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APRIL

        Brazil's Amazon rain forest is being badly damaged and destroyed more than twice as fast as originally thought.  Researchers measured the effects of logging and burning in the 1.3 million square mile forest and found the results shocking.  The loss is estimated at 17,000 square miles per year, and 1/3 of the world's plant and animal species live in the forest.  Some scientists fear that the damage to the forest could throw the earth's climate out of balance.  They worry about the huge amounts of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere from the fires and rotting wood.  AP, 4/1/99. 

        After 4 years of constant food shortages, children living in North Korea are stunted, malnourished and have not received the immunizations they need to prevent childhood disease.  AP, 4/6/99. 

        At least 6 people were killed as tornadoes and severe storms with high winds hit the Midwest and Plains.  Homes and buildings were destroyed and at least 31 people were injured.  MSNBC, 4/9/99. 

        Last year, an unusually dry season sparked fires that swept through Florida communities and destroyed homes and forced an entire community to evacuate.  It was the worst year fir fires in that state's history.  Florida is even drier this year and the fear is high that there will be more fires.  NY Times, 4/13/99. 

        Floods damage thousands of phone lines in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Xinhua, 4/15/99 

        Powerful storms hit Mississippi, destroying homes and knocking out power lines.  One man was killed and more than a dozen injured.  AP, 4/16/99. 

        At least 25 people may be dead after tons of rocks and mud covered a poor neighborhood in a town in southeast Colombia.  Reuters, 4/16/99. 

        Seven northern regions of Russia are reported to have suffered severe damage caused by flooding.  Itar-Tass News, 4/16/99. 

        After several days of wet and cold conditions, the Southland goes straight for summer with record-breaking heat.  The hot spell came just after temperatures in some areas were only at 41 degrees.  The mercury hit 87 degrees at LAX, passing the record of 78 set in 1950.  The temperatures are expected to continue to rise.  MSNBC, 4/18/99. 

        Dozens of Florida families searched for shelter as wildfires threatened to destroy homes.  Reuters, 4/19/99. 

        An early morning tornado surprised residents of Cincinnati, causing $66 million in insured losses.  No one was killed.  PR Newswire, 4/19/99. 

        Cuba declares drought alert in two eastern provinces where dryness has reduced the water reserves, damaged crops and killed more than 10,000 cattle. Reuters, 4/19/99. 

        Four people were killed by fierce hurricane conditions in St. Petersburg.  Itar, 4/20/99 

        Near record heat continues to melt the Southland.  Even with cooler temperatures expected, the sun's rays are especially strong.  The ultraviolet index in Los Angeles will be a 9, a high exposure reading that means a person can be sunburned in 7-8 minutes. High temperature records were set in Pasadena and at Mount Wilson. LA Times, 4/20/99. 

        President Clinton declared Georgia and Missouri to be disaster areas after severe storms struck there earlier this month.  Reuters, 4/24/99. 

        Drought in Texas continues to cause problems for farmers and livestock ranches.  Some farmers are liquidating everything.  Last year, the drought caused farmers to sell off stock and led to a $2.4 billion drop in ranch production.  NY Times, 4/22/99. 

        A landslide triggered by heavy rains killed 14 people in a mining town in the Philippines.  Rescue workers are searching for 5 people who are still missing.  The rain caused flash floods in other towns and triggered three other landslides and mudslides which damaged dozens of shanties.  The heavy rain has bee attributed to La Nina.  AP, 4/23/99. 

        Six people were killed and over 120,000 left homeless in Sri Lanka after torrential rains pounded several areas for 4 days.  Xinhua, 4/23/99. 

        Figures show that numbers of fish have never been so low.  Global warming is heating up rivers, drying them and making them too warm for fish to breed.  Pollution is another factor, creating an unhealthy environmental for the fish to live in.  BBC News, 4/25/99. 

        North Korea has used up its public food stocks, leaving million of people to survive by eating grasses, corn stalks or whatever else they can forage.  AP, 4/28/99. 

        Recent heavy rains flooded hundreds of houses and tens of thousands of hectares of farmland, causing great losses in western, central and southern Romania. Xinhua, 4/28/99. 

MAY

        200 people are injured as a tornado hits a small village in Bangladesh.  The tornado, accompanied by a hailstorm, wrecked havoc on as many as 20 villages.  Xinhua, 5/3/99. 

        A heat wave is responsible for the deaths of 110 people in India.  Fear of more deaths cause the closure of local schools in the capital. AP, 5/3/99. 

        At least 3 people were killed when a building in Lagos, Nigeria collapsed after a week of heavy rains. AP, 5/4/99. 

        A hot spell continues to cause problems in Bangladesh bringing with it an unprecedented drought, with water falling to alarming levels.  Many people are suffering from the drought and dryness and are staying indoors.  Weather experts predict the hot spell will likely increase.  Xinhua, 5/7/99. 

        Forty-five people were killed and hundreds more missing or injured after three dozen tornadoes hit Oklahoma and Kansas with such force that entire communities were wiped out. Officials report that 1500 buildings were destroyed or damaged.  Reuters, 5/7/99. 

        Three people are still missing without a trace, disappearing during the devastating tornadoes that hit Oklahoma.  Rescuers are continuing their search through the rubble of 10,500 homes that were destroyed in the storm.  The winds reached up to 318 mph, the most intense ever recorded.  AP, 5/8/99. 

        Eleven bodies were found and at least 100 people were still missing after a ferry sank in a tropical storm in southern Bangladesh.  Reuters, 5/10/99. 

        Four days of heavy rains caused flooding in western Georgia, destroying bridges and roads and cutting off power and water supplies.  AP, 5/10/99. 

        Thirty-five college students were trapped in caves during flooding in southern Mexico last week and are still missing and feared dead.  AP, 5/10/99. 

        Strong storms hit central Michigan and Indiana, dumping heavy rain, knocking down trees and cutting off power to thousands of people.  One person was killed and a young boy was critically injured.  AP, 5/19/99. 

        Three people have drowned in floods in central China.  Three days of torrential rains damaged homes and buildings.  AP, 5/20/99. 

        A river in southern Philippines overflowed its banks after 2 days of heavy rains, drowning 7 people and sweeping away 76 homes.  AP, 5/24/99. 

        At least 172 people died in a deadly cyclone, which hit coastal areas of Pakistan. Xinhua, 5/24/99. 

        The bodies of 9 Indian fishermen were found after a severe cyclone hit the Arabian Sea, 241 fishermen are still missing. Reuters, 5/26/99. 

        Federal authorities have declared northern Mexico a disaster area.  The drought that has been affecting this region is the worst in history.  Farmers' organizations estimate about 1.5 million acres of land could not be cultivated because of the water shortages. Health officials are concerned about drinking water shortages causing an outbreak of cholera. NewsEdge, 5/26/99. 

        Still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Mitch, Honduras prepares for another rainy season.  Floods have already re-damaged roads in some areas.  Reuters, 5/26/99. 

        The Prime Minister in Bangladesh announced plans for a 360-megawatt land based power plant, the biggest the country's private sector. At present, only about 15% of the total population in this country has access to electricity. Xinhua, 5/26/99. 

        Hurricane Mitch was the worst and most deadly hurricane to strike the Western Hemisphere in two centuries.  The flooding and landslides claimed the lives of 11,000 people in Honduras and Nicaragua.  Researchers primarily blame torrential rain.  However, they point out some important factors that may have contributed to the devastation: the hurricane hit at the end of the rainy season when soil was already saturated; hillsides had been cleared for farming making them vulnerable to landslides; and people were not prepared for a disaster. BBC News, 5/26/99. 

        Strong winds and heavy rain hit a wide area of Japan, leaving one man dead and 39 others injured. The bad weather delayed 47 bullet train services and flights out of Narita were rerouted elsewhere. Kyodo, 5/28/99. 

JUNE

        Sudden downpours in Los Angeles kept firefighters busy rescuing people and dogs from the Los Angeles River.  The DWP estimated .58 of an inch of rain, surpassing the record set in 1948 for rainfall this time of year.  MSNBC, 6/2/99. 

        Rain continues in Ventura County and the San Fernando Valley, which decreases the smog level. Meteorologists are predicting fewer first stage smog alerts this summer. MSNBC, 6/2/99. 

        Flooding in China has killed at least 11 people and stranded hundreds of students in schools. Torrential rains caused flooding in the coastal provinces.  AP, 6/2/99. 

        Wildfires continue to burn in Florida, already destroying 50,000 acres.  The fires were sparked by lightning and spread by 50mph winds. Other states being ravaged by fires include Phoenix - 146,000 acres, Utah - 10,800 acres, Nevada - 7,000 acres and California - 12,000 acres. AP, 6/2/99. 

        The temperature in Kuwait has reached a record high of 122 degrees!  High temperatures are common for mid-summer in the desert, but not early June.  AP, 6/2/99. 

        Tornadoes in central Illinois and eastern Oklahoma killed two people and injured 10 others.  AP, 6/3/99. 

        Jordan is suffering from an unprecedented drought, which has destroyed food crops and affected hundreds of thousands of people. Water levels have reached their lowest level in years.  NewsEdge, 6/4/99. 

        Glaciers in the Himalayas are melting at an alarming rate and could cause meltwater to overflow lakes in the surrounding valleys.  It could cause flooding, and eventually the rivers would dry up and cause water shortages.  Reuters, 6/4/99. 

        The severe drought affecting Cuba may cause potential problems for neighboring countries.  The shortage of water has already begun to affect Havana, the province of Pinar del Rio and the Isla de la Juventud.  The water shortage has also caused the death of thousands of cattle in eastern Cuba and the situation is feared to get worse.  NewsEdge, 6/4/99. 

        The drought affecting northern Mexico has become so serious, officials are considering trucking in water and may build an aqueduct. Over 30,000 families are in need of water in two rural communities. The state is also strapped for water; its main reservoir is down to 13% of capacity. AP, 6/4/99. 

        Heavy thunderstorms in Germany killed three people and injured a dozen others.  The storms ripped roofs off houses and knocked down trees onto roads and railway lines.  AP, 6/4/99. 

        Vienna, Georgia is still suffering from a four-month long drought.  If rain does not come soon, the farmers could lose up to $700 million.  The lack of water has also led to forest fires, some destroying 64,000 acres.  The Macon Telegraph, 6/7/99. 

        The continuing drought in Mexico means no summer planting for grain.  After two years with nothing more than a drizzle, officials have canceled the summer planting for the first time ever. Mexico isn't the only state suffering from a drought, 10 other states have been declared disaster areas.  AP, 6/7/99 

        A 2-mile long core drilled into the Antarctic ice sheet shows that levels of heat trapping greenhouse gases are higher now than at any time in the past 420,000 years.  The levels of both greenhouse gases are expected to continue their rise in the next century due to the continued burning of fossil fuels such as coal and other human activities.  AP, 6/7/99. 

        Ohio's electric companies will begin reporting emission levels of certain chemicals from their coal preparation power plants to the EPA.  Since 1998, Ohio's electric companies burned more than 216 billion pounds of coal, including more than 37 billion pounds of Ohio coal and generated almost 265 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.  NewsEdge, 6/7/99. 

        Flooding forces 2 million people in China to move out of the lowland areas.  Flooding along the Yangtze River has killed 4,125 people in the last year.  This project will take 3 to 5 years and is expected to increase the river's flood discharge capacity by 353 billion cubic feet.  Earlier this year, China officials said that the drought has made the earth too parched to absorb any seasonal rains and could lead to more severe flooding.  AP, 6/8/99. 

        Record breaking heat in the east has prompted officials to send out warnings to the elderly, the young and those with respiratory problems.  Excessive humidity in Connecticut has caused the utility companies to urge residents to conserve energy.  Pollution alerts have also forced schools to close.  UPI, 6/8/99. 

        For 2 days in a row, the EPA has issued an Ozone Action Day in Chicago.  The EPA issues the alert when 3 conditions are met: high temperatures, strong sunlight, and little or no rain or wind. Officials urge residents to cut down on the use of vehicles or tools that use fuel and stay indoors in the comfort of air conditioning. MSNBC, 6/8/99. 

        Hong Kong and China were mostly shut down as Tropical Storm Maggie slammed into the coast with hurricane force winds.  AP, 6/8/99. 

        Torrential rains, hail and flooding have claimed 21 lives in China's province of Qinghai. Dozens of others were injured and several are still missing.  Xinhua, 6/17/99. 

        One of the worst cyclones to hit Pakistan devastated the coastal region and killed 189 people, 150 are still missing.  Approximately 675 boats have disappeared and 15,000 sheep and cattle have died.  The World Health Organization has been called in to provide drugs and food for the needy.  NewsEdge, 6/22/99. 

        The Red Cross has warned that the increasing natural disasters are a serious threat to poorer countries.  The annual World Disasters Report said that in the past six years, the number of people who needed aid after floods and earthquakes had risen to 5.5 million.  Drought, flooding, deforestation and soil problems drove more than 25 million people from their homes, forcing them to live in unsafe and unsanitary shanty towns. NY Times, 6/24/99. 

        Flash floods have left three people dead and nearly 70,000 others marooned in their villages in coastal Bangladesh.  The floods were triggered by torrential monsoon rains, which damaged rice crops across 9,160 acres and snapped road links between port cities.  Bangladesh is a low-lying nation and is hit by cyclones and floods every year. AP, 6/25/99. 

        A rare tornado swept threw a remote Russian region, lifting roofs off houses and knocking over trees.  No deaths or injuries were reported.  AP, 6/25/99.