Entries in Flooding (15)


Downtown Calgary Evacuated Due to Severe Flooding, Four People Killed

iStockphoto/ThinkStock(CALGARY, Canada) -- Residents of Calgary, Canada are gradually returning home Saturday after severe flooding in southern Alberta led to the evacuation of the entire downtown and killed at least four people.

The flooding washed out roads and bridges, and some areas of the city are still sitting under 4 feet of water. Calgary's Saddledome stadium, home to the NHL's Calgary Flames, is reportedly submerged up to the tenth row of seats.

“Calgarians have typically never seen flooding to this extent,” said Bruce Burrell, director of Calgary Emergency Management. “This is about three times the worst peak floods that most people would have remembered in their lifetime.”

Four people were caught in the floodwaters and killed in a community about 20 miles south of Calgary, according to local media.

Burrell says they evacuated some 75,000 people from the city, but that few emergency shelters were utilized.

“Despite the number of people we evacuated, we had very low utilization of our emergency shelters because people opened up their homes, friends, families, co-workers, most people ended up going and staying with somebody else that they knew that was on higher ground somewhere else in the city,” he said. “We have one of those cities that just reaches out and has a big heart and helps take care of each other.”

Flood waters have peaked, and evacuees are beginning to return home, though it may take a few days for everyone to come back.

“The initial evacuation was over 75,000 people,” Burrell said. “Between what we returned last night and what we're returning today, it's going to be in the high hundreds, low thousands, so this is only the very beginning of what we hope to be more successful re-entry and return over the next few days.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Heavy Floods Kill at Least Four in Italy

Marco Sabadin/AFP/Getty Images(ROME) -- Heavy floods in Italy have become deadly, with at least four people killed in Tuscany, BBC News reports.

Three utility workers perished when their vehicle fell off a collapsed bridge. Another man, 73, is believed dead after his car was caught in rising waters, according to BBC.

Families in parts of northern and central Italy, where water has swamped the roads and engulfed towns and cities, reportedly have taken refuge on rooftops.  Seventy percent of the historic city of Venice is submerged under water, Ansa news agency reported Monday.

Umbria and western Tuscany appear to be the worst hit areas. The governor of Tuscany, Enrico Rossi, has called for military deployment to lend aid in flooded areas.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Deadly Flooding Forces Hundreds to Evacuate in Spain

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ANDALUCIA, Spain) -- Drenching rainfall and devastating flooding in southern Spain have killed at least ten people and forced hundreds to evacuate their homes. 

Floodwaters rose several feet in Andalucia, completely inundating streets and soaking the first floors of many homes with filthy water. Now declared a red alert by the government, at least 600 people in that region had to leave their homes behind for higher ground.

In nearby Murcia, torrential rain caused a highway bridge to collapse, and open fields turned into lakes in a short period of time. Adding to the misery, 35 people were injured at a fair in the region of Valencia when a tornado swept through a fairground and knocked down a Ferris wheel.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Doubt Grows in Beijing as Thousands Struggle to Rebuild After Floods

ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images(BEIJING) -- On the outskirts of Beijing, thousands have found themselves suddenly homeless after the city’s worst storm in over 60 years hit this weekend.

In some areas, a wall of water 17 feet high swept through buildings, engulfed automobiles and collapsed roads, leaving behind an unrecognizable trail of thick red mud and rubble.  The official estimates of over $1.6 billion in damages and 1.9 million people affected have caused many to doubt the government’s ability to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

The 10-hour downpour was deadly: according to the official announcement, 37 people died by drowning, collapsing houses, electrocution, and a lightning strike.  Still, many online bloggers have expressed doubts and anger about the government count, estimating a significantly higher death toll.

“So the statistics says 170,000 livestock dead,” wrote one blogger.  “I don’t understand: if they can count the number of dead animals, why can’t they count the number of dead people?”

Other bloggers are in disbelief that floods could cause such catastrophic damage in the capital city, which spent tens of billions of dollars modernizing infrastructure ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Another blog user wrote, “A rain storm can bring so much damage to Beijing.  With the super-fast development of our city, infrastructure like drainage facilities is way behind pace.  Zillions was invested to build tall buildings, but many lives were taken away just by the rain.  Without a good foundation, the city will collapse.”

The village of Beicheying in Beijing’s Fangshan District was one of the most devastated areas, where a record 18 inches of rain fell during the storm.  When ABC News visited on Wednesday, four days after the flooding, the neighborhood was still unrecognizable to locals, who used straw brooms to sweep out the water in their homes as bulldozers scooped up pile after pile of street debris.  Emergency crews have repurposed an elementary school as a refugee area, where residents lined up for food and water rations amidst lines of tents.

In this hard-hit village, everyone is trying to rationalize the damage.  Many attribute it to the fact that there is only one sewer pipe to serve the entire area.  One official asserted that the village’s position at the foot of a mountain range predestined the flooding.

While the efforts of the rescue teams have not gone unnoticed, villagers like a factory owner, who gave his name as Mr. Fung, are already concerned about the long-term.  Fung, whose factory was destroyed in the flood, worries about falling into bankruptcy without government assistance.

“I don’t know whether or not the government cares.  So far they haven’t done anything.  They lost millions, and we have a really small factory, so I don’t know if anyone is going to help us,” he said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Thailand PM: Impossible to Protect All of Bangkok from Floodwaters

PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/ Getty Images(BANGKOK, Thailand) -- Describing Thailand’s worst floods in decades as a “national crisis,” Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told reporters Thursday that protecting all of Bangkok from floodwaters would be impossible.

“Flood waters are coming from every direction and we cannot control them because it's a huge amount of water,” she said.  “The longer we block the water, the higher it gets.”

Up until Thursday, Shinawatra had maintained that Bangkok would be spared.  But efforts to keep the capital’s nine million people dry have been complicated by a seasonal high tide.

Central Bangkok has escaped major flooding so far, as the government diverts water to areas outside the main capital to prevent the Chao Phraya River from bursting its banks.  For now, the government has opted to use eastern Bangkok to drain floodwaters flowing in from the north.  That’s meant “sacrificing” seven districts, including Sai Mai.

Bangkok Gov. Sukhumbhand Paribatra has already advised residents in those areas to unplug electrical appliances, move belongings to higher ground and study the city's evacuation plan, saying they had 24 hours to prepare for possible flooding.

Thailand’s main international airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, is operating normally and protected by a 3.5 meter wall.  But there is concern that Don Muang Airport, where the government has set up its emergency operation, could be flooded.  Thai military has already begun moving their aircraft there.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Flood Waters Threaten Bangkok Deluge

ABC News(BANGKOK, Thailand) -- The rain is coming down hard in Bangkok and there is more on its way -- this, at a time when rain is the last thing the city needs.

The city of 9 million people is working around the clock to save the city from floodwaters that have already submerged more than half of the country and killed nearly 300 people.

Historic temples are below water, major car factories have shut down, and even elephants are left stranded.

The next 48 hours will be crucial as flood waters cascade south from the northern part of the country towards the low lying city of Bangkok at the mouth of the Gulf of Thailand at the same time that high tide is expected.

The government said much of Bangkok lies behind a sturdy system of flood walls, dams and dikes that have been reinforced recently.

Others are not so sure. Along the outer banks of the city volunteers race to build floodwalls. In one village where people have been sandbagging for the last two weeks, they are running out of sand.

"If we cannot protect this dam, all the water will go through Bangkok...and...I don't know what's going to happen after that," one volunteer said.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


China: More Rain Forecast After Dozens Killed, More Displaced

STR / Getty Images(BEIJING) -- It will be several days before parts of China get relief from the rain and flooding that has killed at least 175 people and forced thousands more to evacuate their homes.

Wet weather is expected for Suchuan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Henan and Shandong, according to the National Meteorological Center.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs estimates that the direct economic losses amount to at least $4.9 billion, or 32.02 billion yuan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Flood-Ravaged Australia Braces For Storms

Photo Courtesy - TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images(QUEENSLAND, Australia) -- Summer in Australia has been anything but relaxing, with record flooding to blame for 35 deaths, and nearly 30,000 homes and businesses destroyed by the brutal weather. On Sunday, separate regions of the country were bracing for cyclones that could bring as much as 11 inches of rain.

In the northwest Queensland region, which was recently devastated by floods for over a month and suffered billions of dollars in damage, Cyclone Anthony is expected to bring 80 mph winds. On Sunday, it was upgraded to a Category 2 storm, and weather reports from the Bureau of Meteorology predicted it would bring destructive winds and more flooding when it made landfall on Monday.

The country's southwest region had nearly 9,000 homes without power on Sunday because of severe storms. Additionally, storm warnings were in effect all day Sunday as ex-tropical cyclone Bianca neared the coast. A cyclone warning was canceled on Sunday by the Bureau of Meteorology, but strong winds and rising tides still may be an issue for residents.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lance Armstrong, Cyclists Raise Money for Australian Flood Victims

Photo Courtesy - Morne de Klerk/Getty Images(BRISBANE, Australia) -- Lance Armstrong, along with thousands of cyclists, mounted their bikes in Queensland Monday to raise money for Australian flood victims.

The fundraiser, called Queensland Ride for Relief, was a 25-kilometer ride through Brisbane that raised at least $125,000, according to The Courier-Mail.  The money raised will go to help Australians affected by flooding that began last month in Queensland.  The flooding claimed more than 20 lives and stranded over 200,000.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh was among the 2,500 cyclists who participated in the event.

"It's amazing how many people are here to help those affected by the floods," Bligh said.

"For those people who had the stuffing knocked out of them with these floods, Lance Armstrong is an inspiration," she added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Australia: Cleanup Underway After Devastating Floods

Photo Courtesy - TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images(QUEENSLAND, Australia) -- The cleanup from massive flooding in some areas of Australia's storm-battered northeast is beginning even as some communities remain isolated by high water.

At least 27 people have died during three weeks of flooding. Fourteen remain unaccounted for.

Dealing with all the mud left behind is expected to take months. Reconstruction could take years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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