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When Surekha Chiplunkar’s home started to flood during recent heavy rains in Mumbai she knew exactly what to do — she had to; catastrophe comes every year and no one else was going to help. Her family’s tiny ground floor apartment in central Mumbai is one of hundreds of thousands of homes in India’s financial capital that regularly flood during the monsoon months of June to September. “We grab all of our possessions and move to one of our neighbours on a higher floor until the water subsides,” explains the 60-year-old. Last week, as floods wreaked unaccustomed havoc across parts of Texas, global news coverage was dominated by scenes of Americans being winched to safety. People in Houston, America’s fourth biggest city, told reporters of their anguish at being forced from their homes by the unusually fierce Hurricane Harvey, as a sophisticated rescue and recovery operation revved into high gear. President Donald Trump visited the affected area twice, while his vice president, Mike Pence, also went to assure Texans that the might of the US government was behind them, and would help them pick up the pieces in the wake of a storm that caused tens of billions of dollars’ damage and killed around 60 people. At the same time, half a world away, monsoon rains were dumping millions of gallons of water on India. Mumbai, a city of around 20 million inhabitants where at least ten people died, was brought to a virtual standstill for two days. But there were no prime ministerial visits; no pledges of national unity; no promises to help the slum dwellers rebuild their washed-away homes. India largely shrugged and carried on, almost inured to a near-annual tragedy. “No one from the government comes to check to see if we have managed to survive the floods or not,” said Chiplunker. “People from top floors provide us with food during flooding as we cannot cook for ourselves.” The help provided by members of the community during a disaster is often referred to, usually by local newspapers and leaders, as the “spirit of Mumbai”.

North Korea held a mass celebration for the scientists involved in carrying out its largest nuclear blast to date, with fireworks and a mass rally in Pyongyang.

Citizens of the capital lined the streets Wednesday to wave pink and purple pom-poms and cheer a convoy of buses carrying the specialists into the city, and toss confetti over them as they walked into Kim Il-Sung Square.

“We offer the greatest honour to Comrade Kim Jong-Un, the Supreme Leader who brought us the greatest achievement in the history of the Korean people,” read one banner in the plaza, where tens of thousands of people were gathered.

Another, with a picture of a missile on a caterpillar-tracked transporter, proclaimed: “No-one can stop us on our road to the future.”

The blast triggered global condemnation and calls by the US, South Korea, Japan and others for stronger United Nations Security Council sanctions against the North.

The official Korean Central News Agency described it as a “successful ICBM-ready H-bomb test”.

Speakers at the rally said the North’s military “will put an end to the destiny of the gangster-like US imperialists through the most merciless and strongest preemptive strikes if they and the hordes of traitors finally ignite a war”, KCNA reported.

Sunday’s blast was the North’s sixth nuclear detonation and by far its biggest to date.

Hydrogen bombs, or H-bombs, are thermonuclear weapons far more powerful than ordinary fission-based atomic bombs, and use a nuclear blast to generate the intense temperatures required for fusion to take place.

Foreign governments have yet to confirm whether Sunday’s blast was a full two-stage thermonuclear weapon, or an enhanced fission device.

Working out its size depends on factors including the magnitude of the earthquake generated, the depth at which it was buried, and the type of rock surrounding it.

Estimates vary from South Korea’s 50 kilotons to Japan’s 160. But all of them are far larger than the 15-kiloton US bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

North Korea in July carried out its first two successful tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), apparently bringing much of the US mainland into range.

Seoul and Washington early Thursday deployed four more launchers in the South for the THAAD missile defence system, whose presence has infuriated Beijing.

The move was part of measures to defend the South from the North, Seoul’s defence ministry said.

 

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