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Chennai Floods: A Perfect Storm of Climate Change and Failed Planning

“This is New Orleans after the levees broke.”
Chennai on December 3, 2015, after two days of incessant rainfall.
Chennai on December 3, 2015, after two days of incessant rainfall.Press Trust of India via AP/Atul Yadav

Last week, as world leaders met in Paris to discuss climate change, the Indian city of Chennai was drowning.

The coastal city of more than 4.6 million residents saw its heaviest rainfall in a century. Around 280 people have reportedly died from the resulting floods. Thousands have lost everything they owned. The city’s key IT, auto, and pharmaceutical industries have been crippled. Three million people have been left without access to food and clean drinking water, as authorities carry out relief operations.