Just Ask Jessica - about the floods

Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 12:17 am
Floods World Wide

Heavy rains that caused severe flooding and killed at least eight people across Britain began to ease in many parts of the country yesterday.

Hello - yeah, it's me, Endy - thanks for taking a look.
This morning i read a report in the Independent that included a description by 19 year old Jessica Turnbull from Morpeth, Northumberland, of the floods in her home town.

Her words - "It's a scene of utter devastation," made me realise that although we see pictures of floods and devastation from around the world almost constantly these days, we do not and can not really appreciate what those people are going through until it is brought home to us.

Jessica's description of her grandmother's plight really touched me and made me think of all those around the globe who are suffering a similar tragedy.

Already the growing number of hurricanes has been partly attributed to the rising temperatures of oceans - but many environmental factors that have been ignored for too long are finally blooming into big trouble - global warming is beginning to contribute to more death and destruction.
Isn't it time for leaders of the world to face the facts?

To the lunatics running world superpowers, Armageddon might seem like an easy (and rewarding?) way out of the almighty mess they have brought to bare on humanity. The ruination of hope - war, destruction, loss of morality - this nightmare that has been seemingly dug by incompetence and complacency - but not everyone is willing to give up just yet.

Just ask Jessica

"My nan's house is about a mile away from mine, but whereas I live at the top of the hill she lives at the bottom, right on the river Wansbeck.

My mum and I ran down the hill to rescue her and the water level got higher and higher as we approached the river. Eventually I had to wade through in my wellies and pyjamas, while my mum stood on the bridge. She told me later that she could see the river swelling by the minute.

The rescue team planned to carry my nan, who by now was soaking wet and cold, out in their arms. But because the water level was rising so fast they sent for a boat, and took us to the local social club.

I went back to the house yesterday and it's a scene of utter, stinking devastation ... My nan has been forced to watch all her worldly possessions and memories being robbed from her."

Torrential rains have hit parts of southern Somalia, ruining this woman’s makeshift house in a refugee camp outside Mogadishu.

In India the monsoon rains have caused destruction and havoc, with tens of thousands of people made homeless.

Indian officials are in a race against time to rescue hundreds of thousands of people displaced by flooding in the state of Bihar.

Summer rains in Japan have been unusually intense. At the peak, Okazaki was soaked with 5.7 inches (14.6 centimeters) of rain per hour _ a record for the area _ Japan's Meteorological Agency said.
A thunderstorm earlier this month caused sewage waters to suddenly rise in Tokyo, sucking five workers down a manhole and killing them.

The storms have killed some hundreds of people in Haiti and forced thousands from their homes.

Crops in Haiti are destroyed, threatening a food crisis

Venezuela flies aid to storm-ravaged Haiti

India floods
Save The Children
Floods have hit one of the poorest regions in India, displacing over 1.5 million people and leaving thousands more in grave danger. We’re already there, helping families who are at risk of losing everything. We urgently need your help to carry on delivering aid to these families, and to reach thousands more in desperate need. You can make a donation below.

As Hurricane Hanna devastates the Caribbean, and with Hurricane Ike poised to do the same, the British Red Cross has launched an appeal to support thousands forced to flee their homes and in vital need of emergency aid.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement


BBC Images from World News

British flooding Report
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Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 01:05 am
Bihar floods. Do we treat Bihar as a lost cause ?

The incredible tragedy in Bihar caused by the floods in the river Kosi raises several questions. Close to 3 million people have been displaced from their homes. Over a 100 are dead, but there is no way that figure can be established as much of the flood affected areas are cut off. While several people raised the spectre of global warming, why was there no warning and protection when engineers could see that the Kosi dam in Nepal was under structural pressure before it burst and caused the devastation ? If reports are to be believed, the warning was faxed to an office in Patna where the faxes accumalated as the person in charge was on leave and no one was in office!!!! Fax ? Whatever happened to the cell phone ?

A fundamental question too : why does the rest of India treat Bihar as a lost cause ? Wherever I go there is general lament about Bihari labour creating slums, forgetting that they were there for a purpose. To build our roads, our houses. Why have people got this attitude for a state that was once the greatest centre of learning in the whole world, at the nalanda Unversities. Famous Bihari's include King Asoka, Chandra Gupt Maurya, Chanakya, Vatsayana, but also Dr rajendra Prasad, Karpoori Thakur, even our current hot favourite - Mahendra Singh Dhoni. And yet if you ask people about Bihar the first name that comes up is Laloo Prasad Yadav. Why not Buddha and Bodh Gaya ?

Shekhar Kapur
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Reply Wed 10 Sep, 2008 09:57 pm

U.N. peacekeepers help Haitian children cross a river after floods near Port-au-Princ. Officials said at least 61 people had died in floods in impoverished Haiti on top of 500 killed last week by Tropical Storm Hanna.
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Reply Sat 13 Sep, 2008 02:04 pm

Storm-battered Haitians left in despair

By Mike Thomson
BBC Today programme, Haiti

Haitians are struggling to cope after the devastation caused by four hurricanes which swept across their country in the past three weeks; rendering areas difficult to reach by those trying to deliver food and water to the hundreds of thousands who desperately need it.

But even in towns and villages close to the capital, there are many who as yet have received no help at all.

And in a country where rioting and civil disturbance are never far from the surface, such problems can be dangerous.

The small town of Cabaret, just north of the capital, Port-au-Prince, I was surrounded by 200 to 300 people desperate for food and medical supplies.

Many, though, left empty handed.

A young woman in the town, Asna, clutches an empty water container. That - and the clothes she is standing up in - are all she has left.

"About one o'clock on Sunday morning, water came gushing through our home and all of a sudden the wall collapsed on us all," she says.

Assessing needs

"The next thing I knew I was in the middle of the river. Fortunately I was able to hang on to something and stopped myself being swept away.

"But six members of my family were lost. They just disappeared. Only one of their bodies has been found so far."

And she says the government is not doing anything to help.

"I don't know whether anybody came when I wasn't here but I certainly haven't received anything. Nothing at all. And it's been the same for all my friends who are here with me now."

There is no sign of government help, UN or other charity workers - private individuals are handing out food at the centre. Foreign aid organisations are in the country but are accused of not doing enough.

Sarah Wilson is part of an assessment team from the charity Christian Aid and she says charities like hers need time to identify the areas that need help and find the most vulnerable.

"If they just hand out food willy-nilly on the street or private individuals do that, it can cause more problems than it solves.

"If aid is dropped from airplanes as has been done in the past that can cause massive migrations of people - people can walk for miles to get that food - and that weakens them further and there might not be enough food when they get there."

But back in Cabaret, Madeline Sharl, another victim of the devastation caused by the hurricane, also blames the government. "We're really suffering but we haven't had any help from them," she says. "Some of us were fortunate enough to get a small amount of water. Other than that, nothing."

And the scale of the human tragedy still reverberates. "Right where we're standing… in this courtyard, one family lost 10 people. Ten people perished here," she says.

"People are reacting like this because they are so hungry, they are desperate. That is why."

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Reply Sat 13 Sep, 2008 02:10 pm
'Catastrophic' storm hits Texas


Hurricane Ike has made landfall on the Gulf coast of Texas, where it is expected to cause "potentially catastrophic" flooding and damage.

It hit land at Galveston at 0710 GMT, with winds of up to 110 mph (175km/h).

Much of the city, which in 1900 was the scene of the country's deadliest hurricane, was already under water after a 12ft (3.7m) storm surge.

The eye of the storm, which has since weakened to a Category One, is turning away from Houston, towards Arkansas.
Mandatory evacuation orders affected more than one million people, but there are fears for up to 90,000 people across Texas who officials say decided to brave out the storm.

In Galveston, an estimated 23,000 residents stayed behind.

President George W Bush, who earlier declared a federal emergency in Texas, said the federal and state authorities would conduct the recovery effort together, bringing in generators and ensuring water and ice supplies.

US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is due to arrive in Texas on Saturday, weather conditions permitting, he added, speaking at the White House.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has waived federal clean air regulations for petrol sold in states affected by the storm, in an effort to reduce fuel disruption.

Ike has halted more than a fifth of US oil production, forcing 17 refineries in the Gulf of Mexico to shut down as a precaution.

Rain and debris

Jessica Willey, a journalist based in Galveston which lies on a small island off the coast of Texas, told the BBC it was the worst storm she had ever seen:

"The rain is coming sideways. Debris is flying through the air. Things are getting ripped off buildings every second, and flying through the air.

All emergency workers have been pulled off the streets until daybreak when a curfew will be lifted.

"We hope we will find the people who are left here alive and well," said Galveston mayor Lynda Ann Thomas.

There is widespread flooding, and a hospital there is under at least 9.8ft (3 metres of water). The city has lost power and a number of houses are reported to be on fire.

Residents of low-lying homes were warned they faced "certain death" if they stayed.

Haitian appeal

At 1300 GMT, Hurricane Ike was about 20 miles (30km) south-southeast of Huntsville, Texas, with top sustained winds of nearly 90mph (145km/h).

The BBC's John Hammond tracks the path of Hurricane Ike

It was due to pass through eastern Texas during the day, reaching western Arkansas on Saturday night, according to US National Hurricane Center.

US officials have warned as many as 100,000 homes in Texas could be affected by flooding.

Nearly 4.5 million people in the Houston-Galveston area are without electricity, a spokesman for power company CenterPoint Energy said.

The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani in Houston reports that ferocious winds and rain have been lashing at his hotel for 10 hours.

"We are largely trapped here," he said. "The power went out five hours ago, the lowest floor is submerged. Outside walls and ceilings have collapsed, the glass atrium in the lobby shattered.

"With the threat of rising seas, hotel guests have been ushered into the concrete stairwell, the sturdiest part of the building, and urged to climb to higher floors."

The massive system is causing flooding along the Louisiana coast, still recovering from Hurricane Gustav earlier this month.

Authorities are trying to avoid a repeat of 2005, when some 110 people died in Houston during a chaotic evacuation in the face of Hurricane Rita.

Mr Chertoff said Ike was a "potentially catastrophic hurricane".

Earlier, it caused devastation in Cuba and Haiti, where hundreds of people have died in several tropical storms over the last month.

The Haitian Prime Minister, Michele Pierre-Louis, believes one million people may be homeless, and has called for international help.

The UN says more than $100m (£55.8m) is needed.
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Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 02:40 am
Now that i know Edgar (there in Houston) is A Okay - i feel better about posting these amazing pictures of the area

Houston, Texas: Vehicles drive through floodwaters
Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP

High Island, Texas: Oil and water surround a pump jack
Photograph: Smiley N. Pool/POOL/AFP

Galveston, Texas: Debris is piled up between houses in a flooded residential area
Photograph: Bob Pearson/EPA
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