Heavy Storms, Floods Claim Lives in Asia

Heavy Storms, Floods Claim Lives in Asia

(LibertyInsider.org) – At least 135 people are dead in the wake of severe flooding and storms across much of the Middle East, as of Wednesday, April 17. Heavy rain and storms first began battering the region in late March and continue to ravage some areas even now, resulting in an unprecedented rise in water levels.

The catastrophic conditions started with a complex and rapidly growing weather system that first took shape over the Mediterranean Sea. Unseasonably warm water temperatures and wind patterns caused the system to intensify as it traveled up the coast toward Israel, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, and much of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The massive weather system eventually made its way into Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and a handful of other regions along Russia’s southern border. Local officials were forced to declare a state of emergency as a result of the flooding when a dam suddenly burst near Orenburg on April 7.

But the Middle East, much of which consists of arid regions pockmarked by semi-desert shrubland, was by far the hardest hit by the ongoing storm. The region, which was wholly unprepared for such intense weather, experienced some of the highest amounts of rainfall across all affected areas. The sheer amount of water left behind overwhelmed urban drainage systems and, in some cases, completely swamped rural areas.

By April 14, Taliban officials in Afghanistan had confirmed that at least 33 people were dead, and another two dozen suffered injuries as a result of the storm. The flooding also decimated thousands of homes and destroyed critical agricultural zones.

The situation appeared equally dire in Pakistan, where authorities reported 50 fatalities and 36 injuries on April 16. In Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the torrential rains triggered landslides and flash floods that caused roof collapses and uprooted trees.

The catastrophic storms continued to cause problems in the days following these early reports. More recent updates place the death toll at closer to 140 people across Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, there is a significant risk of these grim figures rising further in the days to come as both government agencies and disaster response teams continue to grapple with extremely challenging conditions and continued inclement weather.

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