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Article Type: Disaster database From: Disaster Prevention and Management, Volume 17, Issue 4
23 July 2006Japan
At least four people died and one is missing after torrential rain triggered floods and landslides on Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu, local officials said today. The rain was heaviest in Kagoshima on the southern tip of Kyushu, 1,000 km south-west of Tokyo, where more than 120 cm of rain had fallen since last Tuesday (July 18). Weathermen warned that more rain of up to 25 cm was expected over the same area in the next 24 hours. An 86-year-old woman died after being washed away by a flooded river and a 45-year-old man died after being swept up by a mudslide, officials said. They said about 60,000 local residents were urged to evacuate. Local governments called on the military to help with rescue operations. Last week, at least 18 people died and several were left missing across Japan after several days of heavy rain touched off floods and landslides.
26 July 2006North Korea
The Red Cross in Beijing says floods and landslides from recent heavy rains have killed at least 121 people in North Korea and left another 127 missing. “The death toll in five counties, three of which are in Pyongyang, is 121 people,” said Hope Weiner, an official with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies based in Beijing. “The number of people missing in those counties is 127. That is as of today. Those are the latest figures.” The information is based on government statistics provided by North Korea’s Red Cross to the International Red Cross, Ms Weiner said. The casualties occurred after a typhoon struck North Korea in mid-July, causing extensive flooding and landslides in four provinces, the International Red Cross said later in a statement. Nearly 17,000 families have been left homeless in the provinces of South Pyongan, North Hwanghae, Kangwon and South Hamgyong, it said. The rain totally or partially destroyed 23,400 houses and caused extensive damage to crops and infrastructure.
29 July 2006
The death toll from floods and landslides in North Korea this month has risen to at least 154 people, with 127 others missing, according to the United Nations. More than 31,000 houses were destroyed and about 17,000 families left homeless, the world body said in a report. The disaster has damaged about 74,000 acres of arable land, which could lead to a loss of 100,000 tons of food or about 10 percent of the country’s annual food shortfall, the UN said.
2 August 2006
North Korea has turned down aid offers to help it cope with flooding that displaced tens of thousands and could push the impoverished country to famine, officials said today. Three major storms hit North Korea in July, leaving nearly 300 people dead or missing, international agencies have said. “The UN World Food Program has been informed by the government of the DPRK (North Korea) that it can deal with the problem on its own,” said WFP spokesman Barry Came. The storms devastated the North’s potato crop and is expected to negatively impact upon rice production in the country already that battles chronic food shortages, a different WFP official said last month. The WFP has prepared 74 tons of food for 13,000 people in Songchon County, one of the hard-hit areas. As a condition for the aid, the WFP wants to conduct a full assessment of damage to find out North Korea’s needs and then monitor the aid to make sure it gets to the people who require it most, its officials have said. The WFP estimates 60,000 people were made homeless or displaced by the flooding. Separately, South Korea’s Red Cross told the North in late July it was willing to provide aid, but the offer was turned down, an official said. The offer was made through the International Federation of Red Cross office in Beijing, the South Korean Red Cross official said. “But we are pulling together an aid plan in case there is a request from the North,” he said. South Korea, a major supplier of aid to North Korea, suspended its food shipments to North Korea after Pyongyang defied international warnings and fired seven missiles on July 5. The North had requested 500,000 tons of rice this year from the South. Seoul said it can send regular humanitarian aid when North Korea returns to stalled six-country talks on ending its nuclear weapons program.
2 August 2006
Up to 10,000 North Koreans are believed dead or missing in what Pyongyang’s official media is describing as the worst flooding in a century, a respected South Korean humanitarian group says. “About 4,000 people are now listed as missing, and we expect the final toll of dead and missing to reach 10,000,” the independent aid group Good Friends said. North Korea’s official media has so far admitted that hundreds of people are dead or missing after the country was battered by heavy rainfall for nearly two weeks from July 10. Seoul-based Good Friends says the media is now terming the flooding the worst to hit the impoverished country in a century and that a massive relief operation is now under way. In a statement, the group says despite the urgency of the disaster, North Korean soldiers have been ordered to stay in their barracks and not to help with relief operations because of tension with the outside world over North Korea’s recent missile tests.
25 July 2006China
Typhoon “Kaemi” has reached China’s south-eastern coast, bringing with it heavy rain and high winds. It made landfall at Jinjiang in Fujian province, and is set to cross a region still recovering from the effects of an earlier storm. The Chinese authorities have evacuated people ahead of the new typhoon. More than 430,000 people have been moved from their homes in Fujian, while another 80,000 have been evacuated in Zhejiang province. Around 44,000 fishing boats were ordered to seek shelter and 3,000 police were on hand to assist with rescue operations, Xinhua news agency reported.
26 July 2006
Typhoon “Kaemi” weakened into a tropical depression today as it lashed south China with heavy rains and strong winds and forced the evacuation of over half a million people. Two people were killed in the southern Guangdong province, the state television said. More than 600,000 residents in the southeastern province of Fujian were evacuated as “Kaemi” made landfall at typhoon strength yesterday, after injuring six people, causing floods and cutting off power in parts of Taiwan. In Fujian and neighboring Guangdong, boats were moored in ports as fishermen sought shelter from the storm, Xinhua news agency said. Dozens of flights in Fujian’s capital Fuzhou and main port city Xiamen were cancelled yesterday. Today, downpours brought by “Kaemi” soaked large parts of Fujian, Guangdong and another four provinces in China’s south and east, which would continue to see rainfall in the next three days, the country’s Central Meteorological Office said. Authorities have warned of possible landslides and are closely watching already swollen dams and overflowing rivers in the wake of tropical storm “Bilis”, urging the relocation of those living near rocky mountain slopes and in valleys, Xinhua said. “Kaemi” had been expected to move northwest to hit the provinces of Zhejiang, Anhui and financial hub Shanghai, which has ordered the reinforcing of billboards, electricity poles and scaffolding. Shanghai was overcast today and rain and wind is expected in the evening, but “Kaemi”’s brunt seemed to be moving westward to bring heavy rain to Jiangxi province, northern Guangdong and the southern part of Hunan province, the Meteorological Office said. In the Philippines, where “Kaemi” originated on the Pacific, nearly 31,000 people were still unable to return to their homes in Manila and northern areas of the country due to flooding from “Kaemi”.
27 July 2006
Floods and landslides triggered by Typhoon “Kaemi” have killed at least 18 people and left more than 60 missing in southern China, state media said today. “Kaemi” weakened into a tropical depression after sweeping across China’s southeastern coast on Tuesday (July 25), but the downpours it brought soaked at least four provinces, all of which were damaged by tropical storm “Bilis”. Six people were killed when flash floods along a mountainside hit a military barracks in the eastern province of Jiangxi, Xinhua news agency said. President Hu Jintao has ordered that “the utmost effort” be made to search for 38 officers, soldiers and family members who are still missing, it added. Two girls – aged nine and six – died in southern Guangdong province after their house collapsed under a landslide. Both incidents occurred in the early hours of yesterday when the victims were probably sleeping, Xinhua said. Ten people were killed, mostly by flood waters, in Jiangxi’s mountainous south, Xinhua said. About 20 were missing and roads and communications have been disrupted in some areas. “The deaths were mainly reported in Shangyou county, which has also suffered many house collapses. Rivers and dams there are overflowing at alarming levels,” an official at the provincial flood control office told Reuters. Relief workers have been distributing blankets, clothing and instant noodles to the tens of thousands of villagers affected in the county, Xinhua said. In neighboring Hunan province, hundreds of thousands of people were relocated as streets in the city of Chenzhou, where “Bilis” killed almost 200 this month, were flooded and at least three were missing, Xinhua said. A section of the Beijing-Zhuhai highway in southern Hunan, cut for days by “Bilis”, was submerged by water again. In Fujian province, where “Kaemi” made landfall after sweeping through Taiwan, a levee collapsed, threatening the lives of more than 20,000 people in six villages, Xinhua said, adding that emergency repair work was under way. Rain was likely to continue in the provinces until Friday, China’s Central Meteorological Office said on its Web site. The Meteorological Office said “Kaemi” carried less rain and would move away faster than “Bilis”, which killed 612 people and left 208 missing in southern China since it stuck the country on July 14, mostly in the provinces of Hunan, Guangdong and Fujian.
28 July 2006
The death toll from rainstorms triggered by typhoon “Kaemi” has risen to 32 in China’s south and east, state media said today. More than 60 were missing. “Kaemi” weakened to a tropical depression shortly after landing on China’s southeastern coast on Tuesday (July 25), but the heavy rains it brought soaked five provinces, affecting six million people and forcing the evacuation of 1.3 million, state television said. The hardest hit is the eastern province of Jiangxi, where six were killed when flash floods along a mountainside swept away a military barracks in the early hours of Wednesday. Another 38 officers, soldiers and family members are still missing. A further 17 villagers died and 15 went missing in floods and landslides in Jiangxi’s mountainous south, where rivers overflowed and thousands of houses collapsed, Xinhua news agency said. Power, communications and roads were also disrupted. The rain is expected to stop in the area tomorrow, but is forecast to be followed by a three-day heat wave, prompting officials to warn against possible epidemics, Xinhua added. Five people, including two young girls, were also killed by floods and landslides in the neighboring southern province of Guangdong, Xinhua said. Three were missing in Fujian province, where the storm made its China landfall. In the central province of Hunan, streets in the city of Chenzhou were flooded and at least three people were reported missing yesterday. By Wednesday, the rains had destroyed half a million houses, damaged 3.3 million hectares of crops and caused economic losses totaling yuan 74 billion yuan (£5 billion), Xinhua said.
31 July 2006
A flash flood this month killed at least 18 Chinese workers building a highway in the country’s south-west, state media said. At least 17 are missing and feared dead The torrents rushed down a mountainside and swept away the workers’ temporary shelters in Mengzi county, a hilly area in the southwestern province of Yunnan, in the early hours of July 20. Eight were confirmed dead at the time. “The death toll has risen to 18 and 17 are still missing,” the Beijing News quoted a local official as saying. “There is almost no chance for them to be found alive.” But the search for the workers continued as the construction of the highway resumed, the newspaper said.
31 July 2006
Heavy rains hit Beijing early this morning, causing a severe traffic jam from downtown Beijing to the capital’s international airport and delaying all flights leaving from the airport. The municipal meteorological observatory said at 0845, today that heavy rains had swept central and southern Beijing. It also forecast heavy rains or rainstorms would continue to hit the city until Monday night. The strong rainfalls have caused many parts of the main roads inundated by water. By 1300, today, traffic was almost stopped along the expressway from the downtown to the airport because of the rains. According to a broadcast from the airport, all flights leaving Beijing were delayed because of the rainfall.
21 July 2006Vietnam
A total of 12 people were killed or missing feared dead after heavy rains triggered flash floods and mudslides that destroyed 400 houses in mountainous northern Vietnam. Four people died in Bac Kan province and five had been missing since early Tuesday and were feared drowned, said provincial flood control official Ha Kim Oanh, who warned more floods were expected in the coming weeks. Two more people were killed in Vinh Phuc province, and one in Lang Son province bordering China, said an official of the National Flood and Storm Control Committee in the capital Hanoi. Hundreds of villagers had been evacuated in remote Bac Kan where heavy rains have swollen rivers and cut roads, said an official in Bac Kan town, 125 km north of Hanoi. The national government has warned 16 northern provinces to prepare for more severe storms ahead after weather services predicted higher than usual rainfall in coming months.
31 July 2006Afghanistan
Flash floods caused by heavy rains have killed at least 13 people with another 19 feared dead in eastern and southeastern provinces of Afghanistan, officials said. A total of 13 bodies were recovered after floods caused by torrential rains in eastern Nangarhar province on the border with Pakistan, the provincial administration director said. Five people had been injured and seven were still missing, Ghulam Sayed Khogiani said. The rain also washed away around 60 hectares of agricultural land, destroyed several houses and killed scores of animals, he said. Heavy rains had also damaged villages in adjoining Paktia and nearby Khost provinces and authorities today dispatched teams to investigate reports that many people were dead. “We have reports that seven people have died. We’ve sent our teams to the areas to collect more information,” Khost director of rural development Mohammad Omar said. In Paktia villagers had reported five people, including children, were dead, the provincial rural development director Mohammad Tahir said.
3 August 2006Mexico
Heavy rains caused a mountainside to give way in rural, southern Mexico yesterday, burying two homes and killing 11 people, four of them children, officials said. The pre-dawn mudslide in the village of Monte Orden, 200 kilometers west of Oaxaca city, completely crushed both homes, killing the families. They included four children, ages 1 to 14, and seven adults, according to Martin Vela, director of civil protection for Oaxaca state.
1 August 2006Pakistan
Heavy monsoon rains killed at least 24 people, including 14 children, and injured more than 50 in southern Pakistan, officials and rescue workers said today. People have drowned, been electrocuted by falling cables and been crushed to death by house collapses over the past 48 hours, officials in the southern Sindh province told Reuters. Many parts of Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial and financial hub, were without electricity for up to 40 hours as old, rusty power supply lines broke and generators tripped. “This has multiplied our problems, as we are unable to clear water off the roads,” said Syed Mustafa Kamal, Karachi’s Nazim, or mayor. Karachi, a city of 15 million people, was paralysed due to the combination of flooded streets and power outages, which shut down factories and businesses. A spokesman for the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation said that repair work might take another 24 hours. Falling electricity cables killed two people in their cars, Kamal said, and five people, including four children drowned after being swept away by flood waters on the city’s outskirts. In other parts of Sindh, at least 17 people were killed, including ten in Sanghar city, 250 km north of Karachi. Most deaths occurred due to house collapses. In rural Sindh, high winds ripped roofs off huts built of straw, mud and wooden planks, injuring more than 50 villagers, though casualties could be much higher as many injuries go unreported, rescue workers said.
1 August 2006
The life, Air, railway and business activities in Karachi southern port city of Pakistan suffered due to heavy monsoon rain for the last two days. It has virtually paralyzed industrial and trading activities in the city. The industrialists say export shipments remained affected, as majority of exporters avoided shipping their consignments owing to fear of damage to goods during the rain. Supply of goods to the local markets from the industrial areas also remained halted due to closure of wholesale and retail markets. Industrialists said production activities in the industrial estates plunged by 50-80 percent yesterday. Power remained out for most of time. All major markets in the city remained shut. Meanwhile, train traffic to and from the port city would remain suspended for another 48 hours. The bad weather also delayed the arrival of at least five flights to Karachi airport yesterday.
2 August 2006
The upcountry movement of cargoes from Karachi ports through Pakistan Railways is suspended as freight trains from Karachi to northern area continues to remain disturbed following the damage caused by monsoon rain to Ranpathani Railway Bridge in the Thatta district of Sindh Province of Pakistan on Sunday. The railway minister Shaikh Rashid has visited the damaged bridge yesterday and ordered immediate repair of it. The Pakistan Railways has been operating a passenger train service from Hyderabad, but it has been unable to operate freight trains from Karachi. The railway link of Karachi from the rest of the country was broken after the heavy rain swept away a portion of the bridge. Officials in the railways department said the repair work on the bridge had been started and it would be made operative by August 4.
3 August 2006
Landslides and flash floods caused by torrential rains have killed at least 14 people, including four children, living in tents in earthquake devastated areas of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, police said today. Ten people were killed during early morning prayers when a mudslide hit their tents at the foot of a mountain in Dadar Kadim, around 27 km from Mansehra town, police officer Fayyaz Ahmed said. In Allai valley in Batagram district, four people were killed and six others were missing after floods washed away their shelters, according to police officer Abdul Karim. In the last two weeks, over 65 people have been killed in Pakistani Kashmir and NWFP by landslides and flashfloods caused by the monsoon rains. Officials in Muzaffarabad said although no casualties had been reported today, the Neelum valley road was blocked due to landslides and river levels were also very high.
6 August 2006Ethiopia
Flooding has killed dozens of people in the city of Dire Dawa in eastern Ethiopia after a river burst its banks and swept sleeping residents away. Police in the city said at least 100 people had died, and rescue workers said they feared the final toll could be several hundred. Officials said 220 homes were destroyed when the Dechatu river overflowed late night. Over the past two years flooding has afflicted large areas of Ethiopia. Parts of east and south Ethiopia have been particularly hard hit, with hundreds killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. A heavy downpour hit Dire Dawa city, 500 km east of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, in the early hours of yesterday, residents said. The floods swept away vehicles and livestock, and destroyed markets and shops, witnesses said. Thousands of Dire Dawa’s estimated 250,000 residents have been displaced by the flooding. Local police inspector Benyam Fikru said the rescue operation was still going on, and that bulldozers were being used to recover bodies from the sandy banks of the Dechatu river. Flooding often hits low-lying parts of Ethiopia during the June-to-September rainy season. Last year at least 200 people were killed – some by crocodiles in the floodwaters – when heavy rains pounded the same region.
6 August 2006
Almost 200 people are reported to have died after a river burst its banks and floodwaters swept through the city of Dire Dawa in eastern Ethiopia. The local police commissioner said 39 of the dead were young children. Officials said hundreds of homes were destroyed when the Dechatu river overflowed last night. A heavy downpour hit Dire Dawa city in the early hours yesterday, residents told news agency AFP. The floods also swept away vehicles and livestock, and destroyed markets and shops, witnesses said. Thousands of Dire Dawa’s estimated 250,000 residents have been displaced by the flooding. “The death toll from the flood caused by the overflow in Dire Dawa reached 191 by 2030 hrs,” regional Dire Dawa Police Commissioner Getachew Asres said. Last year at least 200 people were killed when heavy rains pounded the same region. The flooding also caused millions of dollars worth of damage, particularly to small farmers.
7 August 2006
Rescuers used earth movers and their bare hands to search through mud and debris for survivors today, a day after flash floods killed about 200 people in eastern Ethiopia. Survivors in Dire Dawa, some 300 miles east of the capital, Addis Ababa, spoke of their horror as flood waters crashed through their homes after a river burst its banks early yesterday following heavy rains. The waters flipped cars, swept away houses and severed power and communications lines. Officials put the toll at around 200, with 39 children among the victims. That was expected to rise. Though the search for survivors continued, officials believed there was little chance of finding more people alive. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi flew to the town of about 300,000 today. “We are doing everything possible we can for the people of Dire Dawa,” Meles told journalists who accompanied him. “This will hurt the development of Dire Dawa but we will do everything we can to help them recover.” Simon Mechale, head of the government’s emergency arm, the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency, called for international help. “This is an unprecedented disaster,” he said. “We are trying to take the lead in helping residents get the situation under control.” A UN team was at the scene to assess the damage and what assistance they can provide. Local radio stations reported that witnesses and residents said more than 200 homes were destroyed by the floods. Radio stations also reported that area highways were cut off by the floods.
9 August 2006
Ethiopian rescue workers have dug for a third day through the devastation caused by a weekend flash flood that killed 210 people, searching for as many as 300 others still missing. Teams of police officers and soldiers using bulldozers and shovels have been clearing piles of mud and sand dumped in the eastern town of Dire Dawa after the Dechatu river burst its banks on Saturday (August 5) night. “The death toll from the flood that hit Dire Dawa on Saturday has now reached 210 after more bodies were recovered,” police inspector Benyam Fikru said. Some 10,000 people are estimated to have been left homeless by the raging waters from two rivers, the Dechatu and Dire Dawa rivers, which broke their banks after heavy rains, and swept through the town and adjacent areas.
4 August 2006India
Monsoon rains and floods have killed 42 people in southern and eastern India and displaced tens of thousands of others, officials said today. Forty deaths have been reported from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh since Wednesday (August 2) while two people were killed today in flash floods in neighboring Orissa. The deaths were mostly due to collapsing houses, falling trees and electrocution after hundreds of electric poles were knocked down by strong winds. The airport in the port town of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh was closed after the runway was flooded and water entered the terminal building. “Nearly 25,500 people have been displaced and 3,600 rendered homeless as landslides and floods have destroyed their homes,” said disaster management official Debabratha Kanta. Navy boats and helicopters rescued people stranded on the roofs of their houses while rail and road traffic had been blocked in several areas by flood waters and landslides. The rains were expected to continue for another 24 hours.
8 August 2006
Flooding caused by monsoon rains has killed 69 people in western India in the past three days, and caused tens of thousands to flee their homes, an official said today. The deaths occurred in Maharashtra state, parts of which have been inundated by this year’s monsoon, said the state’s director general of information, Manisha Mhaiskar. Mhaiskar said 120,000 people had been evacuated from their homes due to flooding. In two towns - Hingoli and Nanded - people were pulled out by helicopter because the current was too strong for boats to reach them, she said. Nearly all those killed were swept away in floods or crushed by collapsing houses, she said. The monsoon has killed at least 481 people across India this year, with most drowning in floods, being crushed under landslides and collapsing houses, or getting electrocuted. However, many areas do not keep accurate death tolls, and the total number of people killed in the country is likely much higher. Officials in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh said yesterday that some 30 people had died there in the previous five days, most in coastal areas cut off by flooding. With tens of thousands of people either stranded or forced from their homes across much of southern of western India, soldiers were being called in to help with rescue and relief efforts.
9 August 2006
Floods caused by monsoon rains forced the closure of a natural gas plant and petrochemical factories in western India, where scores of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in recent days, according to reports today. Heavy rains over the past two weeks have swollen rivers and flooded houses, forcing some 650,000 people from their homes in southern Andhra Pradesh state and the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. At least 145 people have died in the past week. Several low-lying areas in Mumbai, India’s financial hub and Maharashtra’s capital, remained flooded, and Indian television channels broadcast footage of people struggling through murky waters in villages and cities while air force helicopters and naval boats tried to rescue those stranded. Nearly 3.5 million people living in and around the city of Surat in Gujarat state were affected by the floods, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. More than 80 percent of the city was submerged by water, the agency quoted Police Commissioner Sudhir Sinha as saying. The Business Standard newspaper said several energy and fertilizer companies scaled back production after the closure of gas and petrochemical plants in the city of Hazira in Gujarat. Oil & Natural Gas Corp said it closed a plant in the city that supplies most of the gas used in northern India, while Reliance Industries also closed several petrochemical plants. Once the waters recede, restoring gas supplies could take up to a week, the Business Standard said, quoting unnamed officials at the Gas Authority of India Ltd. Across India, the rains have killed at least 527 people this year, with most drowning in floods, being crushed by landslides or collapsed houses, or being electrocuted. However, many areas do not keep accurate death tolls, and the total number of people killed is likely to be much higher.
7 August 2006
Floods last month in North Korea killed at least 549 people and left 295 others still missing, a pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan said today. The floods, which were spawned by heavy rains in mid-July, also destroyed nearly 4,500 homes and damaged more than 3,000 others, according to the report by the Choson Sinbo newspaper, which is published by a pro-North Korean association linked to the Pyongyang regime. “Recovery efforts are proceeding at rapid speed as relief supplies are being sent to the afflicted areas,” the newspaper said on its web site, which is monitored in Seoul. The heavy rains flooded nearly 40,000 acres of farmland and completely washed away more than 8,500 acres, the paper reported, putting a further strain on the impoverished communist country’s ability to feed its 23 million people. The death toll figure would represent a sharp increase from the official tally of 154 dead and 127 missing from the floods, according to the United Nations. The Red Cross said last week that 151 people had been killed and 29 left missing, based on government provided figures. North Korea’s official media has previously reported that “hundreds” were killed in the disaster, without giving specifics. North Korea has told international aid groups operating in the capital of Pyongyang that it does not want them to launch an emergency appeal on its behalf. In an indication of the scope of the tragedy, however, a North Korean official said last week that the country was in urgent need of food and would accept aid from South Korea. South Korea, a key provider of rice and fertilizer aid to the North, recently suspended its aid to the North to protest Pyongyang’s refusal to discuss its missile launches in early July that drew international condemnation and raised regional tensions. However, the government has now said it would consider contributing to nongovernmental aid shipments for the flood victims amid growing calls at home to help the impoverished North.
9 August 2006
North Korea has requested help from South Korea to cope with devastating floods, a South Korean citizens’ group said today, a move that could improve inter-Korean relations chilled by the North’s recent missile launches. It was the first time the communist nation has officially requested South Korean aid since flooding in mid-July spawned by heavy rains left at least 549 people dead and 295 missing. The North asked South Korea to provide food, blankets, medical supplies and construction materials and equipment including cement and trucks to help it recover from the disaster, said Park Ji-yong, an official at a South Korean committee working for reconciliation between the Koreas. The first South Korean private relief group sent flood relief to the North last week. North Korea had initially said it would handle the disaster on its own and rejected aid from South Korea’s Red Cross, but a North Korean official said last week the country was in urgent need of food and would accept aid from South Korea. South Korea’s Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok told a meeting of civic leaders Wednesday that Seoul plans to match and contribute more than the funds that civic groups raise for the North, an aid official said.
6 August 2006Pakistan
Railway traffic between Karachi and other parts of the country was resumed yesterday after a span of seven day as railway authorities constructed alternative track at Ran Pathani, some 80 km from the port city, where the railway bridge was washed away by the recent torrential rains. As per details, yesterday first train Down-country train, Khyber Mail reached Cantonment Station, Karachi at 1300 hrs through the alternative track at Ran Pathani, while the upcountry railway traffic was resumed as Allama Iqbal Express left Cantonment Station at 14.00 hrs for its upcountry destination. The train services remained suspended for seven days, when a railway bridge between Ddhabeji and Ran Pathani was destroyed and washed away by the floodwater during the recent monsoon rain. Sources said the alternative track would be used minimum and a limited speed would be allowed for the track. Therefore, the down-country trains of Zkaria Express, Shah Runke Alam Express, Faisalabad Night Coach and Channap Express were halted at Hyderabad and the passengers of the respective trains would be brought to Karachi through buses, the sources maintained.
6 August 2006
A total of 40 people have died after a bridge collapsed in heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Mardan, according to authorities. At least 100 people had gathered to watch the flooded river when part of the bridge caved in. Troops and local people have resumed the search for those still missing, officials say. Weeks of heavy rain and landslides have killed hundreds of people and displaced many more in Pakistan and India. The 30 ft high bridge collapsed in Mardan, a city about 60 miles north-west of the capital, Islamabad, yesterday. Relatives of the missing people spent the night in the open near the toppled bridge and many were helping in the search, local mayor, Himayatullah Mayar, said. Army troops were called out to join civilian aid workers and local residents who used steel cutters, sledgehammers and a crane to break concrete and lift debris.
8 August 2006
Flooding and heavy rains in northwestern Pakistan in recent days have left 144 people dead and 97 others injured, a relief official said yesterday. The deaths occurred since Jul 26 when heavy monsoon rains began, causing floods and mudslides in various districts in the North West Frontier province, said Fazal Rabi Khan, the province’s chief government relief official. Among the casualties were 41 people who died on Saturday (August 5) when a road bridge collapsed in heavy rain in Mardan city, tossing dozens of people into a flooded stream, Khan said at a news conference in the provincial capital of Peshawar. A total of 39 other people died in separate incidents of flooding and rains triggering mudslides in the mountainous district of Mansehra, he said. The other deaths occurred in several other districts in the province including Karak, where at least ten people drowned in a rain-swollen stream, Khan said. Rains, flooding and mudslides have left 16,000 homes either destroyed or partially damaged in the province, Khan said. No deaths were reported yesterday, but Khan said that more rains and flooding were forecast in the coming days and government officials have been ordered prepare for possible flood situations.
3 August 2006China
Typhoon “Prapiroon” slammed into southern China today, packing heavy rain and 75-mph winds as authorities evacuated tens of thousands of people from their homes. The typhoon, which earlier killed six people in the Philippines, made landfall at 19.20 hrs over a large swath of coastal Guangdong province, including the cities of Yangjiang and Dianbai, according to the state meteorological bureau. Authorities evacuated 65,000 people from parts of Guangdong and the neighbouring island province of Hainan, and ferry and railway services were suspended. More than 50,000 boats also were ordered to return to port in Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan provinces, official media said. Rescue teams throughout the area were alert for floods and landslides. Strong winds and heavy rains were forecast through Saturday (August 5) for large parts of Guangdong and Hainan, China’s southernmost island and a popular tourist destination. The storm was moving northwest at nine to 12 mph, the meteorological bureau said. In Hong Kong, hundreds of airline flights were delayed, cancelled or redirected, stranding more than 3,000 passengers. At least one person was injured yesterday when empty shipping containers were toppled by high winds at a container terminal in the city. Philippine authorities said two people were also missing following lightning storms and flooding caused by the typhoon, which struck the country as a tropical storm. About 15,000 people were evacuated, as parts of the northern Philippines remained inundated.
3 August 2006
Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated in southern China as Typhoon “Prapiroon” slammed into the mainland today, pounding an area already battered by storms with more heavy rains and winds, state media said. “Prapiroon” made landfall at 1920 along a stretch of coastal Guangdong province, including the cities of Yangjiang and Dianbai, the Xinhua News Agency said. It said the storm was moving inland northwest at a speed of 9 to 12 mph. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. Stormy weather was forecast from Thursday to Saturday (August 5) for the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan and Hainan, China’s southernmost island and a popular tourist destination. Authorities evacuated about 400,000 residents in low-lying areas of Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan, which lie about 370 miles southwest of Hong Kong in the South China Sea, Xinhua said. Ferry and railway services linking Hainan to the mainland were also suspended. Some 84,000 people were forced to flee their homes in Guangxi, Xinhua said. It did not give a breakdown of the evacuations in Guangdong and Hainan. A total of 62,023 fishing boats and other vessels returned to port in the three provinces, Xinhua said. Rescue teams were ordered to be on alert for possible floods and landslides. In Hong Kong, at least one person was reported injured on yesterday when empty shipping containers were toppled by high winds at a container terminal. In separate incidents, a cargo vessel and barge ran aground on islands off the territory’s coast amid the storm, a spokesman from the Government Flying Service said today. Dozens of crew members were rescued and there were no reports of injuries or deaths, spokesman Jack Chak said. By 18.00, today, 130 flights had been delayed, 143 cancelled and 66 redirected, Hong Kong’s airport reported. Ferry services were suspended. Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong’s biggest airline, said it cancelled the arrival and departure of all flights in Hong Kong until 0900, Friday because of excessive winds. “Prapiroon” killed six people in the Philippines, Philippine authorities said two other people were missing following lightning storms and flooding caused by “Prapiroon”, which struck the country as a tropical storm. About 15,000 others were evacuated as parts of the northern Philippines remained inundated. This year’s typhoon season in China started unusually early and storms have already killed more than 1,460 people, mainly in the densely populated southeastern provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan andJiangxi. Chinese officials estimate more than 1 million houses have been damaged and millions of acres of farmland and forests destroyed. Also today, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies issued a $4.8 million appeal to provide food, tents, and quilts for 240,000 people left homeless by floods unleashed by typhoon downpours.
4 August 2006
Flights and ferry services were disrupted in Hong Kong yesterday as typhoon “Prapiroon” stormed past, bringing heavy rain and strong gales. The typhoon, which killed two people in the Philippines, passed within 300 kilometers off Hong Kong yesterday morning as it edged across the South China Sea towards southern China. Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific cancelled or postponed all flights to Taipei before noon, and ferry services between Hong Kong and Macau, which is closer to the path of the typhoon, were suspended. However, the worst impact was expected in southern China’s Guangdong province and Hainan Island, where thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. The typhoon was expected to make landfall there yesterday afternoon. Hong Kong raised a second level storm signal on Wednesday (August 2) as the typhoon approached, bringing 78-kilometer-per-hour gusts that felled trees and toppled a stack of containers at the city’s port. However, weather forecasters said there would be no need for a higher storm signal to be raised in the city of 6.8 million as the typhoon passed at its closest point late yesterday morning.
4 August 2006
Officials evacuated at least 65,000 people and suspended shipping and some rail services as typhoon “Prapiroon” brought more torrential rain and strong winds to southern China yesterday. The eye of the typhoon was expected to bring force-12 winds to coastal areas of western Guangdong province later yesterday and early today, weather forecasters said. Provincial officials issued an emergency notice calling all vessels back to port early yesterday, after they were surprised by the speed of the typhoon’s approach across the South China Sea, the official Xinhua news agency said. Rail passenger services were suspended across the bridge linking Guangdong with the island province of Hainan over the Qiongzhou Strait. “Prapiroon” is forecast to gain strength and move westwards across southern China at 15 kilometers per hour over the next 24 hours. Heavy rain hit most areas of Guangdong from Wednesday (August 2) and the provincial observatory warned government departments to prepare for possible high waves, landslides, flash floods over the next three days. Guangdong, Hainan and the neighbouring regions of Guangxi and Guizhou are expected to get 100 to 180 millimetres of rain by Saturday, the state meteorological office said. Hainan, Guangdong and Guangxi had evacuated 65,000 people and recalled 53,200 vessels to harbor by Wednesday, the agency said.
4 August 2006
At least 20 international flights to Hong Kong have been diverted to airports in the Philippines due to bad weather, air transport officials said today. Twelve flights were diverted to Manila international airport while eight were diverted to Clark airport, a former US airbase north of Manila starting late yesterday, the officials said. They included Cathay Pacific flights from Singapore, Ankara, Sydney, Melbourne and Penang and two British Airways flights from London. At least four of the diverted flights have since taken off for Hong Kong after the weather cleared, the officials added. More than 200 flights out of Hong Kong were delayed or cancelled yesterday due to strong winds brought by Typhoon “Prapiroon”.
6 August 2006
The death toll from Tropical Storm “Prapiroon” in southern China has risen to at least 55, with 17 people still missing, state media report. The storm made landfall on Thursday (August 3) in Guangdong and has also affected the provinces of Hunan, Guangxi and Hainan. It has forced the evacuation of some 530,000 people and caused an estimated 2.4 billion yuan ($300 millio) worth of damage. “Prapiroon” was downgraded from a typhoon on Friday but continues to pound the region with winds and rain. It has caused transport chaos in recent days, with thousands of passengers stranded at Hong Kong airport. More than six million people were affected by the typhoon, officials said. At Hong Kong airport, the cancellation of more than 800 flights on Thursday left thousands of passengers stranded. More flights were delayed on Friday, as were flights from Nanning in Guangxi. Ferries between Hainan island, south of Guangdong, and the mainland were suspended before the typhoon arrived, while rail services were also disrupted. More than 53,000 fishing vessels were recalled to harbor, but 68 people had to be rescued from a barge off the Guangdong coast, Xinhua said.
7 August 2006
Chinese state media reports the death toll in south China from floods and landslides caused by tropical storm “Prapiroon” has risen to 77. Xinhua news agency says Prapiroon has killed 26 people, destroyed 9,300 houses and damaged 20,000 hectares of cropland in southern Guangxi province. It says the storm has killed 51 people in neighboring Guangdong province, causing economic losses of $A88.7 billion since landing there last Thursday (August 3).
10 August 2006
Typhoon “Saomai” dumped torrential rain in northern Taiwan, disrupting air travel, as it headed for China where authorities are preparing for the strongest storm to hit the country since 2004 when 164 people were killed. Saomai, with winds of 173 kilometers (108 miles) per hour and gusts of 209 kilometers per hour, was centered about 190 kilometers north of Keelung at 12.00 hrs, Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said on its Web site. The storm was heading westnorth-west at 23 kilometers per hour, the bureau said. It was 154 km southeast of Wenzhou in China. Far Eastern Air Transport Corp., Mandarin Airlines and UNI Airways Corp. cancelled all domestic flights in and out of Taipei before 1500 hrs, the Transportation Ministry said. Eva Airways Corp., Taiwan’s second biggest carrier, cancelled six flights to Hong Kong and Macau. China Airlines, the island’s biggest carrier, plans to offer normal services today, according to the ministry. The center of Saomai is expected to make landfall in either Zhejiang or Fujian province in eastern China this afternoon, the China Metrological Administration’s Web site said. As many as 200,000 people were evacuated in Zhejiang from the coastal cities of Ningbo, Wenzhou, Taizhou. Wenzhou has a population of 7 million, according to the Zhejiang provincial government’s web site. China’s Fujian province evacuated 266,000 people working in coastal villages and ordered 36,000 cargo ships and fishing vessels to port. A 24-hour curfew is in place in the northern region of the province. “Saomai” is a super-typhoon, or Category 5 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 256 km per hour and gusts to 312 km per hour, according to Weather.com, a US-based internet weather company.
10 August 2006
Super Typhoon “Saomai”, the strongest to threaten China in 50 years, slammed into the south-east coast today after forcing more than 1.5 million people from their homes. “Saomai”, one of three storms to hit east Asia in the past few days, made landfall in Zhejiang province at 09.25, GMT, hitting Cangnan county just after officials there declared a state of emergency, Xinhua news agency said. In one town, Longgang, nearly empty streets were awash with water, all shops were closed and the storm had already battered down trees, walls and billboards, and overturned pedicabs, the report said. Storm tracker Tropical Storm Risk (www.tropicalstormrisk.com) had graded “Saomai” a category five “super” typhoon, its highest category, but reduced that to category four once it came ashore. There were no immediate reports of casualties and “Saomai” would move further inland at about 20 km per hour, Xinhua said. “”Saomai” is packing winds of 216 kph and has outpaced forecasts,” Xinhua quoted Li Yuzhu, head of the Zhejiang provincial observatory, as saying. Residents in the Wenzhou area, where Cangnan is located, had reinforced windows and doors against the storm and stockpiled drinking water and food, state television said. Wenzhou airport had closed and hundreds of passengers were stranded because of cancelled flights, one airport manager said. “We don’t know when we will open again,” he said. Wenzhou, once a prosperous foreign treaty port and now a manufacturing centre, has a central population of 1.3 million, but there are 7.4 million in the greater Wenzhou area. Xinhua reported that Zhejiang had already evacuated nearly one million people, with another 569,000 people moved in the neighboring province of Fujian, as heavy rain, strong winds and a high tide hit the area. Schools, theatres and stadiums had been turned into shelters for the displaced, a Wenzhou official said. Factories, shops and offices had been ordered to stop all activities “unrelated to battling the typhoon”. Authorities moved 100,000 people in Cangnan alone and declared a state of emergency at 09.00 GMT as “Saomai” brought winds as high as 184 kph over land, Xinhua said.