EL nio watch

Published: Friday 31 July 1998

The fires raging in north Florida, usa, have had a devastating ecological impact. Firefighters are battling wildfires, aggravated by the El Nio phenomenon, across Florida and Georgia. So far, more than 2,000 hectare (ha) of forest land in Florida have been burned, officials said. "We have called in reinforcements from North Carolina and other neighbouring states," said Terry McElroy, spokesperson of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

In southeast Georgia, flames consumed 1,200 ha of parched timberland in Charlton and Wayne counties, about 32 kilometres north of Jacksonville, Florida. "There is nothing but black on both sides of the road," McElroy said. Northeastern Florida has been the worst-hit where fires have forced people to evacuate their homes. Nearly 70,000 people have evacuated their fire-threatened homes in Florida.

A violent storm recently struck Moscow, leaving nine persons dead and 280 injured. This was the first time that hurricane-force winds wrecked the area. Rescue workers are working day and night to clean up the mess. The government will require nearly us $15 million for the cleaning up the mess, according to estimates.

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