This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Populations at Risk in India--Welcome to the Secondary Cities Project

Terrorism has been front page news for several days now and as important as that is, you probably are not giving it much thought if your house has just been flooded out. In South India last week millions of people were cut off from basic services, thousands were left homeless, and hundreds were killed by rain that is described by The Guardian as the heaviest downpour in a century. Keep in mind, of course, that a hundred years ago the southern part of India was considerably less populated than it is now (although it was still pretty densely populated even back then).
Prime minister Narendra Modi, who has blamed climate change for the deluge, travelled to Chennai to see the rescue effort. “The government will stand by the people of Tamil Nadu in their hour of need,” Modi told reporters, promising £100m for rehabilitation and reconstruction.
The country’s home minister, Rajnath Singh, told parliament: “Chennai has become a small island. This is unprecedented.”
Stories like this tend to get buried in the news because they are not affecting the biggest and most influential cities in a country. The Office of the Geographer of the U.S. State Department has stepped up to help us keep track of populations at risk in these places in its new "Secondary Cities" project. They currently have a case study of Cusco on their website, but more will come. Keep checking it out.

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