(New York / Geneva / Kinshasa: 30 July 2010): Floods have devastated the Basunkusu area, located in the northern part of the Equateur Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The province is located in the country's north-west, bordering the Republic of the Congo (RoC) to the west and the Central African Republic (CAR) to the north.
"The needs are significant, and we must ensure that an appropriate response is swiftly provided", said Fidéle Sarassoro, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in the vast African nation. "This natural disaster adds to the already grim humanitarian picture of the province", he added.
The flooding follows torrential rains which have hit the area during the course of last week.
Nearly 300 homes were totally destroyed, leaving an estimated 1,500 individuals homeless. Humanitarians fear that, due to the weak structure of most dwellings, this figure could significantly increase over the coming days.
Latrines have been damaged, causing the contamination of water. "The risk of epidemic diseases is huge", said Dr. Issaka Compaoré, acting Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the DRC. Medical care is necessary to respond to potential waterborne diseases.
The population was in urgent need of shelter, household goods, clean water, medicines, and food. Fields have also been destroyed, thereby seriously affecting livelihoods — in an area where 80% of the population depends on agriculture for survival. Schools, like other public buildings, have also been severely damaged.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has already provided water purification materials, as well as 100 emergency kits with household goods. WHO and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have delivered over 300 kg of medical supplies, while UNFPA has further assisted with the provision of four reproductive health kits. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has provided 500 blankets and 250 anti-malaria mosquito nets to the homeless.
The Equateur Province was the scene of armed violence since October 2009. At its climax, over 200,000 people had fled their homes, whether as internally displaced persons (IDPs) or refugees. At the present time, it is estimated that over 40,000 are still internally displaced.
This section more than anything else reminded me of the power of weather. It’s amazing that we live and adapt to these uncontrollable powers. And as a society that we have to also plan for it with money, departments, and resources available to react to the after math which we have no control over. It also make you wonder why we as humans are so stubborn and that we live in area prone to these disasters instead of just living in places that are safer.
**Note- I only have internet sources available for me to use.
S.D. hailstone is largest on record in U.S.
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A giant chunk of hail that plunged into the prairie town of Vivian, S.D., last Friday was confirmed today as the heaviest hailstone ever recorded in the United States.
The National Climate Extremes Committee, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, confirmed the weight of a record 1.94 pounds and also a record diameter (8 inches).
The previous heaviest — a hailstone stone that fell in Coffeyville, Kan., on Sept. 3, 1970 — was 1.67 pounds, according to records from the National Climatic Data Center.
"I've been in the weather business for 20 years now and I've never seen a hailstone as large," says Jim Scarlett, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Aberdeen, S.D. "I described this one as cantaloupe-size."
The world record belongs to a 2.25-pound hailstone that fell in Bangladesh on April 14, 1986, according to Paul Hudspeth, a meteorologist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.
Leslie Scott, a ranch hand, found the Bunyan-esque chunk of ice after it fell outside his central South Dakota home.
"The only reason I went out and picked this one up is because it had a whole bunch of fingers sticking out of it," he said. "These would take your head off... they were wicked."
But a power outage warmed the freezer a bit, Scott said, and he also opened it a few times to let neighbors marvel at the hailstone, so there may have been some melting, he said.
While the Vivian hailstone was confirmed as the heaviest and largest in diameter, its 18.5-inch circumference fell just shy of that record, Scarlett said. A hailstone that fell in Aurora, Neb., in 2003 measured 18.75 inches in circumference, according to National Climatic Data Center records.
The hailstone is on its way to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., where scientists will store it in a cold lab and study its growth rings and other traits to learn more about how hail forms, says Dave Hintz, a meteorologist at the weather service in Aberdeen.
Also planned: Two castings will be made — one for a museum in Lyman County, S.D., and another for Scott to keep in his home, Hintz says.
Pakistan Death Toll From Northwest Flash Floods, Heavy Rain Rises to 408
By Khurrum Anis and Farhan Sharif - Jul 30, 2010 8:31 AM MDT
Pakistan’s death toll from flash floods and heavy rains in the northwest has risen to 408 and may climb further as thousands are still stranded in the region’s worst storms.
“The final toll will be much higher than we are estimating now,” Provincial Information MinisterMian Iftikhar Hussain said at a news conference in Peshawar today. The toll has risen from 46 deaths 36 hours ago.
The death toll is on top of the 152 people who died when a plane crashed in heavy rains near the capital two days ago. Homes and bridges collapsed in the rain, live electric wires fell into the water and families were swept away in the floods.
“The relief efforts of everyone combined is only five percent of what’s required,” Mujahid Khan, a spokesman for the Edhi Rescue Service, said by telephone from Peshawar today. “We can see people drowning but we can’t go into the water because of its high pressure.”
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani took an aerial tour of the province today and ordered his government to rescue people and provide food supplies to those at safe locations.
Floods may reach the southern province of Sindh within the next few days, federal Information Minister Sumsam Bokhari said at a news conference in Islamabad today. The Sindh government has ordered people living along the banks of the River Indus to be evacuated.
Army troops equipped with life jackets, motorboats and heavy rafts were called in yesterday to help move families to safe locations, the military said in a statement on its web site.
Pakistani television channels showed images of people grabbing onto wreckage on flooded roads to keep from being swept away by the water, drowning goats and buffalo, and makeshift boats.
“All the houses in my village have been destroyed and now it’s simply a fight for survival for us,” Mehmood Khan, a tribal elder, said by telephone from Wana, South Waziristan. “Food supplies have started to run out. We haven’t eaten in 48 hours and the scant food supplies we saved for women and children may not last long.”
The districts of Nowshera, Charsadda, Peshawar, Swat, Lower Dir and the worst affected, according to the government.
The water level in the River Swat crossed 250,000 cusecs yesterday, the highest since 1929, according to the National Disaster Management Agency in Islamabad.