Monday, 20 July 2009

Monsoon floods

Monsoon floods have killed at least 36 people in the Indian state of Orissa, while over the border in Pakistan, at least 26 have been killed in Karachi – mainly from collapsing walls or being electrocuted.

The city’s ageing drainage system means that every year the monsoon tends to cause havoc. In August 2006, 35 people died as a result of the rains, while in India in 2005, hundreds were killed in the area around Mumbai, as a record 26 inches fell in one day.

Perhaps the deadliest monsoon flood of all time struck India in September 1978. The Ganges and Yamuna rivers burst their banks, flooding hundreds of towns and villages, and cholera broke out as drinking water was contaminated.

In the first week of October, the flooding was made worse by a cyclone. Altogether, 15,000 people are estimated to have died, and no fewer than 43 million had to flee their homes.