Cambodia floods affect 90,000 families/Pakistan’s floods leave millions bound by water/India

Sep 29, 2011

Children in houses affected by flood waters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sept. 26, 2011. REUTERS/Samrang Pring


BANGKOK (AlertNet) - Severe flooding in Cambodia this month has killed 97 people, including 34 children, and affected some 90,000 families, the Phnom Penh Post reported on Thursday.

There are also concerns the capital will be inundated if the Tonle Sap River overflows, although officials expect the floods to start receding in other parts of Cambodia.

“Floods have seriously affected about 90,000 families,” National Disaster Management Committee spokesman Keo Vy told the Post.

“More than 10,000 families were evacuated, and about 83,007 houses, 500 school buildings and 1,200 km of roads were flooded, while 238 houses were completely ruined,” he added.

Earlier, Keo Vy said 163,000 hectares (407,000 acres) of rice paddy were underwater in provinces along the Mekong River and Tonle Lake, raising concerns over food supplies in an already impoverished country.

“We are concerned about a food shortage for the next year because rice paddies will be ruined if they are flooded for more than 10 days,” agriculture official Ngen Chhay told the Post.

Other news reports said Siem Reap, home to the famed Angkor Wat temple complex, has also been flooded after the city's river burst its banks.

Cambodia's rainy season typically runs from June until October.


Vietnam’s fertile Mekong Delta has also been affected by floods, which have killed nine people including five children. River levels are expected to rise quickly until Friday, causing more flooding, a U.N. report warned.

A storm earlier in the week dumped large amounts of rain on the North Central Coast region, killing at least four people, according to the report.


Pakistan’s floods leave millions bound by water

Sep 29, 2011
Mira Abou Meghwar, right, and men from her family emerge from the flood waters after an expedition to their inundated village of Geo Kaloi to try to retrieve some of their submerged possessions.


She walks a couple of kilometres back to the place where her house once stood. What remains of it lies beneath the still, sage-green water, but by rummaging around in its vicinity and looking in the branches of the thorn bushes that are inundated but still in place, she sometimes finds treasure: a piece of child’s clothing; a metal cooking pot; a wooden box that once stored spices. She puts all this on her head, and wades slowly back to the stick-and-scrap tent where she now stays with her husband and their eight children, on the high ground of the main road.

They have been here for more than a month, since the night they awoke in their homes – hundreds of kilometres from the sea, a day’s walk from the river – to the sound of water rushing all around them. Torrential monsoon rains, and catastrophically bad management of drainage and irrigation channels, caused a massive series of floods throughout Sindh, the southern province of Pakistan, and in neighbouring Baluchistan as well.

Some nine million people are now affected by widespread flooding in Pakistan; many have lost their homes, their possessions, and their livelihood for the foreseeable future as polluted water pools on the land they used to farm. These floods come one year after the largest natural disaster in Pakistan’s history, late-monsoon floods that submerged one-fifth of the country’s land mass and affected 20 million people. Many of those left homeless by the latest rains had already been displaced by the flood of 2010 and had yet to go home or were only just rebuilding when disaster came again.

The night the water hit the farming community of Jio Kaloi, Ms. Abou Meghwar and her husband gathered up their children and ran first to the local road, and when that began to be inundated, to the main road, and there they have remained.

“What do you think, that we could have saved anything in this water?” she demands after one of her afternoon salvage expeditions. “I saved my head, I saved my children’s heads, and I saved my husband’s head. That’s it.”

Yet the response of the Pakistani government has been fitful or entirely absent, the displaced people say, while the international community, weary of the perpetual litany of disaster from this country, has been equally slow to offer help.

Every major road in southern Sindh is now lined with shelters like the Abou Meghwars’ – in a few places there are thick canvas tents pitched on the asphalt; most are homemade affairs, an old sari or a plastic tarp stretched over bamboo poles. Toddlers play a few inches from transport trucks that thunder past on the road from Karachi. There are no sanitation facilities. And while there is water in every direction, the lack of water safe to drink is perhaps the most urgent crisis facing the displaced. As they drink, bathe, water livestock and relieve themselves in the surrounding water, outbreaks of diarrheal disease are imminent. The only medical assistance the people of Jio Kaloi have received was a visit by Pakistan army medics who gave everyone in the community a jar of cough syrup.

Here in Sindh, an agricultural state where the feudal system is alive and well, the flood has been something of a leveller. At the homes of prosperous landlords, carved wooden four-poster beds are stacked on the roof; graceful gardens and farm equipment are under water.

But the bulk of the displaced are people such as the Abou Meghwars, who had very little before the flood and now have even less. They survived sharecropping a handful of the landlord’s acres. The flood came just two days before they were to harvest their crops of cotton and chilies; everyone in their community had borrowed from the landlord to buy the seeds to plant. “We grew enough to eat,” Ms. Abou Meghwar said. “Never to save.”


Floods affect 15 lakh people in Bihar

Sep 29, 2011

Nearly 15 lakh people have been affected by the floods, and thousands have been forced to flee their homes and take shelter on highrise embankments, national highways, railway lines and in schools and other buildings, officials said.

The situation worsened in Sitamarhi, Madhubanim, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga districts in northern Bihar with Bagmatim, Adhwara and Lakhandei creating havoc inundating hundreds of villages in last 24 hours.

The Adhwara River breached its embankment at four places in Sitamarhi on Thursday morning , affecting thousands, an official said.

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