September 1, 2017 / 1:33 AM / 3 months ago

Beyond Harvey: deadly floods bring havoc to Africa, Asia

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - With Tropical Storm Harvey gathering headlines as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in half a century, floods have killed many more people in Africa and Asia this year, as climate change worsens extreme weather worldwide.

Here are some floods you might have missed:

* SOUTH ASIA: Floods in India, Bangladesh and Nepal have killed more than 1,200 people and affected 40 million, and are likely to intensify as monsoon rains continue, aid agencies say.

All three countries suffer frequent flooding during the June-September monsoon season, but aid agencies say things are worse this year with thousands of villages cut off and people deprived of food and clean water for days.

Tens of thousands of houses, schools and hospitals have been destroyed as humanitarians prepare for more deaths, hunger and water-borne diseases.

“These are some of the worst floods we’ve seen in South Asia in decades and the impact is likely only going to get worse,” Madara Hettiarachchi, Christian Aid’s humanitarian head in Asia, said in a statement.

“Farms and livestock have been washed away so food security is going to be a huge problem.”

The worst floods in a decade struck Nepal, killing 150 people and destroying 90,000 homes.

Monsoon floods submerged more than a third of low-lying, densely populated Bangladesh, causing more than 130 deaths and widespread crop damage.

The latest disaster zone is Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, where overnight floods killed at least a dozen people, officials said on Thursday.

* WEST AFRICA: Widespread flooding has killed at least 40 people in Niger since the rainy season began in June, leaving thousands homeless, without cattle or crops.

Aid agencies are increasingly worried about water-borne diseases like cholera as the waters are not expected to subside until rains end in September.

A mudslide in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, on Aug. 14 killed about 500 people after heavy rains, with hundreds still missing.

Sporadic downpours continue, flooding parts of the coastal city and washing away more mud containing human remains.

Heavy rainfall also sparked a landslide at a rubbish dump in Conakry, the capital of neighbouring Guinea, last week, killing 10 people, while at least 200 people are thought to have died in another slide in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

* YEMEN: At least 18 people were killed in Yemen in flooding caused by heavy rains, the government-run news agency Saba reported on Wednesday.

Aid organisations say the rains could exacerbate Yemen’s cholera epidemic, which has infected more than half a million people and killed nearly 2,000 since April.

Sources: Oxfam, ICRC, UNICEF, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Reuters

Reporting by Anna Pujol-Mazzini @annapmzn, Editing by Katy Migiro and Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org

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