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Death toll rises as heavy rains batter northern India

Severe Flood Warning

At least 41 people have died and more than a dozen were missing after landslides and flash floods triggered by several days of heavy rain hit northern India, officials say.

Officials in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand said 35 people were killed in fresh landslides on Tuesday after six died in similar incidents a day earlier.

At least 30 of them were killed in seven separate incidents in the worst-affected Nainital region early Tuesday, after cloudbursts – an ultra-intense deluge of rain – triggered a series of landslides and destroyed several structures.

“So far 30 people have been confirmed dead, while many people are still missing,” Nainital senior civil officer Ashok Kumar Joshi told the AFP news agency.

Joshi said several remote areas in the hilly region witnessed widespread damage in the intense rainfall.

Five of the dead were from a single family whose house was buried by a massive landslide, another local civil officer Pradeep Jain said.

Prashant Jha, a journalist with the Times of India, said that the army, National Disaster Response Force and state’s disaster response force were all contributing to the current rescue efforts in Uttarakhand.

“The villages that have been struck are very far to reach and the roads are cut off,” he said.

Officials said that the rescue efforts will take at least two to three days and dozens are people are still missing,” he added.

Another landslide in the northern Almora district killed five people after huge rocks and a wall of mud demolished and engulfed their home.

At least six others were killed on Monday in two remote districts of the state.

The Indian Meteorological Department extended and widened its weather alert on Tuesday, predicting “heavy” to “very heavy” rainfall in the region during the next two days.

The weather office said several areas were drenched by more than 400mm (16 inches) of rainfall on Monday, causing landslides and flooding.

Authorities ordered the closure of schools and banned all religious and tourist activities in the state.

Television footage and social media videos showed residents wading through knee-deep water near Nainital lake, a tourist hotspot, and the Ganges bursting its banks in Rishikesh.

More than 100 tourists were stuck inside a resort in Ramgarh after the overflowing Kosi river deluged several areas.

Landslides are a regular danger in India’s Himalayan north, but experts said they are becoming more common as rains become increasingly erratic and glaciers melt.

Experts also blamed construction work on hydroelectric dams and deforestation.

In February, a ferocious flash flood hurtled down a remote valley in Uttarakhand, killing about 200 people. At least 5,700 people perished there in 2013.

Forecasters have also warned of more downpours in the coming days in the southern state of Kerala where floods have already killed at least 27 people since Friday.

Many dams in the state were nearing the danger mark and authorities were evacuating thousands to safer locations as major rivers overflowed.

India’s weather office said heavy rains will again lash the state in the next two days after a brief reprieve on Tuesday.

Courtesy of aljazeera.com

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Heavy rain in India triggers floods, landslides; at least 125 dead

Rescue teams in India struggled through thick sludge and debris on Saturday to reach dozens of submerged homes as the death toll from landslides and accidents caused by torrential monsoon rain rose to 125.

Maharashtra state is being hit by the heaviest rain in July in four decades, experts say. Downpours lasting several days have severely affected the lives of hundreds of thousands, while major rivers are in danger of bursting their banks.

In Taliye, about 180 km (110 miles) southeast of the financial capital of Mumbai, the death toll rose to 42 with the recovery of four more bodies after landslides flattened most homes in the village, a senior Maharashtra government official said.

“About 40 people are still trapped. The possibility of rescuing them alive is thin as they’ve been trapped in mud for more than 36 hours,” said the official, who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

Harsh weather has hit several parts of the world in recent weeks, with floods in China and Western Europe and heat waves in North America, raising new fears about the impact of climate change.

Parts of India’s west coast have received up to 594 mm (23 inches) of rain, forcing authorities to move people out of vulnerable areas as they released water from dams about to overflow. The hill station of Mahabaleshwar recorded its highest ever rainfall – 60 cm in 24 hours.

Rescuers were searching for victims of landslides in four other places in the state, the official said.

“Around 90,000 people were rescued from flood affected areas,” the Maharashtra government said in a statement, as authorities released water from overflowing dams.

Thousands of trucks were stuck for more than 24 hours on a highway linking Mumbai with the southern technology hub of Bengaluru, with the road submerged in some places.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was in anguish over the loss of lives.

“The situation in Maharashtra due to heavy rains is being closely monitored and assistance is being provided to the affected,” Modi said on Twitter on Friday.

In the southern state of Telangana, heavy rain caused flooding in the state capital of Hyderabad and other low-lying areas.

Indian environmentalists have warned that climate change and indiscriminate construction in fragile coastal regions could lead to more disasters.

“The rain fury that lashed Mahabaleshwar … is a strong warning against any more tampering with the ecologically fragile Western Ghats,” environment economist Devendra Sharma said on Twitter referring to the range of hills along India’s west coast.

Courtesy of reuters.com

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Storm leaves 3 dead, displaces thousands in Philippines

Tropical Storm Alert_1

A tropical storm left at least three people dead and displaced thousands of villagers in the southern and central Philippines, where it triggered floods and landslides, officials said Wednesday.

Forecasters said the storm Choi-wan was blowing off Victoria town in Oriental Mindoro province south of Manila on Wednesday afternoon with sustained winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 90 kph (56 mph). It was moving northwestward and may weaken as it blows toward the South China Sea on Thursday, they said.

At least three people died, including a 14-year-old villager who rushed with her father to a riverbank to rescue their farm animals in intense rain but were swept away by strong currents in Norala town in South Cotabato province. The father remains missing, disaster response officials said.

A baby died in a landslide that hit a mountainous town in southern Davao de Oro province and a 71-year-old man drowned in Davao del Sur province, also in the south, officials said.

Coast guard personnel rescued villagers who were trapped in houses engulfed in rising floodwater, including in Southern Leyte province, where they carried 40 residents, including children, in waist-deep waters to a gymnasium.

More than 2,600 people were displaced, mostly by floods, in 18 southern villages, including about 600 villagers who moved to evacuation centers. Thousands more were evacuated Tuesday from towns prone to floods and volcanic mudflows in Albay province, provincial safety official Cedric Daep said.

Officials also suspended work in Albay and ordered shopping malls closed to prevent people from converging and increasing the risk of coronavirus infections, Daep said.

More than 3,000 passengers and cargo handlers were stranded in central and southern seaports after sea travel was suspended by the coast guard due to stormy weather. A small cargo ship laden with sand and gravel was abandoned by its crew when it started to take in water near Albuera town in central Leyte province. The crew was safe, coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said.

About 20 tropical storms and typhoons batter the Philippine archipelago each year. The Southeast Asian nation is also located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a seismically active region where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur frequently, making it one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.

Courtesy of abcnews.go.com

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Two more houses collapse into landslide pit in Gjerdrum, Norway

Landslide Danger Alert

On Sunday, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) stated that two new houses have collapsed in the landslide pit in Gjerdrum.

“We received a message from Gjerdrum Municipality on Sunday morning that two homes have collapsed. This is an expected development and something we have taken into account,” regional manager Toril Hofshagen in NVE told newspaper Romerikes Blad.

She further noted that there are steep edges and slopes inside the landslide area and that there is still a risk that more houses may collapse into the pit.

“We are working on creating a construction road in the area. This work will continue from and including May 18,” Hofshagen added.

She also noted that residents in the area do not have to worry about a new landslide.

Courtesy of norwaytoday.info

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At least 10 dead, hundreds injured in Indonesia landslide

Landslide Danger Alert

At least 10 people have died as landslides caused by a strong and shallow earthquake hits Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island early Friday.

People fled their homes and more than 200 have been injured authorities said.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency has released several videos showing the devastating effect on lives and properties.

The videos showed people crying out for help. Children were reportedly buried under tons of rubble, while others got trapped in collapsed buildings.

A girl trapped in the wreckage of a house cried out for help and said she heard the sound of other family members in the rubble but unable to move out. “Please help me, it hurts,” the girl told rescuers, who replied that they desperately wanted to help her.

Thousands have been evacuated to temporary shelters. Rescuers say a lack of heavy equipment was hampering the operation.

On Thursday, a 5.9 magnitude undersea quake hit the same region, damaging several homes but there was no casualties.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 260 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Palu on Sulawesi Island set off a tsunami and caused soil to collapse in a phenomenon called liquefaction.

More than 4,000 people died, many of the victims buried when whole neighborhoods were swallowed in the falling ground.

Courtesy of africanews.com

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Missing Woman’s Car Buried Under 15 Feet of Mud in Gorge Landslide, Oregon, USA

Landslide Danger Alert

Early Wednesday morning, a landslide near the small town of Dodson, Ore., in the Columbia River Gorge swept away 50-year-old Jennifer Camus Moore while she was driving. Two days later, the search continues, but officials no longer hold out hope she will be found alive.

The rescue teams believe they’ve discovered where her car came to a rest, and are actively working to uncover the mud and debris, which is estimated to be 15 feet deep, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. The teams have brought special equipment to safely locate the missing woman.

Courtesy of wweek.com

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Heavy rains trigger floods, landslides in E. Visayas, Philippines

Severe Flood Warning

Heavy downpour has triggered flooding and landslides in Samar and Southern Leyte provinces over the weekend, the Regional Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) reported on Monday.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Director Lord Byron Torrecarion, RDRRMC Eastern Visayas chairperson said there has been widespread rainfall in the region that caused rivers and streams to rise quickly especially in Northern and Eastern Samar provinces.

“So far, there has been no reported casualties or missing persons as of Monday morning, but we have been regularly monitoring the situation since it is still raining in many parts of the region,” Torrecarion said in a phone interview.

In a progress report sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the RDRRMC reported floodings within the highway that links the towns of Gandara and Matuguinao in Samar; two villages in Catarman, a community in Catubig, nine villages in Allen, and three areas in Capul town in Northern Samar.

In Eastern Samar, flooding has affected 24 villages in Oras town; 15 communities in Dolores; two villages each in Sulat, Maslog, San Julian, and Can-avid; and one village each in the towns of Arteche and Jipapad.

Landslides have been reported along the provincial road sections in Catalina village in Jiabong, Samar; Lawaan village in Paranas; and a major highway in Kahupian, Sogod in Southern Leyte province.

At least 627 individuals have been preemptively evacuated in Catarman and Catubig towns in Northern Samar on Sunday.

“Since we expect rains to continue in the next two days, all villages identified as high to very-high susceptibility ratings to flooding and landslide were already advised to conduct preemptive evacuation especially those vulnerable groups,” Torrecarion added.

In an advisory issued early Monday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said the heavy rains are caused by the tail-end of the frontal system affecting the eastern section of Visayas and intertropical convergence zone affecting Mindanao, and northeast monsoon affecting Luzon.

Courtesy of pna.gov.ph

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Indonesia landslide: Rescuers buried as they help victims

Landslide Danger Alert

Rescuers searching for victims of a landslide in Indonesia were buried by a second mudslide just hours later, officials say.

The first landslide, in Cihanjuang village, West Java, was triggered by torrential rain.

Another struck as survivors were still being evacuated. At least 12 people died and dozens more are missing.

Landslides are common in Indonesia during rainy season, and often blamed on deforestation.

The latest disasters hit the villagers in Sumedang regency, about 150km (95 miles) southeast of the capital Jakarta, three and a half hours apart on Saturday.

The first happened at 16:00 (09:00 GMT) and the second at 19:30 (12:30 GMT), disaster agency spokesman Raditya Jati said in a statement.

“The first landslide was triggered by high rainfall and unstable soil conditions. The subsequent landslide occurred while officers were still evacuating victims around the first landslide area,” he added.

Rescuers are believed to be among those killed, he added. A six-year-old boy was also among the dead, according to AFP news agency.

Some 27 people were believed to be missing late on Sunday, local media quoted Deden Ridwansah, the head of the local search and rescue agency as saying. About 46 were known to have survived.

Bad weather had forced the search to be suspended, he said, but it was expected to resume on Monday.

Indonesia frequently suffers floods and landslides. Thousands of people had to be evacuated in the capital Jakarta this time last year as the city was inundated.

Courtesy of BBC News

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