Flooding, landslides bring misery to parts of Alaska
September 22, 2012 – ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Flooding continues to cause problems throughout Southcentral Alaska. Jeremy Zidek, spokesman for the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says in a release that there have been reports of flooding, landslides and road closures throughout the area. But there has been no report of major injuries.
Residents in East Talkeetna are being told to evacuate because of flooding. The Red Cross has established three shelters in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and helped with another in Seward. Weather problems are not confined to Southcentral Alaska.
Zidek says a landslide has blocked access from the village of Chenega to its airport, and state transportation officials are working to restore access. And an assessment team is in Tanacross to evaluate damage from Sunday’s wind storm.
Widespread flooding: Residents of the Alaska tourist town of Talkeetna have been asked to leave because of the threat of flooding from the rain-swollen Talkeetna River. It’s beginning to look like an island,” Renamary Rauchenstein, a resident, said in an interview on Friday. “It’s rising pretty fast.” Flooding from heavy rains is causing problems over a wide part of Alaska, from Talkeetna, near the base of Mount McKinley, to the port town of Seward, about 150 miles to the south. Many roads were closed or washed out, and landslides were reported. Gov. Sean Parnell toured the area around Talkeetna by helicopter on Friday and landed to talk to some of the residents who fled their homes. The governor declared a state disaster for the areas hit by the flooding. Talkeetna, about 75 miles north of Anchorage, is the last stop for climbers heading to Mount McKinley. It also has an eclectic population and has long been purported to be the inspiration for the Alaska town in the 1990s television series “Northern Exposure.” The flooding and high winds have interrupted some passenger and freight train traffic since Tuesday, said Stephenie Wheeler, a spokeswoman for Alaska Railroad. Trains scheduled to travel north of the Anchorage suburb of Wasilla have been canceled at least until Monday. Crews were dealing with washouts and bridge damage in several areas along a 70-mile stretch of railway. Overnight rain totals ranged from 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches north of Anchorage in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, David Streubel, a National Weather Service hydrologist, said on Friday. The Talkeetna River was four feet above flood level and within a foot of its record stage of 17.4 feet, Mr. Streubel said. Talkeetna officials said a levee west of town had been breached in two or three places. Water covered 35 percent of the town on Friday, said Mary Brodigan, the borough spokeswoman. Ms. Rauchenstein planned to stay in her home despite the advice to evacuate. “Even if the power is out,” she said, “it’s not very cold this time of year, and we got a two-story building.” –NY Times
92 killed in floods, as torrential rains plague Niger
September 22, 2012 - NIGER, Africa - At least 92 people have died in floods that have swept Niger following torrential rains, according to the latest data released by the Prime minister’s office on Friday. The data indicate that 72,396 families are affected with 511,484 people being victims, as at Thursday. All the country’s eight regions are affected by floods with Tillabéry, Dosso and Niamey being the worst affected. Huge damage is reported on basic socio-economic infrastructure and other items crucial to the people. Rice crops, schools, health centres, roads, bridges, dams have all been affected while a huge quantities of food and many cattle have been swept away by flood waters. The chairperson of the technical committee in charge of managing the floods, Mrs Saadatou Malam Barmou, said that thanks to national solidarity and international cooperation, food needs are covered for 45 days out. Water containers have been distributed to victims to fetch potable water to reduce water-related diseases. The ministry of Health has also set up health centres at the sites and mobile teams to solve health problems. The government has made available 3,400 tonnes of cereals for the victims and raised 700 million CFAF to support re-housing and buy additional food.
Five dead as storm rips across South America
September 20, 2012 – PARAGUAY – A fierce storm packing 140-kilometer (87-mile) an hour winds tore across the heart of South America on Wednesday, killing five people in Paraguay and wreaking havoc in Argentina and Uruguay. The Roque Alonso suburb of the Paraguayan capital Asuncion was devastated by the storm and widespread looting was reported in its aftermath. Four police cadets died and 15 were injured when the roof of their dormitory collapsed, and a 16-year-old boy died at a shopping center when a water tank collapsed on him outside a pharmacy. “Roque Alonso has to be built all over again,” police commander Heriberto Marmol said. Dozens of injured people flooded Asuncion hospitals and traffic was gridlocked in parts of the city. A crowd of thousands braved torrential rain for a concert by the rock band Scorpions only to see the show cancelled. Nationwide, at least 5,000 homes were destroyed and more than 80 people injured in storm-related incidents, Aldo Saldivar of the national emergency response center said. The storm also blew the roof off homes and barns in Neembucu, south of the capital and knocked out power in the town of Encarnacion for many hours. The wind was less severe further south in Argentina and Uruguay, around 100 kilometers (62 mph) per hour, but strong gusts still ripped off roofs and toppled trees and power lines, plunging some regions into darkness.
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