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Floods

Bizarro Earth

Pakistan Floods: Disaster is the Worst in the United Nations's History


The United Nations has rated the floods in Pakistan as the greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history with more people affected than the South-East Asian tsunami and the recent earthquakes in Kashmir and Haiti combined.

Although the current 1,600 death toll in Pakistan represents a tiny fraction of the estimated 610,000 people killed in the three previous events, some two million more people - 13.8 million - have suffered losses requiring long or short-term help.

Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said: "This disaster is worse than the tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and the Haiti earthquake."

The comparison illustrates the scale of the crisis facing Pakistan as its inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy battles to mitigate the effects of the flooding.

The disaster zone stretches from the Swat Valley in the north, where 600,000 people are in need of help, to Sindh in the south.

Bizarro Earth

Asia Flooding Plunges Millions Into Misery

China Flood
© AP Photo/Xinhua, Gong Zhiyong
In this photo released by China's Xinhua news agency, buildings, vehicles and roads are hit by mudslides in Zhouqu county, in northwest China's Gansu Province on Sunday Aug. 8, 2010. Rubble-strewn floodwaters tore through a remote corner of northwestern China on Sunday, smashing buildings, overturning cars and killing at least 127 people.
Beijing - Rescuers searched Monday for an estimated 1,300 people left missing after rubble-strewn floodwaters tore through a remote corner of northwestern China, just one of a series of flood disasters across Asia that have plunged millions into misery.

In neighboring Pakistan, an estimated 4 million people faced food shortages amid their country's worst-ever flooding, while rescuers in Indian-controlled Kashmir raced to find 500 people still missing in flash floods that have killed 132. North Korea's state media said high waters destroyed thousands of homes and damaged crops.

Sunday's disaster in China's Gansu province killed at least 127 people and covered entire villages in water, mud, and rocks.

Crews were working to restore power, water and communications in affected areas in the southern part of the province, and it was not known how many of the missing were in danger or simply out of contact.

Hoping to prevent further disasters, demolitions experts set off charges to clear debris blocking the Bailong River upstream from the ravaged town of Zhouqu, which remained largely submerged following Sunday's disaster.

The blockage had formed a 2-mile (3-kilometer)-long artificial lake on the river that overflowed in the pre-dawn hours, sending deadly torrents crashing down onto the town. Houses were ripped from their foundations, apartment buildings shattered, and streets covered with a layer of mud and water more than a yard (meter) deep.

Arrow Down

127 Killed as Mudslides Devastate China Town

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© Reuters
Rescuers search for missing.
Landslides triggered by torrential summer rains in northwest China killed 127 people and left 2,000 missing in the latest of a series of flood-related disasters to befall northern China where the heaviest rains in a decade have now cost more than 1,400 lives.

A small county town in a hilly area of Gansu province was smashed by a wave of mud and debris shortly after midnight on Saturday, according to local reports, with cars being swept down streets that were instantly turned into rivers.

In parts of Zhouqu town the mud reached as high as the third storey of buildings, with many other smaller single-storey lifted from their foundations by the force of the landslide, according to China Central Television, the state broadcaster.

A nearby village of 300 households was also inundated.

"Many single-story homes have been wiped out and now we're waiting to see how many people got out," one resident of Zhouqu, a merchant called Han Jiangping said.

Bizarro Earth

Landslides Raise Death Toll in Pakistan

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© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani visited flood-hit areas and has said the disaster had spiralled beyond the government's capacity
Landslides have raised the death toll in flood-hit Pakistan, cutting off roads and hampering aid efforts as rescuers battled to beat rains exacerbating the country's worst ever floods.

Washed-out roads in Pakistan's northwest made ground access to many of the 15 million flood victims impossible and many helicopters were unable to fly as heavy rains persisted, cutting off the entire Swat valley, officials said.

In the far north of the country, 28 bodies were recovered from rubble after landslides in Gilgit-Baltistan province caused houses to collapse Saturday.

Administrative official Mohammad Ali Yougwi said up to 40 people were feared dead after the landslides hit those living at the bottom of a mountain in the town of Skardu.

"We have recovered 28 dead bodies, there are more people buried under the rubble," said Yougwi.

Cloud Lightning

Flooding kills 10 across Europe

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© Unknown
Floodwaters damage houses in Chrastava village
At least ten people have been killed and thousands of others have been evacuated as heavy rain and flooding disrupt traffic and cause power outages in central Europe.

Polish officials announced on Sunday that at least three people have been killed after rivers overflew and a dam burst, submerging towns in southwestern Poland.

"We had no warning. In less than an hour our town was totally inundated up to the first floor, many houses collapsed and we were cut off from the world," mayor of Poland's southwestern city of Bogatynia, Andrzej Grzmielewicz told TVN24news channel.

"We need amphibious vehicles and helicopters to help evacuate at least 2,000 flood victims," he added, calling on people to help the victims with blankets and food.

Torrential rain has also drowned four Czech nationals in a region bordering Poland and Germany on Saturday.

At least 1,000 people were forced to evacuate their houses and people of Chrastava and Frydlant were rescued by military helicopters from the roofs of their homes.

Bizarro Earth

'More than four million' hit by flooding in Pakistan

flooding
© AP

People look for survivors in the wreckage of a bus which plunged into the flooded River Jhelum near Muzaffarabad, in Kashmi
Pakistan's worst floods in 80 years have killed at least 1,600 people and affected the lives of more than four million, the UN said yesterday.

The UK's Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) said that aid from its members was reaching over 300,000 survivors, with many UK charities distributing food, water purification tablets, shelter, medicine and hygiene kits by raft, boat and donkey. Last night the actor Art Malik and the former hostage John McCarthy presented new TV and radio appeals.

Brendan Gormley, DEC's chief executive, said: "These devastating floods have left millions fighting to survive with little food, clean water or shelter. As monsoon rains continue unabated, the situation is deteriorating and the speed of our response is vital."

Bizarro Earth

103 killed in flash floods in Indian Kashmir

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The death toll in flashfloods that hit the remote mountainous region of Ladakh in Indian-held Kashmir has risen to 103. State police chief Kuldeep Khoda said Friday more than 370 others have been injured.

Police and paramilitary soldiers have pulled out hundreds of people from the mud and debris that have buried hundreds of homes but their efforts were hampered by gushing water and mud sweeping down from the steep mountainsides.

Telecommunication towers have toppled or are badly damaged while main highways connecting the popular tourist destination to the rest of Kashmir were only partially open.

This is a breaking news update. AP's earlier story is below.

Bizarro Earth

Pakistan's flooding sweeps south


Ambulance

Pakistan floods death toll rises to 1,100

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© KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features
The death toll from the Pakistan floods is set to rise even further.
Access blocked to areas in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa as authorities try to rescue 27,000 people trapped after heavy rains

The death toll from floods in north-west Pakistan has risen to 1,100 people, an official said today.

Adnan Khan, a disaster management official, said the toll could rise further, as there were areas in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province that rescue workers had not been able to access.

Authorities are struggling to save more than 27,000 people still trapped by flooding after heavy monsoon rains. Khan said more than 20,000 people had been rescued so far.

Efforts have been aided by an easing of the rains, but as flood waters recede authorities are seeing the full scale of the disaster.

"Aerial monitoring is being conducted, and it has shown that whole villages have washed away, animals have drowned and grain storages have washed away," said Latifur Rehman, a spokesman for the Provincial Disaster Management Authority. "The destruction is massive and devastating."

Bizarro Earth

More than 800 dead in Pakistani floods

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© AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad
A woman sits outside her house flooded by heavy monsoon rains in Peshawar, Pakistan on Friday, July 30, 2010. Boats and helicopters struggled to reach hundreds of thousands of villagers cut off by floods in northwest Pakistan on Friday as the government said it was the deadliest such disaster to hit the region since 1929.
Flooding in Pakistan has killed more than 800 people in a week, a government official said Saturday as rescuers struggled to reach marooned victims and some evacuees showed signs of fever, diarrhea and other waterborne diseases.

The flooding caused by record-breaking rainfalls caused massive destruction in the past week, especially in the northwest province, where officials said it was the worst deluge since 1929. The U.N. estimated Saturday that some 1 million people nationwide were affected by the disaster, though it didn't specify exactly what that meant.

The information minister for the northwest province, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, said reports coming in from various districts across the northwest showed that more than 800 people had died due to the flooding. Many people remain missing.

Floodwaters were receding in the northwest, officials said, but fresh rains were expected to lash other parts of the country in the coming days.