Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα catastrophes. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα catastrophes. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τρίτη, Ιανουαρίου 13, 2015

Haiti marks fifth earthquake anniversary

Haiti has marked the fifth anniversary of the massive earthquake that devastated an already impoverished nation, as officials struggle to resolve a political standoff that has stalled elections for three years.

Five years after the unprecedented category seven quake killed at least 300,000 people and left more that a million homeless, the nation paused for a "Day of Reflection and Commemoration" on Tuesday.

President Michel Martelly led the official tributes, calling for unity to better prepare Haiti for its next challenge.

Laying flowers at a monument in Place St Christophe in the still damaged capital, he paid tribute to the sacrifice of Haitian and foreign rescuers who flocked to Port-au-Prince in 2010.

"Five years later, are we ready to face other catastrophes that could strike Haiti?" he asked.

Haiti's most immediate challenge is not another natural disaster, however, but institutional breakdown combined with persistent poverty.

As of Monday, parliament's mandate ended with no date set for a new election, raising the prospect that Martelly might be left ruling by decree like the country's former dictators.

A last-minute accord signed on Sunday to resolve the institutional impasse was not ratified by parliament before its authority expired, creating a political and institutional vacuum.

Martelly's supporters have blamed the opposition for failing to pass an electoral law that would allow voting, but his opponents accuse him of provoking a stalemate in order to rule alone.

Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 01, 2015

Eco Isotop and Geo Introspect Flash News (January 2015 - A)

Les pertes économiques liées aux désastres et catastrophes naturelles sont évaluées à 113 milliards de dollars (90,7 milliards d’euros) en 2014, en recul de 16% par rapport à 2013 - où ce montant atteignait 135 milliards de dollars - selon une première estimation du groupe suisse de réassurance Swiss Re publiée mercredi......................Dans l’ordre, les pertes les plus importantes ont été causées par les tempêtes de neige au Japon en février dernier

Δευτέρα, Δεκεμβρίου 08, 2014

Israel's Greatest Ecological Catastrophe Unfolding in Arava Desert

The crude oil spill in the Arava Desert, southern Israel, is 'twice as bad as initially estimated,' according to the Israeli Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company....

"The volume of crude oil that spilled into the Arava Desert last week is 60 percent larger than the amount that was originally reported, the company responsible for the pipeline acknowledged on Sunday night," Haaretz, the Israeli news agency reported.
Although the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) initially reported of a spill between one million and 1.5 million liters, it later revised its calculation to three million liters. However, the company reported on Sunday a report issued by the company on Sunday has revealed that some five million liters of crude oil spilled out of the pipeline last Thursday, December 4.

"We were skeptical about the figures provided by the company from the start," a ministry official said on December 8, as cited by Haaretz.

Meanwhile damage control teams have already removed 13,000 tons of polluted soil in order to reduce the impact of the pipeline leak.

The Times of Israel notes that according to weather forecasts heavy rainfall is expected in the region later this week. It has sparked concerns among ministry officials over the possibility of further contamination of the area, including the Gulf of Eilat, home to rare coral reefs, which could be damaged by the leak, the media outlet stresses.

Haaretz notes, however, that dams are being erected in order to prevent the oil flowing into this area.

"It's the biggest ecological disaster Israel has seen. This is because of the material itself, crude oil, which is particularly hard to flush out, and the location of the spill [on the reserve]," Gilad Golub of Israel's Environmental Services Company told Agence France Presse.

The Times of Israel notes that Eilat residents have already filed a lawsuit against the pipeline operators referring to the tremendous environmental damage caused through negligence.

"Mellish is demanding NIS 220 million ($55m) to rehabilitate the environment in coordination with the Environment Minster and the Israel Nature and Parks authority, as well as another NIS 180 million ($45m) for the 48,000 residents of Eilat for damage to their health and discomfort caused by the ecological disaster," the media outlet reports.

More than 80 people on both sides of the Israel-Jordan border have complained about health problems caused by the spill.


Σάββατο, Ιανουαρίου 18, 2014

Climate catastrophe? Weather anomalies to double in 20 years – expert

Both experts and residents of various continents are surprised at the twists and turns of this winter’s weather. Christmas thaw was something the residents of many Central Russian cities have never seen. The coldest temperature of the century left the Niagara Falls icebound. A persistent heat wave in Australia with temperatures reaching 42 degrees above zero Celsius prompted the organizers to cancel the prestigious Australia Open tennis tournament.

Director of the Climate and Energy Programme of the World Wildlife Fund, Alexei Kokorin, believes that weather extremes will grow increasingly frequent in the next few decades due to the ongoing climate change. Weather freaks on all continents stem from one process and are related to atmospheric and ocean physics.
"Meridional air mass circulation has gained in intensity, so instead of enjoying the same usual kind of weather during summer or winter we have to endure, for example, a month of very cold weather followed by a month-long heat wave".

Kokorin points out that some weather extremes may be prompted by the planet’s natural climate fluctuations. But the anthropogenic factor, of human influence, plays the key role in atmospheric pollution and in boosting the greenhouse effect. According to weather forecasts, we shall see and have to cope with the effects of natural disasters increasingly often in the next few years.

"The number of natural disasters has doubled over the past 15 years. 2012 saw a record high number of natural calamities, while the number of those in 2013 was only slightly lower. But in 2011, natural disasters were at a record low in recent years. We should realize, of course, that the number of dangerous phenomena will most likely double in a matter of 20 years".

The expert feels, however, that one need expect no global climate catastrophe in the coming centuries and should concentrate instead on some burning problems, of which the gravest is the continuing sea level rise, making prospects for littoral areas look bleak. Fresh water shortages are likely to become another global problem. Countries from Portugal to China’s western border, as well as some areas of Africa, South and North America, and Australia may suffer water shortages. Water resources deficit may result in a forced migration of up to one billion people worldwide and consequently in a major change in the economy of regions.


Δευτέρα, Νοεμβρίου 11, 2013

Vers des cyclones plus violents et pluvieux .

AFP - Les climatologues n'ont toujours pas établi de lien formel entre cyclones et réchauffement climatique, mais ils s'attendent à des phénomènes de plus en plus violents liés à la montée de la température des océans.
Au moment même où les Philippines comptaient leurs morts, dont le total pourrait dépasser les 10.000 après le passage du typhon Haiyan, la 19e conférence de l'ONU sur le changement climatique s'ouvrait lundi à Varsovie: plus de 190 nations épaulées par une armée d'experts forts de très peu de certitudes.
L'étude des cyclones manque cruellement, il est vrai, de "bases de données assez homogènes car il n'y avait pas de satellites avant les années 70", fait remarquer Fabrice Chauvin, chercheur au Centre national de recherches météorologiques, à Toulouse.

"Nous manquons de recul", confirme à l'AFP Hervé Le Treut, professeur à l'Université Pierre et Marie Curie, à Paris Jussieu, spécialiste notamment de la modélisation numérique du système climatique.
Le dernier point international sur le réchauffement date de septembre 2013, quand le Groupe d'experts sur l'évolution du climat (Giec), mandaté par l'ONU, a rendu publique une partie de son dernier rapport.
Férus de termes mesurés, adeptes de la périphrase prudente, ces experts ont quand même convenu qu'il était "virtuellement certain que la surface supérieure de l'océan s'est réchauffée de 1971 à 2010".
Ce réchauffement est évalué à environ 0,1 degré Celsius par décennie pour les 75 mètres proches de la surface, jusqu'à 0,015°C à moins 700m.
Un constat soutenu par trois méthodes indépendantes d'observation, qui permettent aux climatologues d'estimer "vraisemblable que la partie supérieure de l'océan se soit réchauffée aussi durant la première moitié du 20e siècle".

Ce réchauffement est-il dû aux activités de l'Homme ? est-il supérieur à la "variabilité naturelle" de la planète ? le débat reste ouvert, mais dès son rapport de 2007, le Giec estimait "probable", sur la base de modélisations, que les cyclones soient à l'avenir plus intenses et plus pluvieux.
"Source d'énergie"
Paradoxalement, Fabrice Chauvin fait d'abord remarquer que ces mêmes modélisations informatiques pointent vers un nombre plus restreint de cyclones, pour des raisons différentes, liées à l'atmosphère, avec notamment des vents moins homogènes.
"Mais quand il y en aura, il y aura des phénomènes plus intenses en termes de précipitations", ajoute-t-il.
"Comme les températures de surface des océans sont plus élevées, cela va alimenter une source d'énergie plus importante pour les cyclones. Il y aura donc une tendance à avoir des cyclones un peu plus violents", explique-t-il à l'AFP.
"Une température plus importante à la base, cela va alimenter un phénomène plus fort d'évaporation et donc davantage de pluies disponibles", croit-il.
"On peut penser qu'effectivement, on a une mécanique qui peut favoriser des cyclones puissants", estime aussi Hervé Le Treut.
"Il existe une tendance au réchauffement (des océans) et une augmentation de l'intensité des cyclones fait partie des risques", ajoute-t-il.
Lui aussi s'attend à davantage de précipitations. "S'il fait plus chaud, on a davantage d'eau dans l'atmosphère et de manière générale, on peut s'attendre à avoir des intensités de pluie plus fortes dans un monde plus chaud".
Le typhon Haiyan, le plus violent à avoir jamais touché la terre ferme, donnera en tout cas à réfléchir à la conférence de Varsovie qui doit lancer deux années de négociation pour déboucher en 2015, à Paris, sur un accord global contraignant de réduction des gaz à effet de serre, à l'origine du réchauffement, qui entrerait en vigueur à partir de 2020.

Κυριακή, Απριλίου 21, 2013

Frantic search for China quake survivors .... Rescuers overcome landslides and 1,100 aftershocks to reach Sichuan region where earthquake killed at least 203 people.

Thousands of rescuers are fighting to thwart a rising death toll as they search earthquake-shattered villages in southwest China for survivors.

  More than 90 people have been pulled alive from rubble as more than 17,000 rescuers help out [AFP]
Rescue teams battled landslides and collapsed roads to reach isolated parts of Sichuan province on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, in images aired on state broadcaster CCTV on Sunday.

At least 203 people have so far been confirmed dead, with 6,000 injured in Saturday's 6.6 magnitude quake. Almost 1,000 were seriously injured in the quake.

Soldiers searched through the night and day for survivors in villages where houses had been destroyed and treated some of the injured.
China's new Premier Li Keqiang has rushed to the disaster zone and was shown by CCTV eating breakfast in a tent.

"The rescue effort is our first duty," he told state media.
Xinhua news agency said more than 17,000 Chinese soldiers, pilots and police had joined the rescue mission and five drones were sent to capture aerial images.
A military vehicle carrying 17 troops headed for the quake area plummeted over a cliff on Saturday, killing one soldier and injuring seven others.
Al Jazeera’s Robert McBride, reporting from Hong Kong, said the suddenness of the earthquake had contrasted with the 2008 one in the same province, which left more than 90,000 people dead or missing.
"People are now watching to see how the new leadership is dealing with this," McBride said.
"This their first test of how they deal this natural disaster."
The rescue operation was hampered by huge queues of traffic, some stretching back for 20km, that clogged roads into the disaster zone.

It was as if the mountain was alive ... Now I have no home to go
Sichuan earthquake survivor 
"We really want to go in and help people, but instead we are waiting in traffic," one relief official said in his car.
Boulders the size of cars littered streets in Lushan county, the epicentre of the earthquake.
More than 1,100 aftershocks have followed since the quake struck Sichuan province on Saturday morning.
Chinese seismologists registered the tremor at 7.0 magnitude while the US Geological Survey gave it as 6.6.
Firefighters helped by sniffer dogs pulled 91 people alive from the rubble, Xinhua said, citing the Ministry of Public Security.
A steady stream of ambulances continued to arrive at Lushan People's Hospital on Sunday.
Most survivors were taken to tents erected in the grounds surrounding the hospital, where doctors treated the wounded.
Power cut
A 68-year-old woman with a broken arm spoke of the terror she experienced when the earthquake struck.
Devastation left people vying for basic needs, such as food, water and blankets, as quake razed homes [AFP]
"It was as if the mountain was alive," she told the AFP news agency. "Now I have no home to go, so I don't know what I am going to do."
The earthquake cut off power and water supplies to much of the area, with Longquan villager Sot Yang Yiyun among the many affected.
"Now we don't have drinking water and power," Sot said.
"We must wait for the government to come and help us out. Also we want to call for help from other parts of the country."
Earthquake-prone Japan, which has been mired in tension with China over a high-seas territorial dispute , offered any help that was required.
"Japan is ready to offer its maximum support," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a message to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li, according to Japan's foreign ministry.
China responded that overseas help was not needed but it would contact Tokyo if the situation changed, the ministry said.

Τρίτη, Ιανουαρίου 08, 2013

'Catastrophic': Hundreds of wildfires rage in Australia amid record heat wave (VIDEO, PHOTOS RT)

A heat wave that has already caused devastating fires on the Island state of Tasmania, with 100 people still missing, has now moved to mainland Australia and is reaping havoc in New South Wales, as the heat wave looks to smash records.
­In some areas temperatures have shot up by as much as 20C in three hours and combined with 50 mph winds have created disastrous fire conditions.

Right across Australia records have been broken by the heat wave and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has been forced to add colors to its forecast charts to take account of temperatures of 50-54 degrees Celsius.
Australia’s all-time record of 50.7 degrees; set in January 1960 at Oodnadatta in South Australia is likely to be smashed over the coming days. On Tuesday, in some places temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius were recorded.
“The scale has just been increased today and I would anticipate it is because the forecast coming from the bureau’s model is showing temperatures in excess of 50 degrees,” David Jones , the BoM’s head of climate monitoring, told Fairfax newspapers.
Australia as a whole experienced its hottest day on record on Monday, with average maximum temperatures across the entire country reaching 40.33 degrees breaking the previous record of 40.17 degrees set in 1972.
More than 130 fires are already blazing away in New South Wales (NSW), where fire officials said conditions were among the worst they had ever seen for wildfires. Fires had already burnt more than 30,000 hectares of land across NSW.
There are also wildfires burning in Victoria with 20 homes evacuates in Chepstowe, west of Australia’s second city Melbourne.
Houses destroyed by a bushfire are seen in ruins in Dunalley, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of Hobart, January 5, 2013. (Reuters/Chris Kidd/Pool)
Houses destroyed by a bushfire are seen in ruins in Dunalley, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of Hobart, January 5, 2013. (Reuters/Chris Kidd/Pool)
Land continues to burn in Tasmania where blazes last weekend destroyed 90 homes and 20,000 hectares of farm land and forest.
Officials on the island are still unsure of the fate of 100 people who went missing since last week, after fires destroyed the town of Dunalley.
In the current terrifying conditions, fires can become so hot that they create their own lightning storms, which can in turn ignite more fires, and ember showers can fly up to 15 miles ahead of a fire, igniting new fires in areas not yet alight. Experts warn that the intense heat being generated by the fires can kill people before the flames even reach them.
The conditions hark back to Black Saturday in the state of Victoria in 2009, when 172 people were killed by fires. This time emergency services are not taking any risks and have already closed national parks, ordered tourists out of campsites and are following the movements of known arsonists.
“We are at a catastrophic level and clearly in those areas leaving early is your safest option,” New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.
The Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said that it is important for people to keep themselves safe and listen to local authorities and their warnings.  She also stressed that the fires were being called catastrophic for a reason.
The Bega Valley is one of the areas authorities are most worried about, where fast moving scrub and grass fires are threatening homes.
Properties were under threat in the city of Wagga Wagga where the local highway has been closed. The Southern Ranges, the Riverina and Shoalhaven have also been given a catastrophic rating.
The heat, wind and dryness – ideal conditions for wildfires – follow a record four months of dry weather, allowing mere smoldering stumps and embers from areas already burned to blow into unburnt country.
However, the BoM is predicting cooler conditions to arrive across NSW by Wednesday morning.
This undated handout picture provided by New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW Rural Fire Service) on January 8, 2013 shows smoke billowing as a bushfire burns near Green Point in New South Wales. (AFP Photo/ NSW Rural Fire Service)
This undated handout picture provided by New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW Rural Fire Service) on January 8, 2013 shows smoke billowing as a bushfire burns near Green Point in New South Wales. (AFP Photo/ NSW Rural Fire Service)
This undated handout aerial picture provided by New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW Rural Fire Service) on January 8, 2013 shows a bushfire burning 8km south west of Naradhan, north of Griffith in New South Wales.  (AFP Photo/ NSW Rural Fire Service)
This undated handout aerial picture provided by New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW Rural Fire Service) on January 8, 2013 shows a bushfire burning 8km south west of Naradhan, north of Griffith in New South Wales. (AFP Photo/ NSW Rural Fire Service)
Smoke rises from the Yarrabin bushfire, burning out of control near Cooma, about 100km (62 miles) south of Canberra January 8, 2013. (Reuters/Tim Wimborne)
Smoke rises from the Yarrabin bushfire, burning out of control near Cooma, about 100km (62 miles) south of Canberra January 8, 2013. (Reuters/Tim Wimborne)
This aerial photograph taken on January 5, 2013 shows the devastation to property between Dunalley and Boomer Bay after bush fires swept through the area. (AFP Photo/Pool/Chris Kidd)
This aerial photograph taken on January 5, 2013 shows the devastation to property between Dunalley and Boomer Bay after bush fires swept through the area. (AFP Photo/Pool/Chris Kidd)

Κυριακή, Ιανουαρίου 06, 2013

With disasters on the rise, relief is the problem

The popular perception that natural disasters are on the rise has now been confirmed. Private insurers are preparing for rough weather, and governments would do well to heed calls for more precautionary measures.
Munich Re, the world's largest re-insurer, had little good news to report in its January 3 wrap-up of disasters in 2012. Hurricane Sandy, droughts in the American Midwest, an Italian earthquake, a series of Midwest tornadoes and Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines were just five of the more than 900 events worldwide that caused $160 billion-worth of damage (122 billion euros) to the worldwide economy.
Since 2006 it has been rare for worldwide disasters to number under 900 in any given year. This is in stark contrast to the 1980s, when a terrible year might have seen a mere 500 disasters.

Japanese Prime Mister Shinzo Abe with a breathing mask on on a visit to Fukushima looks off camera with concern (Photo: ITSUO INOUYE/AFP/Getty Images)  
The clean-up operation at Fukushima posed unprecedented challenges
The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake which led to the explosion at the Fukushima nuclear reactor became the most expensive disaster in history. So far it has cost $235 billion (180 billion euros). Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which left much of New Orleans under water, comes in at second at $81 billion.
Insurance companies bear a large part of these costs. But of Hurricane Sandy's estimated $60 billion price tag, only $25 billion was actually insured. And on top of their financial losses, those affected may also suffer long-lasting personal and emotional damage.
Around the world, more people than ever are requiring financial assistance - through private insurance, public insurance or government aid - to rebuild their lives. The question is, will they get it?

FEMA's responsibilities
61-year-old Betty Ann Fuller is a case in point when it comes to the complexities of reclaiming losses. Since Hurricane Sandy destroyed her home in October 2012, she has received just two payments of $1,410 dollars for living expenses. Those came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Some of the groceries she purchased then spoiled when her hotel lost power.
She is still waiting for insurance payments from her private insurer: $223,000 for the house, $31,000 for lost rent, and $1,500 for out-of-pocket expenses. "I had to tally every stinkin' thing in my house, including the toilet paper," she says. Her private insurer is based in New Jersey.
A fallen tree lies atop a smashed, white-picket fence in the front yard of a house. (Photo:Kathy Kmonicek/AP/dapd)  
In New York 330,000 homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy
Two weeks after evacuating and moving into a local hotel, she was picked up by a bus and taken back to her property. "The Red Cross was there with a truck to give us some meals," she says. "They were handing out meatloaf dinners. They were very visible and helpful."
As for government assistance, Betty Ann Fuller has nothing but praise. "I am very, very pleased with FEMA - their support groups with regard to insurance, mental issues, any subject related to loss," she says. "They are right there in our town, you can go to them anytime, talk to them, and they help you."
Three individuals in blue FEMA uniforms pass cartons to each other in front of a pink building (Photo: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images) 
FEMA has been providing assistance to local communities devastated by Sandy
That help was recently endangered. While US Congress ultimately approved $9.7 billion in borrowing power for FEMA on Friday (04.01.2013), the congressional bickering left a sense of doubt in New Jersey as to whether the US government can be counted on to provide adequate funding in times of crisis.
"I'm disappointed in the federal government right now - with what's going on in Congress and the Senate," Fuller said.
A FEMA spokesperson told Deutsche Welle that FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program is having difficulty covering costs: "There are more claims than there are premiums coming in."

Preparing for future catastrophes
Dr. Robert P. Hartwig, president of the New-York-based Insurance Information Institute, is keen to reassure desperate homeowners, while also distancing private insurance from its public equivalent.
"It should be known that there is no 'fiscal cliff' in the property-casualty insurance or reinsurance industry," Hartwig says in an online seminar. "The industry makes sure that it has the resources in the bank before a disaster occurs. It is not something to be reckoned with afterwards, and that is a responsibility that insurers and re-insurers around the world take very seriously."
A wrecked house sits inside of a wind tunnel. (Photo: http://ofb.ibhs.org/media/images/gallery?imageGalleryId=4570#dialog= 
The IHBS is particularly interested in how high wind speeds affect the structure of a home.
Another important approach is to find new ways of limiting potential damage. Carl Hedde, head of risk accumulation at the Munich-based Munich Re, hopes to be able to better prepare homeowners - and homes - before events occur.
"Over the last couple of years the Institute for Business and Home Safety has built the world's largest research facility in South Carolina. We're supporting the testing of building codes, and we've also tested building materials."
Measures like these could help to save houses like Betty Ann Fuller's. After being battered by wind and rain, her home was ultimately destroyed by a fire that swept through 30 houses.
"I have no family, so I lost my whole life," she told Deutsche Welle. "When I left the house I took three days' worth of clothing, a picture of my mother and father, and my son's ashes. My son passed away in 2007 at the age of 25. All of his diaries and personal effects were still packed and I never got to put them away, and I am devastated that I lost all that."
Deutsce Welle
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