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The Flood Pandemic: No country is safe until all countries are safe from the climate crisis

The Flood Pandemic: No country is safe until every country is safe.

Photo credit: Getty Image

In 2024, floods continued to pose significant challenges worldwide, with several regions experiencing devastating impacts. Climate change played a major role, contributing to more frequent and intense precipitation events, leading to increased flooding.

One of the most affected regions was Southeast Asia, where monsoon rains triggered widespread flooding in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The floods resulted in loss of life, displacement of communities, and damage to infrastructure and agriculture.

In Europe, extreme rainfall events caused flooding in countries like Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The floods led to the evacuation of thousands of people, widespread damage to property, and disruptions to transportation and utilities.

Countries like Brazil, the United States, and Canada faced flooding events, with impacts ranging from localized flooding to large-scale disasters. In Brazil, heavy rains caused rivers to overflow, leading to mudslides and significant damage in several communities.


Flash floods caused by heavy rains have devastated villages in northern Afghanistan, killing 315 people and injuring more than 1,600, authorities said on Sunday, as villagers buried their dead and aid agencies warned of widening havoc.

Thousands of homes were damaged and livestock wiped out, the Taliban-run refugee ministry said, while aid groups warned of damage to health care facilities and vital infrastructure, such as water supply, with streets left coated in mud. More than 50 children have been killed, according to UNICEF, one of several international aid groups sending relief teams, medicines, blankets, and other supplies. The World Health Organization delivered 7 tonnes of medicines and emergency kits. At least 70 people died in April from heavy rains and flash floods, which also destroyed about 2,000 homes


Much of Guangdong is part of the low-lying Pearl River delta, which is prone to floods due to the rise in sea levels and storm surges. The delta is a major manufacturing base in China and one of the country’s most densely-populated regions, with Guangdong alone home to around 127 million people.

Provincial capital Guangzhou as well as smaller cities Shaoguan and Heyuan were among the worst hit. Across the province, about 1.16 million households lost power over the weekend, but 80% had their electricity restored by Sunday night.

According to China's Xinhua news agency, at least 110,000 people have been evacuated, with some 25,800 in shelters.

Flights have been canceled and delayed at Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou due to continuous rain, while schools have been ordered shut in at least three cities.

Dozens of homes across the province have either collapsed or have been severely damaged, with authorities estimating a direct economic loss of nearly 140.6m yuan ($19.8m).


Brazil's southernmost state capital may suffer severe flooding for weeks to come, experts warn, compounding the struggles of half a million people forced to abandon their inundated homes.

Parts of Rio Grande do Sul state have seen more than 630 mm (25 inches) of rain so far this month, national weather service INMET reported – more than London's average rainfall in a year.

The waters of Lake Guaiba, which breached its banks to flood the state capital, Porto Alegre, have risen again this week to 5.22 meters (17.13 feet), well above the flood level of 3.0 meters and close to last week's record of 5.33 meters.

Meteorologists and engineers at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) said water levels could stabilize or keep rising if it rains again. They said it could take a month before the water retreats below flood levels, based on historical comparisons.

The floods have devastated dozens of towns inland from Porto Alegre, where the downtown area remains underwater. In the whole state, the death toll was at 149, while 108 were still missing.


Hours of heavy rain caused large volcanic rocks to roll down one of Indonesia’s most active volcanos into six districts on Sumatra island Saturday evening while flooding inundated roads, homes, and mosques.

Workers cleaned up damaged buildings after the deluge while rescuers deployed a thermal drone to help the search, using excavators and their bare hands to try to.

The official, who goes by one name, raised the death toll from 44 to 50 and said 27 people were still missing and 37 had been injured. More than 3,300 people have also evacuated from the affected areas.

Authorities warned the death toll could rise further as the search for the dozens missing continued.


Deadly storms that left Dubai underwater and killed more than 20 people in Oman were likely made worse by climate change, scientists say.

 Heat pumped into the atmosphere by humans made the record rainfall 10-40% heavier, they say, but the natural weather pattern El Niño also drove the intense storms. Scientists warn the link to climate change is not fully certain because the rarity of rainfall in the region gives them little data to work with.

The study was carried out by scientists with the World Weather Attribution group. The experts also said the way that cities have been built made the impacts of the storm worse.

In Dubai some areas recorded more than 250mm of rain in less than 24 hours, exceeding all records in daily rainfall in the 75 years since records began.

The country averages 140-200 mm of rainfall per year, while Dubai typically receives only 97mm. The monthly average for April is only about 8mm.

At least 20 people died in Oman and four in the United Arab Emirates when the storm hit on 15 April. Dubai International Airport, the second busiest in the world, was forced to cancel hundreds of flights.

It happened after months of hotter-than-average sea surface temperatures partly caused by El Niño - which is when warm waters rise to the surface of parts of the Pacific Ocean.

The higher ocean temperatures added more moisture to the atmosphere, making heavy rainfall more likely.

The scientists also concluded that cloud seeding - the manipulation of clouds to create more rain - did not have a "significant influence" on the flooding.

By Oladosu Adebola

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