Deadly flash floods sweep through Turkey’s Black Sea region
At least 17 people have been killed in flash floods in Turkey’s Black Sea region that have sent water and debris cascading through streets, damaged bridges, and ripped up roads in the second natural disaster to strike the country this month.
The floodwaters brought chaos to northern provinces just as authorities were declaring that some of the wildfires that had raged through southern coastal regions for two weeks had been brought under control.
The floods and the fires, which killed eight people and devastated tens of thousands of hectares of forest, struck in the same week that a UN panel said global warming is dangerously close to spiralling out of control.
Fifteen people were killed in the floods in Kastamonu province and two people died in Sinop, authorities said, adding that search and rescue operations were continuing.
More than 1,400 people were evacuated from the areas affected, some with the help of helicopters and boats, and about 740 people were being housed in student dormitories, the Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) said.
Helicopters lowered coastguard personnel onto the roofs of buildings to rescue people who were stranded as floodwaters swept through the streets, footage shared by the Ministry of Interior showed.
The deluge damaged power infrastructure, leaving about 330 villages without electricity. Five bridges had collapsed and many others were damaged, leading to road closures, AFAD added. Parts of the roads were also swept away.
Television footage showed the floods dragging dozens of cars and heaps of debris along the streets. The heavy rainfall in the region was expected to ease on Thursday evening, AFAD said.
Flooding inundated much of Bozkurt in Kastamonu Province. One building collapsed and a second building was damaged in the town, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. In Bartin province, at least 13 people were injured when a section of a bridge caved in.
Many of the affected areas were left without power and village roads were blocked.
The disaster struck as firefighters in southwest Turkey worked to extinguish a wildfire in Mugla province, an area popular with tourists that runs along the Aegean Sea.
The blaze, which was brought under control on Thursday, was one of more than 200 wildfires in Turkey since July 28. At least eight people and countless animals died and thousands of residents have had to flee fierce blazes.
Authorities said that 299 forest fires, which had burned across southwestern provinces for the last two weeks, had been brought under control.
Courtesy of aljazeera.com
Severe floods as Amazon rivers reach record highs in Brazil
The Rio Negro has swollen to levels unseen in over a century of record-keeping. More than 450,000 people have been affected state-wide.
Residents in Manaus, the biggest city in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, were struggling to cope with severe flooding after heavy rain caused nearby rivers to swell.
The Rio Negro reached its highest water level since records began in 1902, with a depth of 29.98 meters (98 feet) at the port’s measuring station on Tuesday.
The nearby Solimoes and Amazon rivers were also nearing all-time highs.
More than 24,000 families and 15 districts of Manaus have been affected and many people had to leave their homes, according to Brazilian online news site G1. Parts of the port area and the historic center of Manaus were underwater.
More than 9,000 meters of wooden bridges — known as marombas — were built in the hardest-hit areas to help residents navigate the city.
The high water levels are not just confined to Manaus. There has been flooding across almost all of Amazonas state and caused damage in nearly 60 of 62 municipalities.
More than 450,000 people have been affected state-wide.
The Amazon River also reached peak levels in cities including Itacoatiara, located in the east of the state.
Higher-than-usual precipitation is associated with the La Nina phenomenon when currents in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean affect global climate patterns.
Environmental experts and organizations including the US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say there is strong evidence that human activity and global warming are altering the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including La Nina.
Seven of the 10 biggest floods in the Amazon basin have occurred in the past 13 years, data from Brazil’s state-owned Geological Survey shows.
Meteorologists say Amazon water levels could continue to rise slightly until late June or July, when floods usually peak.
Courtesy of dw.com
Death toll of Cyclone Seroja rises to 179 in Indonesia
The death toll of Cyclone Seroja in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province rose to 179 and 45 others are still missing, an official said on Monday.
“We have been able to reach all the affected areas and there are no more isolated villages,” East Nusa Tenggara’s Deputy Governor Josef Nae Soi told a virtual press conference with the National Disaster Management Agency.
Soi said several broken bridges have not yet been rebuilt, hampering economic activities.
He said temporary solutions including using army ships and state-owned ferries have been suggested.
Courtesy of xinhuanet.com
Flooding In Italy Prompts Evacuations
Some 60 families were evacuated on Sunday in the Emilia-Romagna region of central Italy which was hit by severe floods, as heavy rain and snowfall caused havoc primarily in the country’s north.
The heavy rain caused landslides in several parts of the country, while avalanche alerts were issued as a result of heavy snowfalls.
In the area of Modena, in the Emilia-Romagna region, firefighters helped families to safety after the Panaro River burst its banks following heavy rain, forcing the closure of roads and railways.
For the past 48 hours firefighters have been working in the Centre-North in rescue operations in Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Lombardy and Tuscany regions. Over 2,200 interventions have been carried out.
In the area of Belluno, in Veneto, the road system was under severe pressure due to rain, snowfall and consequent landslides, with the president of the region, Luca Zaia, calling on all citizens to avoid heading towards the area because of the risk of landslides and avalanches caused by bad weather.
A small bridge over a stream in Gosaldo collapsed, causing a fire brigade vehicle to crash onto the riverbed. The vehicle was empty as the three occupants had already sought safety elsewhere.
For safety reasons, the Brenner railway line was closed between Bolzano and the Italy-Austria border and since Saturday evening the Brenner motorway has also been closed, with Austria currently not accessible from the Italian side.
In various areas of the Dolomites the avalanche risk is very high (grade 5 of 5) and in the most affected regions 80 to 140 cm (31 to 55 inches) of snow have fallen, with strong winds making the situation even more difficult.
Courtesy of republicworld.com
Storm Eta: Up to 150 feared dead in Guatemala landslide as devastating weather wreaks havoc
Up to 150 people are feared to have been killed in a landslide in Guatemala after Storm Eta lashed central America with torrential downpours.
Many of those who lost their lives in the remote mountain village of Queja in the country’s central region of Alta Verapaz were buried in their homes under mud, according to the authorities.
The devastating weather front has wreaked havoc from Panama to Honduras and Mexico, which between them have recorded more than 50 flood-related deaths.
Soldiers trying to reach the site of the Queja landslide had their search for survivors hampered by atrocious conditions, including thick mud.
An army spokesman said it was not the first time disaster had struck the area, which was the scene of a huge landslide a decade ago, that killed dozens.
Footage of severe flooding in another part of Guatemala showed boats ferrying villagers to safety and rescue workers wading through waist-deep water carrying children on their backs.
Eta is one of the fiercest storms to hit Central America in years, with the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) warning that “catastrophic flooding” in the region would continue.
Rescue operations across Honduras and Guatemala have been hampered by destroyed roads and bridges, forcing authorities to bring in the military and use helicopters and speedboats to rescue people stranded on top of their homes.
“We have a lot of people trapped we have not been able to reach,” said Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei.
He tweeted a picture of an elderly man being rescued with the caption: “We will do whatever it takes, where it takes, whatever it takes to reach every Guatemalan. We will not leave you alone.”
In Honduras, flooding has killed 23 people and two are missing, the government said.
“This is the worst storm Honduras has seen in decades. The damage will undoubtedly be significant,” said Mark Connolly, UNICEF representative in Honduras, who estimated about 1.5 million children there will be affected.
“We have been without food for two days… waiting to be evacuated,” said William Santos, sheltering on top of a banana packing plant with about 300 people in northern Honduras.
Across the border from Guatemala in the Mexican state of Chiapas, flooding has killed 19 people.
The devastation recalls memories of Hurricane Mitch, which killed some 10,000 people in Central America back in 1998.
Latest reports put Eta off Belize’s coast in the Caribbean, heading towards Cuba and Florida.
But remnants of the weather system will continue to hammer parts of Central America with flooding, said the NHC.
Courtesy of Sky News
Deadly flooding displaces thousands across Mekong region
Elderly residents and small children clung to inflatable tyres as soldiers and police used rope lines to bring them to safety beyond rising floodwater in Cambodia’s western province of Battambang, which is expected to worsen on Sunday.
Hundreds of families in three Cambodian provinces – Pursat, Battambang and Pailin – have been forced to evacuate amid extreme rainfall heralding the arrival of a tropical depression across the Mekong region.
“A two-year-old child and 57-year-old man have drowned in the flood,” Seak Vichet, a spokesman for the Cambodian national committee for disaster management told the AFP news agency late on Saturday.
Authorities do not yet have a clear picture of the extent of the damage or people affected but expect the situation to get worse.
Five people have died with eight still missing as floodwaters inundated more than 33,000 homes and forced more than 26,000 people to evacuate, the official disaster management authority said.
The national highway linking northern Vietnam to the south has been flooded, while airlines cancelled some domestic flights, local media report.
Roads also turned to rivers and water inundated properties in Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima province, as residents scrambled to place sandbags and move their belongings to higher ground.
Provincial Governor Vichien Chantaranothai said the Pak Chong district was the hardest hit, with 8,000 households and 12,000 people affected. About 200 homes were inundated.
Authorities were distributing food packages and urged people to evacuate to community shelters.
“The water is three metres deep in some parts,” he told reporters on Saturday.
The Khao Yai National Park was closed this weekend because of heavy rain and landslides.
In Laos, rising floodwaters have damaged villages and rice fields along the Xepon and Xebanghieng rivers in Savannakhet province with more rain on the way.
Courtesy of aljazeera.com