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Torrential Rains Leave Farmers and Beachgoers Frustrated

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May 18, 2007
Beirut & Chouf - Spring-time storms have damaged crops across the Chouf Mountains and the Bekaa Valley and led to the flooding of Al-Assi River.

Torrential rains in the past few days caused flooding in several parts of the Bekaa, transforming streets into rivers and leaving residents stranded in their homes. The government deployed earth-moving equipment Thursday to redirect waters that had trapped residents in their homes.
Farmers in the upper Chouf villages say that high winds and hail this year have smashed both trees and fruits, cherry crops destroyed.
Changes in climate are widely suspected as an impact of global warming. The persistence of cloudy skies and rainfall in May may be part of a broad, long-term alteration of the country's weather patterns. The unpredictable weather has frustrated beachgoers, pedestrians, and farmers.
"We never saw such ugly weather since 1948," said Nidal Zeineddine, a longtime cherry farmer in the Chouf. "Our whole season is now at real risk."


TIBET - There's growing concern for people living in a remote county of Tibet where days of torrential rains have triggered an avalanche and mud-slide closing the only highway to Zayu County isolating more than 22,000 people. As of Thursday morning no casualties had been reported but there has been little contact with villagers and herders in the area. Zayu has received more than 140 millimeters of rainfall since Monday, more than half of the county's monthly average for May. Located in southeastern Tibet, Zayu County borders India and Myanmar and has a total population of 26,200. More than 1,000 cubic meters of snow covered a 90-meter-long stretch of highway, while the mud slide left a 35-meter-deep gully on another section of the road.

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