Death Toll From Uganda Floods Jumps To 22

Uganda map

 

The number of people killed in flash floods in the eastern Ugandan city of Mbale has jumped to 22, including a group of partygoers who became trapped in a minibus, police said on Monday.

Two rivers burst their banks at the weekend after the city was battered by heavy rainfall, leading to mudslides that inflicted widespread damage and left hundreds of residents homeless.

A combined force of police, the army and the Red Cross were continuing to search for the missing in the muddy floodwaters that have swallowed up homes, bridges, shops, and roads.

“The death toll of those killed by floods in Mbale has reached 22. Ten others are in critical condition,” Ugandan police spokesman Fred Enanga told AFP.

READ ALSO: Sudan Reports First Monkeypox Case

Some of the victims were found trapped in a minibus, he said, adding: “These were mainly relatives and friends who were going to a party but were swept off the road by the floods.”

An AFP reporter saw five dead bodies being pulled from the submerged minibus as search teams hunted around the ill-fated vehicle for more possible victims.

Enanga said residents have been advised to relocate to safer areas as the rains continue to lash the city, which lies about 300 kilometres (180 miles) northeast of the capital Kampala.

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, who visited the scene of the flooding, had suggested the disaster may have been avoided if people had not encroached on the river banks.

Mbale District, which is home to Mbale city, has a population of over 500,000, according to the 2020 census, and is one of Uganda’s densely populated areas.

AFP

Lagos Flood Killed Three Siblings, Four Adults – NEMA

A file photo of a flooded part in Lagos. Credit: LASEMA

 

Three siblings and four adults have died from a two-day continuous rainfall in Lagos State.

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Zonal Coordinator for South West, Ibrahim Farinloye. disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.

Giving a post-emergency phase assessment after the unprecedented rainfall of Friday, July 8 and Saturday, July 9, Farinloye said eight lives were saved within the period.

“Saturday, 9th July 2022 have revealed that about that seven people – three children of the same parent and four adults – died as a result of the flooding that was witnessed during the two days continuous rainfall,” he said.

“About eight lives were also saved during the period, as a result of the flooding that was witnessed during the two-day continuous rainfall.”

According to him, the three siblings who lost their lives were residing at a church building belonging to Mercy of Christ Apostolic Church, situated in an uncompleted building.

The victims – Michael, 18; Elizabeth, 17 and Timi, 14 – were swept away while trying to relocate from their room to the main church structure.

It was gathered that the youngest child, Timi, who was said to be asthmatic, while trying to climb the plank linking their room to the church building, slipped and was overpowered by the flood.

The NEMA official explained that while the remaining two trying tried rescuing their sibling, they were also swept away by the flood.

Farinloye said that the NEMA team, while on a condolence visit to the families, met with representatives of Progressive Community Development Area, who conducted the agency around the affected communities.

He added, “The bereaved parents were said to be somewhere, but the NEMA team had a brief meeting with the community leaders on the way forward.

“An appeal was made to them that for the rest of the year, the community must embark on awareness and sensitisation on safe actions, to avoid the situation that they experienced during the period.

“The community leaders also informed NEMA that in the same community, four siblings were also swept away on the same day, but that the community members rallied round and rescued all of them.”

He listed the flooded communities as Oke Isagun, Agbado Oke, Oko LCDA, all in Alimosho LGA.

Elderly Woman Trapped In Flooded Lagos Building Rescued

LASEMA officials attend to an elderly woman rescued from a flooded building in Ayobo area of Lagos State.

 

An elderly woman who was trapped in a building in the Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos State has been rescued by officials of the State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).

Following the weekend downpour in the area, the elderly woman was trapped on Saturday in the residential building located at Oluwaga in Iyana Ipaja.

LASEMA Permanent Secretary, Dr. Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said the agency responded to a distress call concerning the incident after which it activated its men to rescue the woman who was the sole occupant of the building.

Upon medical examination, it was gathered that the woman suffered from a stroke and was unable to run for safety before being trapped.

READ ALSO: Two Missing As Flood Wreaks Havoc In Lagos

“Investigations conducted by the agency’s response team revealed a female (an elderly sole occupant), had been trapped in the building,” the statement partly read.

“A search and rescue operation by the agency’s response team confirmed the victim to be alive although suffering from a stroke. Efforts are ongoing to extricate her from the building.”

The LASEMA boss said the rescue agency has completed the rescue operation, adding that the victim has been handed over to a pre-hospital care unit of the agency which administered first aid treatment before being transported to the hospital for further treatment.

Meanwhile, three persons have been rescued with two others missing as the flood wreaked havoc on a community in the Orile Agege area of Lagos State.

The victims were caught up in a severe flood on Oyatoki Street in the nation’s commercial center.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) confirmed the incident on Saturday, saying that while three were rescued, one of them jumped out of the vehicle and was pulled to safety while the two others were pulled from the waters.

The Southwest Coordinator NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, explained that four of the victims have been rescued, while two are still missing.

Two Missing As Flood Wreaks Havoc In Lagos

The scene of the flood in Agege area of Lagos State.

 

Three persons have been rescued with two others missing as flood wreaked havoc on a community in the Orile Agege area of Lagos State.

Channels Television gathered that the victims were caught up in a severe flood on Oyatoki Street in the nation’s commercial centre.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) confirmed the incident on Saturday, saying that while three were rescued, one of them jumped out of the vehicle and was pulled to safety while the two others were pulled from the waters.

The Southwest Coordinator NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, explained that four of the victims have been rescued, while two are still missing.

READ ALSO: Flooding: Lagos Govt To Divert Traffic In Ogba For Installation Of Concrete Culvert

Rescuers from both the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and those from the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) as well as those from the fire service were still searching for the two missing persons at the time of this report.

All six were travelling in a Lexus jeep and a Toyota car which were overwhelmed by the overflow of an uncompleted canal in the area.

According to members of the community, they were able to rescue the three people because they knew the terrain.

Residents said they had warned them not to pass through the road but they were adamant about continuing their journey.

Meanwhile, search and rescue operations are ongoing for the other two people.

Lagos is prone to flooding, especially during the rainy season which typically starts in April and ends in July, sometimes extending towards the end of the year before harmattan.

Recently, roads and houses were flooded and property was destroyed in Lagos after a downpour that lasted for hours.

The rain witnessed in many areas of the state caught many residents and passengers unaware as they ran to shelter stands to avoid being soaked.

Areas such as Ojodu Berger, Ikosi-Ketu, Gbagada, Surulere, Ikorodu and others witnessed the rain.

As part of measures to contain the situation, the Lagos State Government announced the diversion of traffic along Oba Ogunji Road, Ogba for one week for the installation of a precast concrete culvert across Metal Box Road.

The diversion which started on June 28 ended on July 5 to provide lasting solutions to the flooding issues on some roads in the metropolis.

Flooding: Lagos Govt To Divert Traffic In Ogba For Installation Of Concrete Culvert

File photo of a flooded road in Lagos.

 

The Lagos State Government will on Tuesday, June 28 divert the traffic along Oba Ogunji Road, Ogba for one week for the installation of a precast concrete culvert across Metal Box Road.

The Commissioner for Transportation in the state, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, saying that said that the diversion would continue till Tuesday, July 5.

He stated that the diversion was necessary to provide lasting solutions to the flooding issues on some roads in the metropolis.

While advising motorists in the affected area to utilise Acme, Wempco, Akilo, and Ijaiye roads to connect to their desired destinations, the commissioner noted that only Metal Box Road would be barricaded from traffic, stressing that the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) would be on the ground to manage movement and minimise inconveniences.

Oladeinde called for more understanding from motorists, noting that the current weather conditions had necessitated such steps.

South Africa’s Deadly Floods Shine Spotlight On Housing Crisis

eNkanini informal settlment resident, Thulisile Ntobela (31) can be seen by what use to be heir in Durban, on April 22, 2022. Ntobela lost her house after last week’s rains caused a mudslide that destroyed the shack where she was living. (Photo by Guillem SARTORIO / AFP)

 

 

Thulisile Ntobela, once lived in an apartment, but when her rent went up 25 percent, the unemployed mother of five could no longer afford and moved out.

She found a piece of vacant land in Durban and put up a shack.

That was five years ago and much cheaper than paying rent, which had gone up to 200 rand ($12.80).

“That’s why we moved here, we don’t pay the rent. You just build your house and you stay,” she said.

Hers was among the 87 homes — shacks made of corrugated iron — that vanished in seconds when the ground, over-saturated with flood water — crumbled at the informal settlement of eNkanini, on a hilltop residential area of central Durban.

“I was so scared at that time. I was holding my baby. People were screaming,” recalled the 31-year-old, carrying her youngest, an eight-month-old boy.

No one was injured because they had already taken shelter at a neighbour’s home when the floor began to tremble.

 

A man carries a bag of rice and maize distributed activists and community members distribute food to people who’ve lost their homes in last weeks floods at the eNkanini informal settlment in Durban, on April 22, 2022. The informal settlement was badly affected by last week’s rains when 87 shacks where destroyed by mudslides. – First it was Covid, then riots and now floods: KwaZulu-Natal (NZN) province, South Africa’s gateway to the Indian Ocean, is reeling from a unpredented string of disasters. (Photo by Guillem SARTORIO / AFP)

 

Once covered in trees, the settlement of eNkanini formed in 2016 is now dotted with hundreds of shacks, some painted in bright colours.

“We don’t have homes. This is our home,” said Mzwandile Hlatshwayo, 25, a leader in the community.

Nearly 13 percent of South Africa’ 59 million people live in shacks, locally referred to as informal settlements, according to 2019 government statistics.

Hlatshwayo is from a rural area of KwaZulu-Natal but moved to the eastern province’s biggest city Durban in search of work.

He would live in government housing, but none is available in the city.

“I came here looking for a job. There is no jobs in rural areas,” he said.

 

eNkanini informal settlment resident, Thulisile Ntobela’s belongings can be seen outside of her neighbours shack in Durban, on April 22, 2022. Ntobela lost her house after last week’s rains caused a mudslide that destroyed the shack where she was living. (Photo by Guillem SARTORIO / AFP)

 

– Apartheid legacy –
The problem of landlessness goes back to the apartheid era that segregated black Africans and people of colour, preventing them from owning land, said Sbu Zikode, head of the land and housing activism organisation Abahlali baseMjondolo (shack dwellers).

Stripped of land ownership, poor blacks moved to sub-par neighbourhoods.

But nearly three decades since the apartheid system was abolished, land distribution and economic inequity remain unresolved.

In 1995, the housing backlog was estimated by a UN report to be 1.5 million units.

 

Shacks damaged by a mudslide can be seen at the eNkanini informal settlment in Durban, on April 22, 2022. The informal settlement was badly affected by last week’s rains when 87 shacks where destroyed by mudslides. – First it was Covid, then riots and now floods: KwaZulu-Natal (NZN) province, South Africa’s gateway to the Indian Ocean, is reeling from a unpredented string of disasters. (Photo by Guillem SARTORIO / AFP)

 

Despite more than three million government houses being constructed since then, the shortfall has ballooned to 3.7 million homes, according to the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa.

“It’s not by our choice that we have no land, we have no homes,” Zikode said.

People have also flocked to urban centres in search of jobs and better healthcare and education. Infrastructure in municipalities like Durban haven’t kept up with the influx, Zikode said.

Informal settlements have mushroomed on vacant land as a result. But communities on more valuable land face eviction, Zikode said, which often turns into violent encounters.

“It is this reason people will occupy land that is not safe. They will occupy land that is along riverbanks, they will occupy land that is along floodplains.”

 

eNkanini informal settlment resident, Thulisile Ntobela (31) can be seen by what use to be heir in Durban, on April 22, 2022. Ntobela lost her house after last week’s rains caused a mudslide that destroyed the shack where she was living. (Photo by Guillem SARTORIO / AFP)

 

The less desirable locations on floodplains have now also brought deadly consequences.

Rescuers searching for the missing have said poor infrastructure with no consideration of the terrain put the houses at greater risk. Many of those still standing in eNkanini are teetering half a metre from the edge of cliffs, vulnerable to future storms.

Pipes were exposed, wires downed and unpaved footpaths up to houses near the top of the hill are treacherously slick with sand and debris.

Government housing officials said this week they were beginning to clear land in the nearby Ndwedwe town to erect temporary housing for the victims of the flood, which claimed 435 lives.

Longer term solutions are still being investigated.

Out of the tragedy, Zikode believes it’s an opportunity for government to finally address landlessness and poverty.

“The country and the world is watching as to how we are going to be dealing with the current disaster,” he said.

“Surely the government is now forced to act and provide alternative land.”

Floods: South Africa Deploys 10,000 Troops

A general view of severely damaged Quarry Road informal settlement in Durban on April 14, 2022, following the devastating rains and flooding.   Phill Magakoe / AFP

 

The South African army said Monday it had deployed 10,000 troops to help the nation’s east coast recover from storms that have claimed 443 lives and ravaged infrastructure.

Some of the troops include plumbers and electricians to help restore power and water, which have been cut off in some areas for a week.

The troops are also providing field accommodation and water purification systems, the army said.

The deadliest storm on record dumped apocalyptic levels of rain on the city of Durban and the surrounding area of KwaZulu-Natal province.

Some 40,000 people were left homeless and more than 550 schools and nearly 60 health care facilities have been damaged, according to government tallies.

The government has announced an immediate one billion rand ($68 million) in emergency relief.

Funerals are being held across Durban even as grim tales of the catastrophe continue to emerge.

One woman was found dead with her three grandchildren after their car was washed away, while rescuers reported finding bodies washed into dams, local media reported.

Drinking water remains in short supply in many neighbourhoods.

With main roads clear enough to allow heavy trucks, the city dispatched water tankers to the hardest-hit areas.

Running water was restored to some neighbourhoods over the weekend, but other areas could face a long wait.

“Some sites are still inaccessible and teams are waiting for the rain to subside before carrying out disaster assessments and the scope of work to be undertaken,” city spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said late Sunday.

Blue skies finally reappeared Monday, giving hope that the rains have at last subsided.

But the normally azure waters at Durban’s famed beaches have been turned a muddy brown by the mountains of earth and debris washed to the shore.

AFP

Death Toll From Philippines Landslides, Floods Rises To 59

Residents and a motorist wade through a flooded street after heavy rains brought about by Tropical storm Agaton in Abuyog town, Leyte province, the southern Philippines on April 11, 2022. (Photo by Bobbie ALOTA / AFP)

 

The death toll from landslides and floods in the Philippines rose to 59 on Wednesday, official figures show, as rescuers dug up more bodies with bare hands and backhoes in villages crushed by rain-induced avalanches.

Most of the deaths from tropical storm Megi — the strongest to hit the archipelago nation this year — were in the central province of Leyte, where a series of landslides devastated communities.

Rescuers used boats to reach survivors in Pilar, a village of about 400 people in Abuyog municipality, where a torrent of mud and earth pushed houses into the sea on Tuesday and police reported five deaths.

A rumbling sound like “a helicopter” alerted Ara Mae Canuto, 22, to the landslide hurtling towards her family’s home. She tried to outrun it but was swept into the water and nearly drowned.

READ ALSO: Nearly 60 Dead In South Africa Floods

“I swallowed dirt, and my ears and nose are full of mud,” Canuto told AFP by telephone from her hospital bed where she is being treated for cuts and bruises. Her father died and her mother has not been found.

The disaster-prone region is regularly ravaged by storms, including a direct hit from Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, and scientists warn they are becoming more powerful as the world gets warmer because of human-driven climate change.

Baybay City is also reeling after waves of sodden soil smashed into farming settlements over the weekend, killing at least 48 people and injuring over 100, local authorities said. Twenty-seven are still missing, they added.

Aerial photos showed a wide stretch of mud that had swept down a hill of coconut trees and engulfed Bunga village, where only a few rooftops poked through the now-transformed landscape.

“We were told to be on alert because a storm was coming, but they did not directly tell us we needed to evacuate,” said Bunga farmworker Loderica Portarcos, 47, who lost 17 relatives and a friend in the landslide.

Portarcos braved heat and humidity as she advised a backhoe operator where to dig for three bodies still embedded in the soft soil which had started to smell of rotting flesh.

“Our dead relatives are all in the morgue, but there will be no time for a wake to mourn them because the mayor told us they smell bad,” she said.

 ‘Completely Devastated’ 

This handout photo taken on April 12, 2022, and received from the Philippine Coast Guard shows coast guard personnel evacuating local residents from their flooded homes in the town of Panitan, Capiz province as heavy rains brought on by Tropical Storm Megi inundated the area. (Photo by Handout / Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) / AFP)

 

Three people were also killed in the central province of Negros Oriental and three on the main southern island of Mindanao, according to the national disaster agency.

The military has joined the coast guard, police, and fire protection personnel in the search and rescue efforts, which have been hampered by bad weather.

The death toll from Megi is expected to rise as the focus switches from searching for survivors to retrieving bodies.

Abuyog police chief Captain James Mark Ruiz told AFP more boats were needed for victims in Pilar after landslides cut off road access to the community.

“This has been the catastrophe that broke my heart,” Abuyog Mayor Lemuel Gin Traya wrote on Facebook, saying Pilar had been “completely devastated”.

Around 50 survivors have been ferried from the community, the Bureau of Fire Protection said on Facebook on Tuesday.

Photos posted by the agency showed buildings crushed or turned over by the force of the landslide and debris in the water.

Medical workers rushed to treat victims as they were brought to shore, applying bandages to cuts and providing emergency blankets. One woman had her right arm in a splint.

While Pilar survivor Canuto counts herself lucky to be alive, she said “many of us died and a lot are missing too”.

Whipping up seas, Megi forced dozens of ports to suspend operations and stranded thousands of people at the start of Holy Week, one of the busiest travel periods of the year in the Philippines.

It came four months after super typhoon Rai devastated swathes of the country, killing more than 400 and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

The Philippines — ranked among the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change — is hit by an average of 20 storms every year.

AFP

Nearly 60 Dead In South Africa Floods


A car is seen submerged in water and mud following heavy rains and winds in Durban, on April 12, 2022.  RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP

 

The death toll from floods and mudslides after rainstorms struck the South African port city of Durban and surrounding areas in KwaZulu-Natal province has climbed to 59, authorities said on Tuesday.

The country’s meteorologists forecasted more “disruptive” rains on the way Tuesday night but expected the “rainfall system” to weaken “considerably” on Wednesday.

“Many people lost their lives with Ethekwini (Durban metro) alone reporting 45,” while in iLembe district “more than 14 …have tragically lost their lives,” the provincial government said in a statement.

READ ALSO: At Least Five Dead In South Africa Floods, Mudslides

It said the disaster “wreaked untold havoc and unleashed massive damage to lives and infrastructure” affecting all races and classes from rural areas, townships to luxury estates.

“This is a tragic toll of the force of nature and this situation calls for an effective response by government,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa who is to visit Durban on Wednesday.

African Union Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat expressed “sincere condolences to the families who have lost loved ones following heavy flooding” via Twitter.

Days of driving rain flooded several areas, tore houses apart and ravaged infrastructure across the southeastern city, while landslides forced train services to be suspended.

The rains have flooded city highways to such depths that only the tops of traffic lights poked out, resembling submarine periscopes.

Torrents tore several bridges apart, submerged cars, and collapsed houses. A fuel tank was floating in at sea after being tossed off the road.

The rains have flooded city highways, torn apart bridges, submerged cars, and collapsed houses.

Several stacked shipping containers fell like dominoes and lay strewn on a yard, while some spilled over into a main road in the city, one of southern Africa’s largest regional gateways to the sea.

South Africa’s public logistics firm Transnet suspended shipping at Durban terminals as did global shipping firm Maersk due to the floods.

“At around 3:00 am (0100 GMT), I felt the truck shaking and I thought maybe someone bumped it and when I tried to open the curtain I saw the water level… was very high,” said truck driver Mthunzi Ngcobo.

 Looting 

The disaster management department in KwaZulu-Natal province, of which Durban is the largest city, urged people to stay at home and ordered those residing in low-lying areas to move to higher ground.

More than 2,000 houses and 4,000 “informal” homes, or shacks, were damaged, said provincial premier Sihle Zikalala.

Rescue operations, aided by the military, evacuated people trapped in affected areas.

Fifty-two secondary students and teachers who were marooned at a Durban secondary school, were successfully airlifted to safety following “a long traumatic night, trapped”, education authorities said.

More than 140 schools have been affected by the flooding.

Power stations had been flooded and water supplies disrupted — and that even graveyards had not been spared the devastation.

The city had only just recovered from deadly riots last July in which shopping malls were looted and warehouses set on fire, in South Africa’s worst unrest since the end of apartheid.

There have been reports of looting, with TV footage showing people stealing from cargo containers.

The provincial government condemned “reports of the looting of containers” during the flooding.

 ‘Climate Change Getting Worse’ 

Southern parts of the continent’s most industrialised country are bearing the brunt of climate change — suffering recurrent and worsening torrential rains and flooding.

Floods killed around 70 people in April 2019.

“We know it’s climate change getting worse, it’s moved from 2017 with extreme storms to supposedly having record floods in 2019, and now 2022 clearly exceeding that,” University of Johannesburg development studies professor Mary Galvin said.

“Droughts and floods will become more frequent and more intense and that’s what we are seeing” she said, frustrated at government’s lack of preparedness.

“It’s absolutely devastating but equally devastating is the fact that we haven’t done anything to get ready for it,” she lamented.

The South African Weather Service admitted that “the exceptionally heavy rainfall overnight (Monday) and (Tuesday) morning exceeded even the expectations of the southern African meteorological community at large”.

AFP

Australia Flood Toll Rises To 20 As Thousands Evacuate Sydney

A resident looks at cars stranded in floodwaters due to heavy rain in southwestern suburb of Sydney on March 8, 2022. (Photo by Muhammad FAROOQ / AFP)

 

The death toll from week-long floods battering Australia’s east coast rose to 20 on Tuesday, after the bodies of a man and a woman were discovered in floodwaters in Sydney.

Police said the pair were believed to be a missing mother and son whose car was abandoned in a stormwater canal.

Tens of thousands of Sydney residents have been told to evacuate their homes as severe storms and flash flooding inundated swathes of Australia’s largest city Tuesday.

The national weather bureau warned of “a tough 48 hours ahead” for Sydney, with 60,000 people subject to evacuation orders and warnings, and the city’s Manly Dam beginning to spill.

Intense rainfall across Sydney flooded bridges and homes, swept away cars and even collapsed the roofs of a shopping centre and a supermarket.

In the riverside suburb of Georges Hall vehicles were semi-submerged and police had to rescue people stranded in their cars by rising floodwaters.

– A ‘watery’ Black Summer –

State emergency services have been stretched thin as the torrential rain and intense storms continued into a second week — with flood warnings in place Tuesday for the entire 2,000-kilometre (1,250-mile) coastline of New South Wales.

“It’s very much the watery equivalent of the ‘Black Summer’ bushfires,” emergency services spokesperson Phil Campbell told AFP.

In the past week the scale of the damage to property and wildlife has been similar to those devastating bushfires, he said, which ravaged Australia’s east for months in late 2019 and early 2020.

“We have also had a similar effect on communities in terms of dislocation with roads closed, infrastructure damaged, power outages,” Campbell said.

In the past 24 hours, emergency services have been called to 100 flood rescues across the state, a number that is expected to rise as the full force of the storms bears down on Sydney Tuesday.

In the city’s north, flood researchers were evacuated from their lab as water from the nearby Manly Dam began to spill over into suburban areas.

The University of New South Wales facility uses water from the dam to run large-scale experiments about one-in-100- and one-in-1,000-year flooding scenarios.

“Ironically, the conditions were happening just outside,” researcher Mitchell Harley told AFP.

When he arrived at work in the morning, floodwaters were already rising but soon the downpour caused “significant flooding” in the lab.

“We haven’t seen impacts of that magnitude in the 60 years of the laboratory,” Harley said.

He said the flooding that had inundated Sydney in recent days showed the need to consider the impact of climate change on the coastal city of more than five million people.

“We have a lot of ageing infrastructure in Sydney which were designed for historical flood events,” he said.

“A lot of this infrastructure needs to be re-evaluated in the context of climate change.”

– ‘No way to rebuild’ –

In the northern reaches of New South Wales — where floodwaters this week destroyed homes, washed away cars and stranded hundreds of locals on their roofs — a long, slow clean-up is under way.

There are 800 people in emergency accommodation in the state’s Northern Rivers region alone, said state emergency services commissioner Charlene York.

According to emergency services, almost half of the 5,000 flood-ravaged homes inspected in the region in the wake of the disaster are uninhabitable.

In Mullumbimby, a town cut off from phone service, internet and outside help for days by the floods, local Casey Whelan told AFP that “lots of people in my street can’t get flood insurance”.

“They will have no way to rebuild,” he said.

Australia has been at the sharp end of climate change, with droughts, deadly bushfires, bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef and floods becoming more common and intense as global weather patterns change.

Thousands Flee As Floods Worsen In Malaysia

A woman walks past items from her household, which were damaged during the recent floods, in Shah Alam, Selangor on December 27, 2021. Arif KARTONO / AFP

 

Thousands more people have fled swamped homes as heavy rains exacerbated flooding in seven Malaysian states, officials said Sunday, with over 125,000 people evacuated in total since mid-December. 

The National Disaster Management Agency said the weeks-long bout of bad weather was expected to carry on until Tuesday.

Dangerous water levels were detected in rivers in at least five states, a government monitoring website showed Sunday, with rising levels recorded in many other areas.

Some 50 people have been killed so far, a police Facebook post on Saturday said, with two still missing.

READ ALSO: US Airport Chaos As Over 2,700 Flights Cancelled

The tropical Southeast Asian nation often faces stormy weather around the year’s end, with seasonal flooding regularly causing mass evacuations.

But authorities have been taken by surprise by the days of constant rain that began on December 17, causing rivers to overflow and inundating cities.

Malaysia’s richest state of Selangor — the country’s commercial hub — has been among the worst-hit.

Around 117,700 of those evacuated since mid-December have returned to their homes, though nearly 10,000 people in five states on the country’s peninsular and in Sabah state on Borneo island have sought refuge in relief centres, official data showed.

AFP

Death Toll From Brazil Flooding Rises To 20

A member of the Navy helping to transport and empty coffin from Ilheus to the Costa do Cacau Regional Hospital in Itabuna, during floods caused by heavy rains in the region, in Ilheus, south of Bahia State, Brazil, on December 27, 2021.  AFP

 

The death toll from heavy rain and flooding that has plagued the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia since November rose to 20 on Monday, amid incessant torrents that have displaced almost 63,000 people, authorities said. 

Two new fatalities were recorded in the town of Itabuna: a 21-year-old man who was swept away by currents and a 33-year-old woman was killed in a landslide, according to a local government report.

“We are living through the biggest disaster in Bahia’s history,” said Bahia Governor Rui Costa, who has been overseeing rescue operations in the afflicted areas since Saturday.

“The water is starting to decline at the source of the Cachoeira River and it is expected to improve in the days to come, although slowly,” Costa said.

Houses were under water and streets turned into rivers in several municipalities in the south of the state, pounded since Thursday by heavy rainfall that caused dams to burst and rivers to overflow at the weekend.

In Itapetinga, AFP aerial footage showed three men paddling on a straw mattress in a street surrounded by houses with water reaching their windows.

The number of people who have been driven from their homes by the flooding has almost doubled since Sunday to 62,796, according to the Civil Protection of Bahia.

Another 358 people have been injured since the onset of the heavy rains in November. In total, authorities estimate that 116 municipalities, including at least 100 that are in a state of emergency, have been affected by the heavy rains.

AFP