Flooding destroyed his home four times in three years. This is the reality of climate change for India's poor
Updated 0002 GMT (0802 HKT) October 31, 2021
New Delhi (CNN)Anish Yadav was sleeping in his home, a fragile hut made of wood and plastic, when the water rushed in.
A concrete retaining wall that had previously held back monsoon floodwaters had collapsed, sending a deluge through Yadav's slum in Malad, a northern suburb in India's financial hub Mumbai.
"We woke up to people screaming for help," said Yadav, 26, of that night in July 2019. "The water had risen to our heads ... and I saw people being swept away with the water with my own eyes."
For his entire life, the wall had protected Yadav and his neighbors from increasingly severe monsoon storms. His house had never been damaged before -- but with the wall now gone, he has had to rebuild his home four times in three years.
Every year, thousands of people die in India from flooding and landslides during the monsoon season, which drenches the country from June to September.
The monsoon is a natural weather phenomenon caused by warm, moist air moving across the Indian Ocean toward South Asia as the seasons change. But the climate crisis has caused the event to become more extreme and unpredictable.
India's poor, like Yadav, are among the most vulnerable.
"The irony of it is that the poor of the world are actually victims of climate change," even if they aren't the ones who "created the problem," said Sunita Narain, director general of the Centre for Science and Environment and veteran Indian environmentalist.
This weekend, world leaders are gathering in Glasgow for the COP26 climate talks as they seek to reduce carbon emissions and avoid a catastrophic rise in global temperatures.
Yet for millions of Indians, pledges on paper won't save their homes. The climate crisis is already at their front door -- and it's knocking down the frame.
Four homes lost in three years
Mumbai, the country's most populous city, boasts glittering skyscrapers and glitzy luxury hotels. It's also a city of widespread poverty and wealth inequality, where about 65% of its 12 million residents live in shacks of tarp and tin in crowded slums.