Palaces For The People
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Reuters AlertNet - China floods kill 29 with more rain to come

30,000 mud brick (adobe) houses collapse in China flooding -- Surprise! Surprise!

08 Oct 2003 04:40:33 GMT
China floods kill 29 with more rain to come


BEIJING, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Floods in northern China triggered by weeks of heavy rain have killed 29 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes with no let-up in sight, a local official said on Wednesday.

"More than 160 people have been injured following rains lasting more than a month," said Xie Yimin, an official from the civil affairs bureau in Yuncheng, Shanxi province.

"More rain is forecast for Thursday and Friday, so things will get worse," he said by telephone.

The floods, coinciding with deluges elsewhere in China, had inundated some 40,000 hectares (98,800 acres) of crops, said the semi-official China News service (

More than 30,000 largely mud-brick homes or cave dwellings had collapsed in 13 counties within Yuncheng, the official said.

More than 10,000 people had been evacuated from flooded areas in Dongming county in the eastern province of Shandong, according to a separate China News service report.

Floods in China made world headlines in September, when the worst downfalls in 40 years in the normally drought-stricken northwestern province of Shaanxi killed dozens of people and forced half a million people to flee their homes.

Orissa: 70 villages hit by floods

Bhubaneswar, Oct. 7 (PTI): Heavy rains in South Orissa, under the influence of the depression which had formed over the Bay off Gopalpur has triggered floods in several rivers affecting 70 villages in Ganjam District.

Residents of 11 villages had been shifted to safer places as the flood waters had overtopped the embankments, official sources said.

The depression, in the meanwhile, had crossed the Andhra Pradesh Coast near Kalingapatnam and lay centred this morning about 100 km East of Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh, the weather office here said while predicting more rains at most places over Orissa during the next 24 hours.

Incessant rains had been lashing the State, particularly the southern districts and coastal belt, for the last four days affecting normal life and virtually ruining the Durga puja festival which ended on Sunday.

Official reports said the Ghodahada and Bahuda rivers had inundated about 70 villages in Ganjam District under Chikiti, Patrapur, Sanakhemundi and Digapahandi Blocks.

The Rushikulya, Vansadhara, Hadabhangi, Badanadi, Loharkhandi and Bagi were in spate with the Rushikulya flowing above the danger mark at Purushottampur and Surada.

The river was flowing at 17.76 metres at Purushottampur against the red mark of 16.83 metres and 82.36 metres at Surada against the danger level of 81.99 metres, they said.

People die of starvation as development funds vegetate in state coffers

Orissa: 2,000,000,000 rupees (US$40m) development funds unspent

Friday September 26 2003 13:25 IST

People die of starvation as development funds vegetate in state coffers


BHUBANESWAR: It is an eastern Indian region notorious for droughts and floods that take turns to wreak havoc almost every year. But the greater irony lies elsewhere...

Development funds for the Kalahandi, Koraput and Bolangir belt of western Orissa actually remain unutilised!

The three districts together form one of the most economically backward regions of India that makes headlines for starvation deaths and child sale.

But even as a fresh crisis looms over the area now -- with floods having caused widespread damage to crops -- officials say aid earmarked for it has not been used up.

"Lack of adequate officials and a large number of vacancies in the regions are responsible for the non-utilisation of funds," an official of the finance department told IANS.

A long-term plan for the overall development of these districts was launched in 1998 under which 70 percent of the funds were provided by the federal government and 30 percent by the state.

"The central government provided aid worth Rs.7.1 billion for the 1998-2003 period. But the funds have not been fully unutilised," the official said.

"The state government has been able to provide utilisation certificates for Rs.5.02 billion," he said.

The central government provided the funds to departments for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe development, women and child development, rural development and water resources in Orissa.

But all of them have under-utilised the funds.

Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput first came into focus after a severe drought in 1965-66 that led to a famine and claimed about 1,000 lives.

In 1985-86, the Kashipur region of Koraput hit the headlines following an admission by a district official that 200 people had died of starvation.

In 1988-89, 300 people died of hunger in Orissa but the government did not acknowledge that the deaths were from starvation.

Last year there were reports of about 200 starvation deaths and over a dozen cases of hungry parents selling their children for a pittance.

Nearly 190 people reportedly died of starvation in the three districts between 2000 and 2003. But the government denies these were hunger deaths and attributes them to diseases.

The planning commission sanctioned Rs.2 billion for the current year for the development the three districts.

But the sum was reduced to Rs.1 billion because of the state's inability to spend the money.

Reuters AlertNet - ACT Alert - Orissa Floods, India

Action by Churches Together (ACT) - Switzerland

India - 1/2003

Orissa Floods

Geneva, September 2003

Two depressions over the Bay of Bengal within a fortnight have resulted in continuous heavy rainfall for more than a week in the state of Orissa and adjoining areas of West Bengal, Jharkhand, and North Chatisgarh. This has resulted in all major rivers - Mahandi, Indravati and Brahmani and their tributaries rising above danger levels at many points and inundating vast areas of land and affecting families living near the flooded rivers.

There is a serious flood threat in the state – the districts so far affected are Kalahandi, Rayagada, Gajapati, Balangir, Sonepur, Baragarh, Koraput, Cuttack, Nayagarh, Jagatsinghapur, Ganjam, Angul, and Puri. The situation has been exacerbated by the opening of sluice gates in dams and barrages to release the excess water – the opening of gates in the Indravati and Hirakud reservoirs resulted in the flooding of several surrounding villages.

ACT members Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), the Lutheran World Service India (LWS-India) and the United Evangelical Church in India (UELCI) are on high alert and monitoring the situation.

UELCI has sent four assessment teams to visit the areas affected, meet with local authorities and distribute immediate relief in the form of packages of dry food using resources available from other appeals. They are planning to respond in the areas of Jagatsinghpur, Nayagarh, Dhenkenal and Koraput with the support of the ACT Alliance.

LWS has also been monitoring the situation and field staff and the community are on full alert in the areas where they are working: Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jaipur, Puri in the coastal area and Balangir, Kalahandi and Sonepur in the north-west. LWS is in contact with the State Relief Commissioner and local authorities who report that the continuous rain has stopped and the flood water level is slowly receding in north-west Orissa. The government has taken measures to provide dry foods to the marooned people. Should the situation change for the worse, LWS-I teams will move into action and a request for support will be presented to the ACT Alliance.

CASA reports that the staff and disaster mitigation task forces in the districts of Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack and Khurda are on high alert to monitor and respond to the situation as it develops. People living in one of the more remote areas, fearing a rapid high level flooding, have already moved into two of CASA’s multi purpose shelters. The Orissa Mitigation Authority have sought CASA’s assistance in responding to the flooding and CASA is prepared to meet the food, shelter and clothing needs of 5,000 families. Should the situation worsen they will request support from the ACT Alliance.

Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to Jessie Kgoroeadira, ACT Finance Officer ( Thank you.


ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.
The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

Hi Pakistan
Hi Pakistan, Pakistan - Sep 17, 2003

Headline: Eight million affected by floods in India -- Detail Story

NEW DELHI: Nearly 30 more deaths were reported on Wednesday from floods inundating northern and eastern India and affecting millions of people, as swollen rivers hovered around danger levels in non-stop rain.

In Uttar Pradesh, officials reported 22 more flood-related deaths to take the toll to around 230 since the onset of the monsoon in early June.

Sixteen people died when two houses collapsed in rains in the districts of Etah and Mainpuri, while six others were washed away in fast-flowing rivers.

More than 4,000 houses have collapsed so far in Etah alone.

Officials in Lucknow said floodwaters spread to new areas on Tuesday as torrential rains added to the levels of already monsoon-swollen rivers in Uttar Pradesh.

India's Central Water Commission in its latest warning on Wednesday said the mighty Ganges river was rising again in the districts of Ghazipur and Ballia, and was flowing above the official danger mark at some other points.

Two other rivers, the Sai and Sharda, were also in spate, threatening towns and districts of Fatehpur, Ankinghat and Paliakala, in Uttar Pradesh, commission officials said in New Delhi.

Some 2.5 million people in 4,583 Uttar Pradesh villages have been affected by the floods, which have washed away 700,000 hectares of prime farm land.

The state government has set up 746 makeshift camps for homeless people and deployed 3,694 boats to help those stranded, officials said.

The situation turned grim in the neighbouring state of Bihar on Wednesday as the Ganges touched a record high in the districts of Kahalgaon and Bhagalpur while other key rivers were also in spate.

The flood death toll in Bihar rose to 164 after five people drowned in the inundated districts of Vaishali and Purnia in the past 24 hours, officials said.

Around 5.5 million people of 3,977 villages dotting 23 districts of the state have been hit by the floods, the state government said in a statement on Wednesday.

Crops across 375,000 hectares have been destroyed, it said, as television stations reported that marooned people were running out of food as state-doled relief was stretched thin.

Muslims joined Hindus in religious congregations in Patna to pray for mercy from the non-stop deluge, but the weather department warned the rains would continue for some time.

Central Water Commission officials painted a grim picture of the situation in Katihar district, where both the Ganges and Kosi were rising alarmingly.

Rivers such as Sone, Gandak, Burhigandak and Pupun too were rising, the federal agency said.

Military helicopters raced over Bihar, airlifting people to safety and dropping cooked food and medicines, while army motor-boats joined the mammoth rescue operations in the districts of Munger, Vaishali, Saran and in Patna's submerged suburbs.

Officials in the flood-hit district of Malda, in nearby West Bengal state, sounded an "extreme danger signal" on Wednesday as the river Fulhar swamped areas in the previously unaffected district of Harishchandrapur.

Malda district officials said Fulhar waters gushed into inhabited areas after a brimming reservoir sprung a huge leak on Wednesday.

India is witnessing one of the wettest monsoons in 25 years and although the bountiful rains are expected to boost the economy, it has hit hard flood-prone regions in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh as well as Orissa and West Bengal.

Gastro, diarrhoea raise their ugly heads

Monday, September 15, 2003, Bhubaneswar , Flood News
Gastro, diarrhoea raise their ugly heads

With no let up in floods in the State as yet, reports of water-borne diseases –– gastroenteritis and diarrhoea are pouring in. In the past two days, about 401 cases of diarrhoea were reported from six of the seven affected districts. Although three diarrhoea deaths were reported in Kalahandi district between August 27 and 31, the Health Department denied the cases and said the deaths are ‘not diarrhoea-related.’ Department sources said Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Puri, Nayagarh and Khurda reported diarrhoea cases, while reports from Kendrapara are awaited. Non-availability of safe drinking water in the submerged areas and consumption of sub-standard food in the absence of relief have led to a steady rise in diarrhoea cases. Health Department sources said since most of the dug wells and bore wells, located in the affected areas, continue to be under flood water, potable water has become scarce. The medical teams deputed to these areas are finding it difficult to disinfect the wells. ‘‘Use of halazone tables to purify the water have also proved ineffective in the affected districts as the impure water content is too high’’, said a medical team member. Major purification work can begin once the water recedes, Department sources added. Contacted by this website's newspaper, Director, Health Services, Dr.P.K. Senapati, said though diarrhoea cases have been reported from different places, the situation is not alarming and cannot be termed as ‘outbreak’ as of now. Medical teams are being sent to the affected areas to control the situation, he said. So far 18 medical teams, each comprising four members, have been sent to the affected districts. Besides, 34 in-service post-graduate doctors and 11 assistant surgeons have also been pressed into service. Most of these teams have been sent to undivided Puri and Cuttack districts while 14 para-medical teams have been deployed by the department. Senapati said if needed, the Department will engage more teams. Besides diarrhoea, 10 snake-bite cases were also reported. One person has died of snake-bite in Cuttack district, but it is yet to be officially recorded

No let-up in Bihar floods Toll mounts to 153

PATNA: Bihar continued to reel under the fury of unrelenting floods with seven more deaths reported from Patna and Saran districts taking the death toll to 153 even as army alongwith civil authorities stepped up relief operations in the inundated areas today.

While two persons drowned in the raging Ganga at Hetanpur in the riverine belt of Danapur sub-division of Patna district yesterday, three others died of snake bite in flood-hit Saidpur of Saran district on the same day, official sources said.

Two others had drowned in the Ganga in Sonepur block of Saran district yesterday, the sources said.

An additional column of army arrived from Allahabad and was rushed to flood-hit areas of Chapra and Sonepur in Saran district along with army personnel from Danapur cantonment, Brigadier Harendra Mohan told newsmen.

The airdropping of food packets by army was continuing for the second day today in the riverine belts of Danapur and Mane of Patna district, he said.

Brigadier Mohan said an army column from Ramgarh cantonment in Jharkahnd that had gone to Orissa for flood relief was being called to Bihar to be sent to the flood-affected areas of Munger district.

A Chapra report said with flood waters overtopping the tracks, train services on the Chapra-Varanasi section have been disrupt- ed. Railway traffic was also affected on the Darbhanga-Nirmali section of the East Central Railway (ECR), a railway spokesman said.

A Bhagalpur report said over 100 villages of Gopalpur, Ismailpur, Naughachia, Pirpaiti, Sabaur and Nathnath blocks were inundated with flood water.

Due to disruption of vehicular traffic, Bhagalpur District Magistrate KP Ramiah had to travel by train to Pirpaiti yesterday to take stock of the flood situation, the report said quoting official sources.

In Patna, the district administration started pumping out waters at Dujra, Digha, Patliputra and other lowlying areas of the state capital, sources in the Flood Control Office said.

A Central Water Commission communique today said river Ganga was flowing above danger mark by 60 cm, 83 cm, 146 cm, 96 cm, 35 cm, 163 cm and 193 cm at Buxar, Digha, Gandhi Ghat (both in Patna), Hatidah, Bhagalpur, Kahalgoan and Farraka respectively.

River Sone was flowing above danger mark at Koilwar and Maner by 34 cm and 114 cm respectively, the bulletin said.

Ghaghra river was flowing above red mark at Gangpursiswan and Chapra by 39 cm and 40 cm, while Gandak was flowing six cm above the danger mark at Hajipur, the bulletin said.

Water levels of river Punpun and Bagmati is expected to recede by 24 cm and 14 cm at Sripalpur and Benibad respectively, the bulletin said.

Water flow of Weihe River remains above warning level

Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, October 06, 2003
Water flow of Weihe River remains above warning level

The fifth flood crest this year on the Weihe River, the largest tributary of the Yellow River mainly in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, began to fall slowly Saturday as the water level dropped 4 centimetres over several hours, officials said.

Officials with the provincial flood-control and drought-relief headquarters said that Weihe's water flow at the Huaxian Hydrological Station fell to 2,710 cubic metres per second by 9 am yesterday from the peak flow of 2,810 cubic metres per second at 6:30 am.

Although the water level has dropped, the water flow is expected to remain above the warning level of 2,000 cubic metres per second until tomorrow morning, one official said.

The fifth flood crest on the Weihe River was formed last Friday, with a water flow of 2,660 cubic metres per second recorded at the Lintong Hydrological Station. Around 130,000 people in Huaxian County had to be evacuated.

About 50,000 people are patrolling dykes along the river 24 hours a day.

Since late August, the Weihe River has experienced its worst flooding in 20 years. The flooding inundated over 200 square kilometres of land. More than 300,000 people overall have been evacuated.

The floods in Shaanxi have led to 123 people being reported killed or missing.

The provincial government has allocated 27.7 million yuan (US$3.3 million) to help flood victims rebuild their houses and resume a normal life.

Inner dykes of the Yellow River along the Lankao County section in Central China's Henan Province have been affected by several breaches, with floodwater surging downwards and posing an imminent threat to more than 86,000 local people in the river's lower reaches in East China's Shandong Province.

Liu Xueshan, deputy head of Dongming County in Shandong, said the Lankao dykes "are no longer able to keep back the flood water, which is flowing over the river's inner dykes towards nearby shoal areas on the lower reaches.''

Three breaches along the river -- one 200 metres long and two others 100 metres long -- are gushing and spurting out water to inundate plains in western Shandong, endangering the lives of over 86,000 locals in 127 villages and submerging 10,800 hectares of cropland, he said.

The main riverway yesterday was discharging 2,500 cubic metres of floodwater per second east towards the river's mouth.

As the only three roads to the outside have all been cut off by the surging flood water, the affected areas are facing increasing difficulties in evacuating most of the local residents, said Yuan Min, director of the Disaster-Mitigation and Relief Office of the Civil Affairs Bureau in the city of Heze, which includes Dongming County.

He said that, of all those under siege, only 5,593 people have been transferred -- mostly the elderly, the sick and disabled, and children. Those who have relatives with whom they can stay have been moved to nearby counties by boat. The remaining people are staying on higher ground or terraces and even on rooftops.

According to Liu, the flood water has risen to as high as the level of the Yellow River. The water level in the flooded plain has reached up to 3.5 metres, he said.

"Seventeen flood-fighting teams are working around the clock on the levees, and 56,000 people have been organized to help ship local people and reinforce the high platforms,'' Liu added.

As part of its emergency relief effort, the Heze government has given flood victims 405 temporary tents, 15 tons of wheat flour, 5,000 boxes of instant noodles, 8,000 bottles of mineral water, 2,000 cotton-padded quilts and items of clothing, 6,000 metres of plastic sheeting and 10 tons of diesel oil.

Yellow River main dike holds, but inner barrier breached

Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Yellow River main dike holds, but inner barrier breached

The main dike of Yellow River hascontained flood waters, but an inner dike, in Lankao County of central China's Henan Province, had been breached, said a local official Monday.

The inner dike had been broken into three by the rising waters on Sept. 18 and Sept. 20, said Kong Weicheng, a senior official ofthe Lankao County government.

The inner dike was built 57 km from the main dike on the southern river bank to protect farmlands in the area between the stream and the main dike.

Water levels averaged 1.3 meters deep in this area, according to Kong.

The area, an alluvial flat, was earmarked as an overflow area in the rainy season, but farmers were allowed to grow crops there in the dry season as the earth was very fertile, said Zhang Jinliang, official with the Yellow River Conservancy Committee.

The Yellow River had moved slightly northward in Lankao in 1855and left the wide alluvial flat along the southern bank.

Due to reduction of river water in recent years, the alluvial flat along the Yellow River has not been flooded for years.

Farmlands have been reclaimed and many people have settled on the alluvial flat along the lower reaches of the river which crosses Henan and east China's Shandong Provinces in the past 150 years.

The water levels of the lower reaches have increased since Xiaolangdi Reservoir, a major water conservancy and irrigation facility on the Yellow River, started to discharge floodwater in early September, pressured by continuous flooding in the middle reaches.

About 18,000 residents in 16 villages were affected by floodingin Lankao, Kong said.

Days later the floodwater surged downstream, threatening around96,800 people in Shandong.

More than 180 boats have been sent to the flood-hit area and about 5,000 people had been evacuated from the lowest region of the area in Lankao, Kong said, adding that the others would soon be moved.

The provincial government has established a 2.5-million-yuan relief fund, and 600 tents, 29 tons of coal and 4.3 tons of flour have been sent to the area.

From a long-term perspective, all residents should move out of the alluvial flat area, said Xue Xianlin, deputy director of the provincial water resources department.

In Dongming County, Shandong Province, 12,300 hectares of farmland have been hit by the floodwater discharges with the average water level reaching 1.5 meters.

By Oct. 5, some 5,910 residents had been evacuated from the flood-hit area in Dongming.

The local government said 40 tons of flour, 1,000 tents, 4,000 tons of coal and 20 tons of diesel oil had been sent to the victims with 780,000 yuan in relief funding.

The main dike along the lower reaches of the Yellow River, running 1,371 km, has not been breached for the past 57 years.

Japanese property tycoon to expand business in Asia

TOKYO--Japanese property tycoon Minoru Mori, the man responsible for transforming the Tokyo skyline, is confident about the property market here and is seeking to expand his business to other Asian countries including China, Thailand and the Philippines.

Family-owned Mori Building Co. Ltd. sees great opportunities in densely populated China, Mori said in a speech at the Foreign Correspondent Club of Japan on Tuesday.

"China is such a big project to undertake," he said, showing on big white screens the blueprint for the 492-meter-high Shanghai World Financial Center, which Mori said would become the world's tallest building, excluding antennas, when completed at the end of 2007.

"For our distant future, I think it is better to minimize and diversify risks by (expanding in Asia)," the soft-spoken Mori told AFP after the speech.

"We are consulting on various projects in other countries, including Thailand and the Philippines," he said.

Forest Overseas Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mori Building, is currently focused on the Shanghai project but plans to expand elsewhere in Asia, Forest senior managing director Akio Yoshimura told AFP in an interview.

"Asia is posting remarkable economic growth and we wish to provide comfortable offices for Japanese companies moving to the rest of Asia," Yoshimura said.

Forest has consulted on projects in Hanoi, Taipei, Beijing, Bangkok and Manila "but these are not our own projects," he said. The company has developed towers in the Chinese city of Dalian, Ho Chi Min Cith in Vietnam and Houston, Texas.

Mori told the audience that he was confident about flooding the central part of Tokyo with rows of high rises -- just like in Manhattan -- without incurring losses or suffering declines in occupancy rates.

"In order to utilize land efficiently, we must change the structure of the city," Mori said.

"Day after day, I feel more confident about Roppongi Hills," he said, referring to his flagship project, a complex of office and residential towers bordering on Tokyo's prime entertainment district and some of its most expensive housing areas.

Quoting booming numbers of renters, and visitors of the multi-functional complex, which he calls a "themepark", Mori said: "People talk about recession but I'd say, 'what recession?'"

Japan has been mired in deflation, when prices of goods and assets fall in absolute terms, and which is considered responsible for depressing corporate profit margins and discouraging consumers from spending.

Although land costs in Tokyo have remained steady, Mori claimed that prices around Roppongi Hill, where he himself now lives, had doubled since the project was initiated.

Under his master plan, Mori wishes to create "a city within a city" by concentrating work, housing, recreational and educational spaces in skyscrapers in downtown Tokyo.

His models are New York and Paris, where more people live near where they work, unlike residents in Tokyo and surrounding cities who spend an average 70 minutes commuting each way, Mori explained.

Manhattan has 1.48 million all-time residents versus its daytime population of 3.38 million, while Paris sees 2.15 million residents forming the bulk of its daytime population of 2.93 million, according to Mori Building data.

Central Tokyo, on a similar 6,000 hectare (14,820 acres) area, hosts 3.13 million people during the day but the population drops to 560,000 after work, data showed.

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