7 of 10 SINKING; Philippines: Sinking land in Metro Manila worsening floods! - geologist! 95 killed, 3.4 million affected by floods! Nigeria floods: 28 killed, scores missing! Sudan floods: 32 killed!

7 of 10 Africa Rolls:

Sudan:

/ Unusually intense rainy-season flooding has killed 32 people and destroyed thousands of homes around Sudan, the interior ministry said on Sunday (AFP). The deaths were recorded since the start of the rainy season in mid-June, the ministry said in a report. It added that 35 people were injured over the same period, more than 4,700 homes were destroyed, and about 35,000 animals killed as water levels rose above the average of recent years. /

Nigeria:

/ At least 28 people were killed and many were missing in floods caused by heavy downpours in Nigeria's northern state of Plateau over the weekend. "28 people have been killed in the floods that have ravaged the area," Kemi Nshe, the chairman of Shendam local government area, said. "Two hundred hectares of farm lands were also washed away by the flood in my local government area alone", the chairman said. Officials said scores are still missing while farmlands and crops were washed away in the incident that affected over 100 villages in the southern zone of the state. /

7 of 10 Sunda Plate SINKING:

Philippines SINKING:

/ 95 killed, 3.4 million affected by 'habagat' rains. At least 95 people have died while more than 3.4 million people have been affected in the Philippines by heavy rains and floods spawned by the southwest monsoon, or "habagat," the country's disaster management agency said Monday night. /

/ Kelvin Rodolfo, an eminent Filipino geologist, gave a good perspective of what happened last week. Here is Dr. Rodolfo’s reaction to a New York Times account of last week’s floods: “Just finished reading 35 comments...this abnormal rainfall event may be blamed on climate change induced by global warming, but sea level rise from global warming is not to blame. Far too few people know that a major cause of Metro Manila’s worsening floods is that the land there is sinking several inches a year -- more than ten times faster than sea level rise. /

Thailand & Myanmar SINKING:

/ The Thailand and Myanmar border was hit by sever flooding after heavy rain was seen on Friday evening. The Thai News Agency (TNA) reported that trade between the two countries along the border came to a standstill on Saturday after the harbors along the Moei River were forced to be closed temporarily as a result of the flooding. Officials were reported to have said that cargo boats operating between the Thai border district of Mae Sot and the Myanmar town of Myawaddy had stopped operations as harbors were heavily inundated, making it impossible to unload goods. Floodwater of over one meter “has inundated both the Thai and the Myanmar border while government offices and more than 10 villages on the Thai side are currently flooded,” the TNA report said. /

7 of 10 Caribbean Islands SINKING:

Trindad:

/ Tropical wave kills two in Trinidad. A tropical wave has killed two people in Trinidad as it lashes the eastern Caribbean with heavy rains and wind. Authorities say the victims died Saturday (local time) after heavy rainfall unleashed floods and mudslides in Trinidad's western region. The dead were identified as 66-year-old Solomon Britto and 31-year-old Everold Bentham. /

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Philippines:

95 killed, 3.4 million affected by 'habagat' rains

MANILA, Philippines - At least 95 people have died while more than 3.4 million people have been affected in the Philippines by heavy rains and floods spawned by the southwest monsoon, or "habagat," the country's disaster management agency said Monday night.

Most of the deaths were caused by drowning, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) data showed.

Four people remain missing while 62,846 have been rescued, the NDRRMC said.

The total cost of damage to infrastructure and agriculture has reached P2.26 billion, the agency said.

Forty-one cities and municipalities in Regions I, III, IV-A, IV-B, XII, and Metro Manila are now under the state of calamity.

Meanwhile, 64 cities and municipalities from in Metro Manila, Regions 3, and 4-A have flooding. A total of 8,629 houses have been damaged.

Central Luzon is experiencing the brunt of the monsoon rains, which have affected more 2 million people in the region.

A total of 78,946 people in Region 3 have sought temporary shelter in evacuation centers.

Heavy rains and floods also affected 366,669 people in Metro Manila, with 109,023 now housed in evacuation centers.

The NDRRMC said more than P94 million worth of relief assistance have been given to flood victims.

The agency published its latest data, even as a new tropical storm, "Helen," could bring more misery to the flood-battered capital and surrounding provinces.

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/08/13/12/95-killed-34-million-aff...

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Where do we go from here?

Another flood, another test for Filipino resiliency and soon enough the headlines fade from memory and we go back to our old ways. Floods are not new to the Philippine scene. I grew up expecting floods every rainy season in the Manila district of Paco. As a kid, I enjoyed playing in the flood waters. Strangely enough, I only learned about leptospirosis when I was in my 40s.

We coped with the annual floods as best we can. Our refrigerator was at the second floor of our house even if the dining room and kitchen were downstairs. Our washing machine sat on a concrete slab that’s more than two feet above the floor. When the typhoon signal was raised, we stocked up on canned food and considered ourselves lucky we lived close to a bakery known for their hot pan de sal.

But through typhoon Yoling and other monster typhoons in my younger days, I don’t remember Mother Nature in tantrums as bad as what we are seeing these days. Maybe the mountains around Metro Manila were not as devastated and denuded as is the case now. Maybe the volume of garbage clogging our esteros was a fraction of what is there now. Maybe it’s climate change in action.

  Government response to the floods then and now are Band-aid measures, lacking in long-term impact. I remember how government responded to flooding in our street by raising the street level a meter or so. That only brought the floods to our homes faster and solved nothing for residents.

Then as now, government pays lip service to cleaning and modernizing the drainage system which includes the esteros. We didn’t have a Gina Lopez at that time to clean up the Estero de Paco so the work didn’t get done.

If you checked back issues of newspapers, you will find out we have been talking about the evils of deforestation over 50 years ago. But things just got worse so that now, even normal rainfall would quickly cascade down the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains to Marikina River and flood Metro Manila.

It seems the problem had become unsolvable. Metro Manila is now home to 14 or maybe as many as 20 million souls in a land area a large part of which was a flood plain when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the Spanish conquistador, won his battle with local chieftains and made Manila the seat of his government.

The Americans came and Daniel Burnham made a remarkable city plan. But that Burnham master plan was set aside after the Americans and the Japanese devastated the city during WW2. We rebuilt Metro Manila the way we developed the jeepney… in a haphazard, make-do manner that’s difficult to unravel decades after.

Kelvin Rodolfo, an eminent Filipino geologist, gave a good perspective of what happened last week. Here is Dr. Rodolfo’s reaction to a New York Times account of last week’s floods:

“Just finished reading 35 comments...this abnormal rainfall event may be blamed on climate change induced by global warming, but sea level rise from global warming is not to blame. Far too few people know that a major cause of Metro Manila’s worsening floods is that the land there is sinking several inches a year -- more than ten times faster than sea level rise.

“This is because the Manila population is exploding, and is pumping out groundwater much faster than nature can replace it. A fellow Filipino scientist and I published about this in Disasters, an international journal in 2006.

“Meanwhile, pious Catholic politicians are saying that God is punishing the Philippines with the floods because its congress is considering a Reproductive Health bill. How very sad...”

The way things look… things will not get better years from now. We need a government and a citizenry working together to do what we can to at least mitigate this annual deluge. There are enough Filipinos with technical know how to deal with this problem. With a PPP approach there is also enough money to finance such plans. What is lacking is political will to do what must be done.

For starters, let us face the fact that forest denudation is the immediate cause of flooding that happens after a strong rainfall. We must reforest!

An all out effort to reforest the headwaters of the Marikina River in the foothills of the Sierra Madre should be a top priority. No amount of flood control infrastructure will work if all that water from even a moderate rainfall will quickly cascade down the mountains into our homes.

That reforestation challenge sounds like mission impossible but it isn’t. When Gina Lopez first took the challenge of replanting the La Mesa Dam watershed area, we flew around the site in a helicopter. I saw the vast devastation and thought it was too big a task to take on. Gina thought otherwise. She was right.

La Mesa Watershed is 2,700 hectares, 700 hectares of which is the reservoir and 2,000 hectares is the surrounding forest. Gina likes to point out this forest is the last remaining one of its size in Metro Manila. La Mesa Watershed is vital to the city, not only because it is a primary source of drinking water, but also because its forest absorbs our carbon dioxide emissions and acts as the lungs of Metro Manila, providing us with clean air.

Due to lack of funds, illegal settling, poaching and logging, La Mesa Watershed came into ruin. The total area that needed reforestation was 1,500 hectares. Gina delivered on the La Mesa reforestation but it was not easy.  She lost a few men in the process, possibly killed by the squatters and kaingeros who didn’t want their lifestyle and livelihood disturbed. Good for us Gina is not afraid to take on daunting problems that everyone says can’t be done.

I don’t know if she still has time to spearhead a reforestation program for the headwaters of Marikina River because she has her hands full with the clean up of the esteros and Pasig River as well as a drive to keep mining out of Palawan. There must be another one like her with nerves of steel who can do an even more important reforestation project with immediate impact on Metro Manila every time the rains come.

Reforestation aside, we need to get the Metro Manila mayors working together too on a number of projects to clear esteros and other drainage channels of garbage and illegal construction. Communities can help as well.

The Chinatown community for instance, should not wait for the city government to do something about the esteros in their district. I was walking some foreign guests in Chinatown and was embarrassed and horrified to see how badly polluted the esteros there are.

The Chinoys there know very well they cannot depend on government for much of what they need. That’s why they have their own fire brigades. Can’t they add the estero clean up project as well?

Let the feuding officials and members of the FFCCC and various FilChi Business Clubs work together for this very visible and very worthwhile endeavor. Once the esteros are cleaned up, they can even revive the old creekside eating places as tourist attractions. They don’t have to reinvent the wheel because I am sure Gina would share what she has learned in cleaning Estero de Paco.

The various mayors can also task their building officials to look for vanished esteros. I understand even the UST campus sits on an old estero, which explains the flood there from heaven knows when. Maybe the Dominican fathers can return the creek or find a way to mitigate the impact of losing that estero on rainy season flooding in that area.

Well… we can’t do much about global warming as a country with our rather small carbon footprint. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing we can do. Every little bit counts. How we deal with garbage, for instance. The choices we make as consumers also have an impact on such things that can cause calamities.

For now, it would be great if P-Noy called a meeting of the 17 Metro Manila mayors, as he announced he plans to, and ask them how they can all work together not just to respond to floods and other disasters but to prevent these from happening altogether.

We vowed not to forget Ondoy. But we did soon enough and Sendong came and we forgot again so when the habagat disrupted our lives, we looked pretty stupid already. I know it is said that Pinoys have short memories but this is too much.

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=837447&publicati...

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Trindad:

Tropical wave kills two in Trinidad

A tropical wave has killed two people in Trinidad as it lashes the eastern Caribbean with heavy rains and wind.

Authorities say the victims died Saturday (local time) after heavy rainfall unleashed floods and mudslides in Trinidad's western region. The dead were identified as 66-year-old Solomon Britto and 31-year-old Everold Bentham.

Bentham's sister, Liz Bentham, told reporters that floodwater surged through their community early Saturday and that her mother and sister were able to leave the house. She said Everold Bentham initially left with them but that he returned to retrieve something and died.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is visiting the area and is expected to soon provide an update on the deaths and damage.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objecti...

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Thailand & Myanmar:

Thailand, Myanmar border hit by severe flooding

KUALA LUMPUR: The Thailand and Myanmar border was hit by sever flooding after heavy rain was seen on Friday evening.

The Thai News Agency (TNA) reported that trade between the two countries along the border came to a standstill on Saturday after the harbors along the Moei River were forced to be closed temporarily as a result of the flooding.

Officials were reported to have said that cargo boats operating between the Thai border district of Mae Sot and the Myanmar town of Myawaddy had stopped operations as harbors were heavily inundated, making it impossible to unload goods.

Floodwater of over one meter “has inundated both the Thai and the Myanmar border while government offices and more than 10 villages on the Thai side are currently flooded,” the TNA report said.

The market, situated near the river, is completely covered with water reaching nearly two meters, and almost reaching the signboard which says “Thailand’s westernmost point,” erected near the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge.

Officials said houses and cars on the Myawaddy side have been heavily damaged by the severe flooding while harbors are closed for an indefinite period.

Border patrol policemen in Mae Sot have requested two flat-bottomed boats to be dispatched to the area along with reinforcements to help evacuate the sick, aged and children from the inundated villages.

http://www.bikyamasr.com/75183/thailand-myanmar-border-hit-by-sever...

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Nigeria:

Nigeria floods: 28 killed, scores missing

Abuja: At least 28 people were killed and many were missing in floods caused by heavy downpours in Nigeria's northern state of Plateau over the weekend.

"28 people have been killed in the floods that have ravaged the area," Kemi Nshe, the chairman of Shendam local government area, said.

"Two hundred hectares of farm lands were also washed away by the flood in my local government area alone", the chairman said.

Officials said scores are still missing while farmlands and crops were washed away in the incident that affected over 100 villages in the southern zone of the state.

Houses and bridges were also destroyed thereby displacing many villagers.

Nandom, a resident of Langtang, which was flood affected, said hundreds of houses and bridges linking the area with Lafia, capital of Nasarawa State and Taraba state were all swept off by the flood.

The affected local government areas were Langtang South, Langtang North, Shendam Mikang Wase and Quanpan.

Senator representing Plateau south district in the National Assembly Victor Lar told journalists the incident was ugly and unfortunate.

"The victims of this flood disaster are going through serious suffering and an a disease epidemic may break out in the area as a result of the displacement of over 1500 people if urgent steps are not taken," he said.

Nigeria has two seasons; dry and rainy.

Last July, torrential rain and flooding that hit Lagos led to more than 20 deaths even as 2000 persons were displaced.

Heavy downpour in the Island city of 15 million people triggered the overflow of canals with water which poured into residential areas and major roads.

Eleven of the dead were children who drowned in the ensuing flood as the victims could not distinguish between the roads and drainage channels.

http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/nigeria-floods-28-killed-scores...

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Sudan:

Floods kill 32 in Sudan: Ministry

Khartoum - Unusually intense rainy-season flooding has killed 32 people and destroyed thousands of homes around Sudan, the interior ministry said on Sunday (AFP).

The deaths were recorded since the start of the rainy season in mid-June, the ministry said in a report.

It added that 35 people were injured over the same period, more than 4,700 homes were destroyed, and about 35,000 animals killed as water levels rose above the average of recent years.

The latest inundations, since early August, have affected at least 1,000 families in eastern Sudan and 14,000 people in the far-west region of Darfur, the United Nations said.

Five years ago, a month of severe flooding destroyed more than 30,000 homes, killed at least 64 people and affected 365,000, the UN said.

http://www.portalangop.co.ao/motix/en_us/noticias/africa/2012/7/33/...

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Comment by Andrey Eroshin on August 15, 2012 at 1:13pm

Philippines: Landslides in Barangay Cunsad, Alimodian

(Iloilo City) – After a day of rain due to tropical storm Gener enhanced by the southwest monsoon, portions of the main road linking Barangay Cunsad to all the other 17 upland barangays of Alimodian collapsed in the morning of July 31 making it impassable.
http://www.mgb6.org/landslides-in-barangay-cunsad-alimodian-trigger...

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