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Extreme weather events

Scientists’ predictions that 2010 would be one of the warmest years in human history seem to be coming true, with the effects of global warming showing everywhere.

Extreme weather events
Foto: Reuters.

13 August 2010, 09:32

This year has seen various parts of the world affected by extreme weather phenomena – floods, landslides, storms, heat waves, fires and drought. Many such events had an unprecedented magnitude, with death tolls and the value of damage caused at a record high.

Romania has also suffered from such phenomena, as a first wave of floods swept the eastern part of the country over June and July. 24 people drowned and tens of thousands were evacuated, leaving behind flooded homes, arable land and pastures. The damage is estimated at hundreds of millions of euros. Recently, Romania has again suffered from torrential rains, storms, floods and flash floods, as well as high temperatures and humidity levels.

Extreme weather events have been reported all across Europe. In Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany and Lithuania, violent storms and floods have destroyed roads, bridges and homes, causing 15 deaths and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

The heat wave that hit Russia last month causing devastating wildfires is, according to the head of the national weather services, the most severe in the last 1,000 years. The worst conditions are in Moscow, where extreme temperatures combined with smoke make the air impossible to breathe. Tens of people have lost their lives, while more than 200,000 hectares of vegetation and forests have been destroyed.

The extreme drought plaguing the southern part of the country has forced authorities in Moscow to halt grain exports for this year and possibly the next. Russia is estimated to have suffered damage from fires and drought worth 15 billion dollars over a single month. The effects have started to spread to neighboring Ukraine and Finland. In Asia, several countries are facing devastating floods. Pakistan is witnessing the most severe floods in 80 years, officials so far having recorded 1,600 deaths and nearly 14 million people left homeless.

According to the UN, Pakistan is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster more severe than the one caused in 2004 by the tsunami that hit Indonesia, killing 236,000 people. In neighboring India, flood waters left behind 150 dead, hundreds missing and thousands without home. China has also suffered from extreme weather. Here, floods and landslides have caused at least 2,500 deaths, while 12 million people have been evacuated. The total damage has been estimated at 45 billion dollars. Unfortunately, there is more bad news, as meteorologists predict further extreme weather events.

(Radio România Internaţional, Serviciul în limba engleză).

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