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Weekly Updates: Africa | Asia | Latin America

23 January 2011

Asia Update #13

In Asia this week, relief has arrived. In the Middle East, sufficient rainfall in most areas over the last week. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, had a desperately needed dry spell. However the wet weather has continued in southeast Asia as very heavy rainfall slammed central Sumatra and the windward (eastern) side of the Philippines.

Light, but seasonal rains fell across most areas of the Middle East. Some dry spots, however remain. Turkey's southeastern coast, coastal Syria, Lebanon and Israel all recorded deficits over the last week. This season has been up and down in the western parts of the Middle East. By contrast Iraq,  Iran and Afghanistan have picked up good snow and rains.

Eastern Sri Lanka, having endured nearly a month of torrential downpours has had a dry week. Fatalities, livestock deaths, destruction of crops (including the important tea crop), property and washing out of roadways have all been reported across areas mainly populated by the Tamil minority. As the rains have eased, flooded areas are getting a chance to drain down and dry out. The clean up from this flooding event will likely take years. There is a chance that heavy rain will return to the island during the next seven days. The southeastern coast is especially likely to get hit.

The news media has gone wild with the flooding in Brazil and Australia, and I have seen some reports about what occurred in Sri Lanka. So far the western news media has largely ignored what has been going on in the Philippines. Flooding, mainly in the eastern, windward side of the country south of Luzon, has many of the same characteristics of the Sri Lanka event. The big difference is that this one has not ceased yet, and next week will likely be even more devastating as weather models are forecasting more than 200 mm (8 inches) of rainfall during the next seven days. This is particularly likely across the south and parts of Luzon. Manila proper will likely receive moderate rainfall.

Heavy rains also fell on the island of Sumatra. localized flooding is likely, however at the moment it does not look like this will become a season-long problem.

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