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...It was, however, a tiny trailer of what the future holds for our cities in terms of urban disasters. Urban flooding as a phenomenon is rising across the world, to the extent that the United Nations has declared urban floods as the most expensive disaster globally. There are four primary reasons for this rise, true also for India. Firstly, urbanisation is taking place very fast, and to accommodate the growth cities are sprawling over high-risk lands such as low-lying ones or steep slopes earlier left uninhabited. Secondly, with most surface areas hard paved for roads, walkways, cemented courtyards and buildings, there is little percolation of water that now happens into the ground. Thirdly, infrastructure development lags far behind growth of cities, leaving populations living with inadequate drainage and sewerage, which is often also poorly maintained and choked with garbage. ...TOI on Aug. 2, 2016, 12:22 a.m.