Violent floods cause devastation around the world

A two-week period in June saw a rash of violent flooding across four different continents. In the early morning of Friday 11th June, 20 people were killed after heavy rain in Arkansas, USA, saw water levels in the Little Missouri river rise at up to 2.4m per hour, causing a wall of water to tear through busy campsites at the Ouachita National Forest. On 15th June it was the turn of the French Riviera to suffer under a deluge, when the region experienced its worst flooding since 1827. Twenty-five people were killed after heavy rain burst river banks and caused major mud-slides in the hills of the picturesque department of Var. While workers began to clear the debris in the Riviera, heavy rain was beginning to fall with even more devastating effect in the impoverished Alagoas and Pernambuco states of north-eastern Brazil. Scores of people died and as many as 97,000 were left homeless after days of torrential downpours. "There are places where it looks like someone has dropped an atomic bomb," Teotonio Vilela Filho, the governor of Alagoas told the O Globo newspaper. Over the same period, southern China was experiencing equally destructive flooding, with at least 200 dead and 800,000 displaced. In Fujian and Guangdong, provinces, up to 1m of rain fell in less than a week – extraordinary even by the standards of what is a hugely flood-prone part of the world. Earlier this year, the same region of China was a victim of the opposite extreme, enduring its worst drought for decades.