Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Philippine floods claim lives and damage crops ( BBC.com)

Philippine floods claim lives and damage crops by Darren Bett

A week of incessant rains in the northern Philippines has left at least six people dead and flooded over 200 farming villages.

Swollen rivers burst their banks causing extensive damage to property and crops. At least 10,000 people have fled to evacuation centres on higher ground, but the distribution of relief materials is being hampered as several major roads and bridges remain underwater and impassable.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued flood advisories across central and northern Luzon and a state of calamity was declared in the provinces of Isabela and Carayan.

The heavy rains began last Monday, sparked by an active cold front embedded within the Intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). The ITCZ is a belt of low pressure around the Earth, formed due to large scale ascent of air where trade winds from the north and south meet near the equator. The position of the ITCZ varies depending on the time of year, resulting in the wet and dry seasons of the tropics

Although the Philippines are prone to flooding, many are blaming the recent severe floods on illegal logging. Extensive removal of large areas of trees can lead to increased run-off and silting in major rivers, exacerbating the flooding in low-lying areas.