Thousands homeless due to flooding in Sudan, Russia, and China

• September 4, 2013
Flooding in sudan

Flooding in Sudan, Creative Commons: Nafeer Sudan, 2013

Millions of people are dealing with the havoc wreaked by historic flooding in two very different areas: in both Sudan and along the Russian-Chinese border.

Climate change increases the probability of extreme weather events, making abnormal and rare weather events the norm — including both intense drought and severe rains. Continents apart, the nations of Sudan, Russia, and China all find themselves battered by unusually heavy rainfall that has left thousands homeless, exacerbated public health issues, and caused untold economic damage.

Rains in Sudan endanger public health

Devastating flooding in Sudan have killed at least 48 people and impacted over 500,000, a severe weather event worse than anything seen in 25 years. Officials worry that its health effects may be worsened in South Sudan by doctors’ inability to reach a large portion of the population due to civil fighting.

The region around the capital, Khartoum, was particularly badly hit, with at least 15,000 homes destroyed and thousands of others damaged. Across Sudan, at least 25,000 homes are no longer habitable. A UN official described the situation as a disaster.

The flooding, caused by continuous rains, has damaged public buildings, including schools, clinics, offices, shops, markets and water and sanitation facilities. Roads have been inundated, disrupting transport.

One of the major health worries is the collapse of more than 53,000 latrines; the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of an increase in malaria cases in the past two weeks.

Read more: The Guardian>>

Swollen river on Sino-Russian border inundates communities

The Russian Far East and a neighboring province of China are seeing heavy rains that are expected to continue for a month. Chinese media reports that this is the worst flooding seen in a century.

Already, the river that forms the Sino-Russian border, known as the Amur River (Russian) or Heilong Jiang (Chinese), reached a record high water-level of 50.62 meters.

In Russia, more than 30,000 residents have been evacuated and 3,000 are in the hospital due to the unprecedented flooding. Emergency workers continue to bolster 11 miles of levees on the swollen Amur River, and residents who have chosen to stay have taken up in attics and high rise apartment complexes.

Russian projections estimate that the peak of the Amur’s flooding won’t happen for another two weeks, after which residents will still have to wait several weeks for the water to recede. Local officials have cut regional energy prices to allow residents to use electrical equipment to dry their homes.

Read more from Russia: Russia Beyond the Headlines>>

In China, the flooding of the Heilong Jiang has killed at least 20 people and affected more than 2.2 million in the Jilin Province through damage to homes, crops and infrastructure. Estimates put the economic losses at 10 billion yuan ($1.7 billion US).

Northeastern Chinese communities are also dealing with the flooding of another major river in the region, the Songhuajiang. Its water level has reached 120 meters, and flooding has spread to the provincial capital city of Harbin. Peak water levels are expected to last for 10 days in the area.

The outlook is grim, as local authorities say the flood peak is now moving towards the confluence of the Heilong Jiang, Songhuajiang and Nenjiang Rivers, a trend that could wreak more havoc along its path.

Read more from China: CCTV English>>


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