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Death toll from Indonesia floods, landslides rises to 47
by Staff Writers
Banyumas, Indonesia (AFP) June 20, 2016

Floods in south China kill 22: state media
Beijing (AFP) June 20, 2016 - Heavy flooding in central China has killed 22 people and displaced 197,000 since Saturday, state media said on Monday.

A total of 20 people are still missing, the official Xinhua news agency said, after summer rainstorms were heavier than usual.

Direct economic losses from the floods hit nearly 2.7 billion yuan ($410 million), Xinhua cited the ministry of civil affairs as saying.

Eight people are trapped in a flooded coal mine in southwest China's Guizhou Province, Xinhua added.

Torrential rain is forecast to continue in south China over the next three days, it added.

Paris soaked by wettest spring in 150 years
Paris (AFP) June 20, 2016 - Parisians, never ones to suffer in silence, have had good cause to grumble of late: meteorologists confirmed Monday it has been the wettest spring in the French capital in nearly 150 years.

The news came on the final day of spring, which, after weeks and weeks of grey skies and pouring rain, fittingly ended with an hours-long downpour in Paris.

Usually, after a long winter, Parisians flood parks and the outdoors to soak up some much-needed spring sun, quaffing wine on the banks of the Seine or sipping cocktails on restaurant terraces.

But this year, with the summer solstice on Tuesday, it is still boots and coats for most Parisians, who have only seen the sun peek through the clouds a handful of times.

The French meteorological agency Meteo-France said the three months of rain (320 mm) were double the normal amount, and the most since records began in 1873.

In early June, residents watched in awe as the Seine river rose to its highest level in three decades, prompting the closure of the riverside Louvre and Orsay museums while they evacuated priceless artworks.

The flooding which saw rescuers rowing canoes through towns around Paris, caused around one billion euros in damages, the AFA insurance association said on Friday.

Several other French towns also saw record rainfall, which Meteo-France forecaster Etienne Kapikian attributed to more low atmospheric pressure systems than usual in central and western Europe.

While summer will arrive for a day or two this week, storms and lower temperatures will follow.

"There is no generalised, sunny weather expected for the moment," said Kapikian.

The death toll from landslides and flooding in Indonesia rose to 47 on Monday, an official said, after hundreds of homes were engulfed by surging torrents of mud and rock.

Rescuers used excavators and their bare hands to search through wrecked houses and earth for 15 villagers still missing after days of rain triggered the landslips and flash floods on mountainous Java island at the weekend.

The natural disasters happened across densely populated Central Java province, with fast-moving walls of mud, rock and water engulfing buildings as they raced down hillsides and drivers were swept off roads.

Villagers were trapped on their rooftops and watched helplessly as the rising floodwaters submerged their homes and cars.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 47 people were confirmed dead and 15 were missing. Hundreds of homes were badly damaged, with some completely flattened.

"People should be prepared as there is still a high potential for flooding and landslides," he warned.

He said that a La Nina weather phenomenon, that typically causes unseasonably heavy rains, could have contributed to the weekend disasters. Java, which should be entering the dry season, has been hit by torrential downpours in recent weeks.

Indonesia and other parts of Asia had been affected by a strong El Nino, which brings drought and sizzling temperatures and is often followed by a La Nina.

He also blamed inadequate preparations, saying that his agency had warned local authorities that heavy rains were coming but it was not clear if they had taken action.

The area worst affected by floods and landslides was Purworejo district, Nugroho said. Deaths were also reported in Banjarnegara and Kebumen districts.

More than 400 rescuers were involved in search efforts. Evacuation centres, equipped with temporary shelters and kitchens, had been set up near the disaster zones.

Landslides and flooding are common in Indonesia, a vast tropical archipelago prone to natural disasters and torrential downpours.

Freak rainstorms wreak havoc in Niger desert
Niamey (AFP) June 20, 2016 - Unusually heavy rains in Niger's desert north in recent days have killed thousands of goats and cattle, gutted homes and stores, and left three people dead, national television said Monday.

"Torrential rains caused severe damage and three dead in Bazagor", a town in the northwestern province of Tchintabaradene, and destroyed 100 stores and 100 homes, said Tele Sahel.

In Ingal, near the northern city of Agadez, "85 millimetres (3 inches) of rain fell in two hours" on June 14, though yearly rainfall is rarely over 100 to 130 millimetres there.

Hundreds of people have been left homeless in the past days with more than 8,000 goats, sheep, cattle and camel killed in the area, where animal corpses are visible over 20 kilometres, television footage showed.

Sub-Saharan Niger, a vast arid nation, regularly suffers food shortages due to drought.

But early this month the UN warned of floods in 2016 affecting the livelihoods of more than 100,000 people.

Climate change has wrought havoc in Niger, bringing floods, droughts, spikes in temperature and food shortages -- buffeting the lives and livelihoods of millions of the country's farmers.

Flooding in 2012 killed more than 100 people, affected more than half a million Nigeriens and caused at least 135 million euros ($145 million) worth of damage, according to the disaster prevention office.

Floods similarly killed dozens of people and affected hundreds of thousands in 2014 and 2015.

Global warming is only worsening the problems, with the steadily encroaching desert now covering three-quarters of Niger.

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Previous Report
10 dead in Ghana floods
Accra (AFP) June 14, 2016
At least 10 people including eight children have died in a torrential downpour in Ghana, the west African nation's national disaster agency said Tuesday. Four days of rain last week swamped the capital, Accra, and much of the central region. The downpour came a year after over 150 people were killed in Accra following an explosion at a petrol station where people were seeking shelter dur ... read more

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