If it can be said that one person is responsible for the awful death toll from the recent flooding in eastern Libya, Barack Obama should be named as the culprit. If nothing else, Obama certainly has a lot of nerve. The person who was determined to destroy the Libyan state did just that. His personal hench lady, aka Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, carried out the dirty work. Along with allies like the UK and France, she made the case for a “no fly” zone, which prevented Libya’s army from being protected by its air force. For good measure she whipped up a phony human rights case, complete with claims about troops taking viagra in order to commit mass rapes.
On the 11th of September, small towns and cities in eastern Libya (Sousa, Baida, and Batta) experienced heavy rains and flooding, leading to some infrastructural and material damage. However, the big catastrophe was in the city of Darna which houses more than 100,000 inhabitants and is located by a valley leading directly from the mountains. The two dams that control the flow of the water that seeps through the city’s valley collapsed at around 2:00 a.m., leading to a complete blackout and mass flooding. Cars, 10-story apartments, and houses were washed away with their residents, leading to a humanitarian catastrophe with more than 10,000 dead and 11,000 missing.
The most expensive type of disaster in the United States is flooding. Hurricanes, a major source of flooding, make up seven of the 10 costliest disasters in United States history, from Katrina in 2005 to Ian in 2022. Together, these storms alone have cost $800 billion, adjusted for inflation. Half a century ago—before any of these storms occurred—the federal government created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a public sector alternative to fill in the gaps in higher-risk areas where commercial insurance is unavailable. But as the frequency and severity of flooding events have increased—and as insurers continue to add to the list of states they refuse to insure—the NFIP has become massively oversubscribed, amassing more than $20 billion in debt on behalf of its five million policyholders.
The flood in Pakistan is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Entire towns, vital infrastructure, homes, farmlands, and crops are being washed away. With a third of the land under water, 33 million people affected, and the death toll over a thousand and rising, the human and economic cost is set to be astronomical. It is estimated that the extensive damage to the country will cost at least $10 billion. The country faces both the immediate challenges of immense displacement, homelessness, hunger, and the spread of water-borne diseases as well as the longer-term costs of rebuilding and reconstruction. Pakistan faces a deepening debt crisis to pay the costs of a climate catastrophe it did not cause.
In the last 40 years, 663 disasters linked to climate change in the United States killed 14,223 people. The total cost: an estimated $1.77 trillion, a bit more than Canada's Gross National Product in 2018. Economic losses in Europe resulting from climate-linked extreme weather from 1980 to 2017 were lower, totaling $537 billion. The difference was the cost of tropical storms, which don't affect Europe but accounted for nearly half of the U.S. total costs. The report analyzed data going back to 1980 from several sources, including a database of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that catalogs climate disasters with costs of $1 billion or more and is continually updated. Only disasters with costs of that magnitude were included in the analysis.
Over the past month, the Indian state of Kerala has struggled with the worst floods since 1924. Over three hundred people have been killed and millions of people have been affected in this state of about 35 million people. There are many theories as to why these floods have been so severe, climate change amongst them. But, what is certainly very clear is that in the face of this devastation, Kerala’s society came together to ensure the rescue and relief for those who had seen their worlds be torn asunder, and life ‘rush into the past’.
I spend the afternoon in Shorecrest, a neighborhood a couple of miles north of downtown Miami. To get there I leave the beach behind and drive past Arky’s Live Bait & Tackle, Deal and Discounts II, Rafiul Food Store, Royal Budget Inn, Family Dollar and Goodwill. As I continue north, the buildings all lose their mirrored glass and their extra floors, until most are single story and made from stucco. It isn’t raining when I arrive in Shorecrest, and there isn’t a storm offshore; the day is as clear and as blue as the filigree on a porcelain plate. But the streets are still full of water. I watch as a woman wades ankle deep across Tenth Avenue. She has gathered her long russet-colored skirt in her right hand, and in her left she holds a pair of Jesus sandals. When she reaches the bus stop, she sits and puts her shoes on.
The nation's coasts broke records for tidal flooding over the past year as storms combined with rising seas to inundate downtown areas of Miami, Boston and other major cities, according to a federal report released Wednesday. While some of the flooding coincided with hurricanes and nor'easters, much of it was driven mainly by sea level rise fueled by climate change, scientists with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) write. The oceans are rising about 3 millimeters a year on average, driven primarily by melting land ice and warming water, which expands. That rate is accelerating, and it has led to a steady increase in U.S. coastal flooding in recent decades, the report shows. Several cities—including Boston, Atlantic City, and Sabine Pass, Texas—saw more than 20 days of high-tide flooding between May 2017 and April 2018, the "meteorological year" covered by the report.
To get a sense of how much it will cost the nation to save itself from rising seas over the next 50 years, consider Norfolk, Virginia. In November, the Army Corps released a proposal for protecting the city from coastal flooding that would cost $1.8 billion. Some experts consider the estimate low. And it doesn't include the Navy's largest base, which lies within city limits and likely needs at least another $1 billion in construction. Then consider the costs to protect Boston, New York, Baltimore, Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Houston and the more than 3,000 miles of coastline in between. Rising seas driven by climate change are flooding the nation's coasts now. The problem will get worse over the next 50 years, but the United States has barely begun to consider what's needed and hasn't grappled with the costs or who will pay.
By Basav Sen for Other Words - Our culture of legalized bribery makes climate disasters more likely, but there's an alternative. “It’s flooding down in Texas,” goes the old song. “All of the telephone lines are down.” With apologies to Stevie Ray Vaughan, there’s a lot more down in Texas than telephone lines now. Power lines are down, homes are destroyed, and cities sit underwater. Dozens have died. For me, this is personal. I worried intensely about friends and family in Houston and Corpus Christi. Thankfully all are safe, but it’s been jarring to see photos of places I know underwater. Every time I check the news I recognize familiar places from the long drive from Houston to Corpus I’ve made numerous times. There’s another unforgettable sight I often recall from that drive. In Taft, Texas, as you’re nearing Corpus — a major refinery town — over the horizon comes a huge wind farm. What does this juxtaposition of refineries and wind farms have to do with the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey?
By Kevin McGill for Associated Press. NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana flood protection board has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to revive its lawsuit seeking to make oil, gas and pipeline companies pay for decades of damage to coastal wetlands, hoping to reverse losses in the lower federal courts. The suit drew fierce opposition from the energy industry and many in state government when it was filed in 2013 by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. It said the energy industry’s dredging of canals in coastal drilling areas contributed to loss of wetlands that form a hurricane buffer for New Orleans. Some 80 companies are named as defendants, among them Chevron, Exxon Mobil Corp., and subsidiaries of BP.
By Christopher Flavelle for Bloomberg - In coastal New Jersey, the debate about whether the climate is changing has been superseded by a more urgent question: What to do about it? While local officials such as Spodofora want to build walls against rising seas and fiercer storms, environmentalists say that delays the inevitable. The best policy, they say, is to encourage people to move inland and let the most vulnerable areas disappear into the water. They may have found allies in the Federal Emergency Management Agency. After spending more than $278 billion on disaster relief over the past decade, the agency has begun to consider a change in tactics. In March, Bob Fenton, FEMA’s acting administrator, told a meeting of state emergency directors that governments need to find ways to reduce risk. “We need to move out of threatened areas,” he said. New Jersey shows just how hard that will be. Sea levels along the Jersey coast are projected to rise as much as a foot by 2030 and close to 2 feet by 2050, according to a 2016 report by Rutgers University. By 2100, if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, more than three-quarters of the property, by value, in some towns will be underwater.
By Matthew Teague for The Guardian - The cost of August’s historic flooding in Louisiana is surging into view now, and rising as fast as riverwater. It could hit $15bn, according to a new report, and state officials and residents have begun scrambling to find money as southern Louisiana slowly dries out. Flood insurance will cover only a fraction of the cost, because 80% of the homes affected – more than 110,000, and almost as many vehicles – had no such insurance. The region has never flooded in living memory, and in many areas flood insurance was not even available.
By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News - The devastating rainstorm that unleashed terrifying flooding last weekend in Louisiana, with thousands of people escaping their homes and whole parishes being overtaken by water, comes in recent succession to similarly extreme and deadly storms across the country—in Texas, Maryland, West Virginia and South Carolina. These intense storms have become seemingly commonplace, raising questions about climate change's role.