collapses like the Bhendi Bazaar could occur again. Millions of people live in similar tenement housing throughout south and southeast Asia, as housing costs rise and wages remain stagnant.
Buildings which are as old or older than Bhendi were built without concern about longevity or to withstand the types of weather events which have become more common in recent years due to climate change. Overcrowding on the Indian Subcontinent exacerbate the problem, as construction simply can’t keep up with population growth.
If you would like to donate to help those affected by the floods in India and beyond, you can do so through Google.
[Featured Image by Shakil Adil/AP Images]