Flood Kills 12 People In Western Uganda – Red Cross

At least 20 people have been killed as a result of floods and mudslides in the last week in Uganda.

 

Twelve people have been swept to their deaths by floods in western Uganda, the Red Cross said on Saturday, as the East African country is battered by torrential rain.

“We have recovered 12 bodies from the water and one person has been rushed to hospital with serious injuries,” said Diana Tumuhimbise, Red Cross branch manager in the Bundibugyo district.

“The rain started last night and continued until 9:00 am (0600 GMT),” she told AFP on Saturday.

“Several houses have been swept away, roads have been blocked and some washed away completely.”

The Red Cross has launched a search and rescue operation with the police, military and community members in 12 affected areas but it is not yet clear how many people are missing.

Rain is hampering communication in the remote location, on the border with DR Congo and separated from the rest of Uganda by the Rwenzori mountains.

At least 20 people have been killed as a result of floods and mudslides in the last week in Uganda.

The extreme weather has been blamed on the Indian Ocean Dipole — a climate system defined by the difference in sea surface temperature between western and eastern areas of the ocean.

At the moment, the ocean around East Africa is far warmer than usual, resulting in higher evaporation and moist air flowing inwards over the continent as rain: the hallmarks of a “positive” dipole.

Scientists warn that as ocean temperatures rise because of climate change, Indian Ocean dipoles will become more frequent and severe.

 

AFP

Buhari Commiserates With Victims Of Floods

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari commiserates with victims of natural disasters especially floods which have ravaged some states of the Federation recently. Particularly, there have been more occurrences in the Southwest and Southeastern parts of the country.

While the President notes that this phenomenon is not peculiar to Nigeria as is evident in other parts of the world, he assures that the occurrence, attributable in part to climate change, is attracting his attention and those of other world leaders, as evidenced by series of meetings and conferences on the phenomenon, the latest of which happened on the margins of the recent United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

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Commending the efforts of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for its intervention activities so far, bringing succour to victims in different parts of the country, President Buhari expresses concern that there is an overwhelming recourse to the federal body to come to the aid of the distressed whenever disasters occur, which should normally not be the case.

The President reminds other stakeholders of their roles as spelt out in the policy document on disaster management in the country, specifically calling on local and state governments to live up to their responsibilities by coming to the assistance of victims that fall within their purview.

President Buhari assures all Nigerians of his steadfast commitment to issues bordering on their welfare, promising that his administration is determined to inculcate better coordination of the plight of the citizenry through the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

Floods: NIHSA Blames State Govts, Developers For Ignoring Warnings

Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) on Monday blamed state governments, estate developers and other individuals for floods which have recently plagued different parts of the country.

Director-General of the agency, Clement Nze, in an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said state governments and agencies have repeatedly failed to set up measures but only resort to ‘fire brigade approach’ when flooding eventually occurs.

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“The response to our predictions in terms of taking precautionary measures have not been quite pleasant. It is only when the disaster has occurred that people will now be taking the fire brigade approach.

“State governments, individuals, estate developers have not taken heed to our predictions. If they have done so we won’t be witnessing what is happening today. Response to our predictions are not encouraging,” he lamented.

NIHASA DG, Clement Nze

 

When questioned on roles played by the NIHSA to curb flooding following their predictions, Nze said the role of his agency is to merely advise and not enforce.

He added that ministries involved in enforcing measures that can prevent flooding are however engaged when flood alerts are issued.

“Whatever we do, we bring in different authorities that are in charge of enforcement. Ministry of urban planning, regional planning, environment, and others, are pre-informed.

“It is their role to implement. We are not an enforcement agency.”

Nze also blamed flooding on poor urban planning, and lack of drainages.

He warned that states located within the coastal region need to put up extra measures to prevent flooding concluding that “Coastal flooding will occur from time to time in places like Lagos, Ondo, and Bayelsa.

NIHSA earlier this year issued flood alert warning Nigerians of imminent increased flooding.

The hydrological agency predicted that no fewer than 74 Local Government Areas (LGA) in 30 states in Nigeria would experience severe flooding in June, July, August, and September.

They also warned that 279 local government areas would experience minimum flooding across the country in the period.

Niamey Residents Flee After The Worst Floods In 50 Years

A barefoot child walks past tents on September 11, 2019 in the makeshift camp of Saguia near the capital Niamey after the Niger river floods forced inhabitants out of the area.  BOUREIMA HAMA / AFP

 

“At last, we’re here!” Amina and Halima, who live in Niger’s capital Niamey, exulted after reaching high ground following the worst floods to hit the city in 50 years.

Two weeks ago, authorities in Niamey declared a red alert when the waters of the Niger river — the third biggest in Africa — rose to a level “not seen in more than 50 years”.

The floods have affected more than 6,300 people in the traditionally dusty city.

Nearly 60 have been killed and 130,000 displaced across the nation this rainy season, officials say.

Amina and Halima are among those who have been evacuated to tent shelters at Saguia in the highlands overlooking Niamey.

The women travelled in a van, but officials have been chartering all kinds of transport to move people in trouble, while others hire taxis, ride motorbikes and even walk.

Saguia is a patch of land owned by the army and usually off limits to the public.

In 2012, it was used to house about 400 soldiers from neighbouring Mali who had fled an offensive by Tuareg rebels.

For access to the site, people need “tickets” that are distributed in schools serving as transit centres for flood victims, according to the armed paramilitary police checking new arrivals.

The heights give a panoramic view of the homes and rice paddies largely submerged by the water.

 ‘Surprised in our sleep’ 

Inside the camp, the fire brigade and municipal employees have put up dozens of white tents supplied by the Red Cross and the United Nations.

“When people arrive here, they are installed in tents (…) and we have enough food for them all,” Niamey governor Issaka Assane Karanta told AFP.

A generator and a fresh-water well have both been repaired, lamp posts will soon be installed and a medical centre is open “for the treatment of emergency cases”, the governor said.

Some 122 households, comprising 854 people, have been allocated tents and the site can take in a total of 1,200 flood victims, he added.

“They gave us rice, millet, mosquito nets, blankets and drinking water,” said Aissa Salifou, putting on makeup in her tent, her head and shoulders covered in a broad veil.

“The water surprised us in our sleep,” added the woman from one of Niamey’s hardest-hit districts, Kirkissoye. “We had to demolish the walls in neighbouring houses to scramble out.”

“We live on the low ground where we were trapped by the water, but this place is spacious, well-aired and above all safe,” said Fatouma Boubacar, another Kirkissoye resident, watching her cooking pot on the fire.

 ‘I was lucky’ 

Though Boubacar arrived only two days earlier, she has resumed her customary job, selling vegetables.

“I was lucky,” said Ramatou Abdou, reclining in an armchair with a toothpick stuck between her teeth.

“I barely got out of the house before the roof fell in. I’m expecting my first baby in a month and I shall call it Saguia.”

In the shade of a huge tree, a dozen new arrivals awaited the completion of their shelters before moving in.

Barefoot children meanwhile made up football teams and chased a rag ball on a makeshift pitch in the baking heat.

On the far side of the camp, a policeman with a gun slung over his shoulder watched over a bunch of children carrying plates and queuing for a hot meal provided by an NGO.

“We’re trying to live here and waiting to see what Allah has in store for us,” Boubacar said.

The level of the Niger has fallen slightly after bursting its banks, but governor Karanta is urging people from affected areas to be watchful and “to keep well away from the bed of the river”.

Upstream in Mali, technicians have opened floodgates on a major dam and the extra water is “slowly but surely” flowing down to Niger, Karanta said.

AFP

 

Morocco Flooding Kills Seven – Officials

Morocco Rejoins African Union

 

At least seven people died Wednesday when a river burst its banks and flooded a village football pitch where a game was being played in south Morocco, local authorities and a witness said.

Eight men who had sought refuge in the changing rooms were swept away in the floodwater after heavy showers hit the Taroudant region late in the day, an eyewitness told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“We’re in shock, I’m 64 years old and I’ve never seen such a downpour,” the witness said.

Search and rescue operations were underway to find further victims, officials said.

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Photographs and videos shared on social media showed muddy waters carrying away people who had clambered on top of a building flattened by the flooding.

Morocco’s national weather service had warned of the risk of stormy rains on Wednesday afternoon in several provinces.

The heavy downpour followed a dry spell, making the floods more violent, local media reported.

Floods are common in Morocco. In late July, 15 people died in a landslide caused by flash floods on a road south of Marrakesh.

Floods Hit Parts Of Lagos After Heavy Rains

 

Floods have taken over parts of Lagos State following an early morning heavy rainfall in the nation’s commercial hub.

This has caused activities to get off to a slow start as traffic was moving at a very slow pace on most major roads.

Some of the major areas affected include the Alfred Rewane Road in Ikoyi, where rainstorm uprooted trees which fell on moving cars.

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Apongbon axis in Lagos Island and Toyin Street in Ikeja were equally affected.

The rain, which lasted for more than one hour in some places, also left several roads flooded making it difficult for motorists and commuters to move.

At the Ogudu end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, traffic was almost at a standstill as rainwater took over the road, forcing motorists to move at a very slow pace.

See photos below:

29 Killed, Several Missing In Indonesia Floods

Residents salvaging belongings as floodwaters submerged their homes after heavy rains in Bengkulu on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. DIVA MARHA / AFP

 

Floods sparked by torrential rains have killed 29 people in Indonesia with a dozen more still missing, officials said Monday, marking the latest calamity for a disaster-prone nation.

Landslides and floods are common, especially during the monsoon season between October and April, when rains lash the vast Southeast Asian archipelago.

On Monday, Indonesia’s disaster agency confirmed 29 deaths and said at least 13 more people were missing after days of pounding storms on the island of Sumatra.

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Some 12,000 others have been evacuated from water-logged Bengkulu province with hundreds of buildings, bridges and roads damaged.

Hardest hit was Bengkulu Tengah district, just outside of the provincial capital, where 22 people were killed along with hundreds of livestock.

Authorities have set up temporary shelters and public kitchens for the evacuees.

Meanwhile, a landslide triggered by heavy rain in Sumatra’s Lampung province on Saturday killed a family of six and disrupted transportation links to neighbouring regions.

Flooding in parts of the capital Jakarta during the week killed at least two people and forced more than 2,000 to evacuate their homes.

Residents of Bogor, a satellite city of Jakarta, also had to contend with 14 pythons that were set loose from a private property due to the high waters.

Six of the snakes — which were as long as four metres (13 feet) — have been found, but the remaining eight remain on the loose, officials said at the weekend.

In Sumatra, authorities said that illegal coal mining was partly to blame for deadly landslides as the practice makes loose soil susceptible to slides when heavy rains hit.

“Apart from natural factors like the heavy rain,(the flooding) was also caused by human activity that destroys the environment,” disaster agency head Doni Monardo told reporters in Bengkulu on Monday.

Activists have long warned deforestation from rampant mining in the province could trigger a catastrophe.

At least four major rivers in Bengkulu overflow every time it rains due to environmental damage near their banks, activists said.

“The flooding in Bengkulu was made worse by the severe damage…caused by coal mining,” Ali Akbar from local environmental group Kanopi Bengkulu said in a statement.

Illegal mining was blamed for killing dozens on the island of Sulawesi in March when a makeshift mine collapsed.

Last month, some 112 people died and more than 90 remain missing after torrential rains pounded Indonesia’s Papua region, triggering landslides and flash floods.

AFP

Floods Kill 51, Displace 1,000 People In South Africa

The Umhlatuzana Hindu Temple, south of Durban, damaged after the township was hit by heavy rain and flash floods following a torrential downpour on April 23, 2019.  RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP

 

Devastating floods in South Africa have left 51 dead and forced more than a thousand people from their homes, according to an updated toll issued Wednesday as President Cyril Ramaphosa flew to the deluged region.

Heavy rains have lashed the southeast of the country, tearing down homes and ravaging infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces.

Speaking to the affected Amanzimtoti community in Durban, after returning from emergency African Union talks in Egypt on the crises in Libya and Sudan, Ramaphosa said: “there are more than 1,000 people who are now displaced.”

READ ALSO: Floods, Mudslides Kill 23 In South Africa

He raised concerns about Free State province north of KwaZulu-Natal, saying that continuing downpours there were causing “risky situations.”

The government will set aside emergency funding to help survivors rebuild their lives, Ramaphosa vowed.

Fifty-one people have been confirmed dead so far, although local media have given a toll as high as 54, rising from 33 on Tuesday.

Rescuers on Wednesday continued to comb debris, desperately looking for people feared trapped by landslides.

Emergency responders reported collapsed buildings and flooded roads, blocked sewer lines and toppled electricity pylons.

For safety reasons, schools and some businesses were shut in the affected areas.

South African military personnel have been dispatched to help rescue and evacuation efforts.

The South African Weather Services warned that more heavy rain and gale force winds were expected, which could threaten low-lying bridges and roads.

AFP

76 Killed In Iran Floods

Barricades are set up to contain water in a flooded street in the city of Ahvaz, the capital of Iran’s Khuzestan province,/ AFP

 

Floods in Iran have killed 76 people and caused more than $2.2 billion in damages in recent weeks, officials said Sunday, with warnings still in place for large swathes of the country.

“With the death of five people in the Khuzestan province flood and another person in Ilam province the death toll has now reached 76” since March 19, according to a statement published online by the coroner’s office.

The two southwestern provinces are the latest overwhelmed by floods that first hit the northeast of the usually arid country, forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate from cities and villages.

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Officials have again issued flood warnings for the east of Iran with heavy rains that began on Saturday forecasted to continue.

The floods have caused immense damage with homes, roads, infrastructure and agriculture all hit.

“Twenty-five provinces and more than 4,400 villages across the country were affected by the floods,” Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli told parliament, according to the official IRNA news agency.

He said the damages amount to between 300 and 350 trillion rials — between $2.2 and $2.6 billion at the free market rate.

Transport minister Mohammad Eslami meanwhile told lawmakers “725 bridges have been totally destroyed.”

“More than 14,000 kilometres (8,700 miles) of roads have been damaged,” he said, according to IRNA.

The head of Iran’s meteorology service told the same parliamentary session that the floods do not necessarily mean that a decades-long drought has ended.

“The recent floods were due to climate change and global warming,” Sahar Tajbakhsh said according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

The Islamic republic has received aid from neighbouring countries and further afield, with France on Saturday donating 210 tents and 114 pumps.

18 Killed As Floods Ravage Iran Provinces

An image made available by Iran’s Mehr News agency on March 25, 2019, shows cars pilling up in a street in the southern city of Shiraz. Omid BERANJKAR / MEHR NEWS / AFP

 

The death toll of floods that have swept across most Iranian provinces has risen to 18 with more than 70 injured, the country’s emergency services said Monday.

National Emergency Service chief Pirhossein Koolivand said the casualty toll in the southern city of Shiraz was 17 dead and 74 injured, while another person was killed in Sarpol-e Zahab in the western province of Kermanshah, the service said on its website.

Iran has been facing unprecedented floods in 25 of its 31 provinces, the country’s Crisis Management Organisation said.

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The latest floods have struck mostly west and southwest Iran and follow major flooding on March 19 in the northeast’s Golestan and Mazandaran provinces, for which no official casualty toll has been issued.

Emergency services have been hampered by Iranian New Year holidays, with many employees on vacation.

The police have advised against road trips in the coming days, with many roads blocked by flooding or landslides caused by heavy rains.

The Crises Management Organisation and the health ministry, in charge of hospitals, have cancelled all leave and been placed on full alert, while provincial chiefs have been ordered to remain at their posts.

Iran’s meteorological service has warned that the rains will carry on into Wednesday.

AFP

Indonesia Flood: Baby, Father Reunite Amidst Increasing Death Toll

A soldier cradles a rescued five-month-old baby, who was trapped for hours under rubble, following flash floods in Sentani. Handout / INDONESIAN MILITARY / AFP

 

A baby trapped under rubble after flash flooding destroyed his home in Indonesia has been reunited with his father after the disaster killed the rest of their family, officials said Monday, as the death toll hit 77.

The five-month-old was plucked Sunday from debris inside a house where his mother and siblings were found dead in the hard-hit northeastern town of Sentani.

The tot has since been returned to his surviving father.

“We took the baby to the hospital and had him treated,” Papua military spokesman Muhammad Aidi told AFP.

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“He was in stable condition and has been released. The father was distressed but happy to be reunited with his baby.”

The news came as Indonesia’s disaster agency raised the official death toll from 58, with more than three dozen people still missing.

Scores have been injured in the disaster, triggered by torrential rain and landslides on Saturday.

“The death toll could still go up with 43 people unaccounted for,” said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Rescuers battled mud, rocks and fallen trees in the hunt for survivors, as medical personnel treated the wounded in makeshift tents.

The military said 5,700 people have been evacuated from the hard-hit area.

“We have over 1,000 personnel searching for more victims,” Aidi said.

Indonesia has issued a 14-day state of emergency in response to the floods.

Papua shares a border with independent Papua New Guinea on an island just north of Australia.

Flooding is common in Indonesia, especially during the rainy season which runs from October to April.

In January, floods and landslides killed at least 70 people on Sulawesi island, while earlier this month hundreds in West Java province were forced to evacuate when torrential rains triggered severe flooding.

Meanwhile, three people were killed — including two Malaysian tourists — and some 182 were injured after an earthquake Sunday triggered a landslide on the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, next to Bali.

The 5.5-magnitude quake is thought to have caused the landslide at the Tiu Kelep waterfall in the north of the island.

Lombok was rocked by several earthquakes last summer, killing more than 500 people and leaving over 150,000 homeless.

Last September, the country was hit by an earthquake and tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island which killed around 2,200 people.

The Southeast Asian archipelago of some 17,000 islands is one of the most disaster-prone nations on Earth, straddling the Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common.

AFP

Flash Floods Kill 58 In Indonesia

Collapsed houses caused by flash floods are seen in Sentani near the provincial capital of Jayapura, Indonesia’s eastern Papua province, on March 17, 2019./ AFP

 

Flash floods in Indonesia’s eastern Papua province have killed at least 58 people, an official said Sunday, as rescuers battled mud, rocks and fallen trees in the hunt for survivors.

The death toll was expected to rise as emergency services struggled to reach people in hard-hit areas, with more than 70 people injured and 4,150 evacuated.

The floods — triggered by torrential rain and landslides on Saturday — damaged numerous homes in the northeastern town of Sentani, said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

“The number of casualties and impact of the disaster will likely increase as search and rescue teams are still trying to reach other affected areas,” he said.

READ ALSO: Floods Kill 66 In Mozambique, 45 In Malawi

The waters had receded but officials were still trying to evacuate people from areas obstructed by “fallen trees, rocks, mud and other material”, Nugroho added.

In Doyo, one of the most affected areas, a housing complex was littered with huge rocks believed to have rolled down from a nearby mountain, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

Sediment and waste swept by the floods piled up on the pavement.

The non-stop wail of ambulance sirens could be heard, as heavy equipment was used to clear the roads.

The government has announced a 14-day state of emergency, said Jayapura police chief Victor Dean Mackbon.

Video footage showed rescuers administering oxygen to a victim who appeared to be trapped beneath a fallen tree.

Officers rescued a five-month-old baby who was trapped for hours under the rubble, Papua military spokesman Muhammad Aidi said. The whereabouts of the parents are unknown.

A propeller plane lay partly crushed on a runway at the airport of nearby provincial capital Jayapura.

“The rain started last night and went on until around 1:00 am this morning,” said Lilis Puji Hastuti, a 29-year-old mother of two young children in Sentani.

“Our house was flooded with thick mud … we immediately grabbed our valuables and ran to a neighbour’s (two-storey) house to seek refuge.

“It’s hard to get out of the area because many roads are blocked… I’m worried, sad and scared all at once,” she told AFP.

In Sentani, tents have been set up to take in flood victims and treat the wounded.

Papua shares a border with independent Papua New Guinea on an island just north of Australia.

Flooding is common in Indonesia, especially during the rainy season which runs from October to April.

In January, floods and landslides killed at least 70 people on Sulawesi island, while earlier this month hundreds in West Java province were forced to evacuate when torrential rains triggered severe flooding.

The Southeast Asian archipelago of some 17,000 islands is one of the most disaster-prone nations on Earth, straddling the Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common.