Global Boiling: Floods Devastate The World

Pope Benedict XVI recently offered prayers for the international victims of catastrophic flooding. Although 2011 is less than a month old, the human toll of our fossil-fueled climate is staggering:

Australia is facing a “disaster of biblical proportions,” after weeks of rain. “The extent of flooding being experienced by Queensland is unprecedented and requires a national and united response,” Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said. “Dozens of towns have been isolated or partially submerged” by Australia’s extraordinary floods, which have killed at least 20 and are now “flushing toxic, pesticide-laden sediment into the Great Barrier Reef, and could threaten fragile corals and marine life in the world’s largest living organism.” The disaster “is costing Australia at least $3 billion in lost farming and coal exports.”

— Extreme rains have caused “the worst natural disaster to hit Brazil in four decades,” where the “death toll from flooding and mudslides near Rio de Janeiro” could approach 1,000 victims.

— Extraordinary rains “have triggered widespread floods and mudslides” in Sri Lanka, killing 43 and affecting millions, prompting the UN to make a $51 million appeal.

— “Floods and heavy storms in South Africa have killed at least 123 people and left around 20,000 in need of immediate basic relief aid.” Farmers may produce “the nation’s smallest winter-wheat harvest in 19 years” as “floods and heavy rain damage crops.”

— “Three people, two of them children, died on Sunday,” in Mozambique, “when they were swept away by the waters of the Mecutane river, swollen by torrential rains earlier in the day.” Around 35,000 people along the the banks of the Zambezi have been evacuated.

— Continuous rains in the Philippines have killed at least 68 people and left 1.9 million people “reeling.”

— “Mild temperatures melted record December snowfalls across Germany, causing rivers from the Rhine in the west to the Oder in the east to burst their banks, flooding fields and towns, turning streets into waterways, and leaving one person feared dead.”

— “Heavy snow and rain in the U.S. Midwest” likely mean record floods when the snowpack thaws.

“This is no longer something that’s theory or conjecture or something that comes out of computer models,” Dr. Richard Somerville, the Nobel-winning scientist who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on the state of climate science in 2007, explained to ABC News. “We’re observing the climate changing. It’s real. It’s happening. It’s scientific fact.”

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