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42 people die in south India cyclone: report
by Staff Writers
Chennai, India (AFP) Dec 31, 2011

Heavy rain in Brazil forces thousands to flee homes
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Dec 31, 2011 - Flooding caused by heavy rain in southeastern Brazil has forced more than 9,000 people to flee their homes, civil defense officials said Saturday.

Officials in Minas Gerais state said in a press release that 44 municipalities have been declared to be in a state of emergency.

The heavy rain has destroyed 84 homes and damaged more than 2,000 buildings, while 400 people were left homeless, the state Civil Defense said.

The heavy rain has affected some two million people living in the area, officials said.

Two adults, a man and a woman, were killed in the floods on Tuesday, a death toll which was unchanged on Saturday.

At least 32 people have been injured, but no victims have been reported missing, officials said, adding that more rain is forecast for the weekend.

At least 42 people including a French national were killed when a cyclone hit southern India, reports said on Saturday as engineers rushed to restore power supplies knocked out by the gale.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency quoting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said the death toll from Friday's cyclone had risen to 42 in the southern Indian state.

Cyclone Thane packing winds of up to 140 kilometres (85 miles) an hour lashed the coast between Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu and the territory of Pondicherry on Friday, leaving in its wake a trail of destruction.

At least 26 people died in Tamil Nadu's worst-hit district of Cuddalore, the United News of India news agency said in a separate dispatch from state capital of Chennai.

"Approximately 50,000 (thatched) huts are damaged by the high winds but we will get a clearer picture of the damage later today," Cuddalore administrator V. Amuthavalli added.

Seven others were killed in the former French enclave of Pondicherry, other officials said by telephone.

France's government of Foreign Affairs said a French national had died in Pondicherry but gave no other details.

The other deaths were reported elsewhere in Tamil Nadu.

Most of the deaths occurred due to electrocution and walls collapsing in the cyclone-hit regions, they said.

PTI quoting officials said engineers were trying to restore normalcy within 48 hours in Cuddalore.

The cyclone hit supplies of essential supplies to Cuddalore the news agency said and added drinking water was being sent by tankers to the district.

Rail and air traffic had resumed normal service on Saturday in Tamil Nadu after the cyclone weakened into a depression.

The gale pushed a cargo ship aground off Chennai, PTI said and added that the storm also damaged 70 fishing boats.

Hundreds of acres (hectares) of paddy crops ready for harvest were damaged in four coastal Tamil Nadu districts, it added.

India and Bangladesh are hit regularly by cyclones that develop in the Bay of Bengal between April and November, causing widespread damage to homes, livestock and fields.

In 2009, Cyclone Aila tore through southern Bangladesh killing 300 people and destroyed 4,000 kilometres of roads and river embankments, leading to major flooding.

India's Andhra Pradesh state saw its worst cyclone in 1977 when more than 10,000 people were killed.

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Thai floods death toll tops 800
Bangkok (AFP) Dec 31, 2011 - The official death toll from months of flooding in Thailand rose above 800 on Saturday, as the country's king said the damage caused by the waters was the "worst ever".

Late reporting of deaths from the inundations in central and northern provinces -- now largely receded -- have seen fatality numbers continue to rise, the interior ministry said.

A total of 823 flood-related deaths have now been recorded, including 10 in heavy November monsoon rains in the south of the kingdom, since the crisis began in July. Three people are still missing.

In his annual New Year speech, King Bhumibol Adulyadej regretted the devastation caused by the deluge and sent his sympathy to those affected.

"The damage from the flood is the worst ever. It will serve as a reminder to people to be prepared because life is not always happy and people sometimes have to face hardship," he said.

At their height Thailand's worst floods in half a century affected 65 of 77 provinces in the low-lying nation, deluged hundreds of thousands of homes and forced the closure of large industrial parks, disrupting global supply chains.

The waters have since receded significantly, but more than two million people in five provinces continue to be affected and many areas still face a major clean-up operation.


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Cyclone hits India's southern coast, kills 33
Hyderabad, India (AFP) Dec 30, 2011
A severe cyclone packing winds of up to 140 kilometres (85 miles) an hour tore into India's southeastern coast on Friday, killing at least 16 people, a senior official said. Cyclone Thane lashed the coast between Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu state and the territory of Pondicherry early on Friday, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). "Fourteen persons have died in Ta ... read more

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