Two tropical systems form in the Pacific

Widespread and life threatening floods loom over Asia


    The death toll from Beijing's heaviest rainstorm in six decades now stands at 77, and the clean-up operation continues. [Reuters]

    On Saturday 28 July, a tropical depression formed to the east of the Philippines and began to strengthen.

    Then, just 24 hours later, another tropical depression formed nearby.

    Both of these storms are now heading towards land.

    The first storm, now a Tropical Storm called Saola, is expected to make landfall in Taiwan on Thursday 2 July. By the time it reaches the island, it is forecast to be strong enough to be classed as a typhoon, with sustained winds of 150 kph.

    The second one, Tropical Depression Damrey is not expected to become a typhoon, but the amount of rain will still cause problems. Damrey is predicted to skirt the south of the Japanese island of Kyushu and then into China, to the north of Shanghai, making landfall on the same day as Saola.

    Many parts of northeast Asia have been hit by flooding in the past few weeks and these two storms are expected to make matters significantly worse.

    Record rainfall on the Japanese Island of Kyushu caused floods and landslides in the middle of July.

    China has been reporting a series of floods during its monsoon season, including the heaviest downpour that Beijing has seen in over 60 years.

    Even North Korea is now reporting that over the past two weeks torrential rains have led to the death of 88 people and left more than 60,000 remain homeless. About 50 kilometres squared of cropland have also been washed away and 255 km2 submerged.

    The demolition of farmland is particularly concerning given that, according to the UN, two-thirds of North Korea's 24 million people face chronic food shortages.

    More torrential rain is currently falling across North Korea, which could well cause more flooding problems. Fortunately the two tropical storms are not forecast to impact the country.

    If the new storms Saola and Damrey follow their predicted tracks, China and Taiwan will see more life-threatening floods by the end of the week.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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