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Flood Disasters

  • Catastrophic Floods in India Affects Millions of People and Animals

    Flooding in India's northeastern state of Assam has affected over 3.9 million people, officials said Friday.

    The floods have hit 27 districts in the state.

    According to officials at Assam Disaster Management Authority, the ongoing flooding has affected 3,218 villages and damaged cropland spreading over 13 million hectares, besides affecting over 3.3 million animals.

    On Thursday, the floods claimed five lives, which took the death toll to 71.

    "In 27 affected districts of the state, a population of 3,979,563 has been affected," an official at Assam Disaster Management Authority said. "The floods have also affected cropland spread over 13,136,827 hectares, besides affecting 3,376,436 animals."

    According to officials, the incessant rains have also triggered landslides in several areas, wherein also 26 people were killed.

    The local government has set up relief centres and camps where over 49,000 people have taken shelter.

    Locals said the majority of the people were taking shelter in houses of their friends and relatives.

    The floods have fully damaged 20 houses and partially damaged 224 others.

    Kaziranga national park was inundated with flood water. Wildlife officials said 95 percent of the areas of the park remain submerged in the water. The park is the largest home to the one-horned rhinoceros in India.

    According to officials, 76 animals perished in floods, while 121 were rescued.

    India's forest and environment minister Prakash Javadekar hailed rescue of 121 animals in Kaziranga. Javadekar said creation of highlands was a key initiative undertaken during the last five years.

    "This year also we are creating more to save precious wildlife," he said.

    According to the Central Water Commission, all major rivers are flowing over the danger level. The flood water has damaged several bridges and roads.

    Apart from state disaster response force personnel, India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were carrying out massive rescue operations in Assam.

  • Extreme Rainfall and Massive Disruption in Sicily, Italy

    Deadly flash floods caused by severe thunderstorms lashed parts of Sicily, Italy, on Wednesday, July 15, 2020, resulting in massive disruption. Palermo City's astronomical observatory recorded 74 mm (3 inches) of rain in just a few hours, breaking the previous wettest July day record set 85 years ago.​ Palermo mayor described the downpour as the worst since 1970 -- 'equal to what the city registers in a year.'

    Underpasses were submerged while streets turned into raging rivers, sweeping away many vehicles and covering them in muddy debris. 

    Hundreds of motorists were forced to abandon their cars as torrential rains inundated tunnels.

    Two people went missing after their car was swept away by floodwaters. The pair tried to take shelter in an underpass, but the road quickly became inundated, trapping them inside. Search and rescue operations are ongoing.

    Nine people sustained injuries and two children were treated for hypothermia.

    "I'm from Palermo and truly I've never had so much anxiety in my life," one local said as she shared photos of the devastating scene, showing numerous cars stuck in floodwaters. "Whoever is from Palermo area, stay at home."

    According to a statement by Palermo mayor Leoluca Orlando, over 1 m (3.3 feet) of rain fell in less than two hours. "It is the most violent rain in the history of the city since 1970, equal to what we receive in a year."

    While his rainfall data is exaggerated -- as Palermo has an annual rainfall average of 615 mm (24.2 inches) -- in terms of how violent the rain was, Orlando was spot on since the city records only about 5 mm (0.2 inches) of rain in the entire month of July.

    The city's observatory registered 74 mm (3 inches) of rain in just a few hours, smashing the previous 24-hour July rainfall record set on July 6, 1935, with 39.2 mm (1.5 inches). Other private weather stations recorded more than 100 mm (4 inches) within a short period of time. 

    As of Thursday, July 16, officials are considering opening an investigation into the flash floods that "brought the Sicilian capital to its knees," ANSA said

    The agency noted that the floods, caused by a sudden burst of rain, caused massive disruption and damage. Firefighters carried out 320 emergency operations, it added.

    On Tuesday afternoon, July 14, a large tornado hit Mineo, causing major damage to an industrial area. Other areas affected were Sardinia and Calabria.

  • Horrendous Floods Continue Across India, 13 Million Affected

    Extensive flooding from severe monsoon rains continues to impact much of India, with more than 13 million people affected and 771 fatalities as of August 7, 2020. More than half a million people have been evacuated in West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh.

    Since the onset of the monsoon, around 771 people have died across the country due to ongoing floods and rain-related incidents.

    Approximately 522 908 people have been displaced. The worst-affected states are Bihar, Assam, and Uttar Pradesh.

    In Bihar, more than 6.6 million have been affected and 19 have lost their lives. A total of 1 118 villages are reeling from the consequences of heavy rain.

    A total of 440 507 have been evacuated and 38 relief centers have been opened. So far, relief camps are housing 28 664 people.

    Over 5.6 million people from 30 districts have been suffering from widespread flooding in Assam. 107 fatalities due to flooding have been reported in the state, while landslides have claimed 26 lives.

    More than 5 000 villages were inundated and around 81 696 people have been evacuated. Floods have damaged around 260 000 ha (460 000 acres) of crops. 620 relief camps have been built, housing 156 874 people.

    Residents in Uttar Pradesh were also in grip of severe flooding as more than 50 000 people from 16 districts and 960 villages have been affected.

    Since July 1, six people were killed in rain-related disasters. 552 houses have been damaged. 956 relief camps have been set, accommodating 4 340 evacuees. About 38 000 ha (94 000 acres) of crops have been lost.

    Other states also affected are Kerala with 28 casualties, Tamil Nadu with 18, and Madhya Pradesh with 68. At least 10 teams from the National Disaster Response Force are currently assisting people in the affected states.

    More heavy rain is forecast over much of India and very heavy rain is expected over western states and southwestern coastal areas on Saturday, August 8.

  • Horrific Floods in Japan, Half Million Told to Evacuate

    Torrential rain storms that triggered flash floods and mudslides in Japan.

    Hundreds of thousands have also been evacuated to safer areas.

    Unprecedented Rain

    Japan’s Meteorological Agency said such rainfall had never been seen before in the region. As much as 4 inches an hour fell at one time.

    The heavy rainfall on Friday and Saturday in Kumamoto totaled nearly 20 inches in Minamata and nearly 16 inches in Kuma, Yunomae and Amakusa, according to the Meteorological Agency.

    Rescue efforts have been hampered by continued downpours, with up to 300 millimeters of rain in the forecast through Tuesday.

    Evacuations

    Meteorological authorities in Japan have also issued special heavy rain warnings to three prefectures Nagasaki, Saga, and Fukuoka and the authorities have also issued evacuation orders to 330,000 citizens.

    Such orders have also been issued to 205,000 people in Kumamoto Prefecture, and to approximately 35,000 in Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefecture, totaling 550,000 people across Japan.

    Rescue

    With many waiting to be rescued, the Japanese government has also dispatched around 10,000 Ground Self-Defense Force personnel to the hardest-hit areas.

    More than 2,000 households have been left stranded, many of which are home to elderly people.

    Helicopters and boats have been rescuing people from their homes where they can.

    The flooding has also cut off power and communication lines, further delaying search and rescue efforts.

  • Relentless Downpours Batter China, Cataclysmic Flooding Affects 8.5 Million

    Intense downpours continue to batter southern China, leaving at least 63 people dead or missing and almost 8.5 million affected. Worsening floods have also displaced nearly 500 000 and caused direct economic losses of about 4 billion dollars or 21 billion yuan.

    The Ministry of Emergency Management confirmed the figures as heavy rains continue to batter 24 southern provincial regions. 

    In Guizhou, officials said 700 000 have been affected, including about 30 000 who have been forced to flee their homes. Earlier storms in the previous week have killed 13 in nearby Hunan province and Guangxi region.

    Authorities in Zunyi city reported over the weekend that five people died while eight others were missing. At least 13 000 have been evacuated and more than 2 000 homes were damaged in the city. Some 152 mm (6 inches) of rain fell in one hour on Friday, June 12.

    Chen Tao, the chief forecaster with the National Meteorological Center, said the new round of rainfall is forecast until Thursday, June 18, and the maximum accumulated precipitation may be up to 400 mm (16 inches).

    "The heaviest precipitation [will] occur at the Huaihe River and the Yangtze River will be long-lasting with high intensity," he stated, adding that much of the rain will fall at night.

    The new bout of severe weather, which is characterized by hail, thunderstorms, and strong winds, will increase flood hazards. 

    On the other hand, Chen said the coming rain will relieve drought-stricken areas between the Yellow River and Huaihe River. About 148 rivers have been swollen above their warning levels, the ministry also reported.

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