CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited
9 May 2002 – East Africa
Heavy rains caused by unusually high temperatures over the Indian Ocean have killed more than 112 people in east Africa in the last two weeks. Floods and mudslides have forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes in Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda. This is the rainy season in the region, but meteorological experts say the rains have been much heavier than usual. Rwanda has suffered the heaviest toll, with more than 50 dead in the last ten days, many of the deaths caused by landslides. "The toll could rise because the rainy season does not stop before mid-June," Benjamin Ndahirwa, a member of Rwanda's National Committee for Disaster Management, told AFP news agency. "At least 1,577 homes have been destroyed and many cattle killed." In Kenya, floods and mudslides have killed 46 people in the two weeks, police have said. In two incidents in central Kenya, 15 people died when mudslides overran their homes as they slept on 30 April and 4 May. The spokesman for Kenya's National Disaster Operations Centre, Bonventure Wendo, says some 50,000 people have been displaced in western Kenya. In northeast Kenya, local authorities have also asked up to 50,000 people living near the Tana River to move to higher ground. Several hydro-electric dams have been built along the river and are now overflowing. "This excess water is worrying us because it poses a danger to people downstream," said Mr Wendo. Supplies of food and water have also been affected in several urban areas, including Kenya's capital, Nairobi. Further south, in Tanzania, reports say at least nine people died in floods and hundreds of families have been left homeless. Local officials say there has been considerable damage done to buildings and farms. In Uganda, a man and his six children were buried alive in a landslide caused by heavy rains and hundreds of families have had to leave their homes. In Burundi, 147 homes have been destroyed at a centre for displaced people. Paddy fields around the capital's airport lie under a metre of water.
12 May 2002 – China
More than half a million people have been hit by massive floods in the far north-west of China, which have destroyed nearly 100,000 houses. In central China, authorities are scrambling to reinforce flood defences along the Yangtze River. Torrential rain and floods in Xinjiang have caused widespread destruction. "Currently, some 561,800 people have been affected, with 87,700 homes collapsed and 185,800 in need of repair," officials told Xinhua. "Some 20,000 stables have collapsed, killing nearly 120,000 head of livestock." Wheat and corn seeds sown on about 16,230ha of farmland have rotted, the agency said. An official in Xinjiang said the region had experienced rainfall of between 240mm and 360mm in the past three weeks, about 60 per cent of the total annual average. The local Civil-Affairs Department has allocated three million yuan for a disaster-relief fund, offered 450 tents and found temporary shelter for over 70,000 victims. No casualties or damage have been reported so far from torrential rains in central China, the China Daily newspaper said.
25 May 2002 – Reports from Beijing say that more than 20 million people have been hit by severe floods in the central province of Hunan. Some parts of the province – home to 64 million people – have had 40 days of rain since the beginning of April. More than 2.5m hectares of crops have been affected, with harvests in some areas being ruined. The newspaper, Hunan Daily, said that emergency aid of $2m had been allocated to the worst-affected areas.
10 June 2002 – A total of nine people were killed and seven were missing as torrential rains lashed large parts of China over the weekend, the official press said. Six people were killed in northern China's Shaanxi province where a 150m long bridge near the ancient imperial capital of Xian was destroyed. Xinhua news agency said the loss of the bridge stranded 300 trains with some 10,000 passengers on board. But the agency did not specify the circumstances in which the six deaths occurred. The semi-official China news service said another three people were killed and seven were missing in Suining city in south-western China's Sichuan province after Saturday's deluge. The English language China Daily quoted a government meteorologist, Chen Tingliang, as saying the wet weather in northern China, which regularly suffers from drought, could cause floods along the Yangtze River. Wuhan in central China, an industrial hub on the banks of the Yangze, saw 69mm of rain in one hour, the third highest on record for half a century in the city prone to floods. Meteorologists warned heavy rains were expected to continue across a swathe of China in the coming days.
11 June 2002 – Torrential rains in western China have killed 33 people and left more than 100 missing, officials said today. Rains that started last week in Sichuan province have killed at least 27 people, said an official at the provincial disaster-relief office. A total of nine cities and more than 700 villages in the north-eastern part of Sichuan were affected, the official said. State media reported yesterday that six people were killed in the weekend rains in areas near the major industrial city of Xi'an. A flood-control official in Shaanxi province said today that 108 people also were missing. He said the downpours wrecked houses and roads, washed out a major railway bridge and knocked out power supplies. The rains knocked down 1,400 homes in Fuping County, he said.
12 June 2002 – Some of China's worst floods in years have killed at least 179 people and left thousands more homeless in a tragic start to the flood season, state media said today. Worst affected is the north-western Shaanxi province, where the official Xinhua news agency said 150 bodies have been recovered after torrential rains triggered landslides and burst river banks across 30 counties between Saturday (8 June) and Monday. Thousands more had been left homeless after the rains damaged more than 167,000 hectares of farmland, destroyed homes and brought down a railway bridge three minutes after a train had crossed it. In the south-western province of Sichuan, 500km from Shaanxi, at least 27 people were known to have died since rains began battering the area last week, according to the Web site of the Sichuan Daily newspaper. Around Suining, one of the province's worst-hit areas, 14 people died during rare deluges in which up to 300mm of rainfall was recorded in one day. Some 500 houses collapsed and more than 1,600 hectares of crops were damaged in some of the worst rain in decades to hit the arid north-western region of Xinjiang. Faster than usual melting of mountain snow in the relatively impoverished region had exacerbated flooding which caused more than $2.65m in damage in the Turpan prefecture alone on Friday and Saturday, Xinhua said. Areas around Hanzhong, about 900km south-west of Beijing, were submerged under 1.5m of water. Two people were killed and at least 100 were missing in the deluge described as a rare event by an official at the local anti-flood office, state media said. China has been striving to limit the potential of floods to bring chaos and destruction to the country.
13 June 2002 – At least 223 people were known dead and 320,000 homeless after parts of western China were inundated by the heaviest rains on record, disaster officials said today. Deaths and flood damage were reported in areas that stretched from the remote north-western desert region of Xinjiang to the densely populated central province of Hubei. In the normally dry west, record high rainfalls this year have made flooding particularly severe, meteorologists said. Parts of Shaanxi province in the west got 19.6in of rain from Saturday (8 June) to Monday, the heaviest two-day total since weather records began a century ago, said an official of the provincial weather bureau. Flooding in Shaanxi killed 152 people and left 266 missing, said a provincial official. He said 83,000 buildings were damaged and 110,000 people forced to evacuate. The military has been called to move people, food and medical supplies, the official said. One of the province's main rail links was cut when a bridge washed out, state media said. Parts of the huge western province of Sichuan also had record rainfalls, said a provincial meteorologist. Authorities there are trying to reach 62,000 villagers stranded by flood waters, said a provincial disaster official. He said floods killed at least 30 people, and 13 are missing. Another 213,000 have been evacuated after waters washed away 31,000 homes and damaged 66,000 more, he said. Floods in Xinjiang have killed 12 people, said a provincial official there. The state-run China Daily said rivers were overflowing their banks. China's Ministry of Civil Affairs has also reported 29 deaths in Hubei, the giant south-western city of Chongqing and Guizhou, a poor, mountainous region in the south.
15 June 2002 – New downpours hit some areas as the death toll from several days of torrential rains rose to 253 in western China, officials said today. More than 320 people were reported still missing in areas stretching from the north-western desert region of Xinjiang to the central province of Hubei. Most of the missing were in the western province of Shaanxi, where flooding and mudslides were reported to have killed at least 152 people and left thousands homeless. In Sichuan province, the death toll stood at 53, with five people missing, said a provincial disaster-relief official. Rains which started last Saturday (8 June) and continued through Monday wrecked bridges, houses and power supplies. Heavy rains yesterday returned to the south-western city of Chongqing, where three people were killed last weekend, said a disaster-relief official there. A near-record 10.4in of rain fell on Chongqing in 24 hours, the official said. The weather was clear today and no more deaths were immediately reported. Also in Chongqing, 17 miners were missing after being trapped in a mine by the weekend flooding, the official said. He said more than 20,000 houses in the city were wrecked. Elsewhere, 29 deaths have been reported in Hubei, 12 in Xinjiang and four in the neighbouring province of Gansu.
18 June 2002 – A total of 148 townships in ten counties in central China's Hunan province have been flooded due to successive rainstorms in recent days. Floods have destroyed 8,000 houses, affected 1.44m people and damaged some reservoirs and river embankments, causing direct economic losses of 420m yuan. More than 100mm of rain has fallen recently in six counties in Chenzhou City and five counties in Yongzhou City in Hunan province. Zhuzhou City received 333mm of rain. As a result, water levels in Xiangjiang, Zishui, Yuanjiang and Lishui rivers and Dongting Lake have risen considerably. The hydrographic station at Hengyang City on the Xiangjiang River reported the river rose by 3.66m. Leading provincial government officials have arrived at Chenzhou and Yongzhou cities to make emergency arrangements. More than 2,000 people stranded by floodwater have been rescued and moved to safety.
18 June 2002 – China, bracing for more devastating floods, fears the death toll from some of its worst deluges in years has already risen to more than 500 people, official newspapers say. Officials have confirmed more than 200 people were killed in floods earlier this month and the China Daily today quoted the top official in the north-western province of Shaanxi, the worst hit area, as saying there was little hope for 300 still missing. "Some 300 people are still missing and are not expected to be found alive," it quoted Jia Zhibang, the acting governor of the province, as saying.
24 June 2002 – Areas of China already ravaged by floods have seen more rains in the past few days, with up to 100 million people affected by the torrential floods so far. In the northern Shaanxi province and the south-western municipality of Chongqing, the downpour has added to the misery, causing both loss of life and material damage. So far, 539 people have been reported killed, but observers believe the death toll is likely to be higher, once the bodies of those registered as missing are found, when floodwaters recede. In the southern part of Shaanxi province, new emergencies were reported as some localities saw daily rainfall reach 11cm. In Chongqing municipality, one person was missing after as much as 19cm of rain fell in certain areas in a single day, the China news service said. In some nearby districts, houses and fields were flooded, while mountain torrents made life unsafe for the residents, it said. This followed reports that two people died and another 2,000 were stranded by the floodwaters in or near Chongqing. The southern Chinese province of Hunan has also been hard-hit with the number of affected residents on the increase.
25 June 2002 – More than 750 people are now feared dead in flooding that has devastated large areas of China in recent weeks. Official government figures have put the confirmed death toll at 453 people, with 151 deaths in the worst-hit province of Shaanxi. But a further 300 people in the province are still missing, a week after a senior official said they were not expected to be found alive. More than 57 million people have already been affected by the flooding, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The floods have hit a vast section of the country, from Shaanxi in the north through to Sichuan to the south-west and Fujian and Jiangxi provinces to the south-east, the ministry said. More than two million hectares of crops have been damaged. In Jiangxi province, where up to 20,000 people were trapped by rising floodwaters last week when a dyke burst, 150,000 people had been left homeless, the ministry said. In Shaanxi, floods and landslides have snapped power and telephone lines and covered several major roads. Officials estimate the damage could run into millions of dollars. The government has supplied medicines, money and supplies to the stricken areas, with task forces mobilised to deal with rescue efforts. More rain is expected.
26 June 2002 – A total of 543 people have been confirmed killed in floods that washed up extensive areas in inland China this month, the state-run Xinhua news agency said yesterday. Xinhua said the floods caused 20b yuan ($2.4b) in property damages and five million hectares of farmland were damaged. The floods hit 19 provinces and affected the lives of 70 million people, it said.
29 June 2002 – China's flood-stricken areas along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River will continue to face the threat of heavy rains in the next two to three days, according to weather forecasts. The latest information from the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters shows that 19 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China have been inundated by rain to greater or lesser degrees, causing 596 deaths and 26b yuan of direct economic losses.
1 July 2002 – In China, ten people have died in a landslide triggered by heavy rain in the south-eastern province of Fujian; 22 people were injured. Heavy rain across China over the past few weeks has led to flooding in 18 provinces, killing at least 543 people and leaving hundreds missing. Some 700,000 people have been made homeless and more than seven million hectares of farmland has been destroyed.
6 July 2002 – At least eight people were crushed to death in central China when a wall, eroded by hours of torrential rains, collapsed upon them. The accident happened inside a crowded food market in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, the Xinhua news agency reported. About a dozen other people were injured in the accident and were rushed to hospital. The collapse happened when construction workers were trying to demolish the wall to make room for a road extension project. However, the real cause of the accident appears to be torrential rains hitting the city since yesterday, which had weakened the wall.
13 July 2002 – Chinese officials say that nearly 800 people have died in the worst flooding to hit the country in a decade. The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs said that more than 100 million people had been affected by the floods, which destroyed more than eight million hectares of crops. Southern and western provinces suffered the biggest losses and more than one-and-a-half million people have had to leave their homes.
17 July 2002 – A heat wave that has swept through much of China since last week has claimed at least seven lives as temperatures exceeded 40 degrees Celsius. Five people died on Monday (15 July) in the south-western city of Chongqing, traditionally one of China's hottest cities. Circumstances surrounding the fatalities were unclear, but one man was reported to have died after leaving a swimming pool, the Chongqing Economic Daily said. More than 3,500 people have been hospitalised in the city because of the heat, which reached 41 degrees Celsius. The highest temperature so far recorded in the heatwave was in the central city of Shijiazhuang also on Monday, when the mercury hit 43 degrees Celsius. Over the week, the death of a 50-year-old farmer in the northern city of Xian was also attributed to the hot weather.
21 July 2002 – At least 22 people were killed when a ferocious storm pummelled the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou with egg-sized hail stones and fierce winds, felling trees and smashing cars, state press said today. The 20-minute hailstorm struck the capital of Henan province on Friday (19 July) evening as force eight winds increased the velocity of the falling hailstones, causing havoc throughout the city, the Beijing Youth Daily reported. Scores of people suffering head injuries flooded local hospitals seeking treatment, with at least seven deaths directly attributed to being struck by hail, it said. Five other people were killed and seven injured when the roof of a gas station collapsed, while numerous billboards in the city also came crashing down in the storm, the paper said. In neighbouring Yilin village a feed factory collapsed killing four and injuring two, while the collapse of two warehouses resulted in six dead and nine injured, the report said. The final death and injury toll was still being tabulated as of yesterday evening, the paper said. Telecommunications, electricity and water supplies in Zhengzhou were cut temporarily following the storm, while traffic in the city snarled, Xinhua news agency reported.
21 July 2002 – A violent storm hit central China's Henan province, during the evening of 19 July, killing 16 people and injuring about 200, as buildings collapsed under powerful winds and egg-sized hailstones, officials said today. The storm lasted for about 25 minutes. Wind speeds reached up to 45mph. A total of 15 people were killed when buildings in Zhengzhou collapsed, including a gas station, a feed factory and a storage facility. Traffic was snarled and the streets were littered with broken tree trunks, the official Xinhua news agency said. Electricity, telecommunications and water were cut off, but fully restored by 20 July.
25 July 2002 – Floods killed ten people in two Chinese provinces as the latest wave of storms triggered landslides, toppled billboards and caused at least one building to collapse, the official China Daily reported today. Rescuers in north-western Xinjiang region were working to evacuate more than 500 people stranded after four days of heavy storms submerged roads under as much as 6ft of water, local officials said, but reported no casualties. The China Daily said six people were killed and seven injured in the southern province of Guangdong as flash floods damaged 15,500 homes and affected 439,000 people in hilly areas. In the north-western province of Shaanxi, four construction workers were killed when gale-force winds and heavy rains toppled a building, it said. That storm on Tuesday (23 July) injured six others in the provincial capital of Xi'an. Those stranded in Xinjiang had taken shelter with road workers repairing a damaged highway in the Tianshan mountain range. Rain in the north-eastern province of Heilongjiang flooded homes and affected 60,000 people, but had not caused any deaths, according to a State Meteorological Bureau Web site. It predicted more heavy rains in coming days, particularly in the south-east.
30 July 2002 – Heavy rains in the last week have caused severe flooding in north-west China, killing 11 people and leaving 2,300 homeless, state media reported today. The rains drenched the Xinjiang region from 21-28 July, Xinhua news agency said, citing officials. In Baicheng county, 11 people were killed and 19 miles of dykes were destroyed, causing $2m in damage, the officials said. Jeminay county has been flooded four times in the past week, with waters reaching more than 3ft in some places, officials said. Nearly 3,000 houses collapsed during the floods, affecting nearly 10,000 residents and leaving 2,300 homeless, Xinhua reported. According to the news agency, the water has reached dangerous levels in 20 rivers in Xinjiang –record highs for seven of them. The typically dry region mainly relies on melted snow and glaciers for water. It has few major engineering projects to regulate water levels since it rarely experiences such heavy rainfall, Xinhua said. Storms and flooding this summer have killed more than 800 people and battered agriculture, transportation, power grids and other infrastructure, causing about $3.6b in damage, state media has reported.
30 July 2002 – Unusually heavy rain in north-western China has caused widespread flooding, killing at least 11 people, and causing thousands of homes to collapse. The normally dry Xinjiang region usually relies on melting glaciers and snow for its water, and few anti-flood measures have been put in place on the main rivers. More heavy rain is forecast in the next few days.
6 August 2002 – A total of nine people were killed in the Guangdong city of Meizhou, said an official for the city's "Three Against" office, an anti-flood, anti-rain and anti-drought coordination agency. He said at least 12 other people were reported injured. The storm and its accompanying high winds hit the coast at 0615 yesterday, authorities said. Outside the nearby city of Lufeng, right on the coast of the South China Sea, more than 100 rural houses were damaged, said a staffer at the "Three Against" agency. The number of homes damaged does not necessarily reflect the storm's intensity, since many rural houses in southern China are made of wood and other fragile materials easily felled by bad weather. It was not clear what the destroyed houses were made of. The storm felled trees and billboards across coastal Guangdong, the official China Daily newspaper reported. It said 56 flights were delayed or cancelled at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport because of the bad weather. Life in the area had "returned to normal" by this morning, the Lufeng official said.
6 August 2002 – Floods swept a bus from a bridge and into raging waters in central China, sending 28 people to their deaths, authorities said today. Six others were rescued. The bus was travelling from Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province, to rural Zhenyuan county in the eastern part of the province, when the waters pushed it off the bridge, said Rao Jun, an official at the provincial office of the Administration for Work Safety Supervision. He said 34 people were on the bus when it crashed, and 28 had been confirmed dead as of this afternoon. Six others were rescued, Rao said. The accident happened at 2330 on Sunday (4 August), Rao said. He had no further details.
9 August 2002 – Landslides and flooding in several cities and regions of China's south-central Hunan province have killed 47 people. Heavy rain, unseen for years in the region, triggered the flooding and landslides, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The cities of Chenzhou, Hengyang, Yongzhou and Zhuzhou, with a total population of 3.5m, were all affected, the agency said. Provincial and municipal local governments have formed emergency teams and sent officials to the affected areas for rescue and relief efforts, the report said. Quoting sources in the provincial capital of Changsha, Xinhua predicted the rainstorms would cause financial losses of 190m yuan (£15m).
9 August 2002 – Massive landslides and flooding have killed 70 people in south-central China's Hunan province and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The landslides and flooding were caused by heavy rainfall in the region. It affected the cities of Chenzhou, Hengyang, Yongzhou and Zhuzhou. Property losses were estimated to be more than $240m. Provincial and municipal governments have formed emergency teams and sent officials to the affected areas for rescue and relief efforts.
13 August 2002 – A massive landslide buried 39 people in a mountainous region of south-west China, killing at least two and leaving more than 30 missing, local officials and state media said today. Six people had been dug out of the debris in a village in Yanjin county of Yunnan province, two of them dead and four injured, the semi-official China news service said. "Local villagers said four households and some road-repair workers and people fixing the rural electrical grid were among the 39 people buried under mud and rock," the agency said. A county official said the landslide was triggered by rain that had pounded the region. "It was because of torrential rain that lasted three days. The landslides in our area have continued," said the official, who declined to be identified. The official said he had no further news on the number of people rescued. Landslides and floods killed 70 people in the southern province of Hunan recently, official media said last week.
16 August 2002 – A huge wall of mud and rock slammed into villages in south-west China, probably killing 67 people in the second deadly landslide to strike the area this week, according to officials and state media. The landslide struck ten villages in the middle of the night in Xinping county, about 200km south of Kunming, the Yunnan provincial capital. At least 24 people were confirmed dead and 43 were missing with little hope they would be found alive, officials and media said today. The disaster struck at 0400 on Wednesday (14 August), giving villagers little chance to escape. "It destroyed over 600 houses in ten villages and washed away the tobacco plants which give local residents their livelihood," said the official Xinhua news agency, which reported that at least 14 people had been injured. Some 3,000 police, troops and civilians had rushed to the area and were handing out quilts, clothes and grain. Tents had been set up for those left homeless, the county official said. Rescuers were digging through the mountain of dirt with hand tools for fear that heavy equipment could injure survivors, he said. The landslide struck after days of heavy rain, and local weather officials predicted that more downpours today could trigger further landslides, Xinhua said. Wednesday's tragedy came on the heels of a huge landslide in northern Yunnan on Monday. The confirmed death toll from that disaster had risen to 16 by late yesterday, Xinhua said. Local officials said there was little hope of finding survivors and the final tally was expected to be 29 dead. That disaster was blamed on unusually heavy and sustained rain as well as deforestation in the hilly region that made soil on the slopes unstable. The
killer landslides were the latest blow to China, which has been battling floods that have killed more than 900 people so far this year. Xinhua said rains and floods had killed 108 people in the central province of Hunan this month alone. Torrential rains had lashed the province since 5 August, triggering floods and landslides that also damaged railways and highways, it said. The disasters had affected 38 million people in Hunan and caused more than 18b yuan in damage, Xinhua said.
17 August 2002 – About 200 people are feared dead in floods and landslides around China in recent days as the country continues to be battered by brutally destructive summer rains. Among the dead are at least 31 people buried alive as they slept when homes were destroyed by a landslide in the south-western province of Yunnan. A further 33 people are missing, officials said yesterday. Also, at least 108 are known to have died in floods which inundated vast swathes of the central province of Hunan from last week, caused by rain described as the heaviest to hit the region in years. It is feared the death toll of 108 could rise still further, with more heavy rain forecast for the weekend, according to the Central Meteorological Bureau in Beijing. Hunan's government has called in the army to help evacuate flood victims and rebuild roads washed away by the torrents. In the eastern province of Jiangxi some 520,000 people in ten counties were affected by flooding caused by torrential rain which battered the province since last Monday. The Yunnan landslide swept through villages in Xinping county, an official from the anti-flood office in nearby Yuxi City said. A total of 31 bodies had been found, with another 33 people missing at 2230 yesterday, Xinhua said. A total of 611 homes were destroyed in the deluge.
17 August 2002 – A section of China's longest river, the Yangtze, has been closed to navigation as flood waters surged through the site of the massive Three Gorges dam project. The official China Daily newspaper said river traffic was halted in the central province of Hubei as water volumes were expected to rise to a near-record rate of 46,000 cubic metres per second. Official estimates say the annual flood season in south-west China has killed more than 130 people across several provinces in the past few days, with millions affected by washed-away houses and ruined crops. Local media said 52 people were now known to have died and 41 were missing in a massive mudslide which engulfed villages in the south-western Yunnan province on Wednesday (14 August). Locals believe the areas problems are man-made. Mountain sides have been stripped of dense forests that kept soil in place to make way for cultivation of tea, coffee and tobacco. China's northern provinces, in contrast, are suffering a severe drought, threatening millions of farmers and large areas of crops. Many rural households have had no rainfall since late July.
21 August 2002 – A press report, dated today, states: A state of emergency has been declared in central China's Hunan province, where the massive Dongting Lake is threatening to burst its banks. Red Cross officials stationed in Hunan say officials there are now very worried about the situation, which could affect up to ten million people who live in the area. The water level in Dongting Lake is now almost 2m above danger level and still rising. The state of emergency will allow the mobilisation of thousands more troops and workers to help reinforce dykes surrounding the lake, and crucially, to begin the evacuation of people from the most threatened areas. Thousands of workers are already working around the clock to shore up dykes holding back the waters of the lake. Dongting Lake is the country's second-largest freshwater lake and covers an area of more than 2,500km2. Overnight there was more torrential rain as a tropical storm continued to pound southern China, swelling the lake further. Having battered the southern province of Guangdong yesterday, tropical storm "Vongfong" moved eastwards to neighbouring Guangxi, where eight people were killed by landslides and collapsing buildings, then on to Hunan province. In the last 48-hours, the water level in Dongting Lake has risen by another metre and it is still continuing to rise. The flood warning level for the lake is 32m, but it is now way above that mark. "The water level was 33.9m this morning and is expected to increase," one local flood control official said. Local officials say they expect the level of the lake will continue to rise 50cm a day in the coming days.
22 August 2002 – Hundreds of thousands of people have plunged into the battle to prevent a giant Chinese lake from flooding as millions of families living nearby started fleeing their homes. Some 850,000 people in southern Hunan province were fighting to hold back Dongting Lake and the swollen rivers that feed it after the provincial government declared a flood emergency for the first time since 1998, state media and officials said today. Water levels could match those in 1998, when the worst floods in decades killed more than 4,000 people after the Yangtze River and Dongting burst their banks, the China Daily said. Dongting is China's second-largest freshwater lake and a major outflow for the Yangtze, which floods almost every year as it meets a network of tributaries and lakes in the major rice-producing provinces of Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi. Water levels on the lake hit 113ft today, almost 2.5m above the flood-warning level, a local flood control official said. The highest waters on the Yangtze were still upstream, surging through neighbouring Hubei province, and were due to reach Dongting on Sunday (25 August), another flood control official said. "The flood peak will hit Dongting on the 25th, pushing its waters up to 35m," or 115ft, he said. More than 7,000 soldiers were helping to reinforce dykes around Dongting shielding more than ten million people and 1.6m acres of farmland, state media said. Hunan authorities were evacuating people living near dykes along the lake and one of four rivers feeding into it, the Xiangjiang, which was at a record high, local officials said. If Dongting burst its banks, floods could spread to Wuhan, which has a population of more than seven million people, the China Daily said. Hunan's capital, Changsha, and its six million people were also at risk, it said. Torrential rains battering paddy fields in Hunan, China's top rice growing province, have also forced analysts to lower their forecasts for the country's rice crop this year. China's 2002 rice production was now likely to fall below last year's 177.6m tons, compared with earlier estimates of around 177.8m tons, they said. The weather in Hunan was expected to be clear for the next two days, the Hunan flood control official said. But rivers swollen by torrential rains since 11 August were still pushing Dongting's waters higher, he said. The biggest threat was from the Xiangjiang, which was more than two metres above its flood-warning levels for the first time on record and still rising, state television said.
14 May 2002 – Madagascar
A powerful storm slammed eastern Madagascar killing at least 13 people and causing flooding and electrical outages, officials said today. Several of the deaths occurred when bridges collapsed in the storm, which buffeted the island nation off the south-eastern coast of Africa during the weekend, they said.
16 May 2002 – Up to eight people are feared to have been killed by a cyclone that has passed over northern Madagascar causing extensive damage and flooding the island's main commercial port. The National Rescue Council says two people have been confirmed dead after being swept away by water, as cyclone "Kesiny" hit the island off south-east Mrica. Another six are thought to have been killed on the outskirts of the port of Toamasina, although the deaths are unconfirmed. The council says Toamasina is still knee-deep in water and without electricity, while around 100 people are now homeless.
17 May 2002 – Floods sparked by four days of non-stop torrential rain in eastern Madagascar killed at least 29 people in and around the port city of Toamasina, according to a new toll issued by officials today. A previous toll put the number of dead at 18 after four days of rain submerged the island nation's second largest city under flood waters. All of the earlier victims were from the city of Toamasina, with rescue services unable to reach the towns and villages outside the port. The 11 new fatalities announced today were from eight of the 15 towns near Toamasina, regional official Clermont Mahazaka said, adding that he feared the toll would continue to rise over the next few days. All the victims were carried off by flood waters or drowned, he said. The rain stopped on Sunday (12 May) morning after four days of downpour.
18 May 2002 – The death toll from a cyclone that passed over northern Madagascar more than a week ago has risen to 41 and 30 people are still missing, state-owned radio said today. Tropical cyclone "Kesiny" swept over three provinces on the island, causing extensive damage and flooding the main commercial port, Toamasina, on the east coast. Radio Madagasikara said 31 people had drowned this week in floodwaters in a Toamasina suburb. Another ten people were reported dead last week by the radio and the National Rescue Council.
13 May 2002 – India
A week-long heat wave that has pushed the temperature in south-eastern India to 120 degrees has killed more than 50 people, government officials and news reports said yesterday. The deaths in southern Andhra Pradesh state were caused from dehydration, state Relief Commissioner D.C. Roshaiah said. "Most of the victims of the sunstroke are from the poor families," Roshaiah said, adding that the death toll could increase because the heat wave likely will continue for a few more days. The largest number of deaths – ten – was reported in Vijaywada, where the temperature reached a record high of 120 degrees on Friday, Roshaiah said. Vijaywada City is 170 miles south-east of Hyderabad, the state capital. In other regions of the state, the maximum temperature reached 118 degrees, he said. The streets of many cities and towns remained deserted during the day. "The heat wave is likely to continue for another two or three days. We have issued a warning to the people to remain indoors, especially around noon, and consume a lot of water," said the state's chief weather officer, C.V.V. Bhadram. Bhadram attributed the heat wave to winds blowing over from the desert in north-western India. The northern states also have experienced a heat wave, but authorities have not reported any casualties. Also today, the Press Trust of India news agency said at least four people had died of heat stroke in central Madhya Pradesh state.
17 May 2002 – The death toll in the unprecedented heat wave that swept across Andhra Pradesh for the past eight days has risen to 449 with reports of more deaths pouring in from other parts even as last night rains brought some respite with the mercury slipping to normal. The heat wave has not spared the north either, with 17 deaths being reported from Punjab and Haryana. Despite a short spurt of dust storms and thundershowers, the region continued to blister. In Andhra Pradesh, Guntur district bore the brunt of the scorching heat by recording the highest of 98 deaths followed by Prakasham (77), East Godavari (61), West Godavari (44) and Krishna (42), a state relief commission officer spokesman said today. The weather office here said the mercury has fallen considerably and is back to normal and there were rains last night in north coastal Andhra, parts of Telangana and Rayalaseema which brought down the temperature to around 40 degrees Celsius. The Meteorological Department has said that the current spell of heat is due to local disturbances and refuted any notion that the country was going through a climate change. "Normal temperature is soaring due to local disturbances, there is no climatic trend in it, we do find such intra-seasonal changes on inter-regional scales," S.R. Kalsi, deputy director general, metereology, said here. According to him, the heat condition was due to anomalies in intra-seasonal change, which could last up to a month.
22 May 2002 – The heat wave claimed eight lives overnight in West Bengal pushing the country-wide death toll to 516 as mercury soared at many places in the country affecting normal life. A total of eight succumbed to sunstroke in West Bengal, three each in Kolkata and Burdwan and two in Asansol, as the heat wave continued unabated in several parts of the state. Mercury rocketed to 47 degrees Celsius in Burdwan and Asansol districts while Kolkata recorded the season's high of 43 degrees Celsius. Frequent and unscheduled power cuts added to woes of the people in northern India where temperatures reigned above normal at many places. Mercury shot up to 44.5 degrees Celsius, three degrees above normal, at Hisar in Haryana while Ambala sizzled at 41.4 degrees Celsius. In Punjab, mercury stayed above 42 degrees Celsius in many districts, including Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala. So far, 28 people have succumbed to blazing sun in both the states. The Met Office said heat wave conditions will continue for the next couple of days.
24 May 2002 – A searing heat wave continued to torment North India with the mercury rising upwards while a steady breeze brought solace to Orissa's coastal region even as the country-wide death toll this blazing summer crossed the 1,100 mark. Andhra Pradesh, which bore the brunt of the heat fury, accounted for 1,037 deaths while the rest of the fatalities took place in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Orissa and West Bengal. Talcher town reached 48 degrees Celsius for the third time this week as a steady breeze brought respite to Orissa's coastal region from the gruelling heat. Though dust-raising winds have stopped, the heat wave continued to pound most parts of Rajasthan. The relentless heat has so far claimed 29 lives in Punjab and Haryana.
17 June 2002 – Flash floods triggered by monsoon rains in Assam have submerged at least 30 villages, marooning up to 20,000 people, officials said today. The world-renowned Kaziranga National Park in Assam, home to the almost extinct one-horned rhinoceros, is also under threat, the officials warned. A government spokesman said incessant rains during the past few days had led to a sharp rise in the level of the river Brahmaputra. "The flood situation is grim with the Brahmaputra and its tributaries showing a rising trend, flowing above the warning level at various places," a flood control official in Guwahati said. Assam's flood control minister Bharat Narah said, "about 20,000 people have been marooned and about 30 villages submerged" by the floods in Dhemaji district, 288 miles from Guwahati. The world's largest river island of Majuli in eastern Assam, was in danger of being submerged. "Water levels of the Brahmaputra around the Majuli island are above the danger mark," the flood control official said. Forest rangers at the Kaziranga park have been put on a maximum alert amid fears that flood waters might submerge the sanctuary.
26 June 2002 – Flash floods in the Indian state of West Bengal near the border with Bangladesh have killed at least four people and left at least 10,000 others homeless. A West Bengal official Sutanu Kar said that the flooding was caused by a breach in the embankment of the Kalagachi River following two days of incessant rains in the area. He said seven villages were under water and Indian rescue workers were trying to evacute those still trapped.
1 July 2002 – Officials in western India say monsoon rains have caused at least 120 deaths and left thousands homeless in the last week. The states of Maharashtra and Gujarat have been the worst hit, with more than 15 towns in Gujarat recording rainfalls of over 100mm yesterday. Local officials say over 50,000 people have been evacuated from the area in the past two days.
6 July 2002 – Flooding triggered by a week of monsoon rains in north-eastern India has displaced hundreds of thousands of people in the state of Assam. Officials fear an outbreak of water-borne diseases and say food supplies are running short. The authorities are using boats to move people to makeshift relief camps, after 17,000 villages were affected by floodwaters and some road links were severed. The situation is grim said an Assam minister. The army is on standby to help the civilian authorities. The major rivers, which are prone to flood at this time of year, are also close to danger levels in neighbouring Bangladesh, displacing thousands more people there. Weather experts say the level of flooding will be determined by how much rain falls over the next few days in India and Nepal. The eastern district of Dhemaji, 465km from the regional capital Guwahati, has been worst affected. "Road communication between Dhemaji district and the rest of Assam has remained snapped for the past five days with floodwaters overtopping the national highway in at least three places," Dhemaji District Magistrate Biswaranjan Sama said. He said supplies of essential goods had stopped, leading to a "crisis-like" situation in the district where 15,000 villages were estimated to be affected.
22 July 2002 – Torrential rains have caused fresh flooding in India's remote northeast, affecting more than 50,000 people and cutting a key land route, officials said. After receding for days, major rivers in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh states overflowed, inundating new areas. More than 750,000 people have now lost homes or livestock in three weeks of monsoon floods, the officials said. Biswaranjan Samal, the government administrator in the eastern Assamese district of Dhemaji, said a portion of National Highway 52 in Assam state – the only land access into Arunachal Pradesh from the rest of India – was washed away. "Since last night, fresh areas have been flooded in the district. Rivers had been receding since four or five days," Samal said by telephone from Dhemaji, 500km east of Gauhati, the capital of Assam. Severe damage to homes, government property and roads was also reported in the Dhemaji area, he said. The Brahmaputra, the main river of north-eastern India, was flowing 1.0m above the danger mark and was threatening to overflow its banks, Samal said. Workers of the army's Border Roads Organisation were struggling to repair the roads in the face of strong rains and mudslides. In Arunachal Pradesh, a picturesque state spanning snowy Himalayan slopes, 300 people were evacuated from their homes after a severe mudslide near the state capital of Itanagar, officials said. Thousands of people in the state are camping in schools and government buildings after their mud houses were washed away.
25 July 2002 – Swirling floodwaters this week made more than a million people homeless and killed 20 in India's north-eastern Assam state, the region's senior minister for flood control said today. Nurjamal Sarkar said the monsoon floods caused widespread damage to the state's infrastructure and sparked fears of a food shortage as supplies struggle to get through. Sarkar said soldiers on motor boats have rescued thousands of marooned people and taken them to government relief camps or to higher ground as the death toll and numbers of people made homeless rises. "The water levels of all rivers are rising alarmingly. Some 1.2 million people are affected by recent floods and there is no way out, rains have to stop to improve the situation," the minister told. Gushing waters washed away roads, bridges, rail tracks, power and telecommunication lines in 14 of the 23 districts in Assam. However, the state's main communication and transport link with the rest of the country was intact, Sarkar said. The latest victims included 12 members of a family who were washed away and feared dead when a boat they were in capsized east of the state capital of Dispur. All rivers, including the major Brahmaputra River, are flowing above danger levels, inundating new areas, disaster officials said. The Brahmaputra flows into neighbouring Bangladesh before entering the Bay of Bengal. Officials in flood-hit districts said food stocks were running low because floods, which have swept away roads, were disrupting supplies. Tea and oil companies were still operating, but officials said they feared prolonged flooding could eventually hinder transportation to retail outlets. "Some 15,000 people are somehow living in their houses in waist-deep water in Morigaon district," said P. Shah, a senior relief officer. "There is also a scarcity of drinking water in flood affected areas," Shah said. The flood control department secretary, P.K. Das, said: "There are reports of at least three dams damaged by swollen rivers this morning, our people have rushed to the area to repair them."
26 July 2002 – Floods in Bihar claimed the lives of 46 people and are affecting four million, officials and media reports said today. Four of the dead yesterday drowned while trying to loot relief supplies airdropped by an army helicopter, an official said. Local media said a boat carrying 35 people had capsized in the strong currents of Koshi River in Supaul district, 400km north-east of Patna. At least 30 people were feared dead as only five were able to swim to safety. In another accident, seven people were reported to have been swept away by the surging waters near Kamrauli village, 250km from Patna, while five people drowned in Sitamarhi district, newspapers quoting witnesses said. Authorities have blamed the overloading of boats as a cause for the large number of casualties. "A large number of private and commercial boats plying in thousands all over the flood affected parts are illegal, without valid government licenses," a local official said. "They are usually makeshift boats and often, in the urge to make a fast buck, the boatmen load them beyond capacity causing them to turn turtle," he said. Bihar Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Ramvichar Rai, said more than four million people in 14 districts have been affected by the floods. "Standing crops in 12,200ha have been affected and a total of 728 houses have collapsed in floods," he said. Another 20 people died earlier this week from flooding in Bihar, including 17 who drowned on Wednesday (24 July) when their boat capsized.
27 July 2002 – The army intensified relief and rescue operations in the worst-hit districts of Bihar, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga, Sheohar and Madhubani, as the death toll in the floods touched 75 today. Official sources said 26 more deaths were reported from flood-hit Supaul and Gopalganj districts during the last 24 hours taking the toll in the current spell of floods to 75.
29 July 2002 – In India floods have claimed at least 60 lives and left homeless about 6.2 million people in the two most affected states, Bihar and Assam in the east.
1 August 2002 – Floodwaters continued to rise alarmingly in Bihar, where more than ten million people have fled their homes and 91 have died, mostly by drowning, in the past week. Bihar Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner Girish Shankar, said ten deaths were reported in the densely populated state in the last 24 hours as rivers, fed by rain in adjoining Nepal, broke their banks and breached embankments. He said soldiers used helicopters and boats to distribute food and relief materials to stranded people. Bihar Water Resources Minister Jagadanand Singh, said floodwaters had "stagnated in many places and showed no signs of receding".
5 August 2002 – Flash floods in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh yesterday morning killed eight people, including seven policemen. The mishap occured when three vehicles they were travelling in were washed away in the river water. According to sources in Itanagar, the incident took place at 0600 hrs near Rupa in West Kameng district. So far the bodies of four have been recovered though they are yet to be identified. The floods also washed away two vital bridges. Blocking of the river was probably due to landslides in the hills, causing flooding.
17 August 2002 – Seven people drowned when a boat capsized in swirling floodwaters in eastern India, officials said today, and a swollen river burst its banks and swamped dozens of villages in Bangladesh. Forecasters warned of more rain to come in a monsoon season that has caused 911 deaths in Nepal, India and Bangladesh while displacing or isolating 25 million people since June. Floods have killed 330 people in India, the latest when a boat sank yesterday in a rising river in Bihar state. The accident happened in Khagariya district, 90 miles north-west of Patna, the state capital, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Ram Vichar Rai said. The state's Water Department said that intermittent rains yesterday, and today had kept most rivers dangerously high and that more rains were expected. As most of India struggles with the worst drought in years, heavy rains and flooding have destroyed about 2.5 million acres of crops and disrupted the lives of more than 15 million people in 7,825 villages in Bihar, which is along the eastern Himalayan foothills. At least 276 people have died in the state. In northern Bangladesh, the Jamuna River overflowed and spilled into dozens of villages today, relief officials said. At least 2,000 people had to flee or were stranded by high water, they said. The flooding was in Sirajganj district, 65 miles north-west of Dhaka and officials said thousands of people in the area already were homeless because of earlier floods. Weather officials have forecast more rains and more flooding in Bangladesh and India.
21 May 2002 – Bangladesh
The overloading, deviation from the original structure and gross negligence in duty by officials were the main reasons for the capsize of launch Salahuddin-2 in Meghna River in Bangladesh on 3 May. The four-member inquiry team in their 24-page committee report, which was submitted to the Bangladesh Ministry of Shipping yesterday, reported these findings, according to Bangladesh shipping industry sources. The report said the ill-fated vessel, overloaded with more than 400 passengers, was caught up in a storm in the River Meghna and capsized within seconds as it tilted and failed to regain stability. The rapid loss of stability might have been caused by various factors including deviation from the original structure plan and lack of watertight hatches. The watertight bulkhead the vessel was supposed to have been fitted with as per the original plan was practically non-existent. The report also recommended that from now on all vessels must be built with watertight hatches to prevent such capsize. It may be mentioned here that the ill-fated vessel hit by the storm blowing at over 60km an hour was further destabilised when passengers from the lower deck climbed on the upper decks to escape the water flooding into the lower deck. Inspection of the salvaged vessel also revealed several large holes in the steel plates that were also eroded at many places thereby reducing the plate thickness. It also said surveyors of vessels did not have the Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge necessary for measuring plate thickness. The report said the on-duty inspector of DG-Shipping, Mohammad Shafiqur Rahman was grossly negligent in his duty for failing to lodge any case against Salahuddin-2 on a charge of overloading as the vessel left the Sadarghat Terminal for Rangabali with over 400 passengers.
24 May 2002 – More than 60 people were feared drowned today after a ferry sank in a Bangladesh river just three weeks after a similar accident killed nearly 500 people, police said today. Superintendent Abdullah Al-Azad said the ferry M.L. Suraha was carrying about 100 people when it sank in the Baleswar River in the south of the country during a storm last night. It was heading from Charduani in the coastal district of Pirojepur to the industrial district of Khulna when it went down. No other details about the vessel or accident were immediately available. Officials said today that the sinking took place about two miles off
the nearest bank of the river and the ferry was now resting on the bed in about 90ft of water. "We have mobilised the local administration and police to immediately launch rescue efforts and also asked for a salvage vessel to rush to the scene," Regional Commissioner M. Abdul Quddus told. Another official said the salvage vessel Hamza was not expected to reach the scene before tonight.
27 May 2002 – A total of 31 bodies have so far been recovered from the Baleshwar River, where the Khulna-bound, 90ft launch Subha (previously reported as M.L. Suraha), capsized Thursday night (23 May) with at least 120 passengers on board. Two of the bodies were found about 50km downstream near the Bay of Bengal. The overloaded double-decker, coming from Chardoani, in Patharghata upazila of Barguna district, capsized after a storm hit it. The sunken launch was not found until 1700 hrs, yesterday, even after a frantic search by divers. Salvage vessel Hamza is now on the scene trying to locate the launch. The launch capsized in midstream, Moulana Zakir Amin, a survivor who swam ashore, said. Only two of the recovered bodies have so far been identified. They are engine mechanic Nazrul Islam and Zakir Hossain, of Chardoani. The launch headed into a storm 45 minutes after it left Chardoani and sank at Math-Baleshwar, between Mathbaria and Kathalia upazilas, one of the survivors said. The sareng of the launch, Emdad Hossain, said passengers could not come out of the launch as its doors and windows were closed because of the gusty wind. He said it took less than two minutes for the whole vessel to sink after it tipped as the wind hit it from the western side. Strong currents and high waves are hampering rescue operations. Rescuers believe many of the passengers have been trapped, dead, inside the capsized launch. They were mostly carrying shrimp fry from Barguna coastal belts to shrimp farm owners in Khulna. A three-member committee has been formed to probe the accident. The policemen complained about the inaction of the BIWTA salvage team, which was helplessly beached a hundred yards away. Desperate officials were seen trying to persuade local fishermen to comb the riverbed with their fishing nets. But the fishermen remained unmoved despite promises of compensation by police and the Pirojpur district administration for damage of their nets during the search. Subha was built only 18 months ago, at a Bagerhat dockyard called Nagerbazar Dock. According to a survivor of the disaster in Baleshwar, Subha left Chardouani for Khulna on Thursday, an hour behind the scheduled 2030 hrs, with more than 150 passengers and 14 crew. About 40 minutes later, the vessel was caught up in a violent storm. As more bodies surfaced, rescuers brought the decomposed bodies onto the flood protection embankment. The air was heavy with the stench from decomposing corpses which lay on the roadside, covered with a piece of cloth provided by local government officials. The DIG of Barisal Range, Golam Mostafa said the unclaimed bodies would soon be buried in the locality. Local people and survivors said they could not find a single lifebuoy on board Subha or while they were floating in the water. All the survivors, including two women, had to swim ashore. No help from area residents could be available as the area is thinly populated and also due to the violent storm.
29 May 2002 – Bangladesh government officials said that the launch Subha that capsized in the River Boleswer in Bangladesh with more than a hundred passengers could not be salvaged till late yesterday. Officials said that the divers of the navy vessel ENS Teesta and MY Hamza of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) had located the sunken launch Subha over one hundred feet underwater but they could not reach the depth due to strong currents in the river. As a result they also failed to chain up the launch for salvage by the rescue vessels, according to the officials. Officials also said that the operation to salvage the launch had virtually come to a halt as the navy vessel ENS ShahJalal was kept anchored at Barisal yesterday morning. Earlier ENS ShahJalal was called to help salvage the launch and the vessel sailed from Patenga on Sunday. Some 40 bodies of the passengers of Subha floating in the river have been recovered so far.
2 June 2002 – A press report, dated today, states: The wreckage of launch Subha, that sank last month in Bangladesh killing at least 30 people, has been abandoned as salvage efforts were blocked by bad weather and unsuitable equipment. A spokesman for the river transport authority in Dhaka said the prospect of recovery looks slim. Bad weather conditions and the absence of powerful floating cranes impeded the recovery of the wooden ferry, which sank during a storm late last month, south of Dhaka. An estimated 100 people were onboard. Half were rescued and 30 bodies have been recovered.
20 June 2002 – Monsoon rains have flooded northern Bangladesh, trapping tens of thousands of people in their homes, drowning two children and damaging crops, roads and bridges, officials said yesterday. More rainfall has been predicted throughout the week. Swirling floodwaters swept away the two children yesterday in the district of Mymensingh, where about 50,000 people were trapped in their villages, said Zafar Ahmed, the area's administrator. Another 250,000 people have either lost crops or been restricted to their towns by floodwaters in the neighbouring districts of Sunamganj, Netrokona and Rangpur, relief officials said. Dhaka's weather office said 16in of rain fell in the affected region on Tuesday and yesterday, causing the Surma and Kangsha rivers to overflow and flood more than 200 villages. The flooded region is about 70 miles north of the capital, Dhaka.
3 July 2002 – Monsoon downpours caused flooding and landslides that killed eight people and left some 100,000 people trapped in their homes in parts of northern and southern Bangladesh, officials said today. Among the causalities were three members of a family, including a three-year-old child, who died when their straw-and-bamboo hut was buried by a mud slide today in a hilly area in Cox's Bazar, 300km south of the capital, Dhaka, said Mainuddin Ahmad, a police officer. A total of five young children drowned in three villages of the hard-hit Rangpur district in northern Bangladesh yesterday, said Monirul Islam, a government administrator in the region. Floodwaters rose as high as 17cm (7in) from storms on Monday and yesterday that pounded northern parts of the country, damaging crops, roads and homes. Relief workers said thousands of people had been evacuated to higher ground in certain areas. Meanwhile, some 100,000 people were confined to their homes in Rangpur, Gaibandha, Kurigram and Nilphamari districts, Islam said. Villagers navigated their flooded communities in small boats and rafts, while scores of schools were set up as emergency shelters. The Teesta River, which runs through the area, overflowed its banks in several areas. Officials predict rains will continue through the week.
7 July 2002 – Nearly 100,000 Bangladeshis have fled their homes after heavy rains and floodwaters from neighbouring India inundated bordering northern and south-eastern districts, officials said today. Weather officials said most of the tributaries of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers burst their banks flooding large areas of several districts. "The rapidly rising water in the Teesta river in northern Rangpur district have flooded Gangachara and Kaunia upazilas (sub-districts)," Rangpur district administrator Monirul Islam said. He said about 20,000 villagers in the two sub-districts fled their flooded homes for higher ground, and that many were perched on roofs of partially submerged buildings. But Islam said the situation had improved slightly after rains stopped last night. In Sirajgonj, at least 40,000 people were made homeless after the overflowing Jamuna River flooded 16 villages in the northern district, relief officials said. Weather officials said 200mm of rains were recorded in Sirajgonj district in 72 hours ending this morning. Mostafa Kamal Raider, administrator of the south-eastern Noakhali district said half a million people had been affected by floods, triggered by heavy rains over the past three days. He said crops, including rice, in 50,000ha had been damaged. More rain is expected in the next few days as the monsoon season assumes its full fury across Bangladesh, said Weather Department officer Asadur Rahman. At least eight people were killed in a mudslide caused by heavy rain in Rangpur and southeastern Cox's Bazar last week.
8 July 2002 – Monsoonal rains and disease killed at least 11 people in Bangladesh as the country struggled to avert disaster caused by flooding from neighbouring India, officials said today. A total of eight people died of diarrhoea after drinking from floodwaters in the southern district of Noakhali, one of the areas worst hit by a week of flooding. A total of three people died in other districts, including a child swept to death in the northern Lalmonirhat area, local officials said. Vast areas of Bangladesh have been inundated by heavy rain and floodwaters, leaving more than half a million people marooned. Bangladeshi authorities ordered disaster officials on "full alert" yesterday, as weather officials predicted "medium to high intensity" floods this monsoon. Agriculture officials said at least 100,000ha of rice growing land had been flooded but they had no estimate of losses.
12 July 2002 – Floods sweeping almost half of Bangladesh have killed at least 45 people, stranded more than a million and left thousands homeless, according to officials. They said today that most of the deaths were caused by diarrhoea after villagers drank floodwater in remote areas, where authorities had earlier sealed off wells contaminated with arsenic. After 12 days of flooding the rain has eased but the situation was expected to worsen over the next week, officials said. Rivers were still slowly rising, further heavy rain was expected and more floodwater was expected to flow down rivers from India, which surrounds Bangladesh on three sides. Strong currents and waves in the Ganges River – which is called Padma in Bangladesh –swept away part of an embankment in Chandpur district, 170km south-east of Dhaka, yesterday, inundating vast areas, officials said. Agriculture officials said more than 150,000ha of rice-growing land had been submerged during current flooding. The country's relief ministry had so far sanctioned the issue of 1,450 tonnes of rice and other essentials for flood-affected people, officials said today. Over the last few years Bangladesh health authorities have sealed off two-thirds of the country's wells, saying ground sources have been contaminated with arsenic which occurs naturally in underground rocks and sediment.
14 July 2002 – A swollen river broke through an embankment today and swamped more than 200 villages in Bangladesh, where an outbreak of water-borne diseases has pushed the death toll from recent flooding to 57. Nearly 1,000 villagers were left homeless after swirling waters swept away their mud-and-straw houses along the banks of the Jamuna River in the district of Sirajganj, 65 miles north-west of Dhaka. Another 50,000 people were stranded by the rising waters. Relief officials said the victims had found shelter in schools and along the broken mud-and-brick embankment. Floods hit more parts of the country today as water raced downstream from the neighbouring Indian state of Assam into Bangladesh. Two weeks of flooding have so far affected nearly 1.5 million people in Bangladesh and caused widespread damage to homes, roads, crops and livestock. The floods have also brought water-borne diseases, which often prove fatal in this impoverished nation. A total of four children died yesterday of diarrhoea caused by polluted water. Relief officials said diarrhoea had afflicted nearly 3,000 people and caused 34 deaths in the latest flooding. Another 23 people drowned. In Assam, where the floods have affected nearly 700,000 people and damaged roads and crops, water levels in the Brahmaputra River fell yesterday. Assam authorities have sent medical and relief teams to help an estimated 3,000 residents of five villages washed away by the Subansiri, a Brahmaputra tributary. Another three women died on Thursday (11 July) when a boat in which they were travelling capsized on a river near the state capital, Gauhati, local magistrate K.C. Kalita said today, four others on the boat swam to safety. The Assam government has asked Indian federal authorities for $82.5m in emergency aid. The authorities have not yet made a decision on the request. In Bihar, another flood-hit Indian state bordering Bangladesh, ten people have died of diarrhoea and hundreds of people with gastroenteritis were being treated at a hospital. The deaths were reported in the district of Muzaffarpur, 55 miles north of the state capital, Patna, where at least six people have already been washed away by floodwaters, the district's Flood Control Office said.
24 July 2002 – The Bangladesh army joined rescue operations today after a fresh wave of floods and mudslides killed at least eight people and cut off highways in south-eastern Bangladesh. Floods set off by heavy monsoon rains have killed about 49 people in Bangladesh in the past two weeks, including some from water-borne diseases, officials say. Thousands of families have been displaced by the flooding and the waters are still rising, officials said. The latest deaths occurred in worsening floods over the past three days in the country's prime beach resort, Cox's Bazar, and Chittagong, officials said. "Among the latest victims, six have drowned in Cox's Bazar district and two died when their houses collapsed in Chittagong," said Monzoor Morshed Chowdhury, an administrative official at Cox's Bazar. Soldiers were trying to clear mudslides blocking the two main access highways to Cox's Bazar. "We are trying to remove tons of mud that rolled down on the roads from nearby hills," said an army officer at Rangamati hill town, 350km south-east of Dhaka. Bangladesh officials said they had no estimate of how many people have been made homeless in this year's floods, but they said over one million people were affected, with many having lost their homes and crops.
1 August 2002 – A total of 15 new deaths were reported in Bangladesh, where a third of the country is under-water and more than five million people have been forced from their homes. More than 90 people have died in floods this month, in the impoverished country which is crossed by rivers that flow in from India and empty into the Bay of Bengal. The deaths were due to drowning, mudslides, electrocution and snake bites, officials said.
19 August 2002 – Monsoon rains and raging floods threatened to engulf new areas in Bangladesh today, officials said, while collapsing homes in rural Nepal killed at least five more people in recent days. Havoc unleashed by South Asia's monsoon rains has killed more than 900 people and displaced nearly 23 million people across the region over the past two months. Rivers in the Brahmaputra River basin, fed by rains and floodwaters running down from neighbouring India, continued to rise today, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre said in Dhaka. The swollen Jamuna, Teesta and Dharla rivers threatened to flood the northern districts of Bogra, Rangpur and Gaibandha for the third time in the past two months. The farming region has been reeling from the country's worst floods in four years. The centre warned that conditions were likely to deteriorate this week because of even more rains. The floods have killed at least 157 people in Bangladesh. Nearly seven million people have been stranded or forced to leave their homes. In Nepal, three people died in Deurali, a village about 75 miles west of Kathmandu, when the roof of their house collapsed following heavy rains on Saturday (17 August). Four family members were pulled out alive by villagers, an interior ministry official said. In Kusunti village, about ten miles south of Katmandu, two people died and six were injured in another house collapse, the official said, The death toll from landslides and flooding in this Himalayan nation has reached 429. In eastern India, at least 24 people died between Friday and yesterday from drowning, when their homes collapsed or from bites by poisonous snakes swimming through the floodwaters, Manoranjan, an undersecretary at Bihar state's Relief and Rehabilitation Department, said yesterday. The deaths raised the toll in India's Bihar state to 300. Another 39 people have died in India's north-eastern state of Assam. Nearly 16 million people have been displaced by flooding in Bihar, where 338,000 houses have collapsed, officials said. Weather officials have forecast more rains for India this week.
27 May 2002 – Haiti
Torrential rains pounded Haiti for a fourth day today, causing flooding and landslides and killing at least ten people. Almost 100 people were left homeless in the southern peninsula of this Caribbean nation, officials said. Heavy rains have battered the eroded hills since Friday (24 May), carrying away people, their houses and livestock, and destroying fields. Country roads were cut off and bridges swept away when streams overflowed their banks from Les Cayes, about 95 miles south-west of the capital, to Anse D'Hainault, on the tip of the peninsula, about 140 miles west of the capital. On Friday, two men drowned when they tried to swim across the swollen river at Port-a-Piment, about 19 miles west of Les Cayes. Others died when their houses, built on eroded river banks, collapsed, ten bodies were recovered, it is not clear how many others were missing. The rains are likely to continue until Thursday (30 May), said meteorologist Renan Jean-Louis.
30 May 2002 – Torrential rains have killed at least a 21 people in Haiti and left 1,000 people homeless. Heavy rains battered the eroded hills of the southern peninsula from Friday (24 May) to Monday (27 May), easing on Tuesday (28 May) and resuming yesterday. Floods carried away people, their homes and livestock, and destroyed fields, said Civil Defence Director Yolene Surena. "Because of worsening weather after a let-up in rain, we are issuing a flood warning for the entire country," said Ms Surena. Country roads were cut off and bridges swept away when streams overflowed their banks from the south coast town of Les Cayes, about 93 miles from the capital Port-au-Prince, to Anse D'Hainault, about 138 miles west of the capital. Ms Surena blamed much of the flooding on Haiti's environmental degradation. For years, poverty-stricken peasants have been cutting down trees to make charcoal, which is used as domestic and commercial fuel. At the current rate of erosion, there will not be any arable land in Haiti by the year 2040, ecologists say. Most of the deaths occurred when the people attempted to cross swollen streams and rivers.
26 May 2002 – Jamaica
Heavy rains pummelled the island for a fifth straight day today, causing landslides and flash floods and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate their homes in central Jamaica. Officials said four people have died as a result of the rains and flash floods, including a man who was caught in his house when it was demolished today by a mudslide. Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said in a national broadcast today that the government was distributing blankets, food and medical supplies to flood victims, but would not be able to assess the damage until the rains had stopped. "The assessment so far has indicated that several sectors have been severely damaged," Patterson said, but did not say which sectors. Emergency officials, however, have said the central parishes of Clarendon, St Ann's and St Catherine appear to be the hardest hit. The Prime Minister urged Jamaicans in flooded areas to dispose of dead animals to help keep the water supplies clean. Rains were expected to continue through Tuesday (28 May). The National Meteorological Service has issued daily flash flood warnings for Jamaica's 14 parishes since the rains started Wednesday (22 May). In addition to the government handouts, teams from the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were issuing food and emergency relief items in rural areas, parish council leader Orville Lee said, adding that landslides have blocked roads in northern Edgehill district and the town of St Ann's Bay. Most of the main roads in Clarendon that were blocked have been cleared, he said, but there were still some landslides and instances of flooding.
29 May 2002 – The death toll has risen to ten in Jamaica and more than 600 people have taken cover in shelters after a week of torrential rains caused severe flooding and destruction in the northern Caribbean. A total of six deaths were reported on Monday (27 May). The latest confirmed dead in Jamaica, a 19-year-old man in the eastern parish of St Thomas, was swept away by rising waters early on Wednesday. Jamaica's Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management said the displaced were being cared for in shelters across the island, with the central parishes of Clarendon and St Catherine hardest hit. Heavy rainfall and mudslides wreaked havoc across the island, damaging property, stranding livestock and washing away bridges, roads and crops. Forecasters predicted more rains through until Friday (31 May). Prime Minister P.J. Patterson toured sections of Clarendon yesterday but had to abort his inspection due to the state of the terrain. He promised to release emergency funds to help clear blocked drains and to provide food, bedding and blankets for those in shelters, roofing for hundreds of affected houses and planting supplies for farmers.
6 June 2002 – More than a week of heavy rainfall here has left ten people dead, millions of dollars in crop and property damage, and large stretches of residential, commercial and agricultural land under several feet of water. Local authorities have not been able to give comprehensive damage totals, as field assessments are still in progress, but preliminary estimates are daunting. Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke says that initial damage to the agriculture sector is estimated at over US$10m, but notes that when damage to the banana and sugar sectors are added, the figure could run as high as US$16m. The damage to sugar and banana has not yet been fully assessed, as some of those flooded areas are still inaccessible. "There's major damage to Victoria Banana, Eastern Banana (Estates) and almost all the sugar factories had to be closed because they were flooded out. That is going to do much harm to the juice content of the sugar cane and that is going to affect the final output of sugar production for the year," Clarke says. Of the island's 14 parishes, 11 have suffered serious damage to roads, water supply systems, housing, electricity systems and agriculture, says Information Minister Colin Campbell. He says that preliminary estimates of damage to water supply systems island-wide stand at over US$1m, including damage to wells, treatment plants, pumps and electrical systems. About 6,000 persons are said to be without regular water supplies. The National Works Agency estimates that 15 per cent of the road network has been affected.
3 June 2002 – Chile
At least four people have been reported killed in the worst storms to hit Chile in more than 100 years, awakening fears of a return visit of the devastating El Nino weather phenomenon. Torrents of muddy water flooded into hundreds of homes in the capital, financial markets ground to a halt and heavy snow in the Andes mountains blocked the main road link with neighbouring Argentina. The government said more than 6in of rain fell in the last 24 hours. Many towns in the south of the country, which stretches for 2,800 miles down the backbone of South America, were under 4.5ft of snow, local authorities said. The River Mapocho, which runs through downtown Santiago, was in danger of bursting its banks in residential areas. Main streets in the centre of the capital, home to five million people, were unusually quiet as commuters failed to turn up for work. Chilean meteorologist Mirna Araneda said it was unclear if the heavy rains, not unusual in Chile during the Southern Hemisphere winter, were a direct result of the El Nino weather pattern. But she said Chile was due for a bout of El Nino, the weather anomaly blamed for devastating droughts and floods. "Everything indicates that this is the way we are headed. Sixty per cent of the models we use show that the phenomenon should begin between now and three months' time," she said. There were no reports of adverse weather in north Chile's copper belt. Chile is the world's number one copper producer. Flights to Punta Arenas, near the notoriously stormy Cape Horn, were suspended and road connections were cut by snow, local authorities said. Chile's stock exchange ended trading 2.5 hours early
5 June 2003 – In Chile, at least nine people are dead and more than 33,000 others have been made homeless as floodwaters swelled by heavy rains continue to rise. In the capital, Santiago, schools are closed for the third day in a row. However, there are hopes the clean-up could begin soon. The rain is still falling in Santiago, but it is easing and there are high hopes the worst may be over. All schools in the capital and in the surrounding region will be closed again tomorrow and are expected to be reopened by the end of the week. Floodwaters caused major damage to more than 7,500 homes in Santiago and the government estimates at least $1.2b will have to be spent to improve drainage and stop the disaster happening again.
7 June 2002 – Europe
Fierce thunderstorms swept across Europe today, killing eight people and leaving a trail of flooded roads, collapsed houses and downed bridges from France to Poland. Regional officials in north-eastern Italy declared a state of emergency, while the Austrian military was deployed to deal with the flooding aftermath. In Germany, at least three people died in storm-battered Bavaria. An 81-year-old woman died when flood waters poured into her Dierdorf cellar, while two men drowned in a parking garage. In south-eastern France, floods and mudslidescollapsed two houses and carried cars away. About 100 residents of Saint-Geoire-en-Valdaine in the mountainous Isere region were forced to spend last night in a gymnasium. A woman in her 80s was found dead in the rubble of a home partly destroyed by storms, police said. In Poland, a teenage girl and boy were killed by lightning in southern Sosnowiec. A five-year-old girl died after being hit by a falling tree branch in western Pila. Flooding also hit Venice, Italy. Yesterday, Venice waters surged to nearly four feet, setting a record high for June and making footbridges impossible to use. A state of emergency was declared in parts of Fruili, in north-eastern Italy, while rains washed out a bridge over the Cervo river in nearby Biella. Austrian firefighters and other emergency workers were placed on high alert across the province of Lower Austria as swollen rivers broke their banks. High waters flooded several regional highways, forcing their temporary closures. Austrian army troops were mobilised and more than 1,700 fire brigade boats fought the flood damage. At least one man was reported missing. In Switzerland, rail and road traffic was badly disrupted in the central cantons of Lucerne and Schwyz, and agriculture fields, fruit orchards and vines were damaged. Police in Schwyz said they received several hundred distress calls within just two hours.
8 August 2002 – At least five people were killed and some 70 others were reported missing today after flash floods destroyed a campsite near the southern city of Novorosiysk sweeping people into the Black Sea. Interfax reported that more than 80 people were swept into the sea when water gushed down from a nearby mountain and that some 70 people were still missing after around ten people were quickly recovered by rescue workers. The Emergencies Ministry sent several rescue boats into the turbulent waters to search for survivors. In a separate incident in the neighbouring resort village of Abrau-Dyurso, a lake overflowed, sweeping away another campsite. Some 12 people were reported missing in the Abrau-Dyurso incident. ITAR-Tass reported that five people had been confirmed dead in the flooding, although it was not clear whether the bodies were recovered from the sea or from the destroyed campsite at Abrau-Dyurso. Initial reports said the floods were caused by torrential rains that hit the region yesterday. Reports said the emergencies ministry had evacuated more than 440 people from Novorosiysk. The rains disrupted train services in the region and swept away several roads.
9 August 2002 – Torrential rains in Europe inundated Austrian villages today, swept away campers on Russia's Black Sea coast, flooded London's subway system and battered vineyards and olive groves in northern Italy. At least five people were killed in some of the continent's worst flooding in decades. On Russia's Black Sea coast, two bodies of flood victims were found in the village of Abrau-Dyurso, said Viktor Beltsov, a spokesman for Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry. At least 100 people were missing, but there were no details on their situation. Rising waters submerged camps and resorts near the port of Novorossiisk, sweeping away people who were camping near the Black Sea, Beltsov said. He did not know how many people were missing, but he said ten people were picked out of the water alive, two of them in a grave condition. Seven villages in the area were flooded, forcing evacuation of at least 440 people, said Oleg Grekov, spokesman for the Southern Federal District's Emergency Situations Ministry. In south-western Romania, a 62-year-old man and an eight-year-old boy died as floodwaters swept through villages. Some 2,000 people were evacuated from flooded homes in southern Bohemia in the Czech Republic, where a 21-year-old student was killed when a falling tree crushed a cottage in Pisek, 55 miles south of Prague, Czech state-run radio reported. Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla went to Ceske Budejovice, 95 miles south of the capital, where part of the town was under water. In Austria, 350 soldiers, thousands of fire-fighters and scores of Red Cross volunteers were helping evacuate people from low-lying areas threatened by floodwaters in Upper Austria and the northern Waldviertel area of Lower Austria. In London, heavy rain caused extensive flooding of the city's subway and train system, closing several stations and cutting services before the morning rush hour. The British capital suffered the worst of the storms that swept England overnight, and rail operators warned commuters to expect long delays throughout the day. Jay Merritt, spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies, said the flooding had created a "huge backlog of services". In northern Italy, hail and heavy rain battered much of the region, damaging wine grapes, tobacco crops and olive groves. Nearly 3in of rain fell earlier in the week in Brescia, near Milan – more than the average monthly rainfall for all of August. In Bulgaria, flooding left dozens of villages without electricity. State radio reported two farmers were killed by lightning. In Lower Austria, the River Kamp rose to its highest level since records were first kept in 1896, said Franz Hauer of the province's Hydrographic Service. Helicopters lowered rescuers on ropes to save residents from rooftops in the Kamp Valley village of Zoebing. Although at least one dam burst and officials were releasing water from others to ease the pressure, there were no immediate reports of injuries in Austria, where the flood damage was expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
11 August 2002 – Flooding and storms are thought to have killed seven people in Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Heavy rains have also brought chaos to Croatia, the Crimea, Austria and Italy. In Britain, dozens of homes were evacuated on England's north-east coast after torrential rain brought fresh flooding. In North Yorkshire around 100 families took shelter in hostels after the severe weather hit ten miles of coastline. The Meteorological Office said the heavy showers and thunderstorms that have afflicted much of the country in the past week should die out by this evening. In the north of France, more than double the normal rain fell in July and then gave way to cool weather and dark clouds that blotted out sunshine – crucial for thousands of small French businesses during the summer months. In Bulgaria, civil defence officials said weather conditions were improving after days of heavy rains and floods that damaged hundreds of homes, roads, bridges and crops, killed livestock and activated landslides in northern and southern Bulgaria.
11 August 2002 – An Emergencies Ministry spokesman said 49 bodies has been recovered so far around the port of Novorossiysk while another nine had been found near the holiday resort of Sochi and Tuapse. But the ministry said the worst of the danger had passed and weather conditions were now improving after swirling muddy floodwater, caused by torrential rain, surged through resorts and holiday sites in southern Russia. "According to our forecasts, the main threat has passed," Deputy Emergencies Minister Yuri Vorobyev told President Vladimir Putin at a special meeting in the Kremlin yesterday. Many of the victims were found in the resort of Shirokaya Balka, just 16km from Novorossiysk and one of the worst hit by the flooding. Dozens of cars and other vehicles were swept into the sea, and bridges and roads washed away by enormous waves of water sweeping down on resorts from higher ground, eyewitnesses interviewed on television said. The flooding, that was accompanied by a violent tornado, forced the evacuation of thousands of holidaymakers from summer camps and villages along the coast. Ministry sources quoted by ITAR-Tass news agency said more than 1,500 people living in the region had been left without homes, including 800 children. Russian news agencies said scores of people were still missing, raising the prospect of a significantly higher final death toll, while many hundreds of holidaymakers were stranded with no immediate means of getting back home.
12 August 2002 – Fresh rainfall today fed already swollen rivers in southern Germany increasing flooding that has already caused significant damage to the area. The states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg both declared states of emergency this weekend as rains washed out roads, caused landslides and flooded homes. Worst hit was the south-eastern portion of Baden-Wuerttemberg. In the city of Reutlingen, south of Stuttgart, roads and buildings were completely under-water while short-circuiting electrical systems were causing sporadic fires. In the southern Bavarian town of Moosach, residents had to be evacuated from their homes by boat, and in nearby Glonn, water was as high as the windows of many houses. The only storm-related fatality, however, was reported in Lower Saxony when a 31-year-old man was killed when he lost control of the Red Cross van he was driving and hit a tree. The German weather service is warning that the rains could continue until midday tomorrow in Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg. The storms have caused flooding in many countries, most notably in Russia where more than 50 people were reported dead by today.
12 August 2002 – Giant cranes hoisted ruined cars and other debris out of the Black Sea today, as the death toll from torrential flooding that hit the Russian resort region rose to 58. Clean-up crews scoured the normally crowded coastal beaches, searching for more bodies among the wreckage, said Irina Andriyanova, spokeswoman for the Emergency Situations Ministry in Moscow. She said that 44,000ft2 of coastline had been inspected. Russia suffered most from the floodwaters that swept across Europe this past week, killing a total of 68 people, destroying homes and washing away roads and bridges. Thousands of Russian tourists who had descended on the Black Sea Coast for their summer vacations were caught up in the surprise flooding. Many remain stranded, their cars swept out to sea by a wall of water that came rushing down from the mountains. The Interfax news agency reported that as many as 4,000 tourists were still trapped in Shirokaya Balka, a scenic coastal village that was devastated by the flooding. Ivan Aristov, deputy chief of the administration of the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, said that all would be offered the chance to return home. But Russia's NTV reported today that many tourists were choosing to stay, saying that they had already paid for their vacations. Meanwhile, Prosecutor Nikolai Buzko told the ITAR-Tass news agency that an investigative team was being formed to examine all of the deaths for possible criminal prosecution. The team was also examining why some buildings had been erected in areas where development is prohibited due to erosion and flooding concerns. In Germany, Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg states both declared emergencies as weekend (10-11 August) rains washed out roads, caused landslides and flooded homes. Firefighters in the eastern city of Leipzig were called out 300 times in the early hours of this morning as residents tried to protect their homes from rising floodwaters. A police officer died after her car ran out of control and turned over late last night on the way to Wismar on Germany's Baltic Sea coast. In Austria, authorities used helicopters to rescue stranded homeowners from rooftops and 4,000 soldiers joined sandbagging operations today. Officials evacuated dozens of residents from towns and villages in parts of the waterlogged provinces of Lower Austria and Upper Austria. In Linz, about 120 miles west of Vienna, emergency personnel lowered baskets from helicopters to rescue homeowners, Austrian radio reported. Water levels in the Danube River, which flows through Vienna, were also being carefully monitored.
13 August 2002 – Prague authorities ordered the evacuation of an estimated 50,000 people early today as the biggest flood for more than a century approached the Czech capital. Mayor Igor Nemec told a news conference that parts of Mala Strana, the medieval part of the picturesque city centre, would be flooded by tomorrow as heavy rain in the south forced dams on the river Vltava, which flows through Prague, to open their gates. Nemec said those who could drive away from low-lying districts should do so immediately, and that authorities would start taking people to schools and other shelters at midday today. "We have to start now with the evacuation of Karlin, Lower Liben, Mala Strana, Smichov and Holesovice," Nemec told reporters. Heavy rains have since last week been swelling rivers in the south of the country, upstream in the Vltava and its tributaries, and soaking the ground until it can absorb no more water. The floods have killed seven people so far, and thousands have been evacuated from towns and cities including the regional capital Ceske Budejovice, home to the Czech Budweiser beer, and Cesky Krumlov, another popular tourist destination. Jiri Friedel from Povodi Vltavy, a state company managing dams on the Vltava, said Prague had not since 1890 seen the river as high as was expected tomorrow. "Because of very bad weather and very intensive rain in the whole Vltava area, the water flow in Prague will rise to 3,100 cubic metres per second," he said. This is nearly 20 times the average for this time of the year. The evacuation order came as a surprise, after city authorities said earlier in the day they believed the river would only overflow in a few areas. Heavy rains were also lashing parts of Austria and Germany. Flooding killed dozens on Russia's Black Sea coast last week.
13 August 2002 – Europe's flooding death toll swelled to at least 74 today as torrential rains unleashed raging waters that swept away Russian tourists, triggered landslides in Germany and Switzerland and shut down shipping on the Danube River in Austria. In the Czech Republic, rivers overflowed their banks forcing thousands from their homes and threatening the historic capital, Prague, where workers were moving books and important documents to higher floors in the National Library and the Senate. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla declared a state of emergency in Prague and the regions of Bohemia, Plzen and Karlovy Vary. Russia was by far the hardest-hit area, with at least 58 deaths. Thousands of Russian tourists who had descended on the Black Sea coast for their summer vacations were caught in the surprise flooding. Many remained stranded today, their cars swept out to sea by a wall of water that came rushing down from the mountains. As many as 4,000 tourists were still trapped in Shirokaya Balka, a scenic coastal village that was devastated by the flooding, the Interfax news agency reported. An investigative team was being formed to examine all the deaths for possible criminal charges, prosecutor Nikolai Buzko told the ITAR-Tass news agency. The team was also examining why some buildings had been erected in areas where development is prohibited because of erosion and flooding concerns. Austria saw its first three casualties in more than a week of unprecedented flooding. Two were in hard-hit towns in Salzburg province, where a firefighter was swept away by a churning river in Mariapfarr, and a man's body was found floating in a flooded cellar in Hallein. The third was a man who was crushed in a landslide near the village of Kirchheim in Upper Austria province. In Germany, a police officer died after her car went out of control and turned over late Sunday night on the way to Wismar on the Baltic Sea coast, and a 68-year-old woman died of exhaustion while trying to clear her flooded basement in Dresden. Near the city of Jena, another driver was killed in an accident that injured nine others, officials said. Authorities in Thuringia state issued a flood alert for the Pleisse River, which broke its banks. Firefighters stacked 30,000 sandbags to protect houses from the rising water, and hundreds of German soldiers were helping residents reinforce riverbanks in other critical areas. In the north, a train derailed near Hamburg after running into a mudslide caused by the rain. No one was injured, though the conductor and a passenger were treated for shock. In northern Italy, where unusually heavy rain and hail ravaged grapevines, fruit, olives, tobacco and other crops last week, the nation's largest agriculture group estimated the damage at about $300m. Premier Silvio Berlusconi approved $50m in emergency aid today. In the Czech Republic, thousands of people fled their homes today after several rivers overflowed their banks. In Radotin, a small town west of Prague, a man drowned in the swollen Vltava River, raising the national death toll to seven. Authorities feared the Vltava could flood some areas of Prague, including the famous Kampa island, known for its architecture, and a zoo on the outskirts of the Czech capital. Some animals were moved to higher ground as a precaution. About 100 patients in a Prague hospital in the flood zone were evacuated today. In eastern Switzerland, torrential rains caused a series of small landslides, including one that cut off a rail line between Chur and Arosa. Another on the Griesalp mountain in central Switzerland swept away a bridge, stranding more than 150 people until an emergency span could be put in place. Austrian authorities used helicopters to rescue stranded homeowners from rooftops in Linz, about 120 miles west of Vienna, and 4,000 soldiers joined sandbagging operations today in the waterlogged provinces of Lower Austria and Upper Austria. Water levels in the Danube River, which flows through Vienna, were being closely monitored. Austria's navigation authority halted all shipping on the Danube today as water levels neared 100-year highs, spokesman Reinhard Vorderwinkler said. In Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, a sightseeing boat sank today after being swamped in the flood-swollen Salzach River. There were no injuries.
13 August 2002 – The German and Austrian Danube stretches have been indefinitely closed to shipping because of flooding from heavy rains in Danube regions, German and Austrian Danube authorities said yesterday. The normally navigable, 550km (342 mile) stretches of the river, in those two countries, were closed step by step as flooded points spread from early 12 August to early 13 August, the authorities said. It is expected to take days before receding waters and clean-up operations permit a reopening of the river in the two countries. The closure means shipping from the North Sea to Danube stations in Germany and Austria and beyond to points along its trajectory through six south-eastern European countries to the Black Sea is halted. The Rhine and German Main River links to the Danube have not been closed by the flooding.
14 August 2002 – Tens of thousands of Czechs fled Prague for higher ground today as torrential rains turned the Vltava River into a menacing cascade and unleashed more flooding that has now killed at least 88 people across Europe. Heading toward Prague's Old Town, the heart of the capital and a popular tourist stop, the Vltava inflicted the worst flooding in more than a century on the Czech Republic. Officials said at least nine people died after more than a week of heavy rainfall. Water engulfed Prague's historic Kampa island, flooding buildings dating to the Hapsburg Empire. Volunteers gathered around landmarks and scrambled to fill hundreds of sandbags in a desperate bid to save the city's treasures from rising waters. Cranes worked under floodlights and in pouring rain late today to pull up crushed boats, barrels and even a refrigerator and help the swirling river slip past barriers. Volunteers sprayed plastic foam into the cracks between the sandbags to prevent water from seeping through. At least 40,000 residents of low-lying areas of Prague were ordered to leave their homes today, and a total of 200,000 were evacuated nation-wide, Interior Minister Stanislav Gross said. The 340-room Intercontinental Hotel and the Four Seasons Hotel evacuated their guests at the peak of the summer tourist season. However by 2100 tonight, the threat to the Old Town appeared to be easing. Czech television said the Vltava was expected to rise only by another foot, and Jan Buergermeister, the official in charge of the area, said even triple that would affect only the evacuated areas. Weather forecasters in Prague were predicting the rain would move east, away from the capital, and diminish in intensity in the near future. Emergency workers cleared bridges of hundreds of people watching the rising waters, but many tourists ignored the call to evacuate. In neighbouring Austria, where at least seven people have died, firefighters and Red Cross volunteers were stacking sandbags to hold back parts of the swollen Danube River, which flooded Vienna's port and some low-lying streets. The Danube punched through dams in the town of Ybbs in Lower Austria province today, and emergency workers waded along railroad tracks, pulling out debris. The Defence Ministry said 8,000 soldiers were battling floods in Upper Austria and along the Danube. The flooding affected an estimated 60,000 Austrians, who were either evacuated from their homes or suffered flood damage, authorities said. In Salzburg province, more than 1,000 buildings were under-water, and in the badly flooded Danube town of Krems, residents were urged to abandon lower floors tonight. Most of Europe's flooding casualties were in Russia, where at least 58 people were killed late last week – mostly Russian tourists vacationing on the Black Sea who were hit by floodwaters that swept cars and tents out to sea. In Germany, where firefighters and soldiers stacked sandbags to reinforce strained river banks, a 71-year-old man drowned last night in flooding in Dresden, and a cascade of mud and water swept away two adults and a child today, German authorities said. Numerous dams were in danger of breaking in towns along the Danube near Passau, a city on the Austrian border whose old town was completely submerged today. In Romania, flooding and strong winds killed at least seven people in recent days. In the eastern part of the country, a small tornado struck a house yesterday, killing a 24-year-old woman and her 17-month-old baby. Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, who declared a state of emergency last night, deployed 4,000 soldiers throughout the country. Officials called the flooding Prague's worst since 1890.
15 August 2002 – Floods in southern Russia have curtailed rail transport, leading to a delay of at least one week in oil product exports from the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, shipping and trading sources said yesterday. Dealers said crude oil shipments from the port were not affected as they were transported by pipeline, while oil product exports from other Black Sea ports such as Batumi, Odessa and Tuapse were also unaffected by the floods. "In Novorossiysk there is a problem, there is a delay of at least one week for products from there. Maybe we shall start exports next week," said one regular lifter of Russian oil products from the Black Sea. Traders looking to buy Black Sea barrels from Novorossiysk have been told that it is unlikely that any will be available for loading until the end of August. "If the port is closed for longer, then we should see high sulphur, straight-run fuel-oil moving up," a trader said. The port ships almost exclusively high sulphur straight-run fuel-oil, which is used by refiners in the region to produce light and middle distillates. Premiums of the grade have so far only inched up, but traders said prices would rise if no cargoes emerged from the port for two weeks in a row.
15 August 2002 – The German city of Dresden is bracing for its worst flooding in 150 years, while residents of Prague in the neighbouring Czech Republic assessed the damage already done to their historic city. Many other parts of central Europe also remained on alert for floods that have killed at least 82 people from the Black Sea to the Baltic and destroyed billions of euros worth of buildings, infrastructure and crops. The rising water had already submerged some of Dresden's historic squares and palaces yesterday and as the tide advanced to new areas, army helicopters evacuated hundreds of hospital patients to other cities and were on standby to fly out 3,600 more. "The tributaries around the Elbe are overflowing and the Elbe is still rising," said Irina Duevel, a spokeswoman for Lower Saxony's Interior Ministry. The river had been expected to reach 8.5m, its highest level since 31 March 1845, by early today. However, officials expressed some relief as the water rose more slowly than expected overnight to 7.35m by 0300 today. "We have been positively surprised," a spokesman for the regional interior ministry said. However, new parts of the city were flooded overnight and authorities said the river could still surpass the 1845 record. Thousands of works of art in the city's Zwinger Palace, home to one of Europe's great art collections including Raphael's Sistine Madonna, were moved to higher levels as water flooded its vaults and the basement of the Semper Opera House next door. German authorities were also focusing attention on other endangered cities, notably Dessau, and monitoring water levels at Bitterfeld, home to 350 chemical firms, including units of Bayer AG, which manufactures Aspirin there. A spokesman for the crisis centre monitoring the situation in Dessau said early today that the River Mulde that passes through Dessau and Bitterfeld was receding. "That means significant relief for the Bitterfeld area," the spokesman said. However, the crisis was not over in Dessau, with officials expressing concern that the more the Elbe swelled, the less quickly the Mulde could drain into it. Emergency workers and volunteers worked to patch up sodden dykes around the town. Floodwaters, triggered by heavy rainfall last week in Austria and southern Germany, were also reported to be swelling the Danube and threatening to wreak havoc in parts of Slovakia. Authorities declared a state of emergency in the capital Bratislava, where soldiers built anti-flood barriers near the central medieval district. While Dresden braced for more damage residents of Prague expressed relief that frantically erected defences had kept flood waters from inundating the precious Old Town area. Czech emergency workers said the River Vltava, which flows into the Elbe and on to Dresden, 270km to the north of Prague, had ebbed slightly, receding from the top of heavy steel barriers thrown up to protect the Old Town area. Prague Mayor Igor Nemec said that while the situation had improved somewhat, it could be days before some of the thousands of people evacuated could return home. "It's still unsafe," Nemec said.
16 August 2002 – A man was killed as Czech police commandos struggled to sink five cargo vessels that had floated out of control on the swollen River Elbe yesterday heading towards the flooded German city of Dresden. The vessels broke free from their moorings on the Elbe more than 50km upstream from Dresden. One loaded with 600 tonnes of rapeseed was still loose and floating towards the city, a municipal official said. A Czech man was killed by shrapnel while watching the special police blow up one of the boats, which had run into a bridge in the northern town of Decin, Czech Television reported. Police were not immediately available to confirm the report. German officials had feared the vessels – four barges and a tugboat – could damage bridges as they drifted downstream. The officials said another two pontoon vessels had broken free from their moorings on the German part of the Elbe upstream from Dresden and that police were trying to bring them under control. The German cultural jewel of Dresden faced its worst flooding in 150 years yesterday. Nine people have already been confirmed dead in the region as a result of the floods.
16 August 2002 – The worst floods in at least 150 years have driven tens of thousands of people from their homes across eastern Germany as volunteers mounted a desperate battle to protect the historic centre of the city of Dresden. Officials said they saw no end yet to the rising water and feared that landmarks of Baroque Dresden might be swamped. The River Elbe rose to 8.92m this morning, beating the highest level on record of 8.77m seen in 1845. The last four bridges still open were closed to public traffic and officials said the river would probably surpass 9m. Some 30,000 people were being evacuated from five districts of the city, three Dresden hospitals and old people's homes. Thousands of emergency workers and volunteers battled by torchlight through the night, piling up sandbags to protect the city's centre, which boasts architectural gems like the Zwinger Palace, the Semper Opera and the cathedral. "The Zwinger is under water, but most of the old town is still all right. However, the Elbe is still rising and there's no end in sight," a spokeswoman for the Dresden fire brigade said. Regions along the route of the floods that have swept central Europe this week face a multi-billion-euro cost to clean up after the tide, which has killed more than 80 people from the Black Sea to the Baltic. The German government said it was prepared to foot the bill for billions of euros worth of repairs to the country's public infrastructure and announced it was providing hundreds of millions of euros in emergency cash relief to flood victims. A spokeswoman for the city of Dresden said it was impossible to estimate the cost of the floods yet. "The art galleries have saved all their treasures, but we don't know about the damage to the buildings," she said. In the eastern town of Pirna, which is above Dresden on the Elbe near the Czech border, emergency services evacuated about 6,000 residents overnight helped by German and US troops. Emergency services said another 35,000 people in the cities of Bitterfeld and Magdeburg in the neighbouring state of Saxony-Anhalt were also on stand-by to abandon their homes. Authorities said chemical plants around Bitterfeld were not in danger of being flooded, allaying fears of chemical leaks similar to a release of chlorine into the air following flood damage to a chemical plant near Prague yesterday. In historic Prague, officials were counting the costs as water levels eased on the River Vltava from their peak on Wednesday (14 August) and Prague's Old Town looks to have been spared. Other central European towns and cities were also still on alert for floods. Authorities in the Slovak capital Bratislava and the Hungarian capital Budapest said they were closely monitoring water levels on the Danube.
17 August 2002 – Czech police carrying explosives swooped from helicopters on to runaway barges yesterday in a desperate attempt to prevent them from demolishing bridges as floodwaters continued their devastation along the banks of the Elbe River. Late yesterday, the worst of the flooding had moved downstream to Dresden, southern Germany, where tens of thousands of people evacuated their homes amid predictions the water would peak at 11m. Evacuations on a similar scale were ordered by emergency officials further north in the central eastern city of Magedeburg and into Brandenburg state, surrounding Berlin. At least 100 people have died in Europe's flooding, 11 were killed in Germany, but most casualties were in Russia, where the death toll stood at 59 –mostly Russian tourists vacationing on the Black Sea who were swept away by swiftly moving water. Earlier, with three heavily laden barges careering towards already fragile bridges near the Czech town of Decin, an airborne operation became the last hope of preventing the vessels from causing further damage. One barge, loaded with 600 tonnes of rapeseed, was blown up but failed to sink. One man died on the riverbank after being hit by shrapnel from the explosion after he ignored warnings to keep away from the shoreline, police said. Experts are now turning their attention to potential health hazards posed by the floods. The European Commission said yesterday that it would offer financial aid to the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany, the main victims of flood devastation. In the Czech capital Prague, receding waters did little to alleviate the chaos caused by the city's worst flooding in living memory. A four-storey block of flats collapsed in the Karlin district of the city.
17 August 2002 – Five vessels which broke loose in the Krasne Brezno port near Ustinad Labem this morning and damaged a high-pressure gas pipeline in the nearby Nestemice cannot be caught before Decin, north Bohemia, Usti nad Labem Deputy Governor Jaroslav Foldyna told CTK. The vessels can significantly damage the pillars of bridges over the Labe (Elbe) River, he said. Interior Ministry spokeswoman Gabriela Bartikova told CTK that Minister Stanislav Gross had decided, after consulting experts, that the vessels be sunk. At this moment the police are working on it. One of the vessels has already damaged a high-voltage pylon in the Decin district. The electricity supply in the area has been cut. However, rescuers have warned that it would be impossible to sink the vessels before Decin. There is a danger that the vessels will cross the border with Germany, the regional emergency staff told their German colleagues. Usti nad Labem Governor Jiri Sulc has set up guards to monitor the movement of the vessels. The emergency staff is trying to find out who is the owner of the vessels. It is only certain that they do not belong to the Ceskoslovenska plavba labska (Czech Elbe) navigation company.
18 August 2002 – Helicopters ferried sandbags to plug the dikes of flooding rivers in eastern Germany today, as workers scrambled to protect a huge chemical complex and towns such as Wittenberg. Upstream, Dresden authorities were weighing when the sinking level of the Elbe could allow some of the thousands evacuated from the city to return to inspect the damage to their homes. With Germany now the focus of the flooding that has killed at least 105 people across Europe, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was to meet in Berlin today with European Commission President Romano Prodi and leaders from Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to discuss how to tackle the devastation. Insurance company Allianz has estimated the bill in Germany alone at up to $14.8b. Still recovering from its own devastating floods, Russia announced today that it will send equipment and experts to help Germany and other European countries. Russia's Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu told Interfax news agency that 15 trucks carrying motorised water pumps would depart Tuesday for Germany. In the German town of Bitterfeld, hundreds of emergency workers and soldiers were working feverishly to fix a break in the bank of the Mulde River, whose water has covered part of the town since yesterday. Its 16,000 inhabitants were evacuated in advance. Officials characterised the situation as critical though stable, and environmental groups have warned of a catastrophe if
the water reaches the factories and toxic chemicals stored there. Trucked-in sand was being shovelled into sacks. A fleet of six helicopters dropped the sacks directly into the breach in the dike or set them down near an industrial site hosting some 350 chemical plants so that workers could build defences. On the Elbe, a dike gave way overnight near Wittenberg, officials said. Emergency workers scrambled to throw up new defences just to the north as the water advanced, said Ronald Gauert, a spokesman for the town, which has about 50,000 inhabitants. In Dresden, where officials are battling to keep the water out of expensively restored monuments such as the Semper Opera and Zwinger Palace museum, officials said it was possible some residents may be allowed to return home today. Several neighbourhoods were flooded in recent days, but the Elbe had fallen about 20in from its historic high of 31ft reached early yesterday, city spokesman Karl Schuricht said. Two bridges across the river have been opened. Divers were examining a third, built in 1893, to see if it was still sound. Some of the almost 40,000 evacuees across Saxony state were allowed back to their homes in Pirna, farther upstream toward the Czech border.
19 August 2002 – Some 19,000 German soldiers worked today to raise dykes as floods surged down the River Elbe, and Czech authorities warned of the threat of disease posed by sewage, rubbish and carcases left in the water's wake. Well over 100,000 people have been evacuated in eastern Germany, wide swathes of which have been swamped. "In a lot of places it's a race against time," a local authority spokesman in the northern town of Lueneburg said today. Two chemical plants in Lauenburg, 40km from the port city of Hamburg, were also evacuated as north Germany braced itself for the flood wave. The River Elbe burst through sodden dykes protecting the historic eastern German town of Wittenberg. The water also flowed over dykes protecting the city of Magdeburg, further downriver. At least 97 people have been killed by storms and floods in Germany, Russia, Austria and the Czech Republic in recent weeks. Hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes, harvests have been ruined and buildings and roads destroyed. Some estimate the cost of the damage in Germany alone at more than euros 10b (£6.2b). Authorities in Prague, where a massive clean-up is under way, warned of disease as hot weather sped up the decay of debris left behind by the receding water last week. Many sewage treatment plants were knocked out of operation. Many residents of the Karlin district, evacuated from low-lying areas to schools and other public buildings last week, were still unable to return home because of the poor condition of buildings and the threat of disease. In Dresden, where water levels rose five-fold last week to over 9m in the worst flood on record, authorities said they were aware of the danger of disease. "We're offering hepatitis vaccinations and urging people not to touch food after they've been working around the water," said Irina Duevel, spokeswoman for the environment ministry in the state of Saxony, of which Dresden is the capital. But the danger of an epidemic was limited, she said.
20 August 2002 – Fears were growing today that dangerous toxins may be seeping from a Czech chemical plant and washing north through Germany in the waters of the swollen River Elbe. German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin was due to visit the Spolana plant, 15km north of Prague, today to seek information on the alleged leak of dioxins and mercury from facilities still under water. Czech police have begun an investigation into the plant, amid allegations that chemicals may not have been stored correctly. There is already widespread concern about the spread of disease by animal carcases swept along in the waters, which have left large swathes of the Czech Republic and central and eastern Germany under water. Towns in northern Germany were on alert as the swollen River Elbe surged towards Hamburg, where it empties into the North Sea. The number of people killed in Germany has now reached 18 while across Europe more than 100 have perished in the floods. The Czech authorities said there was no risk of an environmental catastrophe at the Spolana plant but admitted that the situation was serious and there was an ongoing threat of toxic leaks. A cloud of chlorine gas was released when the plant was swamped by the floods last week but it is believed to have been too small to have posed a threat. On Sunday (18 August), specialists began pumping chlorine from the plant's stores into separate tanks. Mr Trittin expressed grave concerns about contamination from the plant when it was submerged last week, and his visit, accompanied by Czech Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek, is aimed at easing German concerns. Authorities in the Czech Republic, have also warned that debris left by the floods is a health risk. Many sewage treatment plants in Prague were forced to halt operations and fears of disease and structural damage to buildings have kept many residents from returning to their homes. However, the roads into Prague were reported to be choked today as evacuees returned home. Towns and villages along the northern stretch of the Elbe remained on a state of alert today, with thousands of people evacuated. However, the city of Magdeburg escaped the worst when waters peaked there overnight but did not breach the sandbag defences erected by volunteers. In the state of Lower Saxony, initial evacuations in several towns were under way today. In the town of Luechow-Dannenberg water levels rose by 60cm in 24 hours. Four million Germans have already been affected, forcing well over 100,000 to flee their homes. The German government decided yesterday to delay for a year planned tax cuts to finance the cost of clean-up operations. Spokesman Joerg Mueller said the decision would allow about euros 7.5b ($7.3b) to be released. Private donations have also amassed tens of millions of euros in funds for the affected areas. European Commission President Romano Prodi has promised EU aid for the four countries – Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – worst affected by the disaster.
21 August 2002 – Thousands of Germans have been evacuated from their homes to escape floods that have triggered what Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said was the biggest operation since the Second World War. About 20,000 people were leaving their homes in the northern state of Lower Saxony today as the waters surged northwards, while in the rural north-east, emergency workers reinforced dykes on the River Elbe as the high point of the floodwaters passed. British soldiers based in Germany were helping at the request of the German army, while Poland donated 150,000 sandbags. French troops were at work in Dresden, and Russian equipment was being used in the eastern state of Brandenburg. Floods caused by unusually heavy rain have killed at least 97 people in Germany, Russia, Austria and the Czech Republic in recent weeks. The floods have driven hundreds of thousands from their homes, ruined harvests and destroyed buildings and roads. The damage in the eastern Saxony region, hit hard last week, will exceed euros 15b, state officials said. Schroeder said 50,000 troops, border police and the technical assistance authority were fighting the floods and cleaning up after them, as well as 100,000 volunteers.
14 June 2002 – Russia
Torrential rains in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan have triggered mudslides and disrupted water and gas supplies to thousands of people, an emergency official said today. The flooding has caused more than $1.5m in damage to bridges, roads and homes in 12 districts of Dagestan, said Viktor Beltsov, a spokesman for Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry. More than 28,000 people are without running water, and nearly 40,000 are without natural gas, because of damage to water mains and gas pipelines, Beltsov said.
22 June 2002 – Heavy rains in southern Russia have brought severe flooding and a death toll that climbed to 11 people today. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the army to assist in relief efforts. The flooding killed three people in the republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, two in Stavropol and three in Yessentuki, Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said today. Interfax news agency, citing Emergency Ministry sources, reported another three people dead and three missing. Thousands have been evacuated from villages throughout southern Russia, according to news reports. The flooding has washed out bridges, damaged power and telephone lines and caused sewage systems to overflow, officials said. Heavy rains were also reported in the breakaway republic of Chechnya, the bordering Russian republic of Ingushetia and South Ossetia in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Forecasters predict the rains would continue into the weekend (22-23 June), Russia's RTR television reported.
23 June 2002 – Floodwaters swept away homes, washed out bridges and left at least 28 people dead and 20,000 homeless across southern Russia. Rescuers in helicopters plucked residents to safety today – some from trees to which they clung. Other helicopters flew in food and water for drivers stranded on the region's main highway. The victims included two rescue workers, one of whom drowned while helping to evacuate a village in the Stavropol region, 750 miles south of the Moscow, news agencies reported. Buildings battered by floodwaters collapsed killing others when exposed to cold waters or from heart attacks, said Lieutenant Colonel Yuri Kolodkin, duty officer at a special army flood-relief headquarters. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with top ministers in the Kremlin today to discuss relief efforts for those left homeless by the raging rivers, swollen after days of heavy rain. Damage has been estimated at $106m. Helicopters carried out more than 50 evacuation flights in the Stavropol region, in one case rescuing 50 children from a flooded health centre, ITAR-Tass news agency reported. A total of nine people were plucked from trees, ITAR-Tass said. Army helicopters delivered food and water to drivers trapped on the Trans-Caucasian highway. Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu, who flew to the region, said 6,000 people had been evacuated in the past 24 hours, Presidential Press Secretary Alexei Gromov told the Interfax news agency. The flooding destroyed roads, damaged power and telephone lines and caused sewage systems to overflow, officials said. The waters swept away many of the region's frail wooden buildings and cut gas and electricity to villages. In North Ossetia, the regional Emergency Situations Minister, Boris Dzgoyev, said thousands were trapped in their villages and were being evacuated by helicopters. He said 13 bridges were destroyed. The separatist republic of Chechnya was also badly hit, with nearly all bridges over the Argun River swept away and many districts cut off from aid.
24 June 2002 – Residents across southern Russia today began shovelling mud from their water-soaked homes after the flood waters that killed dozens and forced 55,000 to evacuate started to recede. The death toll had climbed to 48 by today and as many as ten people were reported missing, said Lieutenant Colone Alexander Lemeshev at the regional Emergency Situations Ministry. Two rescue workers were among those killed. The flood waters, which began Tuesday (18 June) after heavy rain, started to recede in some areas, and residents returned to homes drenched in mud. Rescue workers scrambled to repair damaged power lines and roads. But as repair work began in some regions, other areas struggled with new flooding. ITAR-Tass news agency reported that the Malka River in Kabardino-Balkaria broke through the dam at Prokhladny today, washing away several houses and a bridge. Officials also rushed to evacuate villages near the raging Kuban River in the Krasnodar region, ITAR-Tass reported. The federal government has sent planeloads of aid to the region, and ordered military units throughout the south to help out. President Vladimir Putin also ordered a commission to be set up to help the region recover from an estimated $106m worth of damage, the Interfax news agency reported yesterday.
25 June 2002 – Thousands of Russians remain in danger as a result of flooding, Russian officials say, putting the death toll at more than 50. Muddy waters swept through towns in Chechnya and neighbouring areas of the North Caucasus last week, taking with them buildings and bridges and leaving thousands of residents homeless. Russian Emergencies Ministry officials conceded that with no full figures available and many people still missing, the final death tally is likely to be higher. According to the ministry officials, around 45,000 homes had been flooded with more than 1,200 completely destroyed. Thousands of people were treated for injuries. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with top ministers in the Kremlin on Saturday (22 June) to assess the situation as emergency services staged desperate rescue attempts. In Chechnya, thousands of Russian servicemen went to restore communications disrupted by the floods. The flooding is estimated to have caused at least $106m worth of damage as many villages remain without electricity and gas and roads have been blocked. In Dagestan, the flood damaged an oil refinery, leaking oil into the Sunzha River which further swept it further into the Capsian Sea. Stavropol, which borders Chechnya, remains one of the hardest-hit regions with the highest death toll. The Republic of Ingushetia, where an entire cement-producing factory was washed away, has been severely affected by torrential waters with its mountainous regions remaining completely cut off from aid. Luckily, Monday morning brought relief to some regions. In Dagestan's city of Kizlyar, waters receded by some 0.7m.
26 June 2002 – The death toll from flooding in southern Russia climbed today to 68, as officials surveyed the widespread damage to towns and villages throughout the region. Nearly 86,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, many of them by helicopter, since the rains began a week ago, said Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov. More than 3,000 residential buildings have been destroyed and nearly 4,000 damaged by the floodwaters, Beltsov said. Roads, bridges, rail lines and gas pipelines have sustained damage, and some 110 towns and villages are without electricity, he said. Emergency Minister Sergei Shoigu was to fly today to Dagestan, one of the worst-hit republics, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. About a third of Dagestan's territory has been submerged in floodwaters. Nearly 12,000 workers are taking part in the rescue and recovery operations, ITAR-Tass reported. A top Russian health official who toured the flood area also said today that he was worried about the possible spread of diseases such as intestinal infections and Hepatitis A. The UN refugee agency in Geneva said a settlement for refugees from Chechnya at Karabulak in Ingushetia had been completely flooded. "Many of the 400 displaced people living there have lost belongings," said Kris Janowski, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. However, he said most of UNHCR's official camps appeared to have come through in good condition, with only a few tents badly damaged.
27 June 2002 – Flooding in southern Russia has caused more than $385m in damage, a top emergency official said today, destroying thousands of buildings, dozens of bridges and sweeping away miles of roads. Deputy Emergency Minister Ruslan Tsalikov told the upper house of parliament that the flooding that has caused 72 deaths has destroyed 4,848 houses, damaged 11,342 buildings and flooded 59,600, and also damaged 110km of gas pipelines. About 1,200 people have been hospitalised in the floods and 4,000 have received medical attention, Tsalikov said, according to ITAR-Tass news agency. An Emergency Ministry aircraft was to carry a medical laboratory to the region. The high water has also completely destroyed 269 bridges, 1,500km of roads and 800km of power lines leaving 131 settlements without electricity, Tsalikov said. Visiting the area today, Emergency Minister Sergei Shoigu said damage from floods is so large that the government will have to budget extra funds for rebuilding, ITAR-Tass reported.
1 July 2002 – The death toll from flooding in southern Russia climbed to 93 today, emergency officials said, and President Vladimir Putin took local authorities to task for not doing more to help victims. The floods have forced thousands to flee their homes and caused more than $385m in damage. Charges of negligence were being considered against officials in the Karachayevo-Cherkessia region, the Kochubeevsky district, the city of Nevinomyssk and in the Uspensky district in the Stavropol region, Deputy Prosecutor General Sergei Fridinsky told ORT television today. Officials had begun a probe. Fridinsky said some local officials had failed to inform people of the impending flood or take urgent measures. He also said the warning system in a number of districts did not work "and in some places it had been simply destroyed". The newspaper Izvestia reported today that two local officials in Stavropol had already been charged, and it was not immediately possible to clarify whether the two were part of the group Fridinsky was referring to, and whether charges had been lodged or merely considered. A total of 47 people lost their lives in the Stavropol region, 31 in the Krasnodar region, ten in the Karachayevo-Cherkessia region, four in North Ossetia and one in Kabardino-Balkeria, the duty officer at the regional Emergency Situations Ministry said.
2 July 2002 – A massive flood which swept southern Russia recently has killed 109 people, Emergency Ministry officials were quoted as saying yesterday by ORT television. The report followed a decision by the Russian prosecutor's office to open four investigations against local officials for criminal negligence in response to the most severe flooding to have hit the country in over a decade. Further rains swept across Dagestan yesterday and more than 1,000 people were evacuated because of a sudden rise in the level of the Terek river, according to the Emergency Ministry quoted by Interfax. The floods have destroyed nearly 8,000 homes and affected more than 300,000 people, according to officials. The Stavropol region, where several rivers broke their banks, has been the hardest hit by the flooding. The government, meanwhile, decided to pay compensation of 50,000 rubles ($1,600s) per family whose house was destroyed in the floods, and 20,000 rubles ($635) per family who lost part of their belongings, RIA Novosti reported.
9 August 2002 – Rescue workers, today, found the bodies of 19 people killed by rushing water near Russia's Black Sea coast after some of Europe's worst flooding in decades turned rivers and streets into torrents. At least 21 people died in Russia. Sixteen bodies were found in Shirokaya Balka, near the city of Novorossiisk. Nearby, a girl's body was found in the village of Abrau-Dyurso. A total of four people have been found dead in a second village, Dyurso, since yesterday's torrential rains. Rescuers were looking for six people who had been camping in Abrau-Dyurso. The heavy rains forced the evacuation of at least 600 people, destroyed at least 20 homes and damaged 70 others in eight villages near Novorossiisk. Authorities were evacuating people from Shirokaya Balka, Abrau-Dyurso and another nearby village, as a new rain and windstorm whipped the area today, threatening more flooding. Floods also cut rail links and power, damaged roads and washed away bridges. Water rose high enough to submerge the ground floor of some houses in Novorossiisk, trapping residents inside. Cars were swept into the sea by rising lake waters. Heavy rain was expected to fall again in the area within the next two days.
10 August 2002 – Rescue workers battled swirling mud-laden waters sweeping through resorts in southern Russia today after days of heavy rains and a violent tornado left at least 37 dead and hundreds of holidaymakers stranded. But the Emergencies Ministry said the worst of the danger had passed and that weather conditions were now improving. An Emergencies Ministry spokeswoman said workers had retrieved the bodies of 37 people carried off by swollen floodwaters in the Krasnodar region over the last few days and were continuing to search for more. The majority of the victims were found in the resort of Shirokaya Balka, just ten miles from the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk and one of the worst hit by the flooding. ITAR-Tass news agency said there were more than 30,000 tourists in the Black Sea region, popular with summer holidaymakers, and NTV reported that more than 1,500 people had been evacuated. Tass said rescue workers had also managed to pull 32 people out of the water alive, and the floods were now subsiding. Camp sites have been devastated, cars carried off, at least 100 houses swept away and 20 bridges destroyed in the second wave of fatal flooding to hit southern Russia this year. Power supplies, roads, railway lines and water sources were also badly damaged in the latest disaster. "In two or three days basic utilities will start operating again," Deputy Emergencies Minister Gennady Korotkin told NTV, adding that all houses would be fully rebuilt before winter. Putin ordered other government ministries besides the Emergencies Ministry to provide aid to the flood-hit region.
17 July 2002 – Ecuador
Up to 60 people were feared buried under tons of mud after a landslide in southern Ecuador engulfed a dozen vehicles on a remote highway, officials said. Red Cross Rescue Director Daniel Arteaga said today that workers recovered the body of a teenage girl at the site some 170 miles south-east of Quito and the state Civil Defence Agency said scores more people were feared buried. Arteaga estimated more than a dozen vehicles, including two buses, were trapped by the slide yesterday that swallowed a section of road in the jungle province of Morona Santiago on the eastern flanks of the Andes leading to the Amazon region. "It is presumed that between 50 and 60 people were buried by the landslide," the Civil Defence Agency said in a statement. Downpours and dense fog made rescue efforts difficult and frequently forced workers to retreat from the area out of fears for their own safety. Local authorities hoped that once the sky cleared, the military could fly overhead to assess whether it was safe to undertake large-scale earthmoving operations in the search for victims. "There's no access to the site. If anything is moved, we face the risk of another landslide," Civil Defence official Enoe Padilla said. According to the Civil Defence Agency, cattle remains and car parts have been found in the mud along the road, which was 500ft deep in some places.
14 July 2002 – Peru
The President of Peru, Alejandro Toledo, has travelled to the south of the country where at least 18 people have been killed in snowstorms. He arrived with supplies of blankets and food for some of the areas worst hit by the cold weather Mr Toledo, who declared a state of emergency in the region, has said military aircraft and helicopters will be used to deliver food and heavy clothing. The authorities estimate that at least 30,000 people have been affected, mainly in the Andes mountains.
14 July 2002 – Philipinnes
A week of typhoons and monsoon rains has killed at least 58 people in the Philippines and the death toll may still rise, relief officials say. Rains triggered floods in seven provinces on the main island of Luzon and in the Manila area affecting 1.4 million people, the Office of Civil Defence (OCD) said today. A total of 43 people were injured while four are missing, an OCD statement said. "There is a chance that the number of dead will still increase once we receive reports from other affected areas," an OCD official said by telephone. The heavy rains and the floods damaged about 2,000 houses and forced about 11,000 people to flee their homes on Luzon. Typhoon "Halong", the fourth in a series of typhoons, has moved farther away from the Philippines and is headed towards the southern islands of Japan, with winds gusting up to 121mph, the weather bureau in Manila said. "We will still have monsoon rains but they will not be as intense as in the past several days," Weather Bureau staffer Malou Rivera said. The flooding damaged some 294m pesos worth of rice, corn and other crops, fisheries and livestock, the Department of Agriculture said.
15 July 2002 – Typhoon "Halong" crossed Japan's southernmost island of Okinawa today, bringing heavy rains and strong winds that forced the cancellation of flights and ferries and stranded thousands of travellers. There were no reports of casualties. Japan's Meteorological Agency said the typhoon, with sustained winds of 144kmph, had reached Okinawa just after nightfall. It was expected to continue dumping rain on the island through tomorrow. An Okinawa prefecture police spokesman said high winds had felled trees that blocked roads, but had caused no injuries or deaths. Dozens of flights in and out of Okinawa and local passenger ferry services were cancelled today, public broadcaster NHK said. The typhoon was expected to hit Japan's southern island of Kyushu by early Tuesday (16 July), the Meteorological Agency said.
16 July 2002 – A press report, dated today, states: Hundreds of schools have been closed and more than 1,000 people evacuated from their homes as the second storm in a week lashed eastern Japan. Typhoon "Halong" was downgraded to a tropical storm but sustained winds of 108kmph continued to cause chaos in and around Tokyo. International flights were cancelled and around 26,000 people were affected when the bullet train service had to be put on hold. Three people were injured and more than 1,500 evacuated on Japan's main Honshu island amid the storm. Officials said some areas could expect 400mm of rain and warned there could be landslides and floods. Weather forecasters say that although the storm is weakening, it could still reach the Russian island of Sakhalin, north of Japan. In the south of Japan, as many as 23,000 people spent yesterday without electricity after the storm brought cables down in Okinawa and the Amami islands.
16 July 2002 – Typhoon "Halong" was fading and heading north today after forcing thousands to evacuate and leaving 61 dead in the Philippines. The impact of the fast-moving storm, which lashed the main island of Honshu with heavy rains and high winds, was relatively short-lived, and by evening it was 186 miles off the coast of northern Japan, some 188 miles north of Tokyo. The typhoon injured nine people in Japan and flooded some 190 houses, with around 900 people in evacuation centres as of this evening. The nine were injured in strong winds, including a 58-year-old man who slipped off a roof while trying to repair his home, a police official said. The typhoon was still gaining speed and heading slightly east of the island of Hokkaido at 44mph, an official at the Meteorological Agency said. It was likely to weaken to a tropical depression sometime tomorrow as it nears Japan's northernmost border with Russia, the official added. The force of winds packed by "Halong" had weakened slightly since last night to 67mph, levels considered a tropical storm by international standards and down from around 90mph when the storm moved past the Philippines on Sunday (14 July). The storm had earlier caused delays of up to two hours on Japan's high-speed bullet train services, affecting around 26,000 passengers, and caused 16 flight cancellations at Tokyo's Narita airport. Three oil refineries, Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd, Cosmo Oil Co. Ltd and Nippon Oil Corp., reported minor disruptions to shipping plans today, although all three expected shipments to resume later in the day. In Niigata prefecture, some 158 miles north-west of Tokyo, more than 3,200 people living near rivers had evacuated their homes and taken shelter in schools and gymnasiums, but most of them were able to return to their homes by the afternoon. Including Niigata, some 4,000 people had been evacuated in six prefectures, public television broadcaster NHK said.
23 July 2002 – Floods and a landslide hit Manila, capital of the Philippines, and surrounding provinces, killing at least six people today in the latest natural disaster, local officials said. Three of the victims drowned in floods in the capital City, and three others, including a child, were killed by a landslide in San Pablo City, south of Manila. About 2,000 people have been moved to safer places from flooded villages. A tropical depression passed over the main Philippines island of Luzon, causing monsoon rains. Some parts of Metropolitan Manila, the northern province of Bulacan and Pampanga and the suburban areas of Cavite province were also submerged in floodwaters.
26 July 2002 – A total of 18 people died from flooding and a landslide brought on by torrential rains from a tropical depression that hit the main Philippine island Luzon yesterday, officials said. The latest deaths bring the toll from intermittent but heavy downpours for this month to nearly 80, the Office of the Civil Defense said.
26 July 2002 – A week of heavy rains and flooding has left 18 people dead in the Philippines. Many drowned or were electrocuted in flooding, while others were killed by landslides that hit particularly hard in Pampanga province, about 45 miles north of Manila and in suburban areas around the capital, the disaster coordinating agency said. Over 200 families were still in evacuation centres in Pampanga and coastal towns around Manila were still under-water today. Weather officials said the storm had left the Philippines, but monsoon rains continued to sweep along the western parts of the archipelago, from northern Luzon island down to the Visayas in the centre.
13 August 2002 – Tug Marinero, with nine officers and crew on board, sank 900 yards off San Jose, Antique province, central Philippines, at noon yesterday, the Philippine Coast Guard reported today. Marinero, owned by local salvage company Salvage Marine Corp, experienced engine trouble and was swamped by heavy waves. All the crew were rescued by passing fishing vessels. The Philippine Coast Guard said that it had advised the vessel's owners to monitor the area where the vessel sank for signs of an oil spill.
13 August 2002 – A tropical depression caused heavy flooding in Manila and surrounding areas and forced hundreds to flee their homes, prompting authorities to call off classes at all levels. Today's heavy rains brought floods as high as a person's neck in some areas, bringing traffic to a standstill and stranding vehicles on streets that resembled rivers, civil defence reports and eyewitnesses said. At least 704 people were evacuated from their homes due to the flooding and fear of landslides in areas south of the capital. There were reports of a van buried in a landslide on the central island of Leyte. There were no immediate reports of any casualties. Tug Marinero, went down in heavy rain near the central island of Antique after experiencing engine trouble before midnight, the civil defence office said. All nine crewmen on board were rescued by a passing ferry, the office added. The state weather bureau said more rains were expected late into today and tomorrow with the storm expected to pass over Metropolitan Manila.
14 August 2002 – Ferry April Rose ran aground off the Baybay pier on Leyte Island before dawn yesterday morning, the Philippine Coast Guard reported. The ferry, with 113 passengers on board, had earlier left Cebu and was approaching the Baybay pier when strong winds and waves brought about by a tropical depression which battered the vessel against the rocky shore. The vessel then developed a 90-degree list to port, forcing the master to order his crew and passengers to abandon ship. Two hours later the vessel capsized. The passengers and crew were rescued by responding Coast Guard personnel and passing vessels. There were no fatalities, the Coast Guard said.
15 August 2002 – Storms moved away from the Philippines today after causing waterspouts, small tornadoes and mudslides that killed 22 people and forced 3,500 to flee their homes. The tropical depression which brought the storms was moving into the South China Sea early today carrying winds of 34mph. It was expected to be completely out of Philippine territory by early tomorrow. At least 22 people died and four others were missing during two days of damage caused by the weather system. In the central province of Negros Oriental, landslides, small tornadoes and a waterspout killed eight people on Monday (12 August). At least eight others were electrocuted in Rizal province, east of Manila, when a power line fell onto a flooded street yesterday. Five people also died in landslides in Camarines Sur in the central Philippines. Another person died in suburban Paranaque, south of Manila, from unspecified weather-related causes, the Office of Civil Defence said. About 3,500 people, mainly in Negros Occidental, 340 miles south of Manila, were evacuated to public buildings, but four people remained missing in the province, Civil Defence officials said. Flooding in the main thoroughfares of Manila subsided today after paralysing travel for a few hours around the capital yesterday.
20 August 2002 – An oil spill from ferry April Rose that ran aground at the height of tropical depression "Milenyo" which heavily battered the region last week, is threatening several coastal communities here. And local marine biologists fear that the oil spill, if not immediately contained, may further spread and trigger fish kills. "This threatens our marine sanctuaries here," said marine biologist Paciencia Mila, president of the Leyte State University. The oil spill from April Rose, owned by Vicente Atilano of Rose Shipping Lines, has already spread to mangrove areas in the coastal villages of Hipusngo, Cogon, Sabang, Palhi, Sto. Rosario, Jaena, Candadam and Punta in this town's southern part. Authorities estimate that the vessel might have spilled 4,000 litres of fuel. Big waves prevented it from docking at the Baybay port. The ship, the Coast Guard said, might be carrying a total of 117,000 litres of fuel. Jorge Omolon, coordinator of the Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council, said they first detected the oil spill from the rear of the ship on the night of 13 August. Mayor Jose Carlos Cari gave assurances that the problem will be addressed. "It's not alarming," he said. But POI Aspren Dagohoy, marine pollution inspector of the Coast Guard, said efforts to contain the oil spill have been put on hold because the ship-owner has yet to pay the P500,000 cash bond for the spraying operation. Since Thursday, personnel of the Marine Environmental Protection Unit of the Coast Guard's Second District based in Cebu City, had been spraying oil dispersant chemicals around the vessel. The ship's skipper, Captain Yolanda Lipio, said strong winds have been hampering their efforts. She admitted she is helpless about the continued leakage because "my crew members refused to swim around the vessel due to lack of safety diving gear." Lieutenant Niel Palapar, a Coast Guard marine environmentalist, said Rose Shipping Lines has promised to bring in a salvage vessel from Cebu City to help in the operations.
20 July 2002 – South Africa
At least 16 people have drowned and about 100 others were trapped by heavy snow since early today as weather conditions created havoc in south and eastern South Africa. A total of nine people drowned when their pick-up truck was swept off a bridge at Idutywa, about 650km south of Johannesburg in the country's Eastern Cape province today; seven others drowned at Amatikulu, about south 100km north of Durban in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, six while travelling in a car which was swept off a bridge, police said. A child was washed away by a river in the same area, they reported. At least 100 people were trapped this afternoon by heavy snowfalls at Indwe in the Eastern Cape, also about 650km south of Johannesburg, a provincial disaster management spokesman said. "We have a 100 people trapped in freezing conditions in their vehicles for about 12 hours now," he said. He said rescue workers had tried to reach victims with the help of bulldozers. An air force and police helicopter were on standby, but had been unable to fly rescue missions. "The weather is keeping our helicopters on the ground," the official said. In many parts of South Africa, the weather has caused electricity cuts to towns and farms, some experiencing temperatures as low as –10 degrees Celsius, with farmers saying their livestock was at risk of freezing to death. Icy temperatures over most of the country would warm up only a degree or two over the weekend, rising slightly early next week, before another cold spell hits the interior on Thursday (25 July), the South African Weather Service predicted.
22 July 2002 – South Africa has declared disaster areas in parts of the impoverished Eastern Cape province after several days of heavy snow and rain left 22 dead and caused extensive damage. The move allows the Eastern Cape's premier to take emergency measures in five districts of the country's poorest province, known for its sheep, cattle and angora goat farms. "This may involve the cordoning off of a particular area, it may imply limiting the electricity supply … even limiting the sale of liquor as there has already been quite a bit of looting," Louis Buys, the chief director of disaster management at the Provincial Ministry, said today. Parts of the Eastern Cape have been without water, power or telecommunications since the end of last week when a cold spell gripped a country normally known for its sunny skies. Some reports said the snowfall was the Eastern Cape's heaviest in 70 years. Several people trapped in vehicles in a snow-clogged mountain pass were rescued by helicopter over the weekend. "According to preliminary assessments, 53 businesses, 102 farm houses, more than 3,000 informal dwellings and several schools have been damaged," the ministry said, adding that livestock losses were still not known. Relief teams have already been sent to the Eastern Cape with food, water and farming support. Buys said up to 40,000 people were believed to be affected by the damage to infrastructure, including roads. At least 22 people have died in the past few days of weather-related causes, including drowning and hypothermia.
17 August 2002 – A total of 16 people, including a child of four, were reported missing yesterday, feared drowned, in flooding East London, Eastern Cape province, the Citizen newspaper reported today. The city recorded its second heaviest rainfall in history with nearly 32cm falling in 24 hours, washing houses and cars away, In Port Elizabeth, south of East London, flooding occurred in low-lying areas of the city. Forecasts predicted the rains lashing the province would last throughout the weekend. National Sea Rescue Institute members had their hands full securing drifting yachts in the harbour during the height of Thursday (15 August) night's storm. Station commander Bradley Delport said a number of yachts had slipped their mooring and had been drifting out to sea.
23 July 2002 – Turkey
A total of seven people, most of them children, have been killed in floods spawned by heavy rain in several parts of Turkey, the Anatolia news agency says. In the central province of Yozgat, a 37-year-old woman and three of her small children drowned, while a fourth child went missing when their house in Karalar village was swept away by the waters. In the neighbouring province of Corum, a 13-year-old shepherd drowned while another was killed by lightning. A 19-year-old man was killed and three members of his family were injured in the eastern province of Kars when their house collapsed in the floods. The floods have inundated dozens of houses and left several village roads impassable, the agency says.
24 July 2002 – A total of five people were killed and two are missing in north-eastern Turkey, bringing the death toll from two days of flooding and rainstorms across a swathe of the country to at least 16, local officials said. The latest deaths occurred in the Black Sea province of Rize, where torrential rain began pouring yesterday and continued to hammer the mountainous region, making rescue operations impossible, a Rize official said in central Turkey. A total of six children have drowned in floods since yesterday, including four siblings who died along with their mother after floodwaters trapped them in their home, said an official in Yozgat province, east of the capital Ankara. Lightning struck and killed three people and three others drowned in Kars, Tokat and Corum. The flooding and high winds have damaged hundreds of homes and small business places, killed livestock and destroyed fields in the largely agricultural provinces.
25 July 2002 – The death toll from floods in Turkey has risen above 40, officials have said. Rescuers have given up hope of finding 18 missing people, adding to the 26 already confirmed dead. More than 30 died in Rize, the Black Sea province hardest hit by the storms. The heavy rains triggered landslides, killed livestock, destroyed fields and flooded hundreds of homes in central, eastern and north-eastern Turkey. Mudslides and high winds in Rize ruined tea fields a month before the harvest, an official at the governor's office said. In Mus province, a six-year-old boy was swept away by floodwaters and drowned today, the state-run Anatolian news agency said. Earlier in the week 11 people died in Kars, Tokat, Corum and Yozgat provinces, east of the capital Ankara.
24 July 2002 – Nepal
The death toll in massive flooding triggered by heavy monsoon rains in Nepal has reached 96 with another 49 people still missing. Of the total killed since Sunday (21 July), 21 died in the capital Kathmandu yesterday, including 16 members of four related families who were buried when their houses collapsed on them, the Home Ministry official said. "At least 972 families have been affected by the floods," he said. Transport links, especially highways linking Kathmandu with outlying districts, are badly affected by the floods with many low-lying areas still inundated. The floods have damaged several bridges, culverts, school buildings and residential huts. Damages to economic infrastructure have run into millions of rupees while thousands of hectares of paddy fields have been washed away, the official said. The monsoon rains are expected to continue throughout the week and have begun moving to the west of the country, a weather department official said.
29 July 2002 – In Nepal, 14 more people have died from floods that have already claimed hundreds of lives in the Himalayan kingdom since the start of the month, officials say. At least 14 people died in the far south-western district of Morang over the past two days in floods caused by incessant monsoon rains, a Home Ministry official said. Some 100 houses were washed away, affecting at least 1,000 people, he said. The major highways linking the capital Kathmandu with outlying districts have been closed for days due to landslides that have left debris along the roads. On 15 July, as many as 152 people were believed killed when massive landslides triggered by the rains buried two villages in north-eastern Nepal. Since a new round of flooding began 21 July, 234 people have died in the kingdom, the Home Ministry official said. Local officials put the toll at about 50 higher.
8 August 2002 – Landslides caused by monsoon rains in eastern Nepal killed 32 people today, taking the death toll from the annual storms in the Himalayan kingdom to well above 300, authorities said. The landslides hit five villages this morning in Taplejyug, a remote mountain district, said Lekh Nath Pokhrel of Nepal's Interior Ministry. Taplejyug is 375 miles east of the capital, Katmandu. At least 60 people were injured in the landslides, Pokhrel said. Road links with the villages have been cut as the highway was blocked by rocks and mud. The Interior Ministry sent a helicopter and rescue workers to the affected villages.
13 August 2002 – At least 422 people have been killed, scores more are missing and thousands have been left homeless by floods and landslides after weeks of torrential monsoon rains in Nepal, a relief agency said late yesterday. The Nepal Red Cross Society said over a quarter of a million people had been "badly affected" by rains in 47 of the Himalayan nation's 75 administrative districts lashed by heavy rains since July. "About 32,000 people have so far been left homeless in Nepal but with communication to some areas still cut off, a full picture of the situation has yet to emerge," the agency said in a statement. Floods and landslides in mountainous Nepal are common during the monsoon season, that normally starts in June and continues through September. Home Ministry official Lekhnath Pokharel said 344 people had died in a month of floods and landslides across the kingdom and another 70 were missing. "We do not declare anyone dead until we find the body," he said. Officials said floods and landslides had washed away crops, roads, bridges, schools and health posts but estimates of the total loss were yet to be prepared.
11 August 2002 – At least 33 people have been killed in torrential rains that triggered landslides and flattened homes in the northern Indian mountainous state of Uttaranchal, officials said. Anil Raturi, Deputy Police Inspector General, said 18 of the victims killed across four hilly villages, were women and added that an unspecified number of others were missing following the rains. He said landslides killed as many as 15 people in the village of Marwari while 11 more died in neighbouring Agunda village. "All 33 bodies have been recovered and 14 of them identified so far," the local police chief said, according to news reports. A number of cattle also perished in the remote zone after the cloudburst slammed the region at around 0200, local time, today when most villagers were asleep. "The residents of the four villages had no chance to run to safety and more than 50 people were injured when their mud-built houses came crashing down," said Uttaranchal state Chief Secretary Madhukar Gupta. He said a number of people could be still buried inside their collapsed homes. "The situation in the area is grim as surface and telecom links with the villages have completely snapped," the chief bureaucrat said, as army and air force prepared to launch a rescue mission in the four ravaged villages. India's new president, APJ Abdul Kalam, said he was grieved by the tragedy. "He has expressed his sympathy with the bereaved families and he hopes that the relief and rescue operation will be undertaken with the utmost speed and dedication," a statement from the presidential palace in New Delhi said. The annual monsoon rains have been uneven this year, with drought in much of the country but severe floods in the east that have affected millions.
14 August 2002 – Heavy rains washing down from the foothills of the Himalayas swelled rivers in eastern India, worsening monsoon flooding that has killed at least 874 people in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, officials said today. New flooding was reported in northern regions of India's Bihar state and the Kosi River was flowing higher than normal, the Special Relief Commissioner Sambhu Sarab Singh said. He said the death toll in the state, located between Nepal and Bangladesh, had climbed to 265 people in flooding that began across the region in June. A total of 30 people have died in neighbouring Assam state. Floods have displaced or trapped more than 15 million people in the two states, home to some 100 million people. In Nepal, which has seen the most deaths in the monsoon flooding, aid agencies appealed for help for thousands of people in Nepal left homeless by flooding and landslides. As many as 422 people have been killed and 250,000 more injured in the flooding, officials said yesterday. Most of the landslides occurred in remote mountainous areas that have been cut off because of washed-out roads. The villages are now accessible only by helicopter, but the government does not have the funds or the helicopters to ferry help in quickly. Rising water levels have also increased the threat of typhoid, dysentery, malaria, encephalitis and other diseases spread by water or mosquito, aid officials said. In Bangladesh, at least 157 people have been killed and six million have been stranded or displaced in the past two months, officials said yesterday. At least 1,000 homes were washed away on Sunday (11 August) when 8ft-high swells engulfed Hatia island in Noakhali district, 75 miles east of Dhaka, said Mohammad Ali, a district relief official. Some 55,000 people were stranded in their submerged houses. Rising sea levels also inundated Patuakhali, a neighbouring coastal town of 80,000 people, leaving a third of the town under 4ft of water. The high tides were caused by a sudden rise in the sea level due to low pressure over the Bay of Bengal, weather experts in Dhaka said. In the southern Bhola district, the Meghna River fed by floodwaters gushing downstream breached a mud flood barrier, inundating several villages and marooning at least 25,000, according to the Flood Warning and Forecasting Centre in Dhaka.
14 August 2002 – Floodwaters poured into the capital of a remote north-eastern Indian state and mudslides swept through a Nepalese village as the death toll from two months of torrential monsoon rains rose to nearly 900 in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, officials said today. Two people were swept away last night by floodwaters in Thoubal Ningombam, a village 20 miles south-west of Imphal, the capital of Manipur state. Parts of the capital were under-water, forcing schools and businesses to close, said Bimal Chandra, the director-general of police. Police have recovered one body. In Nepal, landslides killed a man and a woman yesterday in Phulpinkot, 50 miles north-east of Kathmandu, the Interior Ministry said. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies asked international donors for $1.7m in immediate aid for the victims in Nepal and $1.9m for those in India, as emergency relief supplies had been exhausted. In India, army and paramilitary soldiers joined rescue efforts in Manipur state, where the floods were the worst in three decades. Nearly one million people in 200 towns and villages have either lost their homes or moved to higher ground to escape the fury of six major rivers, which have breached mud embankments at 40 places, said Shantikumar Singh, the head of the state flood control department. The state was cut off from the rest of India today as mudslides blocked highways in several places, Singh said. In the district of Makwanpur in Nepal, 100 miles south-west of Kathmandu, where
landslides killed at least 50 people last month, diarrhoea and typhoid have reached epidemic proportions, the Kathmandu Post newspaper reported today. The carcasses of dead cattle contaminating rivers and streams may have caused the diseases, the newspaper quoted Kakada Village Council Chairman Govind Praja as saying. Health officials were distributing water purification tablets. As many as 424 people have been killed and 250,000 more injured in Nepal in the flooding, officials said. In neighbouring Bangladesh, water levels of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Jamuna rivers, which had receded last week, began rising again today following fresh downpours in the country's northern region, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre in Dhaka said. Monsoon floods have killed at least 157 people and displaced more than six million others in Bangladesh, in the worst flooding in the country in four years. In the eastern Indian state of Bihar, wedged between Nepal and Bangladesh, army soldiers in motor boats were helping to evacuate thousands of villagers whose mud and thatch huts were washed away by raging floodwaters, officials said today. Rising rivers had submerged railroad tracks near Samastipur, 95 miles north-east of the state capital, Patna, halting rail traffic for a large swathe of north-eastern Bihar state, said Shambu Saran Singh, a Relief and Rehabilitation Ministry official. He said the death toll in the state had climbed to 265 people since June. A total of 39 people have died in neighbouring Assam state. Floods have displaced or trapped more than 15 million people in the two states, home to some 100 million people.
15 August 2002 – Torrential rains pushed up water levels in rivers along the Himalayan foothills of South Asia, today. In eastern India, four more people drowned yesterday, and an overflowing river threatened to inundate low-lying areas around Patna, Bihar state, relief officials said today. At least 904 people have died in monsoon floods across India, Bangladesh and Nepal. The state's Water Department said heavy rains were pushing up the water level of Punpun River and could trigger fresh floods around the city of Patna by tomorrow. The water level in the Punpun River was 42in above the danger mark and might swell by another 34in over the next 24 hours, the department said in its latest update. Weather forecasts for the region were for continued rain through today. Flood waters also swept into the town of Khagariya, forcing authorities to shift dozens of prisoners from a local jail. Rising rivers also submerged railroad tracks near Samastipur, 100 miles northeast of Patna, halting rail traffic for a large swathe of Bihar. Army soldiers in motorised boats were helping to evacuate thousands of villagers whose mud and thatch huts were washed away by raging flood waters. The floods have destroyed about 2.5m acres of maize in the state and affected more than 15 million people, Singh said. The deaths in Khagariya on Wednesday pushed up the death toll in Bihar to 269, he said. Another 39 people have died in the north-eastern state of Assam. Monsoon floods have killed 323 people in India according to official estimates, though in most parts of the country rains have been delayed, damaging crops and causing the worst drought in 14 years. Water levels of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Jamuna rivers, which had receded last week, began rising again yesterday following fresh downpours in the country's northern region, Bangladesh's Food Forecasting Center said.
21 August 2002 – A landslide triggered by heavy monsoon rains swept through a mountainous village in eastern Nepal, and at least 65 people were missing and feared dead, an official said today. Most of the residents were asleep when the landslide struck Thapra village in Ramechap district early today, said Lekhnath Pokhrel of the Natural Calamity Management Center. "Initial reports said that 40 houses were swept away and at least 65 people are reported to be missing and feared killed," Pokhrel said. He said helicopters loaded with relief material and rescuers were waiting at the Katmandu airport for the weather to clear so they could fly to the village. The village, about 125 miles east of the capital, Katmandu, is in a remote, mountainous area with no roads to nearby towns.
31 July 2002 – Venezuela
Floodwaters that were 6ft deep in some places in Guasdualito have mostly receded, but the border town is still a place submerged in uncertainty. Guasdualito, a town near the Colombian border about 375 miles south-west of the capital Caracas, suffered the worst of flooding that killed five people and displaced 50,000 residents from the plains state of Apure last week. Even so, many in Guasdualito who endured hunger and thirst atop their rooftops instead of abandoning their homes do not want to move anywhere else. For the town's 25,000 residents, the immediate danger has passed for now, but the struggle has just begun. Receding water is leaving behind an overwhelming stench and heaps of mud. Rescue workers fear dust clouds will cause respiratory infections. Disease control is a top priority. The most serious problem is getting enough drinking water, said Marlon Linares, director of Apure state Civil Defence. Many people are drinking from contaminated rivers, and more than 3,000 have been treated for diarrhoea, fevers, skin infections and stomach parasites, the ElUniversal newspaper reported yesterday. Army troops are installing tanks of drinking water while the state-owned water company Hydroven scrambles to restore services. Few people can rely on anything else in impoverished Venezuela, where many move to urban shantytowns, often in flood zones, instead of trying to eke out a living in the countryside. President Hugo Chavez declared a state of emergency in Amazonas, Apure, Barinas, Delta Amacuro and Portuguesa states, all of which have rain-swollen rivers, including the giant Orinoco River. The decree included $3m in federal relief aid and allows troops to evacuate residents in flood zones. Officials estimate that weeks of heavy rain may force as many as 25,000 people in five southern Venezuelan states to move permanently or build new homes. About 7,000 Guasdualito residents still live in shelters, eating meals of oatmeal and sardines and worrying about their future.
8 August 2002 – Korea
Consecutive days of floods are increasingly wreaking havoc around South Korea, with 100-200mm of additional precipitation expected today, and up to 300mm in the south. At least 12 people have been either killed or reported missing due to torrential rains which have pounded the nation since Sunday (4 August), emergency management officials said. A flood watch was declared for the Han River at 1430 hrs, yesterday, as the water level near the Hangang Bridge, connecting Yongsan and Noryangjin, exceeded the warning level of 8.5m. More than 10,000 houses nation-wide have been damaged. They include some 5,300 homes in Seoul, 150 in Kyonggi province and 37 in Kangwon province. Heavy localised torrential rain also swamped more than 500ha of paddies, collapsing parts of dikes and claiming the lives of thousands of animals. Expressways and riverside roads were closed in some areas, worsening rush hour traffic. Scores of ferry services were suspended yesterday, affecting several thousand vacationers, and dozens of domestic flights were cancelled. The scale of damage is expected to snowball, as statistics are constantly being updated and lingering thunderstorms are forecast to dump additional heavy rain today and tomorrow, especially in southern regions.
8 August 2002 – Torrential rains across North and South Korea have left scores of people dead, missing or injured. At least five people have died and another eight are missing in the South after five days of heavy rains which also flooded 8,000 houses and large tracts of farmland, the national anti-disaster agency said. South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported more than 14 deaths as weather officials said rainstorms pounding Seoul and central parts of the country had begun to weaken. Official media in North Korea said the country had been "hit hard" by three days of heavy rain earlier in the week, leaving "scores" dead or missing. "Across the country, many hectares of farmland were submerged, buried under silt or washed away by torrential rain," the Korean Central news agency (KCNA) said. "As a result, it is hard to expect harvests of crops there." The downpours, which registered 459mm in the southern province of Hwanghae, also flooded coal mines, power stations and other industrial establishments. "Roads and railways extending scores of kilometres and bridges were damaged, cutting off traffic," KCNA said.
9 August 2002 – Torrential rains subsided yesterday after swelling major rivers and swamping several thousand houses and roads nation-wide. But weathermen warned that the danger was not over yet, saying southern regions are forecasted to have up to 150mm of additional precipitation until today, and central areas will also have more rains over the weekend. The intense downpours, which started Sunday, have been blamed for 14 deaths as of yesterday afternoon, while at least four others were reported missing, disaster management officials said. Many of the casualties were swept away while crossing low-lying bridges, draining water from farms or taking boats across rivers. It also forced thousands to evacuate and caused more than 41.4b won ($32m) in property damage, according to tentative statistics. Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) predicted that rain-laden clouds would revisit central areas this weekend, bringing occasional rain to the whole nation. Boosted by Thursday's let-up, public workers in Seoul as well as in Kyonggi, Kangwon and Chungchong provinces did comprehensive repairs on damaged bridges, roads and dykes, as residents started to return to their water-logged homes. Quarantine officials immediately took measures to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases, advising people to boil tap water if they intend to drink it. The maximum of 490mm of rain during the past four days flooded a total of about 10,000 buildings, leaving more than 2,400 people homeless. Also, it submerged 8,000ha of farmland. Hundreds of flights and ferry services were cancelled, causing inconveniences to thousands of vacationers. Severe traffic congestion persisted from early morning through late night, especially in Seoul, as major bridges and roadways were inundated or closed by landslides in mountainous areas. In a rare occurrence, flood watches were issued simultaneously for the four major rivers: Ran, Youngsan, Naktong and Kum, as well as several streams, although those were lifted later.
10 August 2002 – South Korea has mobilised thousands of troops to help cope with expected downpours, after a week of deluges dumped two-fifths of the average annual total on the country, killing 14 people and causing widespread damage. Today, four people were killed and seven injured in Pusan after a landslide engulfed a four-storey building housing 250 disabled people. In total, six people were missing and seven injured. "Torrential rain that has been pouring nationwide for seven days accounts for almost 40 per cent of average annual rainfalls," a weather forecaster at the Korea Meteorological Administration said. Although heavy rain stopped in the capital Seoul, it was still raining in southern regions, particularly Kyongsang province, with additional precipitation of up to 150mm forecast until tomorrow, he said. The heavy rains have forced the evacuation of about 1,500 people. Some 500 homes, 9,000 buildings and 16,200ha of farmland have been inundated, causing more than 200b won worth of damage, the Defence Ministry said. North Korea has also reported torrential rains that caused casualties and destroyed crops. North Korea's state-run Korea central news agency (KCNA) said on Thursday (8 August) "scores of people were reported dead, missing and injured" in heavy rains between 3-5 August.
2 August 2002 – Vietnam
At least six people were killed and another is missing in flash floods caused by torrential rains earlier this week in Vietnam's northern mountainous provinces. The floods, triggered by rains on Wednesday and yesterday, have also submerged more than 4,000 houses, affecting the lives of thousands of people in nine provinces. The region is not in Vietnam's key rice producing area. The Tuoi Tre newspaper cited a report by the Central Committee on Floods and Storms Prevention as saying that by late yesterday, five people had drowned in the provinces of Lao Cai, Bac Kan and Tuyen Quang and another was missing in Lai Chau. Local officials said rains had stopped by this morning but disaster relief teams were still helping evacuate local people from dangerous areas. Disaster reports said nearly 100 houses had collapsed and sections of highways were washed out, while waters in key rivers in the northern region were rising to dangerous levels.
5 August 2002 – Flash floods have killed at least ten people in northern Vietnam and raised waters in key rivers to dangerous levels at the weekend, while central provinces are suffering from water shortages, state media has reported. The Nhan Dan newspaper today cited a report by the Central Committee on Floods and Storms Prevention as saying by yesterday four had drowned in Lao Cai province, three in Tuyen Quang, two in Bac Kan and one in Yen Bai. Another was still listed as missing in Lai Chau province. The region is not in Vietnam's key rice producing area which lies far south in the Mekong Delta. The report said the floods, triggered by torrential rains last Wednesday (31 July) and Thursday, had destroyed nearly 300 houses and submerged nearly 6,400 houses in nine mountainous provinces. But it said that waters in the region's key rivers were receding after peaking at dangerous levels yesterday. Meanwhile, four provinces in the central region have been suffering from water shortages caused by a dry spell in the past three months, reported the Lao Dong newspaper. It said the unusual dryness, the worst in the last 27 years, had destroyed several thousands hectares of the summer-autumn rice crop in the provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen and was forecast to last until the end of this month. The dry weather has raised concerns among Vietnamese rice exporters that more grain from the Mekong Delta would be transported to central provinces later this year, which would keep domestic prices at high levels.
17 August 2002 – The water levels of the Thao and Lo rivers and the lower part of the Hong (Red) River are rising above the highest warning level, and that of the Thai Binh River is also swelling high. Torrential rains keep occurring in the upper part of the Red River, making the situation even worse. By the afternoon of 17 August, the water level of the Hong River in Ha Noi reached 12m or 0.5m higher than the highest warning level. In other lower parts of the Hong and Thai Binh rivers, the water levels are swelling high, possibly inundating vast areas. In the upper provinces of Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang and Lai Chau, continuous downpours have caused flooding in many areas and damaged infrastructural facilities, houses, food crops and orchards. The floods have also blocked inter-provincial communication. Floods and torrential rains have left four people dead and five others injured in the northern province of Ha Giang. The Prime Minister on 16 August sent an official message to concerned branches at all levels and localities, ordering them to keep a close watch of flood developments and promptly repair any damaged portions of dykes and irrigation works. He also asked concerned agencies and localities to instruct people living along river banks to evacuate their homes and take other necessary measures to mitigate flood consequences.
18 August 2002 – Floods in northern, central and central highlands regions have, over recent days, claimed at least 29 lives, according to a report from the Central Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Control. The Committee reported that the water level of all rivers in the north rose to their peaks, threatening lives and production activities in northern provinces, especially in mountainous areas. In northernmost Ha Giang province, floods that lasted from 14-17 August killed 26 people. In Xin Man district alone, flash floods killed 20 residents, swept away 24 houses, damaged Na Tri commune's television station and made 5,000m3 of land erode. In the neighbouring province of Lao Cai, one person was killed, five houses were pulled down, 422 ha of crops were submerged, seven bridges and two high-voltage electric poles were damaged during floods from 14-17 August. Total losses were estimated at 5b VND (US$333,000). In another northern mountainous province Tuyen Quang, floods, the third within a fortnight in the province, submerged thousands of houses, classrooms and infirmaries, and destroyed sections of roads. In central and central highlands provinces, which had suffered from two-month severe droughts, the water levels of Rivers were rising due to torrential rains accompanied by low tropical depressions. The water level of Dong Nai river in southern Dong Nai province, next to Ho Chi Minh City, rose to its peak. Floods in the upper reach of the river submerged 1,215 households and 800ha of crops in Tan Phu district. Downpours causing floods in many areas of central highlands Lam Dong and Dac Lac provinces damaged infrastructural facilities, houses, food crops and orchards. Floods left two people dead in Dac Lac province.
19 August 2002 – Officials in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, say the 500-year old dykes that protect the city from flooding are in danger of bursting. High water levels on the Red River have already inundated at least 13,000 homes in the capital. The Prime Minister, Phan Van Khai, has been meeting emergency officials, and the military and police have been put on alert.
21 August 2002 – Floods that hit southern Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) last week to 19 August, have claimed one life in Cat Tien district, Lam Dong province. The disaster also submerged 4,000 homes, 107 classrooms and five medical stations, leaving more than 2,000 families in need for assistance. More than 2,000ha of subsidiary food crops were inundated and more than 20,000 heads of cattle and poultry swept away. The damage is estimated at a value of 85b VND in total. As the weather forecast warned of prolonged flooding, the Cat Tien administration called for urgent relief aid. Provincial and Central governments have received a request of 1.7b VND, for the purchase of daily necessities, including 30,000m of canvas for roofing, 100 tonnes of rice, 20 tonnes of fuel, 8,000 tonnes of karosen, 50,000 tonnes of instant noodles, five tonnes of iodised salt and five tonnes of dried fish. A similar situation is affecting the Da Te district, where floods submerged 4,000 homes, and 6,000ha of food crops. In the same day, whirlwinds, sweeping across Dinh Binh village in the southern tip Ca Mau province last night, injured 25 people and left 32 families homeless. The forces of nature subsequently hit Khanh Lam village, the UMinh district, in the Ca Mau province, pulling down 20 homes. Landslides in the Dam Doi district damaged seven local homes. All together damages amount to more than 2b VND.
14 August 2002 – Iran
At least 35 people have drowned in flash floods that washed away roads and swamped farmland in north-eastern Iran, the official Islamic Republic news agency reported today. The floods around Galikesh in the province of Golestan, some 315 miles north-east of Tehran, stemmed from torrential rains that began yesterday. Galikesh Mayor Ebrahim Karimi said at least 35 people had drowned. A Golestan provincial official identified only by his second name, Mahimani, told state-run Iranian television a bus was missing and feared washed off the road by flood waters. He had no immediate word on how many passengers were on board. Officials said 80 villages were without electric power while drinking water supplies were disrupted in 20 villages. Communications between Galikesh and neighbouring villages and cities were severed, and parts of a main road linking the north-eastern city of Mash had to Tehran were washed away.
14 August 2002 – Sudan
A total of 25 people have died from heat stroke after temperatures soared to 46 degrees Celsius in eastern Sudan, the daily Al-Sahafa reported. Officials said 130 people from the Red Sea coastal city of Port Sudan have been treated in hospital since the beginning of August because of the hot spell, the paper reported. The 25 fatalities died in hospital. "Preparations have been made and a state of emergency was declared in the hospitals," Health Ministry official Mohammed Ahmed Abdul Hafeedh was quoted as saying. The report said hospitals and eight additional medical centres were preparing to deal with emergency cases.
19 August 2002 – Burma
Thousands of people have been evacuated, after several days of heavy rain caused the Moei River to overflow, sparking flash foods on both sides of the Burmese border. The military, police and volunteers had been deployed to help with evacuations in flood-hit areas of Mae Sot district, Tak province, after the river broke its banks at 0500 hrs, yesterday, causing flood levels to rise to 2m. A total of 23 villages in six tambons had been inundated. In tambon Mae Ku, residents were sheltering at a local temple after several homes were submerged. Local authorities had set up an emergency centre to provide round-the-clock assistance. In Phop Phra district, about 300 residents had been evacuated and about 1,500 rai of crops damaged. District officials were distributing dried food and household items to residents by boat. Heavy rain has been lashing areas along the Burmese border since the middle of last week. Almost 70mm of rain fell yesterday in Mae Sot, while Umphang and Phop Phra districts of Tak also suffered torrential downpours. The Meteorological Department warned residents of the north, north-east and east to brace for potentially disastrous storms over the next few days. A depression in the South China Sea was moving north-westward and forming a low-pressure ridge that would likely affect the provinces of Chiang Rai, Nan, Phrae, Nong Khai, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Yasothon, Amnat Charoen, Ubon Ratchathani, Chanthaburi and Trat, it said. Thousands of paddy fields in Amnat Charoen had already been damaged after a sharp increase in the level of the Mekong River and more than 6,000 rai of rice fields in Yasothon province had been damaged, as a result of flooding from the Chi River. The rapidly rising water levels were also affecting residents of Burma's Myawaddy town, opposite Tak; two Burmese children were reported to have died after being washed away while seeking shelter on an islet in the river and about 1,000 Myawaddy residents had been moved to higher ground. Burmese who crossed into Mae Sot said about 200 families had been left homeless by the inundation. Thousands of ethnic Karen and Mon living opposite Tak faced a similar fate, as the Salween and Kyondo rivers overflowed their banks, causing flash floods in the Karen capital of Pa-an and hundreds of villages. About 40 houses in Mon state had been washed away.
16 August 2002 – Mexico
Today, two dams in neighbouring Mexican states burst after heavy rains, killing at least eight people and swamping several villages, state officials said. Federal officials put the death toll much higher, reporting that 14 died and 17 were missing in the normally dry states of San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas, where the dams broke. More than 1,500 people in San Luis Potosi were forced from their homes and were expected to spend the night in emergency shelters, officials said. Heavy rains also briefly displaced 3,000 people in Zacatecas, but most of those victims returned to their water-logged homes, state officials said. Floodwaters reached rooftops and destroyed scores of homes in at least five communities in both states. Officials said they were still assessing the damage late today. State civil protection authorities said seven people were killed in the town of Villa de Reyes in San Luis Potosi after the La Ventilla dam burst at about 0100 hrs. Four others were reported missing. However, a statement released by the Interior Ministry in Mexico City said that floods killed 13 people in Villa de Reyes and that 15 people were missing. Forecasts predicted more rain across San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas tonight and tomorrow, raising fears that other dams around the villages could burst.