Floods devastate millions of lives

Millions of people have been affected by severe flooding as storms swept parts of Mexico, the Caribbean, Vietnam and Australia in the past fortnight.

Tropical Storm Noel brought heavy rain that devastated parts of central America and the Carribean.

The Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas saw the worst flooding in the area in more than 50 years, with aid agencies estimating more than a million people were affected.

One person is known to have died in the floods in Tabasco and at least 16 others were missing, feared dead, following a mudslide in Chiapas.

A massive rescue operation was launched by the Mexican government and a number of foreign nations have pledged donations and aid to the country.

In a televised address, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said: “It is one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the country.”

The storm also triggered floods in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, just weeks after the region had been hit by heavy rain, adding to the death toll.

Haiti is particularly vulnerable to flooding and mudslides because of extensive deforestation.

Officials said more than 70 people were killed by flooding in Vietnam and more than 90,000 homes were deluged in the central province of Phu Yen.

Just last month 89 people died after Typhoon Lekima triggered floods and landslides and officials fear another tropical storm, Peipah, could hit the country in the next few days.

Hundreds of people in the Australian state of Victoria were also left counting the cost after flash flooding swept through homes and businesses.

One 19-year-old man was reported to have been killed in the violent storms.

A freak hail storm also hit Colombia in South America this week, blocking roads with ice before melting and leaving the streets awash with water.

Although the individual incidents cannot be attributed directly to climate change, scientists predict that extreme weather events such as floods will become more frequent and intense as average global temperatures rise.

Kate Martin

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