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Indonesia denies flash floods caused by deforestation

by Staff Writers
Jakarta (AFP) Oct 12, 2010
Indonesia denied on Thursday that flash floods in the remote area of Papua that killed at least 148 people were caused by rampant deforestation.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said the flooding in West Papua province's Teluk Wondama district last Monday was caused by a natural dam bursting in the area after heavy downpours.

"The dam was formed by landslides, and the landslides were caused by heavy rains and probably triggered by earthquakes," Hasan said.

"Yes, there is logging in Papua. But the logging concessions are far away and not connected to the disaster area," he said.

Officials said more than 100 people were still missing and about 700 people were injured after the floods.

Those who were killed had reportedly drowned were swept away by the powerful waters along with uprooted trees, rocks and debris.

Indonesia is among the top emitters of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming while it also suffers massive deforestation due to illegal logging and clearing for palm oil plantations.

An area equal to the size of three football pitches disappears from Indonesia's forests every hour, according to some experts.

earlier related report
Flooding leaves scores homeless in Lagos
Lagos (AFP) Oct 11, 2010 - Scores of slum residents in the Nigerian commercial capital Lagos have been left homeless by flooding from a river following last month's opening of a dam, residents and an official said Monday.

Officials have estimated that more than 400 homes and shops in the east of the sprawling city of some 15 million people were flooded after the Ogun River overflowed its banks.

A Lagos state official said the dam had to be opened in late September because allowing it to burst would have caused far more damage. Residents were warned in July, he said.

"Our advice to them now is that they should vacate the areas until further notice," said the special adviser to the Lagos governor on the environment, Sesan Olanrewaju.

Commuters still using the flooded Ikorodu-Ketu road in the area can spend six hours traveling the 12-kilometre (eight-mile) route.

"This is the worst experience I have ever had since I have been living in Ajegunle in the past 15 years," Sikiru Badamosi, 42, a furniture maker in one of the affected communities told AFP as he tried to salvage what remained of his property.

Flooding has also hit Nigeria's north this rainy season, destroying entire villages and huge swathes of farmland.

earlier related report
Nearly 450,000 evacuated in China's Hainan after floods
Beijing (AFP) Oct 11, 2010 - More than 440,000 people have been evacuated in Hainan after the heaviest rains for decades inundated 90 percent of the Chinese island in the South China Sea, state media reported Monday.

Further downpours were forecast for Wednesday, threatening to intensify damage to homes, infrastructure and crops across the island, Xinhua news agency said, quoting Hainan's governor Luo Baomin.

The floods have affected 2.7 million people in 16 cities and forced schools to close, he said.

More than 3,000 houses have been destroyed by flooding and damage has been done to 1,300 roads, over 40 reservoirs and nearly 170,000 hectares of crops, the report said, citing the provincial civil affairs department.

According to the Hainan meteorological bureau, more rains are forecast to hammer the island on Wednesday and may hamper the relief effort, Luo added.

The torrential rains have been falling for more than a week and are the worst on the island off China's southeastern coast since 1961.

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One dead, thousands affected in Philippine floods: police
Manila (AFP) Oct 9, 2010
One person has drowned and thousands of people have been affected by floods that have swamped a rain-soaked island in the central Philippines, police said Saturday. Floodwaters rose south of Naujan lake on Mindoro island after heavy rain began falling in the area before dawn Friday, national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz told reporters. In addition to the drowned p ... read more

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