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SINGAPORE – Hurricane Harvey, which pummeled the Texas coast at the end of August, and Hurricane Irma, which caused catastrophic damage in the Caribbean and Florida this month, are the latest manifestation of a jump in extreme floods and storms.

Read more: Being better prepared for the spike in floods and storms

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Members of the Texas National Guard wading through floodwaters in Orange, Texas, on Saturday. People’s emissions of heat-trapping gases have increased the likelihood and severity of heat waves, extreme rainfall and storm surges. (AFP PIC)

LIKE most Americans recently, we have been transfixed by the still unfolding disaster in Houston and coastal Texas, described on the airwaves as “unprecedented” and “beyond anything experienced”.

On  the other side of the globe, another climate-related calamity has been unfolding, though it has received less attention: the ongoing monsoon flooding in India, Bangladesh and Nepal that has killed more than 1,400 people and displaced millions. As in Houston, recovery there will take years.

Read more: What scientists want you to see in flood waters

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Global warming may have intensified Hurricane Harvey and storms in Asia and Africa but the real problem may be our sprawling cities.

 Residential neighbourhoods near Interstate 10 are flooded in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Photograph: Marcus Yam/LA Times via Getty

First came the dire warnings of Hurricane Harvey, then the terrible scenes as the skies opened, whole neighbourhoods drowned and motorways became rivers. Now, as the waters subside and the full extent of the damage is assessed, come the voices of distraught people who have lost everything and the rallying of Americans to help in the recovery.

Read more: As flood waters rise, is urban sprawl as much to blame as climate change?

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