News Watch

A commuter train carrying 366 passengers derailed in Yilan County, northeastern Taiwan, on Oct. 21, killing at least 18 people and injuring more than 180, making it the country's worst rail incident in 27 years. The train was traveling between Taipei and Taitung.

Investigations were ongoing at press time, but excessive speed is suspected to have been the cause.


A passenger train derailed outside of Rabat, Morocco, on Oct. 16, killing seven people and injuring at least 125. Investigators determined that it was traveling at excessive speed when the derailing occurred, though it is not known whether the speed was due to operator or mechanical error. The driver was arrested and charged with involuntary homicide.

In the Bududa region of eastern Uganda, heavy rains caused a landslide on Mount Elgon on Oct. 12 that killed more than 40 people. At press time, about 400 people were still missing in the area after the slide, including 200 students whose school was swept away.

Mount Elgon is an extinct shield volcano that is the centerpiece of Mount Elgon National Park, which straddles the Uganda/Kenya border north of Lake Victoria. Bududa is a mountainous volcanic region that is prone to landslides...


A flash flood near the Dead Sea in Jordan on Oct. 25 killed at least 21 people, most of whom were passengers on a school bus that was caught by the floodwaters and washed off the road. More than 30 stranded and injured people were rescued from the area. The flood surge was estimated to have traveled more than 3 miles.

Usually very arid, the dry canyons at the Dead Sea are susceptible to flash floods during the rainy season, October to March.

After receiving more than 8 inches of rain within the space of a few hours, a river in the town of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, on the Spanish Mediterranean island of Mallorca, broke its banks on Oct. 9 and flooded the town, killing at least 13 people. Floodwaters also reached the coastal town of S'illot.

Neighboring islands Ibiza and Formentera were put on alert but, despite heavy rains, did not experience major flooding.


At least 12 people were killed in southern France on Oct. 14 when the river Aude flooded after many months’ worth of rain fell in a matter of hours. The flooding was described as the worst the Aude had experienced in more than 100 years, with waters measuring more than 20 feet above flood levels in the commune of Trèbes.


A series of storms with winds reaching up to 110 miles per hour struck northern and central Italy in late October and early November, leaving at least 29 people dead and tens of others injured. Two tornadoes were reported.

After one storm, on Oct 29, the high-water level in Venice reached 5 feet, the fourth-highest ever recorded in the city. At least 75% of the city was flooded.

A magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck near the city of Port-de-Paix, northern Haiti, on Oct. 7, killing at least 15 people and injuring more than 300. Numerous buildings in Port-de-Paix and surrounding areas, most built from cinderblocks or improvised material, were destroyed or damaged, leading to thousands of people having to sleep outside.

The quake was felt in the capital, Port-au-Prince, 139 miles to the south, but no damage was reported there.