compiled by Dee Finney




Flood Kills Seven Chinese Miners

The Associated Press

Sunday, August 11, 2002; 1:36 AM

BEIJING –– Water flooded a mine shaft in central China's Henan province, killing seven miners, an official said Sunday. Twenty-one others were rescued and one remained missing.

All 29 were working in the Yiwan Coal Mine in the provincial capital of Zhengzhou on Friday when a torrent of water from mined-out areas poured into the shaft, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

More than 20 rescuers and 100 miners rushed to the scene. They drilled through the tunnel and managed to rescue the 21 workers hours later, Xinhua said.

"Seven bodies have been found and the search for the missing miner is continuing," the official from the State Administration of Safety Production and Supervision said. He refused to give his name.

The accident was under investigation, he said.

More than 3,500 miners have been killed so far this year in China's mines, the deadliest in the world.

The steadily climbing death toll and lax enforcement of safety rules have prompted authorities to close thousands of mines, which lack even basic fire and ventilation equipment.

© 2002 The Associated Press

Russian Floods Kill At Least 44

By Alexander Merkushev

Associated Press Writer

Saturday, August 10, 2002; 2:52 PM

SHIROKAYA BALKA, Russia –– Divers searched for bodies off Black Sea coast Saturday, where beaches were littered with fallen trees, smashed vehicles and other debris after disastrous flooding that has taken at least 44 lives in Russia.

On land, rescue crews scoured the debris-strewn shoreline and destroyed vacation resorts for victims of the second major flood to hit southern Russia this summer.

Elsewhere across Europe, work crews struggled to clean up from several days of flooding. Officials said the storms killed at least 51 people across the continent, including those who died in Russia.

In the Russian resort village of Shirokaya Balka, dozens of cars and two buses were washed into the sea when a wall of water came rushing down the mountain, destroying vacation homes, cafes and recreation halls.

"I am in despair," said Andrei, a tourist who only gave his first name, as he stood near the destroyed hulk of his car. "I don't know what to do."

The flooding was so severe in this small scenic village that even parts of the concrete road were completely washed away, trapping those tourists lucky enough to have saved their vehicles.

The death toll on Saturday rose to 44 people in the Novorossisk region, about 625 miles south of Moscow, said Marina Ruklina, spokeswoman for the Emergency Situations Ministry. Among the dead were two children under the age of 2 and 25 women.

The flooding forced the evacuation of thousands of people from summer camps and villages in the region, officials said. ITAR-Tass news agency reported that the flooding destroyed 70 homes, four power stations and 18 bridges. It also damaged four reservoirs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered government departments on Saturday to do more to help the victims of the flooding.

"Although it is summer, relaxation is out of the question," Putin said during a meeting in the Kremlin, according to Interfax news agency. "Help must be extended ... Epidemics must be prevented and people must be supported."

In June, Putin criticized official handling of flooding that claimed more than 91 lives across southern Russia, saying local authorities were ill-prepared and responded too slowly.

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov was in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Saturday to receive reports on the rescue and cleanup efforts, Interfax news agency reported.

In the Czech Republic, a 19-year-old girl was missing after a raft carrying her and two other people overturned in a swollen in Kaplice.

Flooding left dozens of Bulgarian villages without electricity. In Italy, runoff from heavy rains raised the sea level around Venice by 35 inches, sparking fears of flooding there.

On Saturday, a hail and lightning storm in Rome knocked over trees in parts of the capital. The north, where heavy rain cause severe crop damage last week, was hit with renewed downpours.

A 35-year-old fisherman in the town of Porto Tolle, about 30 miles south of Venice, who was killed Friday after being hit by lightning while on a boat.

Austrian rescuers worked to reach villagers stranded on rooftops, while three trains carrying 150 salvage personnel and heavy equipment prepared to head to the hardest-hit parts of Lower Austria on Saturday to reopen roads and railways covered with silt by the flooding.

Hundreds of army engineers labored to build makeshift bridges to replace washed-away spans and police guarded flood-damaged or abandoned shops to prevent looting.

© 2002 The Associated Press

European Floods Kill 41

By Alexander Merkushev

Associated Press Writer

Friday, August 9, 2002; 4:29 PM

NIZHNAYA BAKANSKAYA, Russia –– Heavy rain and wind swept southern Russia's Black Sea coast on Friday, threatening more of the flooding that has killed at least 34 people in the region. One village was hit with a 6½-foot wall of water.

Seven people died in other parts of Europe this week in floods caused by pounding storms, some dropping record rainfall.

Choking back sobs, 72-year-old Yevdokia Aksyonova surveyed what remained of her modest home – a few bricks, a piece of iron bedpost, and a TV antennae poking out of the mud.

The 6½-foot wall of water flashed through her village of Nizhnaya Bakanskaya on Thursday. When she returned from higher ground, Aksyonova found a huge, uprooted tree had rammed her house, smashing it to bits.

"How can I live now," she said, huddling with her dog – the only thing she did not lose – in a shack that survived the flood. "I've lost everything I've saved during my life."

At least 34 people have been killed along Russia's Black Sea coast, the governor of Russia's Krasnodar region, the governor of Russia's Krasnodar region, Alexander Tkachev, told ORT state television. He said the flooding had done an estimated $32 million in damage.

Residents of Nizhnaya Bakanskaya were in shock Friday after the torrent of water that washed away homes, roads and people in the village of 8,000 people. Many residents are missing but the number isn't known.

Lyuda Kostenko mourned the death of her 82-year-old mother-in-law, Darya, who was napping outdoors when the flood hit. Lyuda said she tried to save the older woman but couldn't force open the front door of her house and had to flee to the roof to save herself.

When the flood waters began to recede Friday, she found Darya, drowned.

Sixteen of the dead in Russia were found in the village of Shirokaya Balka, near the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. Rescue workers there managed to save two people trapped under a collapsed house.

Rescuers discovered the body of a young girl in nearby Abrau-Dyurso. Six people camping there are missing. Four bodies were recovered from another village, also called Dyurso. The region is a popular spot for summer vacations.

Thursday's heavy rains forced the evacuation of at least 600 people, destroyed at least 20 homes and damaged 70 others in eight villages near Novorossiisk, the emergency ministry reported.

Authorities were evacuating people from Shirokaya Balka, Abrau-Dyurso and another nearby village Friday as the new storms hit the region, threatening more flooding, said Leonid Nardekov, an official with the Krasnodar Region emergencies department.

In Central Europe, severe rains caused floods that swept through towns and forced thousands to evacuate.

In the Czech Republic, a 21-year-old student was killed Thursday by a falling tree that crushed a cottage, and a firefighter died of a heart attack during a rescue operation elsewhere in the country. A 19-year-old girl was missing after her raft overturned on a swollen river, and authorities were searching for a man whose car was swept away in another river.

Two were dead in Romania and two farmers were killed in storms in Bulgaria. Police in Italy said lightning killed a 35-year-old fisherman Friday in the town of Porto Tolle, about 30 miles south of Venice. Heavy rains raised the sea level around Venice by 35 inches above average, raising fears of flooding there.

Austrian rescuers worked to reach villagers stranded on rooftops, while 150 salvage personnel prepared to head to the hardest-hit parts of Lower Austria province on Saturday to reopen roads and railways silted in the flooding.

Forecasters in Austria also warned more rain was expected to soak the hardest-hit areas this weekend. Vast parts of the provinces of Upper Austria and Lower Austria remained under water.

"I've never seen anything like it – the entire region is one big lake," Josef Puehringer, the governor of Lower Austria, told Austrian television.

The province's hydrological service called it the worst flooding since records began being kept in 1896. But water levels in the swollen Danube River were falling Friday, easing the threat of flooding in Vienna, said Christoph Langthaler, a municipal engineer.

© 2002 The Associated Press

Landslides, Floods Kill 70 in China

The Associated Press

Friday, August 9, 2002; 9:01 AM

BEIJING –– Massive landslides and flooding have killed 70 people in south-central China's Hunan province and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The landslides and flooding were caused by heavy rainfall unseen for years in that region of China. It affected the cities of Chenzhou, Hengyang, Yongzhou and Zhuzhou, which have a combined population of 3.5 million, Xinhua said.

Property losses were estimated to be more than $240 million, the news agency said. Officials in the region could not be reached immediately for comment.

Provincial and municipal governments have formed emergency teams and sent officials to the affected areas for rescue and relief efforts.

© 2002 The Associated Press

European Flood Waters Recede

By William J. Kole

Associated Press Writer

Friday, August 9, 2002; 6:01 AM

VIENNA, Austria –– Dozens of Austrian villagers spent a soggy night awaiting rescue from rooftops after some of Europe's worst flooding in decades turned rivers and streets into raging torrents. At least 18 people were killed in Russia.

Sixteen of the dead were found in Shirokaya Balka, near the Russian city of Novorossiisk on the Black Sea coast, said Marina Ryklina, spokeswoman for Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry.

The bodies of two campers were found Thursday in Abrau-Dyurso, a nearby village where six others were missing.

In southwest Romania, a 62-year-old man and an 8-year-old boy were killed when flood waters swept through their villages.

In Bulgaria, state radio reported that two farmers were killed by lightning. Flooding left dozens of villages without electricity.

London's subway system and parts of the city's rail network were flooded Thursday, and northern Italy was struggling to cope with heavy rains and hail that ravaged wine grapes, olive groves and tobacco crops.

Vast areas of the provinces of Upper Austria and Lower Austria remained under water Friday. Austrian radio quoted authorities as saying the waters were receding, but forecasters warned that more rain was expected to soak the hardest-hit areas this weekend.

"I've never seen anything like it – the entire region is one big lake," Capt. Josef Puehringer, a National Fire Brigade official, told Austrian television.

The Lower Austria hydrological service called it the worst flooding in the province since record-keeping began in 1896.

Rescuers were using helicopters and cranes to lift people from roofs and trees where they had sought refuge from strong currents that cut off several low-lying villages in the northern Waldviertel area of Lower Austria.

Rescue teams tried overnight to get boats to 10 families trapped in their homes in the village of Theiss, but had to abandon efforts because swirling flood waters were too dangerous for the rescuers to cross, the Austria Press Agency reported.

The rescue effort resumed at daybreak Friday with the help of 500 Austrian soldiers and dozens of Red Cross volunteers, Austrian television said. A similar drama played out in the scenic Danube River town of Krems, a major tourist attraction, where flood waters turned usually tranquil cobblestone streets into raging rivers.

About 3,000 firefighters were working Friday to mop up heating oil from tanks that ruptured under the pressure of the flood waters, the news agency reported.

No deaths were reported in Austria despite the magnitude of the flooding. But in the neighboring Czech Republic, a 21-year-old student was killed when a falling tree crushed a cottage, and about 2,000 people were evacuated Thursday from flooded homes in southern Bohemia.

© 2002 The Associated Press

Landslides, Floods Kill 47 in China

The Associated Press

Friday, August 9, 2002; 1:08 AM

BEIJING –– Massive landslides and flooding have killed 47 people in south-central China's Hunan province, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The landslides and flooding were caused by heavy rainfall unseen for years in that region of China. It affected the cities of Chenzhou, Hengyang, Yongzhou and Zhuzhou, with a total population of 3.5 million, Xinhua said.

Quoting sources in the provincial capital of Changsha, Xinhua said the rainstorms had caused financial losses of $23 million.

Provincial and municipal governments have formed emergency teams and sent officials to the affected areas for rescue and relief efforts.

© 2002 The Associated Press

Floods Kill 2 in Russia

By Sergei Venyavsky

Associated Press Writer

Thursday, August 8, 2002; 1:20 PM

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia –– Heavy flooding caused by strong rains submerged Russia's Black Sea coast Thursday, killing at least two people and leaving more than 100 missing.

Seven villages in the area were flooded, forcing evacuation of at least 440 people, said Oleg Grekov, spokesman for the Southern Federal District's Emergency Situations Ministry. At least 100 people were missing, but there were no details on their situation, Grekov said.

Two bodies of flood victims were found in the village of Abrau-Dyurso, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. At least eight people had been reported missing from that village after a lake overflowed, Grekov said.

Rising waters also submerged camps and resorts in the Novorossiisk region, sweeping away people who were camping near the Black Sea, said Viktor Beltsov of the Emergency Situations Ministry in Moscow.

Beltsov said he did not know how many people were missing, but he said 10 people were picked out of the water alive, two of them in grave condition.

The city of Novorossiisk was without electricity, and more than 3,000 people were stranded in the city's train station, RTR television reported. Torrential rains caused a 4,300 square-foot retaining wall to collapse over railroad tracks near a tunnel leading into Novorossiisk, blocking 10 trains from leaving the city, Grekov said. Five trains had earlier been blocked from entering the city, he said.

A bus with 25 people on board was pushed off the road by a mudslide, but all survived and rescuers were working to extricate the passengers, RTR reported.

© 2002 The Associated Press

S. Asia Flood Death Toll at 580

By Farid Hossain

Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, August 6, 2002; 6:54 AM

DHAKA, Bangladesh –– Twenty people were feared drowned when a boat capsized in a flooded river in eastern India on Tuesday, while monsoon rains engulfed another 20 villages in Bangladesh, news reports and government officials said.

One child died of diarrhea Tuesday after drinking polluted flood waters in northern Kishoreganj district in Bangladesh, according to the Health Control Room in the capital, Dhaka.

Monsoon floods have left more than 580 people dead in Bangladesh, India and Nepal over the past month, and have damaged millions of dollars worth of crops and property.

In India's eastern Bihar state, a boat carrying 55 people was overturned midstream by the swirling flood waters of the Kosi River in Supaul district, Press Trust of India news agency said. Thirty-five people swam ashore and 20 were feared drowned, police said.

At least 128 people have died there since the onset of the monsoon rains in June, government officials say.

On Tuesday, flood waters spread to new areas in Bangladesh's northern Tangail and Kishoreganj district, leaving at least 15,000 people stranded in their flooded villages. The region is about 50 miles north of Dhaka.

Nearly half of Bangladesh, a delta nation of 130 million people, has been flooded this year, displacing or stranding more than 6 million people.

The child's death Tuesday pushed the country's toll for the past month to 141.

Nearly one-fourth of Dhaka, the capital city of 10 million, has been flooded by monsoon rains, forcing many residents to shift homes and move elsewhere.

Floodwaters have washed away crops, including rice, worth $12 million, a preliminary damage assessment by the relief ministry said. Damage to roads, bridges and buildings was estimated at around $22 million.

Most of Bangladesh's 250 rivers originate in the Himalayas, running through India before draining into the Bay of Bengal.

In Nepal, another seven people were killed by mudslides or flood waters on Monday, raising the death toll to 316 in the past month, the interior ministry said Tuesday.

© 2002 The Associated Press

Deathtoll 560 in South Asian Floods

By Wasbir Hussain

Associated Press Writer

Saturday, August 3, 2002; 6:19 AM

GAUHATI, India –– Another 10 people drowned in Bangladesh raising the deathtoll from South Asian monsoon rains to 560, relief officials said Saturday.

The monsoon floods in the past month have destroyed crops and farms and killed hundreds throughout India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The death toll reached it highest in Nepal, where rains and mudslides have killed an estimated 269 people, according to Nepal's Interior Ministry.

In Bangladesh, six children and four men drowned on Friday in the worst-hit northern districts of Sirajganj, Gaibandha and Kurigram, taking the death toll to 133, relief officials said. The region is about 150 miles north of Dhaka.

Commuters had to use boats in parts of Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital of 10 million people. "The low-lying areas of Dhaka have been flooded, but the conditions are far from serious," said Selim Bhuiyan, an official at the Flood Forecasting and Warning Center.

In India's northeast, authorities stepped up relief efforts to prevent waterborne diseases from spreading among more than 5 million people displaced or rendered homeless by floods.

Damages to homes, crops, highways, bridges and irrigation infrastructure were estimated around $625 million, said state Planning Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. The death toll stood at 30.

In the eastern state of Bihar 128 people have died since the onset of the monsoon rains in June, according to officials.

Floods have displaced or trapped more than 15 million people in Bihar and Assam.

In Bihar, authorities used boats to evacuate nearly 5,000 people stranded in 40 villages since Friday night in the northern district of Samastipur, about 125 miles north of Patna, the state capital.

Nearly one-third of Bangladesh has been flooded since last month, displacing or stranding nearly 6 million people, relief officials said.

Residents have joined army troops and government engineers in piling rocks and sandbags to repair embankments broken by surging rivers.

© 2002 The Associated Press

U.K. Storms Zap Power, Flood Homes

The Associated Press

Wednesday, July 31, 2002; 9:31 PM

LONDON –– Heavy rains caused flooding that left hundreds of people in Scotland stranded Wednesday, while a lightning strike knocked out power to about 50,000 homes, officials said.

Crews were still trying to reach about 230 homes flooded in Glasgow's east end after heavy rains Tuesday night. Glasgow City Council officials said rescue workers were bringing the stranded residents supplies by boat.

In areas worst hit by the downpour Tuesday, meteorologists recorded 3 inches of rain in 24 hours – the equivalent of two month's rainfall. The flooding occurred because the rain fell so quickly and could not be absorbed into the ground.

Train service between several major towns was either canceled or severely restricted because of the heavy rain.

ScottishPower said a quarter of those who lost power in Edinburgh remained without electricity by evening. The lightning had hit a power pylon at midday.

© 2002 The Associated Press

Report: China Floods Kill 11 People

Tuesday, July 30, 2002; 7:06 AM

BEIJING –– Heavy rains in the last week have caused severe flooding in northwest China, killing 11 people and leaving 2,300 homeless, state media reported Tuesday.

The rains drenched the Xinjiang region from July 21 to July 28, Xinhua News Agency said, citing officials.

In Baicheng county, 11 people were killed and 19 miles of dikes were destroyed, causing $2 million in damage, the officials said. Jeminay county has been flooded four times in the past week, with waters reaching more than 3 feet in some places, officials said.

Nearly 3,000 houses collapsed during the floods, affecting nearly 10,000 residents and leaving 2,300 homeless, Xinhua reported.

According to the news agency, the water has reached dangerous levels in 20 rivers in Xinjiang – record highs for seven of them.

The typically dry region mainly relies on melted snow and agriculture, transportation, power grids and other infrastructure, causing about $3.6 billion in damage, state media has reported.

© 2002 The Associated Press

20 Kids Die in Bangladesh Floods

By Farid Hossain

Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, July 30, 2002; 6:16 AM

DHAKA, Bangladesh –– Swollen rivers broke through embankments Tuesday, drowning 20 children in flooded villages in northern Bangladesh and raising the death toll from monsoon rains to 465 in the South Asian region.

The flooded Brahmputra River broke through a mud embankment in Gaibandha district, about 120 miles north of the capital, Dhaka. At least 11 young children were swept away by swirling waters in the flooded villages, relief officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another nine children drowned in the neighboring districts of Sirajganj, Tangail, Jamalpur and Kurigram, the officials said.

This raised the death toll to 110 from this month's flooding in Bangladesh, a third of them from diarrhea caused by polluted water.

The highest death toll has been in Nepal, where mudslides have swept away several villages, killing 240 people. In India's Bihar state, 85 people have been killed and 5 million washed out of their homes or stranded. Another 30 have died in India's Assam state.

Floods during the monsoon season are annual events in South Asia.

Fed by torrential monsoon rains, flooded rivers have stranded or displaced nearly 13 million people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Tens of thousands of floods victims have taken shelter in schools or embankments built to protect towns and villages.

© 2002 The Associated Press

Venezuela Tries to Recover From Flood

By Jorge Rueda

Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, July 30, 2002; 3:05 AM

GUASDUALITO, Venezuela –– Floodwaters that were six feet deep in some places have mostly receded from this Venezuelan border town, but Guasdualito is still a place submerged in uncertainty.

Guasdualito, a town near the Colombian border about 375 miles southwest of the capital Caracas, suffered the worst of flooding that killed five people and displaced 50,000 residents from the plains state of Apure last week.

Even so, many in Guasdualito who endured hunger and thirst atop their rooftops instead of abandoning their homes don't want to move anywhere else.

"As soon as I can, I'm taking my wife and two daughters and moving back," said Jesus Canizales, 27, a carpenter who was evacuated last week. "I'd rather be here, dying of thirst and hunger, than wandering around not knowing what to do."

For the town's 25,000 residents, the immediate danger has passed for now, but the struggle has just begun. Receding water is leaving behind an overwhelming stench and heaps of mud. Rescue workers fear dust clouds will cause respiratory infections. Disease control is a top priority.

The most serious problem is getting enough drinking water, said Marlon Linares, director of Apure state civil defense. Many people are drinking from contaminated rivers, and more than 3,000 have been treated for diarrhea, fevers, skin infections and stomach parasites, the El Universal newspaper reported Monday.

Army troops are installing tanks of drinking water while the state-owned water company Hydroven scrambles to restore services.

Few people can rely on anything else in impoverished Venezuela, where many move to urban shantytowns, often in flood zones, instead of trying to eke out a living in the countryside.

Cleanup continues from disastrous 1999 flooding in the northern coastal state of Vargas, where as many as 15,000 people died, many of them residents of shanties built along long-dry riverbeds.

President Hugo Chavez declared a state of emergency in Amazonas, Apure, Barinas, Delta Amacuro and Portuguesa states, all of which have rain-swollen rivers, including the giant Orinoco river. The decree included $3 million in federal relief aid and allows troops to evacuate residents in flood zones.

Officials estimate that weeks of heavy rain may force as many as 25,000 people in five southern Venezuelan states to move permanently or build new homes.

About 7,000 Guasdualito residents still live in shelters, eating meals of oatmeal and sardines and worrying about their future.

"We're accustomed to dealing with the river," said Yadira Gonzalez, 19, a housewife who is expecting her first child. "When it lowers ... I'm leaving (this shelter), even if it's to live on the roof for a while."

© 2002 The Associated Press

South Asia Floods Leave 445 Dead

By Parveen Ahmed

Associated Press Writer

Monday, July 29, 2002; 4:39 AM

SHAKTIPUR, Bangladesh –– Flooding fed by monsoon rains, has killed an estimated 445 people in South Asia, stranded or displaced some 12.5 million and made life more burdensome for uncounted others along the region's rivers.

In the Bangladeshi village of Shaktipur, nearly 4,000 residents are using wooden boats and rafts made from banana trees to get around since flood waters severed them from the main road.

Dr. Shahidul Islam commutes by boat over flooded rice fields to a roadside spot where he leaves his motorcycle for the final leg to his medical practice in neighboring Shazadpur, some 65 miles northeast of the capital Dhaka.

"Boats are now the only available transport in our flooded village," said Islam, 54.

Tin and bamboo houses built atop mounds of earth, and half-submerged trees and electric poles dot the countryside in Shaktipur, now turned into a vast sea of gray by the overflowing Korotoa River.

Monsoon floods and mudslides have killed about 445 people and displaced or marooned millions of people in Bangladesh, Nepal and India.

The highest death toll has been in Nepal, where mudslides have swept away villages, killing 240. In India's Bihar state, 85 people have been killed and 5 million washed out of their homes or stranded. Another 30 have died in India's Assam state.

In Bangladesh, where flood waters have covered a third of the low-lying delta country, at least half of the 90 victims have died from drowning, and the others from waterborne illnesses.

The flooding – deemed the worst in four years – has submerged or washed away thousands of tin, bamboo or straw houses, and damaged flood barriers, roads and bridges. Vast areas of crop land also have been inundated.

More flooding is expected as Bangladesh's 250 rivers continued to swell from fresh rain, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Center in Dhaka said.

Floods during the monsoon season are annual events in South Asia.

© 2002 The Associated Press

Texas Flood Victims Flee Rising Waters
Posted on Fri, 05 Jul 2002
Written by Mason Anderson, DisasterRelief.org

While dry, wildfire-conducive conditions have kept much of the West praying for rain, unwelcome downpours in south-central Texas continued to bombard the state Friday (July 5), worsening extensive flooding that has claimed seven lives and plagued more than two dozen counties in the past week.

Since Monday, a record-breaking 25 inches of rain have fallen on southern counties, overwhelming rivers, creeks and lakes and forcing more than 4,000 residents to flee. Gov. Rick Perry already has declared 29 counties a disaster area, while Pres. George Bush opened doors for federal assistance to some by declaring 10 counties disaster areas Thursday.

The latest floods are the worst to strike Texas since 1998, when the Guadalupe river overflowed, killing 22 people. "It's getting really scary. These aren't small counties, they are Texas counties. We are talking about a huge area flooded," said Kathyrn Keck, communications director for the American Red Cross San Antonio Area chapter.

The American Red Cross has opened 19 shelters for hundreds of displaced residents since the rains began Monday, but it is unknown how many homes have been damaged or destroyed.

"We can't begin damage assessment until the rains stop," said Keck. "The rivers, creeks and lakes are so swollen that even a half an inch of rain could cause flash floods. Because the situation is so critical, we can't send volunteers out to assess homes. It would be putting their lives in jeopardy."

Already, flash floods have claimed the lives of seven Texans: two in Austin, two in Hill County and one other in San Antonio. An 11-year old boy remains in critical condition.

Downpours Threaten Texas Dams

One major point of concern for many Texans is the strength of dams holding back the waters. Specifically, officials are questioning whether the Medina Lake and Comal County dams can contain waters that have risen more than 30 feet.

"Medina Lake is the primary concern, and whether the flooding will overflow the dam. If that happens, we'll have a lot of problems," Frank Perkins of the Medina County Sheriff's Department told the Associated Press.

For the first time in its 45-year history, Comal Lake flowed through the dam spillway, a control mechanism located 31 feet below the top of the dam that diverts water into the Guadalupe River.

"This is a pretty unusual event, but we're still within the capability of the dam," Col. Gordon Wells with the Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the dam, told CNN. More heavy rains, however, would be disastrous for surrounding neighborhoods, particularly New Braunfels, a town of roughly 36,000 people about 16 miles downstream.

Posted on Wed, Jul. 03, 2002

Flood Traps 15 in Chinese Coal Mine

BEIJING - (Reuters) - Fifteen workers have been trapped underground for two days in a flooded mine in China's northwest province of Shaanxi, state newspapers reported on Thursday.

The Beijing Morning Post said the condition of the workers, trapped since Tuesday when water poured into the mine, was unknown and showed pictures of weary men in torn clothing and blue hard hats struggling to drain the pit with plastic hoses.

It was not immediately clear whether the accident was related to Shaanxi's worst floods in years last month or whether the miners had tapped into underground water -- a common hazard in China's mining industry, the world's biggest and most deadly.

State media say nearly 7,000 people were killed in China's mining industry last year.

On June 22, some 40 gold miners were killed when an electrical fire set off several tons of explosives.

Seven people have been arrested in that case, accused of trying to cover up the accident by trucking the bodies away and burying them by the side of a river.

Two days before that, 115 people were killed in a gas explosion at a coal mine.

Storm Rips Along China's East Coast
The Associated Press, Fri 5 Jul 2002

BEIJING (AP) — A migrant-worker village collapsed in strong winds Friday, killing five people as the leading edge of a tropical storm swept north along China's east coast and buffeted its most populous city, Shanghai. Thousands were evacuated in a neighboring province because of rising flood waters.

In South Korea, thousands of government officials and militiamen were put on alert as the center of the storm was expected to reach the peninsula on Saturday. Weather officials said it had already dumped more than 12 inches of rain on the island of Jeju, where a 45-year-old man was washed away by high waves and killed.

The storm is the remnant of Typhoon Rammasun, which was downgraded to a severe tropical storm Friday after bringing bad weather to China, Japan and South Korea. At its height, its wind speed was measured at 99 mph, the Hong Kong Observatory said.

Although losing some of its punch, the storm continued to cause problems Friday night.

In Shanghai, 44 people were reported injured when the steel-framed worker houses blew down at a construction site, said Eastchina.com, a local government Web site.

Trees were blown over and electricity lost in parts of the Chinese metropolis of about 17 million people, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. About 2,700 residents were evacuated following torrential rain in Zhejiang province to the south, anti-flood officials said.

At least 190 flights to and from Shanghai's Pudong Airport have been canceled since Thursday. Some planes were diverted to neighboring cities, authorities said.

In downtown Shanghai, workers took down a huge billboard on a 46-story construction site as a precaution against wind gusts.

Rammasun, which means ``god of thunder'' in Thai, had been one of the earliest typhoons of this year's season, which typically falls between June and September. A typhoon is downgraded to a tropical storm when its surface winds slow to below 74 mph.

Many areas of inland China, especially along the country's major rivers, have been buffeted in recent weeks by flooding unrelated to the typhoon.

Some 7,500 soldiers, police and paramilitary troops have been dispatched to help fight widespread flooding in southern China's poor Guangxi region this week. Xinhua said 3.12 million people were affected by the flooding and about 20,000 houses destroyed.

Since May, more than 500 people have been killed in flooding that has caused $3.1 billion in damage in 18 Chinese provinces, state media has reported. The central government this week warned authorities along major rivers to prepare for the worst floods of the year.

June 18, 2002
Minnesota Floods Claim 300,000 Acres of Farmland

Story by Julie Ingwersen Reuters

CHICAGO - Flooding in northwest Minnesota has submerged at least 300,000 acres of cropland, a regional U.S. Department of Agriculture official said last week.

"We estimate anywhere from about 300,000 to 500,000 acres are currently under water," said John Monson, director of the Minnesota office of the Farm Service Agency, a unit of the USDA. Overall, at least 1.9 million acres of farmland in an eight-county area were affected by excessive rains since last weekend. Crop losses on those acres range from 20 percent to 100 percent, Monson said in an telephone interview.

Two of the hardest-hit counties, Norman and Kittson, were among the state's top producers of spring wheat and sugar beets in 1999 and 2000, according to the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service.

Farm experts have said it is probably too late in the season for affected producers to replant their fields. Most areas will need at least two weeks to dry out.

Livestock, however, can still be saved, and Monson said efforts were under way to move cattle in flooded areas to higher ground.

"That's immediate assistance we are providing, as of last night," he said, adding that cattle were being either herded or trucked to safer areas.

Feeding those animals may pose a challenge because many pastures were also flooded. Monson said one option might be to open unused farmland set aside by farmers under the USDA's Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, for grazing.

"A lot of the alfalfa and forage was was lost to flooding. We may need to move (livestock) to the higher ground and ask for the ability to take the hay off of CRP land, or graze that land," Monson said.

Three Die in U.S. Thunderstorms Thunderstorms From Texas to New England 
Cause at Least 3 Deaths, Cut Off Power to Thousands

The Associated Press

May 13, 2002

Thunderstorms stretched from Texas to New England for a second day Monday, causing deadly flooding and leaving thousands of customers without electricity.

At least two people died in flooding, one was killed by a falling tree and a boy was in critical condition after being hit by lightning.

Heavy rain fell on already saturated ground in Missouri, where flooding along the St. Francis River meant several people had to be evacuated by boat from their homes in Ironton. Roads into Ironton were flooded, the Iron County sheriff's office said.

One man died near Ironton on Sunday when high water swept him from a tree that he had climbed to escape the flood, said Iron County Sheriff Allen Mathes.

At St. Louis, the Mississippi River was forecast to reach 7.5 feet above flood stage later in the week, and water already was creeping up the riverfront steps that lead to the Gateway Arch.

"We're not out of the woods yet," said Dale Bechtold, a National Weather Service forecaster in St. Louis. "If you've got interests along the river, you better pay attention. We're going to have problems throughout the week."

Thousands of customers lost power in Missouri's St. Francois and Ste. Genevieve counties when wind-blown trees took out power lines, utilities said.

About 35,000 customers lost power Sunday in Maryland, where thunderstorms produced wind gusts up to 45 mph, said Nancy Caplan, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Gas and Electric. Service had been restored to most of them Monday.

An estimated 45,000 customers lost power in Pennsylvania on Sunday as thunderstorms generated wind up to 60 mph. And a falling tree killed one man about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, said Westmoreland County Coroner Ken Bacha.

"I looked out the window and saw my lawn furniture take off," said Larry Foley in western Pennsylvania's Chester County.

A 12-year-old boy struck by lightning at Urbana, Ohio, remained in critical condition Monday. James Lewis was playing with three other boys on a hill near railroad tracks when the lightning hit.

Elsewhere in Ohio, one man died when his raft went over a small dam on the swollen Chagrin River near Willoughby, and his companion was still missing Monday.

"I saw them go over and get thrown out of the raft," witness Arney Price said. "There were a lot of logs, some bigger than I am, just beating on them."

Rain fell at more than an inch an hour in parts of Indiana early Monday and flood warnings were posted for streams including the White River, which was already above flood stage on the north side of Indianapolis. A trailer park had to be evacuated near Vincennes because of flooding, water up to 4 feet deep flowed over a highway near Freeman, and some roads were washed out.

In Ellettsville, Ind., Jack's Defeat Creek flooded the police and fire department offices.

"I'm looking at muddy water with leaves, sticks and debris in the back offices," Detective Marshal Tony Bowlen said. "We have 10 to 12 inches of water standing in the police department. This matches about the worst flooding we've had."

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

One Dead, One Missing in Mo. Floods

One Dead, One Missing in Missouri As Heavy Rain Provokes Flash Flooding
The Associated Press

S T.   L O U I S, May 8 — Heavy rain in southern Missouri pushed rivers and creeks beyond their banks, producing flash floods that swept a teen-ager to her death Wednesday.

A search continued for a second teen-ager who apparently jumped into a rain-swollen river on a dare.

Up to 4 inches of rain, following other heavy storms in recent days, deluged southeast Missouri during the 24-hour period ending Wednesday morning, the weather service said.

In southwest Missouri, a 17-year-old girl was killed when she got out of her stalled car late Tuesday and was pushed under the vehicle by rushing water, officials said.

In Lincoln County, about 50 miles north of St. Louis, rescue workers were searching Wednesday for a 19-year-old who was among three men who jumped into the Cuivre River on a dare Monday night. The other two got out safely.

Heavy rain also swelled creeks and rivers in central Illinois. Officials were stacking sand bags Wednesday to protect the Riverton utility plant from the rising Sangamon River. More rain was forecast.

"The ground is like a sponge that is completely saturated with water and there isn't any room for more," warned Gladys P. Winterrood, public affairs officer at the Effingham County Sheriff's Department.

Dean Gowin, owner of Lefty's Holler tavern, said floodwaters ripped the front door off his building.

"We have the only swim-up bar in Coles County," he said.

Farther east, National Guard troops aided cleanup of mud and debris left by recent widespread flooding in the central Appalachians. Signs sprouted in yards across West Virginia's McDowell County, hardest hit by the floods: "God bless the National Guard" and "Thanks, Guard."

Since last week, nine deaths have been blamed on flooding in West Virginia; four people are missing. Two people were killed in Virginia and one man was missing and presumed drowned in Kentucky.

WAVERLY, Ind. May 7, 2002 — Up to 4 inches of rain pushed Indiana rivers over their banks Tuesday, prompting evacuation of part of a town and stranding a school bus carrying elementary students on a flooded roadway.

No injuries were reported following the morning thunderstorms.

Officers used a boat to retrieve the 14 Waverly Elementary School students and their driver, who stopped the bus as a precaution in high water in central Indiana's Morgan County.

The youngsters were taken to safety without injury as water lapped at the bottom of their bus about 15 miles southwest of Indianapolis, said Lt. Dan Reed of Brown Township Fire and Rescue.

"We try to caution people about driving onto flooded roadways," Reed said. "It takes only two feet of water going four miles an hour to move a fire truck or any big truck off of a roadway. People don't realize the force of water."

The students were taken on to school while their bus was left on the flooded road, officials said.

In western Indiana, flooding along Feather Creek prompted the evacuation of up to a dozen residential blocks of the Vermillion County town of Clinton.

"Anyone near the creek should get out of there before it gets worse," said Cheryl Webb, office manager for the Clinton Police Department. "If it gets too far, we're going to have to move them by boat."

"It's mostly a residential area, so there's quite a few homes there," Webb said.

Clinton is a town of about 5,000 some 20 miles north of Terre Haute.

Flash flooding also led to evacuations Tuesday morning in south-central Ohio.

Some residents of Massieville, Ohio, reported water was running into their homes, said Don Rockhold, Ross County emergency management director.

The Massieville evacuees had started returning to their homes by early afternoon.

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

Soldiers Search for Flood Victims

Police, Soldiers Search for 11 People Missing in Appalachian Floods That Killed Five

WELCH, W.Va. May 4, 2002 — Light rain fell Saturday as State Police and National Guard soldiers went door to door in search of victims of devastating Appalachian floods that killed at least five people, including a 14-month-old girl, and left 11 others missing.

Torrents of water poured down mountainsides and overflowed streams and rivers in three states Friday, flooding towns in minutes and leaving mud, debris and destruction.

Most streams were receding Saturday, but West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise said after touring the area by helicopter and on foot that hundreds of people were homeless and at least 375 homes and 30 businesses were damaged.

"We're going to see a lot of digging out for a long time to come," said Wise, who authorized the National Guard to activate 700 soldiers.

State Police Capt. R.L. Hall was in the area when it was devastated by floods last July.

"July was record flooding in McDowell County, and this is higher than that," Hall said Friday. "From one end of the county to another, it's all under water."

Four people were killed in West Virginia's McDowell County, including a 14-month-old girl whose body was found Saturday lodged under a bridge. The girl was not immediately identified, but a child had been reported missing by relatives of a woman who was found dead earlier. The woman's car, containing an infant car carrier, was found on a flooded road.

One person was confirmed dead in Virginia. Seven were listed as missing in West Virginia, with three unaccounted for in Virginia and one in Kentucky.

Rescue teams in Kentucky fanned out early Saturday in search of the man missing there.

"The water has gone down just enough to be able to get to the river," said Terri Osborne, a spokeswoman for Pike County, Ky., 911 and emergency management.

The flooding was caused by 5 inches of rain that fell in six hours Thursday in the area where West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia meet. Showers moved into the region again Saturday morning.

Many streams had started receding on Friday, and on Saturday the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy along the West Virginia-Kentucky state line crested at Kermit at 42.5 feet, 4.5 feet above flood stage, state officials said.

Upstream in Williamson, W.Va., the doors of the town flood wall were closed for the first time since it was built 18 years ago, but parts of the town of 3,400 people were already swamped. By Saturday morning, the Tug Fork there was down to 25 feet, from Friday's crest at 42.

Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner's office said about 200 houses there were either damaged or destroyed. An undetermined number of structures were damaged in Kentucky.

In Welch, business owners struggled to clean up from the deluge.

Frank Kennedy's floral and antique store filled with 4 feet of water, destroying many of his antiques. He said that on Friday morning, McDowell Street was a river carrying lawn chairs, toilet paper and other flotsam from the nearby Dollar General Store.

"I'm 45 years old, and I've never seen it worse than this," he said. "It came up so fast, it was just so frightening."

Betty Jones, owner of ChrisAnn Dress Shop, said she doubted any of the five businesses in downtown Welch could survive. She had no flood insurance on her store.

"In a town where the economy is bad like this, you cut corners," Jones said. "I guess that was one of the corners we shouldn't have cut."

American Electric Power Co. spokesman Todd Burns said about 17,250 of the utility's customers lost power in southwest Virginia. All but about 2,500 had regained power by Friday afternoon, he said.

Burns said about 3,600 customers in West Virginia and 1,400 customers in Kentucky wouldn't have power until at least Saturday.
West Virginia Floods Leave One Dead
Floods in Southern West Virginia Leave One Dead, Dozens of Roads Impassable

KEYSTONE, W.Va. May 3 — Heavy rains caused flash flooding in southern West Virginia on Thursday, prompting Gov. Bob Wise to declare a state of emergency in McDowell County.

The Big Sandy River spilled over its banks after storms dumped as much as 4 inches of rain in six hours, the second time since last July that the county had been hit by floods.

The National Guard sent two helicopters to remove stranded residents from their homes. At least one person was believed to have drowned, authorities said.

Scores of city streets, at least 11 county roads and U.S. 52, the county's main thoroughfare, were under water. American Electric Power Co. said about 5,500 customers lost power and phone service.

"We do have a boat on order, but the water is so swift I don't know how useful it would be," said Willie Cooper, chief financial officer at Welch Community Hospital.

At Welch Elementary School, about 50 students were briefly stranded after rock slides blocked a main road, though their numbers had dwindled by evening as relatives took a much longer alternate route to the school.

Up to 10 inches of rain fell last July in the area, killing six people and damaging or destroying more than 4,600 homes.

Further south, in western Virginia, more than 80,000 homes and businesses were without power Thursday after severe thunderstorms rolled across the state, knocking down tree limbs and power lines.

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. March 18, 2002 — Heavy rains battered Tennessee and Kentucky, closing schools, forcing people in low-lying areas to evacuate their homes and turning roads deadly.

Tennessee authorities blamed at least four deaths on the storms, which dumped nearly 4 inches on the state Sunday. More rain was forecast for the region Monday.

"It's probably only going to get worse for some areas," said Sam Herron, a National Weather Service forecaster.

A 17-year-old boy drowned Sunday while trying to push a stalled pickup truck out of high water in Lewisburg. Three people died after their pickup hydroplaned off a roadway and struck trees in Robertson County, said Beth Tucker Womack, state Safety Department spokeswoman.

In Kentucky, at least 60 homes were severely damaged or destroyed in the southeast counties of Harlan and Knox, and seven other counties reported flooding, mud slides and power outages.

"We're getting as many people and resources into it as we can to try to get it under control," Ray Bowman, spokesman for the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, said Monday.

Four to five inches of rain fell during a 24-hour period ending Monday morning with a few isolated spots recording six inches of precipitation, according to meteorologist John Pelson at the weather service's Jackson office.

Emergency management spokesman Everett Jones said about 1,000 households were without power Sunday night and a shelter had been set up in an abandoned building in Harlan, in the southeast corner of the state.

Some parts of Kentucky remained under a flash flood warning, as heavy rain flooded secondary roads, damaged businesses and caused some schools to close.

"Probably, you're looking at three out of every five schools with accessibility problems," Knox County Schools spokesman Russ Oaks said.

More than a dozen roads were deemed impassable because of high water, at least one bridge was heavily damaged and more than 100 people were evacuated in Tennessee's Sevier County, in the far eastern part of the state.

Rescue Squad Captain Jeff McCarter said there were at least 75 evacuations in the Pigeon Forge area alone, some 20 miles southeast of Knoxville.

"We're still in place in case something new develops," McCarter said late Sunday night. "We're expecting another round of showers and we're going to be prepared."

In western Tennessee, 3.59 inches of rain had fallen at Memphis International Airport by Sunday evening, easily eclipsing the previous record for the day of 1.92 inches in 1987.

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

Floods wrack Indonesia


BALTIMORE (February 13, 2002)
Indonesia has experienced its worst flooding in 30 years, and U.S. faith-based groups are reaching out to help tens of thousands of people who have been affected.

Ten days of torrential rain at the end of January submerged the capital city of Jakarta and the roads surrounding it. Flooding caused several landslides that took the lives of some 65 people. Some 30,000 people left their homes to stay in churches, schools, office buildings, and other temporary shelters.

In terms of both the area affected and the number of people displaced, Jakarta officials are calling it the worst flooding in the city's history. Of the city's 37 districts, 20 were affected. Parts of the city were paralyzed by a 10-foot wall of water.

Now that floodwaters have receded, people need help repairing their homes and replacing household furnishings. Thousands of acres of rice -- on the verge of being harvested -- were ruined. Jakarta also reported extensive damage to business and industrial properties.

Faith-based groups in the U.S. are working with their Indonesian partners to get relief goods to those in need.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief sent an emergency response grant to the Methodist Church of Indonesia to provide food, water, and medicine.

Church World Service (CWS) of Indonesia rapidly responded to the crisis by providing food and relief items for 2,077 households in the west Jakarta area of Petamburan. Each household received blankets, biscuits, mineral water, medical kits, stoves, kerosene and jerry cans to store it, and plastic sheeting.

CWS had to carefully protect the commodities for fear of looting, said Maurice Bloem, director of CWS Indonesia. Some of Bloem's staff faced flooding in their own homes.

CWS's rapid response was partially funded with $30,000 from the CWS Emergency Blanket Funds. Many CWS partner denominations contribute to the blanket fund. For example, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance contributes $80,000 annually.

CWS of Indonesia is now planning a long-term response, and the total appeal is for $100,000.

 Posted February 13, 2002
South copes with flooding


COOKEVILLE, TN (January 25, 2002)
The south was cleaning up Friday after a line of storms brought heavy rain and high wind to parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Kentucky and Tennessee bore the brunt of the storms. A tornado swept through western Kentucky in McLean County, knocking down trees and power lines, shattering windows, and overturning mobile homes. That region saw four inches of rain.

In Tennessee, six inches of rain fell in the middle part of the state in 36 hours. Flash floods caused scattered evacuations in Lawrence, Lincoln, Warren, and Sevier counties. The American Red Cross helped people find temporary shelter.

In Cookeville (Putnam County), TN, two people were killed when they were trying to unclog a drainage pipe.

Roadways and bridges throughout Tennessee took a beating from the heavy rain, with more than a foot of water closing down sections of interstates. Cumberland County saw extensive road and bridge damage. Mudslides were posing a hazard to drivers, and 14 roads were washed out.

In Lawrence County, six bridges were damaged or destroyed, and 39 roads were damaged or impassable. Two water mains were also damaged.

In Rockwood, TN, the Little River was over its banks.

Many local churches reported they were ready to respond to their communities' needs.

Posted February 17, 2002