Floods devastate lives across globe

Floods have wreaked havoc across the world this week as heavy rain hit Southern Africa, Australia, the US, Sri Lanka and Britain.

An Australian woman was killed after flood waters in New South Wales swept her car from a causeway on Saturday.

Thousands were left stranded in eastern parts of the country after some of the worst flooding the country has seen in more than 20 years following a long period of drought.

Aid agencies warned of the risk of diseases from dirty water after floods devastated parts of Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe at the beginning of the week.

Chris McIvor, Save the Children's director in Mozambique, said: "The warning bells have been ringing for two weeks. The flooding could get a lot worse very quickly.

"We know that what children will need most urgently is shelter, clean water to drink and enough food to eat."

Officials estimated that millions had been forced to flee their homes and several people are believed to have died.

The downpour has also drowned livestock and left many fields waterlogged, raising the prospect of food shortages in the months to come.

Monsoon flooding forced about 30,000 people in eastern Sri Lanka to take refuge in temporary shelters, according to officials.

Homes in the eastern district of Ampara, a largely flat agricultural area that was hit by the 2004 tsunami, had to be abandoned after heavy rain began on Monday.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in several parts of California after heavy rain and strong winds lashed the state, causing flash floods, mudslides, heavy snow and power cuts.

Torrential downpours also came to Britain at the end of the week, leaving homes and businesses in Ireland and north Wales hit particularly hard by floodwater.

Kate Martin



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