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Novelist and essayist assembled a poetic picture of climate change using phrases from news reports

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New York, Sept. 29. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Claire Cameron is a novelist and essayist whose books include The Bear and The Last Neanderthal. This piece was assembled using phrases from news reports of large floods in 12 countries that took place between Sept. 1-17, 2023.

The floods of September

September begins with rains floods have spanned the Northern Hemisphere with remarkable intensity Average global temperatures across both land and sea It was the first of a slew of extreme weather events An area of low pressure developed a black weather warning

The rains come on the back of storms The apples were almost ripe for harvesting the desert floor a mud bath A car that fell into a river a bridge collapsed the rushing water dragged Most of the rivers in the region burst their banks

Have you ever seen a desert become the sea? The downpour has lasted days Rivers of mud that swept away cars and trash bins A flooded alley A road blocked floodwater gushing down the stairs diners in a restaurant climbed on to the roof to escape the rising waters There were 1,000 lightning strikes

“We were told to stay inside our homes,” he cries Shelter-in-place orders were issued for a time residents wading through murky brown floodwaters DJ Diplo claimed … he and Chris Rock walked water was coming over the hood of the car Around 75 crocodiles made a break for it One motorcycle rider simply called Mr. Abe has swept away If you stay there you die

Five people were reported missing It’s a little tough to deal with, and a lot of people are in shock Broken wood, whole cars lifted and dropped on top of scattered sea defences, tyres, fridges the stock market canceling morning trading I was astonished by the horror schools closed He said they lost two boats

It fills your nostrils, part the scent of sewage part something that’s harder to identify porta potties couldn’t be emptied or cleaned body bags to allow corpses to be moved an elderly woman who was trapped in an upstairs toddler being rescued by helicopter A citizen had to navigate in a kayak bodies are still washing up

You know how disasters can bring people together? search-and-rescue crews work tirelessly Tents, blankets, carpets, hygiene kits and food have been flown in trying to verify who is missing every single family has been affected Many bodies have been washed out to sea authorities warned residents not to drink tap water rescue workers paused and knelt nearby to pray

One of the most epic double rainbows I’ve ever seen It’s how humanity should be The failures of the dams crumbling infrastructure the cost was “incalculable” we extend our deepest condolences I am afraid that the careless summers … will cease to exist And we will get through this as we always do.

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