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Story Publication logo September 17, 2007

Floods in India's Bihar State

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India is having its moment. Having shed the bonds of colonialism, years of bitter civil strife and a...

BIHAR STATE, India -- The worst floods to hit India's northern Bihar state in distant memory have already affected more than 20 million people -- roughly equivalent to the population of New York state -- and killed hundreds. More rains are on the way.

A deadly cocktail of poverty, state corruption, inept disaster management and climate change is to blame for the disaster. Yet India has the capacity to deal with such large-scale crises, and must do so as a step toward finally integrating vast swaths of its "backward" rural areas that stagnate as urban centers boom. Failure to do so could prove fatal to the country's long-term growth and stability.

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