The high cost of the recent storms in Britain is still being counted. Other places have fared still worse. All the following stories come from yesterday's news wires.

Indonesia: The death toll from hunger and disease in the province of Irian Jaya has risen to 673. According to the ministry of social affairs, 143,600 people in the region are starving because of Indonesia's worst drought for half a century. The drought is blamed on El Nino.

Bangladesh: In the last two weeks, severe cold has claimed the lives of 219 people. In the capital, Dhaka, thick fog and cold, howling winds are disrupting normal life. Blankets have been sent to 10 areas to protect the homeless against the cold.

Peru: The European Union has earmarked pounds 1m-plus for humanitarian aid projects following the devastating floods caused by El Nino.

Papua New Guinea: The worst drought in 50 years is reported to have intensified, with 75 people confirmed dead and 1.2 million in urgent need of food and water.

China: A new "Society" page in the People's Daily includes an item praising the selfless virtue of a woman who was crippled for life when she used her body to protect state-owned sheep during a snowstorm.