When water engulfed Texas and Louisiana, it made headlines worldwide. But what of the extreme flooding in south Asia – is there a hierarchy of suffering?

The suffering caused to tens of thousands of people in Texas and Louisiana by tropical storm Harvey is not to be underestimated. But in terms of scale and human cost, it pales in comparison with many worldwide disasters – both recent and ongoing, natural and manmade – that have received less international attention.

The extreme flooding that hit India, Nepal and Bangladesh (and now Pakistan) is the latest catastrophic event in a year of unprecedented disasters. It has affected an estimated 40 million people and claimed about 1,200 lives so far, according to the most recent reports. And that is not the half of it.

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