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Israeli airstrikes began November 14, following months of Palestinian rocket fire into Israel. Monday, the top leader of Hamas dared Israel to launch a ground invasion of Gaza and dismissed diplomatic efforts to broker a cease-fire in the six-day-old conflict, as the Israeli military conducted a new wave of deadly airstrikes which included a second hit on a 15-story building that houses media outlets. What follows is just a small collection of images from the last few days of the conflict. – Paula Nelson ( 34 photos total)
A Palestinian firefighter tries to extinguish a fire after an Israeli air strike, on a floor in a building that also houses international media offices in Gaza City, November 19, 2012. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

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A potentially catastrophic food crisis in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa could affect as many as one million children. The food and nutrition crisis resulting from a severe drought, threatens the survival of an entire generation of children. Those children in eight countries - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, Cameroon, Nigeria and Senegal - are at risk of severe acute malnutrition. Sparse rainfall, poor harvests and rising food prices have left many vulnerable and weak, seeking medical attention. Sahel is one of the poorest regions in the world where children already face daunting odds of survival. The current crisis makes their survival even more tenuous. Associated Press photographer, Ben Curtis, documented the conditions in the region. -- Paula Nelson (EDITORS NOTE: We will not be posting Monday, May 14) (32 photos total)
A woman carries her child amidst dusty winds in the desert near Mondo, a village in the Sahel belt of Chad, April 19, 2012. UNICEF estimates that 127,000 children under the age of 5 in Chad's Sahel belt will require lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year, with an estimated 1 million expected throughout the wider Sahel region of West and Central Africa in the countries of Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal and Mauritania. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

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Heavy monsoon rains have been drenching Southeast Asia since mid-July, causing mudslides and widespread flooding. The deluge has now reached Bangkok, with rising water and associated problems affecting most of the city's 10 million residents. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said that parts of the capital could be inundated by up to 1.5 meters of water and remain flooded for up to a month. Around Bangkok, the second-largest airport has closed, food prices are soaring, clean water is becoming scarce, and the country is declaring a holiday from Thursday until Monday to allow people to evacuate. The Chao Phraya river is predicted to overflow its banks in the city sometime today, and authorities say that if the protective dikes fail to hold the water, all parts of Bangkok will be vulnerable to the floodwater. [42 photos]

Residents evacuate from their flooded town, north of Bangkok, on October 25, 2011. Around 320 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, as Thailand experiences the worst flooding in 50 years with damages running as high as $6 billion. (Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad)

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CAMEL CARETAKER CAMEL CARETAKER: A boy looks after his family’s camels in the Kenya-Somalia border town of Liboi Friday in Kenya. Soaring food prices, the worst drought in 60 years and a feeble international response have conspired to throw much of the Horn of Africa into crisis. (Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)

COAL MINE TRAGEDY COAL MINE TRAGEDY: A rescuer rested Friday at the Sukhodolskaya-Vostochnaya coal mine in the Lugansk region in Ukraine. Eighteen miners died and another 20 were reported missing after an explosion in the coal mine. (Alexander Khudoteply/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

HANGING ON HANGING ON: Two dragonflies clamped on a flower stem during a Friday rain shower in Beijing. (ChinaFotoPress/Zuma Press)

CAMP ROCK CAMP ROCK: Festival-goers camped out Friday for the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in Icheon, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

CONVENTION TIME CONVENTION TIME: People lined up Friday at Ani-Com & in Hong Kong, Ani-Com, a fair for comics, animation, games and toys. Organizers are expecting record crowds as scores of fans camped out for nine days to buy coveted limited edition toys. (Mike Clarke/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

FROM ANOTHER ERA FROM ANOTHER ERA: A couple posed for pictures at London’s Vintage Festival on Friday. Festival-goers celebrated seven decades of British music, dance, fashion, food, art, design and film from the 1920s to the 1980s. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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BEIJING (AP) — More than 5 million people have been displaced or otherwise affected by flooding in eastern China that is also pushing up food prices, state media reported Sunday.

Torrential rains have left huge areas of Hubei and Zhejiang provinces under water, with more than 1 million acres (432,200 hectares) of farmland inundated, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Almost 1,000 businesses have been forced to suspend operations and 5.7 million people have had their lives disrupted, Xinhua said in a brief report. More than 7,000 homes collapsed or were otherwise damaged and direct financial damage was estimated at almost 6 billion yuan ($930 million).

The downpour triggered a mudslide that buried houses and killed two people in Zhejiang’s Changshan county, while two more were killed and two left missing by flooding in Hubei, Xinhua said.

Flooding in eastern and southern China this month has left more than 170 people dead or missing. Roads and railways have been blocked, but aid supplies are arriving and the country’s weather bureau says skies are expected to clear up Monday.

Farmers quoted by Xinhua said the flooding was the worst in 20 years, reducing vegetable output by 20 percent and also causing shortages of fruits and grains. Prices for green vegetables were up 40 percent, Xinhua said, adding to an inflation rate of 5.5 percent, a three-year high.

The increase in the consumer price index reported last week was in line with expectations but higher than April’s 5.3 percent and March’s 5.4 percent. The National Statistics Bureau said the main factor was an 11.7 percent jump in food prices.

Higher food prices blamed on flooding were also reported in the eastern provinces of Anhui and Jiangxi, Xinhua said.

China Floods

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Chinese students make their way across a flooded school compound walking along a row of chairs, in Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province, June 18, 2011. More than one million people in China have been evacuated following downpours that have raised water levels in rivers to critical highs, and triggered floods and landslides. Summer rains have left at least 168 people dead or missing so far, and weather authorities warned that flood-hit areas across the southern half of China would experience a fresh round of heavy rainfall. AFP PHOTO #

China Floods

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People make their way through flood water in Lanxi, east China's Zhejiang province on June 20, 2011. Flood-hit areas of central and southern China braced for more heavy rains Monday after millions of people were forced to evacuate or were otherwise affected by the early onset of the rainy season. AFP PHOTO #

China Floods

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Residents clean up after floodwater subsided in Lanxi, eastern China's Zhejiang province on June 21, 2011. China, already hit by torrential downpours that have left more than 260 dead or missing, braced for more rains and wind as a tropical storm neared its southern coast, weather authorities said. AFP PHOTO #

China Floods

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College graduates walk through a flooded lakeside park in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on June 21, 2011. Heavy rains in eastern China have put more than 660 reservoirs at risk of overflowing, an official said Tuesday. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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In this photo taken Tuesday June 21, 2011, a man cycles near a boat in a flooded lakeside park in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. Heavy rains in eastern China have put more than 660 reservoirs at risk of overflowing, an official said Tuesday. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, tourists look at the torrents gushing out from the Xiaolangdi Reservoir on the Yellow River, at the reservoir's viewing platform, in Jiyuan, central China's Henan Province, Tuesday, June 21, 2011. The Yellow River Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters launched on Sunday a 20-day operation to discharge water from three reservoirs, namely Wanjiazhai, Sanmenxia and Xiaolangdi, in a bid to clear up the sediment in the river, Xinhua said. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Miao Qiunao) #

China Floods

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A tricycle wades through a flooded street as people on a wooden boat pass by, in Lanxi city in east China's Zhejiang province Monday, June 20, 2011. Heavy rains pounded Zhejiang province over the weekend and the level of a river that passes through Lanxi city has risen sharply. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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A Chinese man wades through a flooded street with his tricycle in Lanxi city in east China's Zhejiang province Monday, June 20, 2011. Heavy rains pounded Zhejiang province over the weekend and the level of a river that passes through Lanxi city has risen sharply. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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A general view shows damaged homes after flood water swept through Linxiang, central China's Hunan province on June 11, 2011. Floods triggered by torrential rain in southern and central China have killed 52 people and forced more than 100,000 to flee their homes, state media reported. AFP PHOTO #

China Floods

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Rescuers carry a body of a victim after a landslide in Linxiang, central China's Hunan province on June 12, 2011. China's weather authorities warned June 13, 2011 torrential rain that has triggered deadly floods and landslides would continue, as experts said a recent drought was making the situation worse. AFP PHOTO #

China Floods

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A man pushes his car down a flooded street in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province on June 14, 2011. The National Meteorological Centre said heavy rains along the affected middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze river -- China's longest -- were to continue over the next three days, adding to an already serious situation. AFP PHOTO/Peter PARKS #

China Floods

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A man tries to salvage some belongings from his damaged home as flood water hit Laibin, southwest China's Guangxi province on June 16, 2011. China was pounded by more summer rain forcing the evacuation of more than 55,000 people, state media reported, warning of further downpours, while the number of people confirmed killed in more than a week of floods and landslides triggered by the torrential rains had leapt past 100. AFP PHOTO #

China Floods

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Two men on a motorcycle are stuck in floodwaters in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Saturday June 18, 2011. Flooding from this month's seasonal rains has already forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and left more than 170 dead or missing. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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In this photo taken Saturday June 18, 2011, a Chinese man clears the floating garbage in front of buses submerged in floodwaters in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. More than 5 million people have been displaced or otherwise affected by flooding in eastern China that is also pushing up food prices, state media reported Sunday. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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People make their way through flood water in Lanxi, east China's Zhejiang province on June 20, 2011. Flood-hit areas of central and southern China braced for more heavy rains Monday after millions of people were forced to evacuate or were otherwise affected by the early onset of the rainy season. AFP PHOTO #

China Floods

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Villagers use a wooden boat to transfer their pigs from a flooded hogpen in suburb Lanxi city in east China's Zhejiang province Monday, June 20, 2011. Heavy rains pounded Zhejiang province over the weekend and the level of a river that passes through Lanxi city has risen sharply. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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A general view shows a flooded street in Lanxi, east China's Zhejiang province on June 20, 2011. Flood-hit areas of central and southern China braced for more heavy rains Monday after millions of people were forced to evacuate or were otherwise affected by the early onset of the rainy season. AFP PHOTO #

China Floods

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A driver of a wedding limousine calls out for help after his car got stranded along a flooded street in Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province, June 18, 2011. More than one million people in China have been evacuated following downpours that have raised water levels in rivers to critical highs, and triggered floods and landslides. Summer rains have left at least 168 people dead or missing so far, and weather authorities warned that flood-hit areas across the southern half of China would experience a fresh round of heavy rainfall. AFP PHOTO #

China Floods

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Motorists and people wade through floodwaters in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Saturday June 18, 2011. More than 5 million people have been displaced or otherwise affected by flooding in eastern China that is also pushing up food prices, state media reported Sunday. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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In this June 19, 2011 photo provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, a man on a motor scooter makes his way through floodwater in Yingtan, east China's Jiangxi Province. More than 5 million people have been displaced or otherwise affected by flooding in eastern China that is also pushing up food prices, state media reported Sunday. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Hu Nan) #

China Floods

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A Chinese woman uses a pail to remove water from a flooded store in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Saturday, June 18, 2011. Flooding from this month's seasonal rains has already forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and left more than 170 dead or missing. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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In this photo taken Friday, June 17, 2011, a man tries to hold up a woman after stepping into a drain while attempting to walk through flood waters in southwestern China's Chongqing Municipality. Flooding from this month's seasonal rains has already forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and left more than 170 dead or missing. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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A Chinese man rows a makeshift raft in a flooded street in Xianing city in central China's Hubei province on Wednesday, June 15, 2011. More heavy downpours are forecast this week over central and southern China, where seasonal flooding has already killed more than 100 people, Chinese state media reported on Monday. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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Residents walk across the scene of a landslide triggered by torrential rain in the remote village of Guanshan in Linxiang city in southern China's Hunan province Saturday June 11, 2011. More flooding across central China has killed dozens of people, state media reported Friday. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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Residents wade through flood waters as a car drives by in Xianning city in central China's Hubei province, Friday, June 10, 2011. More flooding across central China has killed dozens of people, state media reported Friday. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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A woman mourns over the coffin for a landslide victim in Zhanqiao township in southern China's Hunan province Saturday, June 11, 2011. More flooding across central China has killed dozens of people, state media reported Friday. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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Residents wade through flood waters in a residential neighborhood in Xianning city in central China's Hubei province, June 10, 2011. Torrential rains from Thursday night until early Friday triggered floods and landslides that toppled homes and destroyed river embankments across central China. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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Residents clear debris underneath a bridge in the flood stricken city of Xianning city in central China's Hubei province, June 10, 2011. Torrential rains from Thursday night until early Friday triggered floods and landslides that toppled homes and destroyed river embankments across central China. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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In this photo taken Friday June 10, 2011, residents survey the damages caused by a landslide after torrential rain hit Pingjiang county of Yueyang city in southern China's Hunan province. Torrential rains from Thursday night until early Friday triggered floods and landslides that toppled homes and destroyed river embankments across central China. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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A man cries after his wife and two sons are killed by a landslide triggered by torrential rain that hit Pingjiang county of Yueyang city in southern China's Hunan province on June 10, 2011. Torrential rains from Thursday night until early Friday triggered floods and landslides that toppled homes and destroyed river embankments across central China. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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A man looks at the aftermath of a landslide triggered by torrential rain in Pingjiang county of Yueyang city in southern China's Hunan province. Torrential rains from Thursday night until early Friday triggered floods and landslides that toppled homes and destroyed river embankments across central China. (AP Photo) #

China Floods

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In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, residents look over the area destroyed by a landslide in Yueyang of central China's Hunan Province. A new round of flooding across central China has killed dozens of people, state media said. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhao Zhongzhi) #

China Floods

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A boatman waits to transport food and water to residents trapped after floods hit Zhoushang village of Xiangxi township in Lanxi city in eastern China's Zhejiang province, Friday June 17, 2011. China's surging inflation should rise again this month after flooding damaged crops and pushed up food costs, the government said Wednesday, June 22, 2011. (AP Photo) #

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