Peace and Justice Update - August 10, 2012 - Volume 31, Number VIII
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Monsoon Rains Lead to Catastrophic Flooding, Killing 53 and Displacing 780,000
In the wake of typhoon Saola, heavy monsoon rains, worsened by nearby tropical storm Haikui, have brought disastrous flooding to the Philippines. On August 7 alone, Manila was drenched in 20 inches of rain and 11people died from landslides, drowning, and electrocution. Three of the dead were children.
These recent tragedies have brought the death toll over the last two weeks to 53, at the beginning of the monsoon season in the Asian Pacific. 780,000 have been displaced the week of August 6, with waist-high flooding reported in 46 communities across the country. Overflowing dams threaten to wipe out entire villages if the heavy rains continue. Schools and government offices remain closed.
Fortunately, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration has stated that weather should begin to gradually improve beginning August 9. The United States has pledged funds for disaster relief as the country begins to attempt to recover and rebuild.
In the midst of these natural disasters, the countries of the Asian Pacific may finally be coming together. After months of building tensions, relations between China and the Philippines seem to have improved in light of the recent crisis. On August 8, Chinese embassy spokesperson, Zhang Hua, offered Filipinos China’s sympathies saying, “my heart is with the homeless and victims [...] I wish you and your family safe, and hope that normal life can be restored soon.”
Tropical storm Haikui hit the Chinese coast early August 8. Fortunately, 1.8 million were evacuated before the storm arrived.