Dec 2, 2015

Chennai’s floods show the need for climate-conscious urbanisation

Chennai, Tamil Nadu
India
by
The Indian Express
Early morning on Wednesday, public and local police deployed dozens of boats to rescue over 1,000 families stranded in flood hit areas south of Chennai city. This Pic is from Mudichur near Tambaram. (Source: Express photo by Arun Janardhanan)
Early morning on Wednesday, public and local police deployed dozens of boats to rescue over 1,000 families stranded in flood hit areas south of Chennai city. This Pic is from Mudichur near Tambaram. (Source: Express photo by Arun Janardhanan)

Was the recent episode of heavy rains and flooding in Chennai, which brought the metropolis to its knees for several days, a consequence of climate change? It very well may be...But to just blame climate change-induced heavy rain alone for the chaos in Chennai would be wrong. Like Kashmir (2014) and Uttarakhand (2013), Chennai was also as much a man-made disaster as it was a climate disaster. In its rush to develop, the government and urban planners have completely destroyed its vast network of water bodies that would soak in extra water in case of heavy rainfall and the natural drainage system. The city’s largest mall, Phoenix, is on a lake-bed — Velachery.