Floods cause misery for millions across Asia

Aid agencies have called for urgent donations of food, water and medicines as they struggle to cope with the aftermath of severe flooding which has displaced millions of people across Asia.

In the Philippines tropical storm Trami, known locally as Maring, enhanced the annual monsoon rains and drove floodwaters as high as 2 metres, swamping large swathes of the country including the capital Manila. More than 1 million people have been affected after one month’s average rainfall for August was recorded in a single day. Of those affected, nearly 133,000 people are in shelters while another 150,000 are staying with family and friends, according to the authorities. Although floodwaters are subsiding in some areas, the Philippine Red Cross has warned that more help is needed in order to help and treat people treated in remote rural districts. The agency has so far deployed 14 search and rescue teams, each equipped with a boat, into problem areas. “We are going to need more and more relief goods as the rains are not letting up in other areas,” said Philippine Red Cross secretary-general Gwendolyn Pang. “Our volunteers on the ground are undertaking door-to-door visits to households at risk and advising them to leave immediately because we want every life saved.” In China, which is battling its worst floods in a decade, officials have said that more than 170 people have died and a further 200 remain missing. In the northeast of the country, the worst hit region, flooding destroyed 60,000 homes and claimed almost 100 lives. According to state news agency Xinhua, the floods have caused crop failure across 256,000 hectares of farmland in the region, while 8 million residents have been affected. Authorities in Pakistan, meanwhile, are reporting that flooding has so far claimed 139 lives and affected almost 1 million people. The World Bank warned recently that climate change could overturn hard-won gains in reducing poverty across South Asia. It said that extreme weather including heatwaves, floods, cyclones and droughts would wreak havoc across Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh in particular.