Tunisia: The Big Flood

"We were three days short of a Biblical record," said Foreign Minister Habib Bourguiba Jr. He was not smiling. For 38 days in September and October, rain fell steadily on Tunisia, leaving 600 people dead, destroying 70,000 homes, and making refugees of 300,000 of the nation's 4,500,000 people. Touring the country last week, TIME Correspondent William Rademaekers reported that the floods have set economic growth back five years.

Meteorologists blame the flood on a shift in the Azores high-pressure area from 35° north latitude, where it normally centers, to 45° north. The shift eliminated summer rains from most of Europe and...

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