Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 22:55:52 -0600 (CST)
From: Mark Graffis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Asians say global warming a cause of recent floods
Asians say global warming a cause of recent floods
By Adam Tanner, Reuters News Service
4 November 1999
BONN - Disastrous flooding that has damaged hundreds of thousands of
homes in Asia over the past few days was a direct consequence of
global warming, top officials said yesterday.
"Every year the flooding in Cambodia is getting worse," Khieu Muth,
Cambodia's environment minister, said in an interview. "It is related
to the problem of global warming."
As Muth and environment officials from 173 nations gathered in the
former German capital Bonn to seek a deal to combat global warming,
nations in Southeast Asia were struggling against the effects of ever
more frequent natural disasters.
In the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, the worst flooding in nearly a
decade forced thousands of people from their homes on Wednesday.
In neighbouring Vietnam, some of the worst flooding in decades hit the
central coastal region, killing 16 people and damaging hundreds of
thousands of homes, officials said.
"In past decades in Vietnam, national disasters such as floods,
typhoons and many weather-related disasters have increased in
intensity and frequency," said Dinh An, a climate change expert on the
Vietnamese delegation. "We think that it is from a change of climate
because of global warming."
The Vietnamese government said flooding in the former imperial capital
of Hue on Wednesday was the highest seen in 40 years.
Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Bangledesh's minister for environment and
forests, said if no action was taken against global warming, 17.5
percent of her country would be underwater in the next 15 years with
20 million people directly impacted.
"Definitely, it is related to global warming," she told Reuters. "This
year alone we have faced three floods."
She said 1,000 Bangladeshis died in flood disasters last year alone,
and she appealed to the developed world for help.
"We are affected, but we are not the cause of this, we are not
responsible," she said. "We want solutions."
In neighbouring India, the government on Wednesday stepped up relief
efforts to a "war footing" to help millions hit by last week's cyclone
in the eastern state of Orissa, but floods caused by incessant rains
still hampered operations.
The two-week Bonn conference entered an important phase on Wednesday
as environment ministers and other top officials from across the world
held informal talks to move forward on a deal cutting pollution that
causes global warming.
Yet many officials remained pessimistic, saying deep divisions among
nations hampered quick progress on a deal.