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Disaster declared in flood-hit Australia

750,000 could be hit by Kenya floods: UN
Geneva (AFP) Nov 6, 2009 - The United Nations warned Friday that up to three quarters of a million people could be hit by floods and landslides brought about by torrential rainfall in Kenya. "There are fears that up to 750,000 people in Kenya may be affected by flooding and landslides from the enhanced rains caused by El Nino weather phenomenon between October and December," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. "The rains usually peak in November," she added. Six people have been killed in floods and landslides from recent downpours, and another 4,600 people along the Indian Ocean coast and northeastern region of Kenya have been displaced.

Byrs said the Kenyan government and aid agencies have stocks of food, water purification tablets and mosquito nets and other contingencies in place. However, "tents are lacking, as well as shelter for these people," she added. "The flooding has brought about interruptions in the delivery of humanitarian aid, including those for refugees," said Byrs. Among those hit are some 338,000 refugees in two camps in Kenya, said UN refugee agency spokesman Andrej Mahecic. Mahecic said the office of the UN High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) needed 2.8 million dollars to secure fuel, blankets, plastic sheets as well as to fund disease outbreaks.

"We fear the looming El Nino phenomenon .... may now threaten the 338,000 mostly Somali refugees in the two camps, which in any case usually are flooded for three months every year," he said. Mahecic said the agency had begun digging trenches and placing sandbags around hospitals and other key locations in the camps. "We are also preparing to locate to higher ground within the camps refugees who might be worst affected by the floods, particularly the chronically ill, disabled people, the elderly and children and teenagers on their own," he added. Asked why the camps were constructed in flood-prone areas, Mahecic said the land was given by the government. "There is very little choice on where you can put a camp," he added.
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Nov 7, 2009
Australian authorities declared a natural disaster along parts of the country's east coast Saturday as heavy floods cut the main road linking major cities, stranding thousands of people.

Torrential rain soaked the Coffs Harbour region north of Sydney overnight, swamping the arterial Pacific Highway with flash floodwaters that isolated almost 5,000 people, emergency officials said.

About 40 people had to be evacuated from the area hit by the raging floods and New South Wales emergency services minister Steve Whan declared a natural disaster, releasing state funds.

More than 500 millimetres (20 inches) of rain had fallen in the past two days, Whan said, in the fifth major flooding incident to hit the region this year.

"I guess one of the things we've seen predicted from climate change consistently is that the rain and the weather events will come in more storms and more short-term deluges," he said.

"Unfortunately that's the pattern that we seem to be seeing this year in the area."

Floodwaters were expected to peak at five metres (yards) at Coffs Harbour on Saturday afternoon before easing, the State Emergency Service said, describing as "drastic" the cumulative effect of recent downpours.

"Weather conditions have eased considerably over the last few hours. However, we still have some 4,800 people isolated by floodwaters in a number of north-coast communities," said SES spokesman Phil Campbell.

Intense storms hit the east coast late last month, generating more than 10,000 lightning strikes and disrupting train and flight services.

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses were blacked out and a man was killed when his car hit a tree in torrential rains.

more flood reports
Vietnam storm and flood toll rises to 107
Hanoi (AFP) Nov 6, 2009 - The number of people killed by floods in central Vietnam rose to 107, as officials said Friday the new estimate of damage caused by Mirinae was at least 120 million dollars.

A further 11 people were still listed as missing after the Tropical Depression struck Monday, bringing the most devastating floods in decades to some areas, the national flood and storm control committee said in a report.

Most of the dead were from the country's easternmost province of Phu Yen, where 72 fatalities were recorded.

River levels were receding Friday, Duong Van Huong, head of the provincial storm and flood committee, told AFP. However, rescue activities were still being conducted by boat in certain hard-hit areas, the committee said.

"Some 200,000 students in Phu Yen are still unable to go to school", Huong said.

On Thursday, Communist Party Secretary General Nong Duc Manh visited neighbouring Binh Dinh province, also badly affected, making sure local authorities provide residents with food, drinking water and medicine.

Some 6,300 soldiers have been mobilised for the rescue effort, according to the national committee.

Mirinae also killed two people in Vietnam's neighbour Cambodia and left 27 people dead in the Philippines, where thousands are still living in evacuation centres after a series of deadly storms this typhoon season.

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Vietnam flood toll rises to 98
Hanoi (AFP) Nov 5, 2009
The number of people killed by floods in central Vietnam rose to 98 Thursday, as rescuers ferried emergency aid by helicopter to coastal regions battered by Tropical Storm Mirinae, officials said. A further 20 people were listed as missing after the storm struck on Monday bringing the worst floods in decades to some areas, the national flood and storm control committee said. Most of the ... read more

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