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Heavy rains cause flooding, landslide in Northern Luzon, Philippines

Severe Flood Warning

Heavy rains from the tail-end of a frontal system caused flooding and a landslide in Northern Luzon, according to a report on 24 Oras News Alert on Saturday.

In San Mateo, Isabela, 50 families had their houses flooded after the irrigation canal nearby overflowed its banks.

Meanwhile, a rescue van from Cagayan got stranded in mud and was hit by rocks after a landslide occurred in Mt. Province.

Authorities have already conducted clearing operations in the area.

About 40 families on Saturday were evacuated from a barangay in Tuguegarao after the city in Cagayan experienced flooding anew resulting from incessant rains brought by the tail-end of a cold front.

PAGASA said the tail-end of a frontal system will bring rains over the eastern side of Northern Luzon on Saturday.

The National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-MRIIS) on Saturday morning warned residents in Northern Luzon of possible flooding as it announced it is discharging almost 800 cubic meters per second (cms) of water.

Residents of upper, middle and lower Cagayan were warned of possible flooding due to the release of water from Magat Dam.

Courtesy of gmanetwork.com

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Strong typhoon leaves 42 dead, 20 missing in Philippines

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Thick mud and debris coated many villages around the Philippine capital on Friday after a typhoon killed at least 42 people and caused extensive flooding that sent people fleeing to their roofs, officials said.

Troops, police, coast guard and disaster-response teams rescued tens of thousands of people, including many who flooded radio and TV networks and social media with desperate pleas for help.

Floodwaters receded and the weather cleared in many areas after Typhoon Vamco blew out into the South China Sea on Friday, but the military said it was still rescuing people trapped in some flooded communities.

Amphibious assault vehicles usually used in counter-insurgency operations were deployed for the rescue work, military chief of staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay said in a meeting with disaster-response officials.

“We’ll continue to look for the missing, help in damage assessment,” Gapay said.

The national police reported that the death toll had risen to at least 42 with 20 missing. The government’s main disaster-response agency, which waits for provincial reports and follows a laborious process of verifying casualties, reported a much lower death count, causing confusion.

Among the dead were at least 12 villagers who were dug out from mud and rockslides in the northern provinces of Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya, police said.

After slamming into northeastern Quezon province, Vamco gained strength with sustained winds of 155 kilometers (96 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 255 kph (158 mph). It blew north of metropolitan Manila overnight Wednesday, toppling trees and power poles, swelling rivers, flooding residential communities and setting off landslides and storm surges.

In hard-hit Marikina city in the capital region and the towns of Rodriguez and Cainta in nearby Rizal province, several villages were inundated by water that reached the second and third floors of many houses, prompting hundreds of residents to flee to their roofs and call TV and radio networks or post desperate messages on social media. The panic was exacerbated by widespread power outages and loss of internet access.

Videos of Marikina showed a thick coat of muddy water covering roads and staining houses and cars. Residents carried appliances and furniture from their homes and used pails and shovels to remove the mud after the water receded.

In a televised meeting of Cabinet and disaster-response officials Friday, a reporter asked where President Rodrigo Duterte was, prompting an annoyed response from his spokesman.

“The president’s whereabouts should not be asked. That’s foolishness coming from the opposition. The president is not missing, he is always with us,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said, without offering any further details.

More than 400,000 people were evacuated to higher ground before the typhoon hit, mainly residents of vulnerable coastal and low-lying areas.

At least 3.8 million households lost power in the capital and outlying provinces, but crews later restored electricity in many areas. Government offices were closed and most classes were suspended Friday.

Vamco hit the Philippines on the heels of Typhoon Goni, one of the strongest typhoons in the world this year, which left more than 30 people dead or missing and damaged or destroyed 270,000 houses. Tens of thousands of people were still displaced when Vamco hit.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year and also has active seismic faults and volcanoes, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

Courtesy of startribune.com

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Storm Eta: Up to 150 feared dead in Guatemala landslide as devastating weather wreaks havoc

Landslide Danger Alert

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

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Typhoon Goni devastates the Philippines

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Typhoon Goni (“Rolly”), the most powerful storm in the world this year, tore through the heavilypopulated centre of the Philippines over the weekend. Government reports show that at least 20 have been killed, though this number is likely to rise as communications are slowly restored between its island provinces.

The storm made landfall as a super typhoon on the eastern island province of Catanduanes at 4:50 am on Sunday with sustained maximum wind speeds of 310kph (195mph) recorded in the turbulent eyewall of the storm, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre. As measured by one-minute average winds, it is the strongest typhoon to make landfall ever recorded in the world.

At least six people died in Catanduanes, and the island is without electricity, water or a cellular network. Provincial governor Joseph Cua told a news conference: “While there’s no more typhoon, we have no air and sea transportation.” The hashtag #NasaanAngCatanduanes or “Where is Catanduanes” has been trending on twitter to encourage recommunication with the area.

An emergency telecommunications team was deployed Monday, along with initial deliveries of food packs.

Cua reported that more than 13,000 homes on the island were damaged with some withstanding a five-metre storm surge. According to a “visual” assessment of the damage from ground level, the Red Cross has suggested that “80 to 90 per cent” of the easternmost town of Virac—home to 70,000 people—had been damaged by the storm.

The storm weakened as it travelled west over the Bicol region—the southern part of the main island of Luzon and the most populous area of the Philippines. Bringing floodwaters, toppling trees and triggering mudslides, it barrelled through the provinces of Albay through to Batangas, just south of the capital Manila, before heading towards the South China Sea.

The storm displaced 382,381 people and left 53,863 homes without electricity, according to government figures. The municipalities of Camarines Sur and Cavite were declared in a state of calamity following the storm. As of yesterday, 165 cities in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas are still experiencing power outages.

Over 50 sections of road are affected by flooding, landslides and uprooted trees throughout the island of Luzon, with 37 still impassable.

Summing up the cost estimates of rebuilding the worst affected areas of Camarines Sur, Metropolitan Manila, Quezon, Cavite and Camarines Norte, the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported $136 billion in damages, making it among the costliest storms in history.

The storm is a product of unusually warm waters as a result of the La Nina weather event, a phase of the vast oceanic and atmospheric cycle in the Pacific that drives warm surface waters to East Asia, with a resultant upwelling of colder water along the western coast of South America. Sea temperatures in the region where Goni formed are 30 to 31 degrees Celsius, which can lead to very powerful and unpredictable weather events.

Additionally, there is a trend of increasing major natural disasters due to climate change. A 2018 paper by Bhatia et al., “Projected Response of Tropical Cyclone Intensity and Intensification in a Global Climate Model” predicts a multiplication of destructive category 5 tropical cyclones towards the end of the century. From one Super Typhoon similar to Goni every eight years on a global scale, the occurrence is predicted to increase to one every year between 2081 to 2100.

The tropical archipelago of the Philippines is particularly vulnerable to this process, which routinely experiences around 20 storms and typhoons each year. The last storm, Typhoon Molave, passed through the same region last week killing 22 people.

The country is now on alert for Storm Siony (“Atsani”) likely to become a typhoon and make landfall on Thursday, though this time in the far north of Luzon island. The state weather agency forecasts two to three more typhoons to enter the Philippines in November and another one to two in December.

The UN reported around 68.6 million, or roughly 65 percent of the population are affected by Typhoon Goni, with 24.3 million living in the worst affected areas. Of that number, 2.3 million, including 724,000 children, are classed as “vulnerable”. Those most affected are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and other diseases in crowded evacuation centres, or face delayed and inadequate rescue efforts due to the lack of resources.

As of November 2, 385,400 COVID-19 infections have been recorded in the Philippines, with 7,269 deaths, the second-highest in south-east Asia. In order to establish Covid-secure emergency shelters, schools, gyms and government-run evacuation centres were requisitioned, with individual tents provided inside for families.

The mayor of Infanta town in Quezon province, Filipino Grace America, told DZBB radio that “because of the Covid-19 pandemic, our funds for calamity concerns and expenses are insufficient.”

President Rodrigo Duterte flew to Guinobatan municipality in Albay Province on Monday, where more than 300 houses are buried under volcanic debris. Residents blamed the mudslide on quarrying operations on the slopes of Mt. Mayon, which had contributed to similar avalanches in previous weather events.

According to the Philippine Inquirer, Duterte initially dismissed the residents’ concerns saying Bicol would always be in harm’s way, “as long as it is facing the Pacific Ocean and a volcano is here.”

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, accompanying Duterte asked, “Who owns the quarry sites?”

To which a resident shot back, “Politicians!”

Later, bowing to public pressure, 12 groups operating in the area had their permits suspended. It was discovered that operators had left stockpiles on rivers which contributed to debris damage in flooding.

Courtesy of wsws.org

https://tinyurl.com/y6c34t4e

Storm Eta lashes Nicaragua with rain, sparking deadly mudslides

Tropical Storm Alert_1

Tropical Storm Eta is spinning through northern Nicaragua after lashing the country’s Caribbean coast for much of the past day, with floodwater isolating already remote communities and setting off deadly landslides that killed at least three people.

The storm has weakened from the Category 4 hurricane that battered the coast, but it is moving so slowly and dumping so much rain that much of Central America is on high alert.

On Wednesday morning, Eta had sustained winds of 45mph and was 125 miles north-north-east of Managua, moving westward at 7mph.

The long-term forecast shows the storm taking a turn over Central America and then reforming in the Caribbean, possibly reaching Cuba on Sunday and Florida on Monday.

Eta came ashore on Tuesday afternoon south of Puerto Cabezas, also know as Bilwi, after stalling just off the coast for hours.

The city of about 60,000 had been without power since Monday evening. Corrugated metal roofing and uprooted trees were scattered through its streets, and 20,000 of residents were in shelters.

About 100 miles west of where Eta made landfall, two gold miners were killed when a mountainside unleashed tons of mud. A third miner escaped the slide and sought help.

One body was recovered before rescuers had to suspend recovery efforts due to nightfall and there were fears that more slides could occur as the rain continued, said Cesar Malespin of Bonanza Fire Department.

The storm also drenched neighbouring Honduras, and the country reported its first storm-related death on Tuesday. A 12-year-old girl died in a mudslide in San Pedro Sula, the main population centre in northern Honduras, said Marvin Aparicio of the emergency management agency.

In Honduras, at least 559 people had to move to shelters or go to relatives’ homes to escape flooding, he said, and at least 25 people had been rescued. His agency reported at least six rivers causing significant flooding.

Forecasters said central and northern Nicaragua and much of Honduras could get 15in to 25in of rain, with 35in in isolated areas. Heavy rain is also likely in eastern Guatemala, southern Belize and Jamaica.

Courtesy of centralfifetimes.com

https://tinyurl.com/yy2fq2o2

Nearly 80 Killed as Flash Floods Ravage City in Afghanistan #Floods #Afghanistan

Severe Flood Warning

When the heavy rains came overnight, setting off flash floods in northern Afghanistan, the deluge quickly turned deadly and caught many residents off guard because they were sleeping.

On Wednesday, a hospital official said the floods had killed nearly 80 people and injured scores of others in Charikar, home to nearly 200,000 people and the capital of Parwan Province, just north of Kabul.

Mahmood Samadi, a Charikar resident, said he woke to the sound of water rushing through his neighborhood and quickly decided to get his family out of the city. When he returned, nearly half his house was flooded and six homes on his street had been destroyed.

“I don’t know about the exact casualties in our street, but I know many people were killed and wounded,” Mr. Samadi said.

The flash floods left a trail of mud, toppled houses and bodies in their wake. Photos in the Afghan news media showed flattened buildings, scattered debris and mangled cars. Rescue workers sifted through the wreckage, as many residents were believed to be trapped under collapsed homes. One hospital reported receiving 78 bodies and 105 wounded people. The death toll in the city was expected to rise.

The flooding is just the latest blow for Afghanistan, which has been ravaged by the coronavirus and bloodied by Taliban attacks across the country since a Feb. 29 peace agreement between the United States and the insurgent group.

Tariq Arian, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s interior ministry, said on Tuesday that 88 civilians had been killed in the preceding two weeks, and he blamed the Taliban for most of the deaths.

That same day, a Taliban car bomb in the northern province of Balkh killed at least eight civilians, as well as two Afghan commandos whose unit was based nearby. More than 60 people were wounded, and the blast destroyed or damaged several buildings, including an agricultural center and an animal clinic.

Nearly 1,300 civilians were killed in fighting during the first six months of the year, according to the United Nations. A similar number of Afghans were reported to have died from the coronavirus, but the true number is likely to be significantly higher because of limited testing and the government’s diminished presence in more rural areas.

Since the start of the year, more than 17,000 people have been affected by heavy floods and rains across Afghanistan, with nearly 2,000 homes destroyed, according to a United Nations report released in April.

Scientists have pointed to climate change as more frequent flooding has struck Asian countries, including China, where riverbanks have been breached and waters have strained the Three Gorges Dam; North Korea, where the government declined to accept international aid for fear of letting the coronavirus in; Bangladesh, where torrential rains recently submerged at least a quarter of the country; and Indonesia, where flash floods left hundreds of thousands homeless earlier this year.

In Afghanistan, weak governance puts residents in additional peril: With little official oversight, urban planning is often neglected. Many of the houses destroyed in Charikar were built in an area prone to flooding, said Mohammad Khalil Fazli, a member of the Parwan provincial council.

Nearly the entire city was devastated, Mr. Fazli said. “There are houses destroyed by flash floods in every corner of the city,” he said.

Esmatullah Mohammadi, another member of the provincial council, said, “The government should haven’t let these people build their houses there, because everyone knows that it is a route of flash floods.”

Heavy rains in northern and eastern Afghanistan are common this time of year. On Tuesday night, three people were killed and three others wounded in a series of flash floods in eastern Wardak Province, said Mohammad Sardar Bakhtyari, a local official. Dozens of houses and acres of agricultural land were destroyed.

But the dense population and the fact that the downpour happened overnight combined to deadly effect in Charikar.

A spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani said that the Afghan government had pledged emergency support for Charikar.

Flash flooding in Charikar earlier this month affected 495 families, 152 of which needed humanitarian assistance, according to a report from the International Organization for Migration.

Courtesy of nytimes.com

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