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Nicaragua eyes potential storm in lower Caribbean basin

China calls on wealthy to give 'no strings attached' aid
United Nations (AFP) Sept 22, 2010 - Chinese Premier Wen Jianbao on Wednesday criticized the world's rich countries at a UN anti-poverty summit for not doing enough to help the poor. Wen said wealthy nations should give aid "no strings attached" as he outlined China's plans to cancel more debt and increase assistance to African nations. "To offer a loaf of bread is more useful than making an empty promise," Wen said in his attack on nations who have not kept past promises to provide money for the world's poorest countries. "Developed countries should fulfill in good faith their commitments, assume the main responsibility in assisting developing countries."

He said rich nations must carry out a pledge to increase their aid to 0.7 percent of gross national income "and provide long-term, stable and predictable financial assistance to developing countries. "The assistance should be selfless and have no strings attached." Wen said that by the end of 2009, China had canceled debt worth about four billion dollars owed by some 50 countries. He said China would also cancel debt associated with loans that mature in 2010. The premier also announced that China is to give an extra 200 million dollars in emergency flood assistance to Pakistan. "I wish to take this opportunity to announce that China will, on top of the pledged assistance, provide another 200 million dollars of assistance to Pakistan," he said.
by Staff Writers
Managua (AFP) Sept 22, 2010
Nicaragua Wednesday was nervously eyeing a storm system forecasters said had a strong likelihood of becoming a hurricane on the country's Caribbean side, even as Mexico is struggling with massive storm damage and floods.

Forecasters are closely following the system which is not currently a tropical storm or hurricane but could develop swiftly in coming hours, local forecaster Rosalba Palacios told AFP.

The system in the southern Caribbean off Venezuela's coast has a "high chance -- 60 percent -- of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours," the Miami-based US National Hurricane Center said.

"This system also has the potential to produce heavy rains over portions of Central America in a couple days," the NHC warned.

The new system was looming even as Mexicans struggled to cope with vast damage from Hurricane Karl in Veracruz state and devastating flooding in its southern states. At the moment more than 400,000 people have been driven out of their homes; 78 people have been killed in a wetter-than-usual rainy season, officials say.

earlier related report
Flood-ravaged Mexico hit from Pacific
La Paz, Mexico (AFP) Sept 21, 2010 - A new storm compounded Mexico's misery Tuesday, drenching the Baja California peninsula as the country tallied its dead and struggled to care for one million people affected by Hurricane Karl and historic flooding.

Pacific Tropical Storm Georgette drenched the resort town of Cabo San Lucas at Baja California's southern tip, lashing the region with strong winds before being downgraded to a tropical depression.

"We have already evacuated around 1,000 families" from areas vulnerable to flooding and storm surges, said Jose Gajon, director of Civil Defense for Baja California Sur state.

Across the country to the east, the toll from the powerful hurricane that struck last Friday, mainly in Veracruz state along the Gulf of Mexico coast, rose to 22 dead as emergency crews searched many of the hundreds of towns and villages inundated by heavy rains and flooding and struggled to reach remote communities.

Among the fatalities were seven passengers on a bus that was buried when a hillside bloated by heavy rains gave way early Tuesday, near the central town of Villa Guerrero some 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Mexico City, according to the town's mayor, Tito Maya de la Cruz.

Another 20 people were missing in the tragedy, he said, amid fears the death toll would rise as Civil Defense rescue teams had spent hours digging through thick mud and debris in an effort to find missing people.

At least 12 people died from Hurricane Karl-related flooding or landslides in Veracruz, where authorities said half a million people have been affected, including 40,000 who remained in emergency shelters Tuesday.

"Nearly half the state is under water," Veracruz Governor Fidel Herrera told reporters a day after President Felipe Calderon toured hard-hit regions of the state and called for tightened security to clamp down on looting.

But Herrera reiterated his call for solidarity between the half million in Veracruz and an equal number in the country's south and east who have been displaced or affected in varying degrees by weeks of rain and flooding.

"I have no doubt that in the next seven days Veracruz will dry out, and together we will push to rebuild," he said.

Major flooding earlier this month across Mexico left 25 people dead. Authorities described this year's wet season as the worst on record.

The latest deaths now add up to 78 for the rainy season that started in early May, said Civil Protection chief Laura Gurza. Rainfall has been "far above normal" for the season, she added.

And just four days after Karl's wrath, Tropical Storm Georgette was pummeling the Pacific coast.

Earlier in the day authorities halted all maritime traffic in the area amid forecasts of four-meter (13-foot) swells.

In Veracruz, some of Mexico's most storied historic structures had been inundated, including dozens of buildings in La Antigua, the first town founded by the Spanish in eastern Mexico.

They include the ruins of the house of Hernan Cortes, named on behalf of the famed 16th-Century Spanish conquistador, which was under 1.5 meters (five feet) of water after the hurricane barreled ashore nearby.

"Once all the water recedes, the damage to the ruins will be assessed," local historian Wenceslao Garcia told AFP.

Some parts of the historic town were still under half a meter (1.7 feet) of water on Tuesday, and locals said they felt cut off from the outside world after the hurricane.

"My family lost everything," said 42-year-old Fernando Montes, who was using a machete to cut up a fallen tree.

"There was no support for nearly two days until the army arrived."




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Southeast U.S. may face 'Troptober'
State College, Pa. (UPI) Sep 21, 2010
The southeastern U.S. faces the possibility of being battered by multiple tropical storms or hurricanes next month in what forecasters have dubbed "Troptober." The period starting in late September and into October could yield three to five named tropical systems as the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and the southwestern Atlantic are primed to explode, Accuweather.com reported ... read more

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