Article

Worldwide Catastrophic Flooding Caused by Climate-Induced Storms

We're just entering autumn, yet the globe is already grappling with the consequences of a series of devastating floods, which scientists assert are being intensified by the effects of climate change.
In Libya, the floods that struck last Saturday may have claimed the lives of up to 20,000 people, as reported by the director of a medical facility in Al-Bayda town. These floods were exacerbated by Libya's fragile infrastructure and were triggered by the arrival of Mediterranean Storm Daniel.
This "medicane" had previously wrought death and destruction across Europe as it traversed Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria last week.
"While no formal study attributing climate change to the increased intensity of Storm Daniel has been conducted yet, it is evident that Mediterranean sea surface temperatures remained significantly above average throughout the summer," explained Dr. Karsten Haustein, a climate scientist at Leipzig University, to the UK newspaper The Guardian.
These storms derive more power from warmer ocean waters, and a hotter atmosphere retains more moisture, which can result in heavier rainfall and more severe downpours.
From Brazil to China, nations across the world have been confronting formidable floods exacerbated by climate change since the beginning of September.
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Storm Daniel wreaked havoc with deadly floods in several regions:
- Greece endured a tragic toll, with 15 lives lost due to the storm. Relentless rainfall starting on September 4 led to dam breaches, road washouts, and cars being swept into the sea. Some central areas experienced twice the average annual rainfall for Athens in just 12 hours. The Thessalian plain, a significant agricultural region, transformed into a massive lake by September 8.
- Turkey and Bulgaria were also hit by the torrential rains from Storm Daniel. In Turkey's Kirklareli province, at least five people perished in a flash flood at a campsite. Istanbul saw two casualties, with hundreds of homes and workplaces inundated by storms on September 5. There were disturbing scenes of people trapped inside Başakşehir National Library. In Bulgaria's Burgas province along the Black Sea coast, villagers had to evacuate as floodwaters rose high enough to submerge cars, resulting in at least four known fatalities.
- After traversing the Mediterranean Basin, Storm Daniel struck the northern coast of Libya on September 9. This caused unprecedented flooding and breached dams protecting the port city of Derna. The unleashed waters swept away residential neighborhoods on both sides of the Wadi Derna river. Benghazi city also faced catastrophic flooding. As of Thursday afternoon, over 20,000 were feared dead.
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Indeed, September has witnessed lethal flooding in various parts of the world, all exacerbated by climate change:
- Southern Brazil faced a cyclone that unleashed over 300 millimeters (nearly 12 inches) of rain in less than 24 hours in Rio Grande do Sul state, starting on September 4. This led to devastating floods and landslides, claiming the lives of at least 39 people. Governor Eduardo Leite noted that this death toll was the highest ever recorded in the state due to a climate event.
- Hong Kong and parts of southern China experienced the intensified and more frequent tropical storms, fueled by climate change. Typhoon Haikui's residual rainfall brought the heaviest precipitation to Hong Kong in 140 years. It resulted in severe flooding, with at least two fatalities and hundreds hospitalized. Streets, tunnels, and metro systems were submerged. The southern Chinese city of Shenzhen also faced historic rainfall.
- Spain encountered devastating floods in early September, particularly in regions southwest of Madrid. Bridges were destroyed, and cars were swept away. The national death toll reached 6 on September 9, with one 10-year-old boy being rescued after spending the night clinging to a tree.
These events underline the warnings from climate scientists about the increasing likelihood and severity of such incidents due to climate change, as multiple regions are affected simultaneously.
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  • CHRIS NGATIA

    30 w

    This is heartbreaking

    2
    • Kevin

      34 w

      This is very discouraging

      5
      • Grace Njeri

        34 w

        It's soo Disheartening!

        6
        • Ann Nyambura

          34 w

          This is really bad

          5
          • Benjamin Wullobayi DEKONGMEN

            34 w

            Really sad 😭 #ActionNowNoTime

            4
            • Patrick Kiash

              35 w

              Sad cases all over.

              4
              • Esther Wanjiku

                35 w

                Utterly disheartening

                10
                • john linus Tom

                  35 w

                  This is too bad heartbreaking

                  4
                  • Sarah Chabane

                    35 w

                    The images from Libya are heartbreaking...

                    11
                    • Jane Wangui

                      34 w

                      @sarah_chabane and so many lives have been lost in this flooding.

                      4
                    Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
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