Asia-Pacific

Viewpoints

A Flooded World

14 million people have been affected by Pakistan floods.

Afghanistan – U.N. News Service (Aug. 5): The United Nations health agency said today that it has begun sending medical supplies to aid thousands of people affected by recent flooding across Afghanistan, where the major health concerns right now are water contamination and the spread of waterborne diseases. The Afghan government estimates that the floods have left several thousand individuals homeless in northeast Kapisa, central Ghazni, Laghman, Nangarhar, Kunar, Logar, Khost and northern Parwan provinces, where at least 2,500 houses have been destroyed. An estimated 80 people have reportedly died in the floods, and much of the arable land, where crops were planted, has been inundated.

Brazil – BBC News (June 23): Floods have engulfed two states in northeast Brazil, killing at least 42 people and forcing at least 100,000 to flee their homes. Another 1,000 people are missing, prompting fears that the death toll in Alagoas and Pernambuco might rise. The floods, brought on by nearly a week of rain, are thought to have destroyed entire villages. The governor of Alagoas, Teotonio Vilela Filho, said bodies were being washed up on beaches and riverbanks. At least 29 people were confirmed dead in Alagoas and more than 1,000 people are missing. "Unfortunately, some towns have been nearly 100 percent destroyed, basically wiped off the map," Sandro Cavalcante, a spokesman for the Alagoas state Civil Defense agency, told the Reuters news agency.

China – Xinhua News (Aug. 2): Floods have left 63 people dead and 59 missing in northeast China's Jilin Province over the past two months, local authorities said Monday. More than 4 million people have been affected since the flood season began in June and some 700,000 people have been evacuated, the Jilin Provincial Civil Affairs Department said in a statement. Additionally, about 62,000 houses have collapsed and 193,000 others have been damaged, along with 1.2 million hectares of cropland having been inundated. Direct economic losses were estimated at almost 19 billion yuan ($2.8 billion). In the hardest-hit areas, flash floods have cut roads, isolated villages, and disrupted communications and water supplies. In the industrial city of Tonghua, torrential rains have damaged water pipelines, leaving 300,000 people without tap water for two days.

India – CNN (Aug. 9): The death toll from last week's flooding and subsequent landslides has risen to 165 in the Himalayan town of Leh, India, according to a senior police officer. In confirming the increased death toll, Farooq Ahmad also told CNN that at least 400 people were injured and "have been treated or are undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the town of Leh." Rescue workers continued to search for more than 400 people missing, state-run media reported Monday.

Moldova – Bsanna News (July 12): The Moldovan authorities will do their best so that people who lost their houses in the wake of the devastating floods receive new dwellings by the end of this autumn, acting President Mihai Ghimpu said. Ghimpu said that the Moldovan authorities have been doing their utmost to help evacuate people and goods from the flood-hit zones and to carry out prevention works. "Unfortunately, after the 2008 floods, no state program was worked out to consolidate dams, evacuate dwellings, etc. We should do all these now. But first of all, for the time being we are going to take all efforts to provide the victims with primary assistance," Ghimpu said.

North Korea – The Chosun Ilbo (Aug. 6): North Korea's state-run news agency says heavy rains have caused great damage to the country's economy and unspecified human losses.?The agency said farming, railways and other sectors of the economy have been affected by the flooding.?Thursday's report said more than 5,500 houses and more than 350 public buildings have been destroyed, while almost 15,000 hectares of farmland are submerged. The report did not say how many people have been killed or injured. The North Korean agency said the government has put emergency relief procedures in place as weather officials predict more rain in the coming days. North Korea suffers from chronic food shortages, and the destruction of a significant portion of its farmland could make the problem worse.

Pakistan – The Express Tribune (Aug. 6): According to reports coming in from many parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, especially Swat because of its mountainous terrain, people displaced by the floods are desperately short of food, medicines, drinking water and other supplies essential to their survival. There is talk of starvation with no food available and international relief agencies are also warning of outbreak of diseases in the relief camps—mainly because clean drinking water and sanitation facilities are in short supply. In other parts of the flood-stricken region there are accounts of disease breaking out. Things could become worse in the coming days if the relief effort is not quickly streamlined. In Swat, many of those hit have already withstood many months of conflict.

Russia – The Voice of Russia (Aug. 2): The unprecedented droughts in Russia and Europe, the floods in Pakistan and China, and the equally devastating natural calamities in other regions throughout the world make it imperative for humanity to consolidate efforts in addressing climate change. Wildfires are rampaging in a whole number of Russian regions, including Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Voronezh and Ryazan. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and the air is thick for smog. Dozens of people have been killed by fires. Large-scale calamities are said to have taken place in the past, too. Environmentalists indicate, however, that unlike the past, they have been recurring at greater frequency. Thus, humanity has no choice but to discard the political and economic differences and sit down at the negotiating table before it's too late. Hopefully, the next climate conference in Mexico will bear more fruit than Copenhagen.

Singapore – Channel News Asia (July 25): National water agency PUB said it is looking at expediting drainage improvement systems and an early warning system for residents in the Joo Chiat area affected by the floods. Residents are also urging for in-depth consultations before more measures are drawn up. Residents were given a briefing on some of the flood preventive measures that PUB is looking into. These include raising the road levels of residential areas most prone to floods. Residents will also be given sandbags and flood boards to prevent water from going into their homes. An outlet drain between Tembeling Road and Ceylon Road will also be widened and deepened. Work is also underway to widen and deepen the major Siglap Canal. However, some were still concerned. "People like us who live just next to the canal, no matter how many sandbags there are going to be, it is not going to help," said one Joo Chiat resident.

Ukraine – Relief Web (Aug. 4): Heavy rains at the end of June and the consequent rise in river levels have brought havoc to two flood-prone regions in Western Ukraine. Some 6,500 houses have been flooded in Chernovtsy and Ivano-Frankivsk regions and almost 40,000 people have been affected. Five people have died and one person is still missing. The Ukraine Red Cross has distributed drinking water, filters, clothes, shoes, bedding, medicine and hygiene items to 10,000 people from its own and local donor resources.

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