Flooding From Hurricane Katrina and Mumbai Monsoons

The ongoing disaster in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is absolutely tragic and receiving tremendous attention by the US and international press. To me, the scenes brought back memories of last month's flooding in Mumbai, India following record monsoon rains there. The Mumbai flooding was hardly reported in the U.S. press, as witnessed by a quick Google search on Mumbai flooding which shows primarily non U.S. references. If I had not been traveling in India at the time I might not have noticed it myself.

With the death toll from Katrina still rising, many news reports are saying it will top 1000, the approximate number killed in Mumbai. Another similarity between the two events is how people almost immediately started to try to place blame on various political parties. In Mumbai, almost every local newspaper report included politically motivated articles blaming various government departments or even specific individuals for long ignoring upgrades to Mumbai's storm drain system. In the U.S., you can't turn on the television without hearing a government official trying to place blame for the slow response on one of their peers, egged on of course by the newscaster. I guess it is just human nature to try to place blame.

Hurricane Katrina and the Mumbai Monsoons of last month were both terrible natural disasters. In any event of this scale, there will clearly be loss of life that could have been avoided had someone done something differently. However, lets not focus on placing blame, lets focus on helping the victims with the Red Cross or one of the many other aid agencies involved. Hopefully, once the floodwaters are gone, our analysis can be channelled into rebuilding the devastated areas to better withstand future natural disasters, not placing blame on the ones that have passed.

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