By Judy Koren
Extreme flooding in India, specifically in the financial capital of Mumbai, raises questions of climate change and whether the major Indian city can continue as a financial superpower.
According to The Guardian, floods in Mumbai, which took place in late August, left battered highways, homes, hospitals, and left a commuter railway that carries more people daily than the population of Denmark, inactive. Villages throughout India that people were once able to return to after the flooding subsided are now left abandoned, reports The Guardian.
At least 500 people in India have died in a flood-related incident, reports The Independent, with 17 million displaced from their homes. In the city of Mumbai, rising water levels crippled a three-story building with residents inside, killing as many as 33 and injuring dozens more, according to CNN. A Mumbai official claimed hundreds of residential buildings in Mumbai are in comparable condition to the one that collapsed, CNN says.
In response to the natural disasters plaguing the country, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, claimed climate change, which is making the flooding more severe, is having “a big negative impact” on the people, reports The Independent.
Recently intensified by the multiple natural disasters throughout 2017, climate change has been on the global stage. The Guardian reports the storms that cause the massive overflow of rain, due to an increase in atmospheric moisture, are more powerful due to climate change, and that the future does not look much better for India. The Guardian also says high tides have added to India’s unusually harsh monsoon season.
With the increasing damage to India’s commercial capital, doubts of its ability to withstand being a world power are circulating, according to The National. As Mumbai tries to strengthen itself, India faces an economic loss of $7 billion annually from flooding alone, reports the United Nations. Interviewed by The National, Aaron Solomon, the managing partner at Solomon and Co., an Indian law firm headquartered in Mumbai, stated that, “The recent floods severely expose Mumbai’s failings as India’s commercial capital, and it is the commercial capital that showcases the economic strength of a country.”
In a time when Mumbai is trying to boost economic growth to support the economic loss, says The National, the constant flooding and increasing severity of the disasters, are damaging the reputation of the city, and limiting the possibility to encourage the creation of more jobs for its people.
The National interviewed citizens of Mumbai who were directly impacted by the flooding in India’s richest city, according to the New World Wealth report, who all believed that the city should equip itself to better cope with the devastating rainfall. The suggested improvement in technology that can reduce annual loss has the potential to convince those who doubt Mumbai’s economic stability that it is a consistent force in the global economy.