The death toll in the heavy rains triggered by typhoon Kalmaegi rose to 8 today, even as nearly 400 students were rescued from an inundated school in China’s southwestern Yunnan province.
Heavy rains caused by the typhoon, which is the 15th typhoon to hit China this year, since Wednesday have flooded 53 counties and cities in Yunnan, leaving 390,000 people affected and resulting in an economic loss of US$55.86 million.
Teodomiro Melendres Ojeda, an organic coffee grower in Cajamarca, Peru, stands at a crossroads. Neither path is attractive.
Leaf-rust fungus, known as roya in Spanish, has devastated about a third of his crop. Melendres, 48, can use chemicals to kill it, though he risks forfeiting his organic certification and the 10 percent price premium it brings. Or he can preserve the certification and watch his plants die.
“We coffee producers are living between a rock and a hard place,” Melendres said.
Global warming has been a friend to the fungus, enabling it to thrive in elevations that used to be inhospitable. The worst worldwide outbreak in 30 years has meant diminished yields, lower income and laid-off workers from Peru to Mexico. Organic growers face additional loss as they look for ways to save their livelihoods while at the same time avoiding chemical solutions.
The 2014 wildfire season in Washington State is not over, but it has already been one of the most destructive and costly on record, state officials from the Department of Natural Resources said Thursday.
Since the beginning of the season up until the end of August, the DNR said wildfires in Washington had burned 363,000 acres, or 550 square miles of land, destroying homes along the way. That’s about 6 times worse than the average amount of acres burned per year in Washington, state forest officials said. Fighting the fires has been costly, too — the state says it spent $81 million this year, even though its annual budget is only $25 million.
The Pakistani military stepped up rescue efforts as floods wreaked havoc in more districts of the country’s eastern Punjab province on Friday, affecting 1.9 million people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.
In neighboring India-controlled parts of Kashmir, meanwhile, flood waters started receding but triggered concerns about the possible spread of disease in devastated areas.
The severe monsoon floods, which began Sept. 3 in divided Kashmir, have so far killed 274 people in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, while 200 have died in the India-controlled part of the disputed Himalayan region.