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Don’t blame nature for Chennai floods — blame bad urban planning

Floods ravaged parts of Chennai, India in November. Critics say unchecked development and a lack of drainage are reasons why heavy rains turned deadly. (Barcroft Media /Landov)

Floods that devastated Chennai, taking the lives of hundreds and displacing thousands, have prompted Indian media outlets to blame the culprit. Fault City Hall more than Mother Nature, they say.

IBNLive cites inadequate urban planning as the main reason for floods in this coastal city in southern India. “Many urban development experts feel that illegal structures over the years and poor urban planning are among the key reasons behind the havoc,” it reports.

According to IBN, the city has long failed to confront illegal construction in areas that were once canals, river basins and wetlands. Another complaint is that city officials have largely “abandoned” storm water drains that direct overflows away from neighborhoods. Unfettered development on low-lying land also is cited as a factor. When the city was deluged with the heaviest rain it experienced in decades, much of it had nowhere to drain.

Shalini Nair and Arun Janardhanan report for the Indian Express that deadly 2005 floods in Mumbai foreshadowed Chennai’s fate. 


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