ONE MORNING IN EARLY AUGUST, in a tiny village in the upper Himalayas, Karthik Rana heard a warning come over All India Radio—heavy rains were on the way. The 80-year-old shouted at his wife, daughters, daughters-in-law and grandchildren: “Get the sheep home! The clouds are going to open!”
I had arrived at Lata Kharak earlier that morning, a few hours before heavy rains and avalanches descended on the Himalayas. A few hundred miles to the north, in Leh, 200 people were killed in a massive cloudburst; across the mountains, in China, landslides claimed 1,000 lives.
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