Vantage point

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Look who the rains have stymied!

- Worst rains in a decade, causing 150 mm of rainfall
- Flooding in most parts of the city, many buildings flooded.
- Urban train transport system shutdown, as a section of the route submerged
- Domestic and international airports shut down for two days
- 800-plus dead throughout the country since summer rainy season began

You could be almost forgiven for thinking that the lines above are taken from news reports about the monsoon devastation in Maharashtra. Almost, because the keener amongst you will notice that the amount of rainfall mentioned is 150 mm, whereas Mumbai received more than six times, i.e 944 mm of rainfall.

You know what the lines describe? They describe the impact of typhoon-caused rainstorms on Shanghai, the city which the media keeps harping about as the standard that Mumbai should look up to.

Now it is no secret that Shanghai is certainly a better planned, better laid out city with an infrastructure many times better than Mumbai. And yes, it bears mentioning that only 4 people died in Shanghai over the two days of the rainstorm. Plus there was a typhoon at work, with the wind speeds also causing a lot of damage.

But the fact remains that despite avoiding too many fatalities, Shanghai could not avoid a two-day shutdown which brought the city to its proverbial knees, after being lashed by rains which were a fraction of what Mumbai saw on 26-7. Their roads and buildings were flooded too, their trains and airports were shut down too.

No one will deny that the various state agencies have done little for Mumbai. And it is admirable to note how lives were not lost on a big scale in China. But the fact remains that 944 mm of rain is a LOT of rain, and no amount of infrastructure development could have prevented the city from coming to a standstill for those two days.