The Stream, August 8: Floods Causing Damage in Countries Around the World

The Global Rundown

Flash flooding in Sudan affects tens of thousands, and kills 21 in Macedonia. Researchers in Australia are using a new material to make water molecule splitting more energy efficient. A new report shows how little of the flood damage in China is covered by insurance. In India, a plan to link the country’s waterways may be foiled by climate change. And, one Olympic athlete from Syria has had a particularly challenging journey to Rio.

“It was quite hard to think that you are a swimmer and you might end up dying in the water.” –Yusra Mardini, member of the Refugee Olympic Team and 100 meter butterfly heat competitor. Mardini fled Syria more than two years ago, having to swim part of that crossing to Lesbos. She reportedly helped other refugees who were unable to swim. (Rediff)

By The Numbers

80,000 Number of people affected by flash flooding in 13 of Sudan’s 18 provinces. More than 3,200 houses have been damaged or destroyed in the heavily hit Kassala Province alone. Officials report 76 people have been killed, while serious food shortages and disease continue to plague impacted areas. Al Jazeera 

21 Number of people killed, and 77 injured, following unexpected flash flooding in Macedonia’s capital Skopje. The death toll could rise however, as many remain unaccounted for. Emergency responders and military forces rescued more than 1,000 people from collapsed infrastructure. Authorities indicate the storm, while expected, resulted in much more rainfall than predicted. The New York Times

Science, Studies, And Reports

Australian researchers have created a new plastic material that can efficiently extract hydrogen from water. Though the splitting of hydrogen and oxygen atoms creates energy, current tools and processes used to do so are often too energy costly to be effective. However, this new carbon-based material, which can harness light energy, is expected to address both limitations. So far only small amounts of hydrogen have been produced in early testing of this material.

A new report, released by Impact Forecasting, indicates only 2 percent of the nearly $33 billion in flooding damage from China’s recent Mei-Yu rainfall is covered by insurance.  According to China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, 764 people have been killed or are missing, and more than 800,000 homes and other structures have been damaged or destroyed across nearly 20 provincial regions. An estimated 7.2 million hectares of cropland were also damaged by floodwaters. Still, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission claims payouts representing less than 2 percent of the economic cost of the damage. FloodList 

On The Radar

A new plan to interlink India’s waterways and improve nationwide water access may fall short due to climate change. Weather data analysis of the past 103 years (1901 to 2004) shows a significant decrease in rainfall, reducing water levels even in river basins which traditionally have experienced a surplus. Researchers are now calling for individual assessments of major water basins, to determine if the plan would continue to be viable into the future. Hindustan Times