Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα natural disasters. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα natural disasters. 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.
aljazeera.com
13/1/15
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Παρασκευή, Ιανουαρίου 02, 2015

Eco Geoplasm and Ydrodrom World News (January 2015 - B)

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Les catastrophes naturelles en 2014 ont coûté nettement moins de vies humaines et causé moins de dégâts matériels que celles de 2013, selon une étude publiée mercredi par Munich Re .

Le géant allemand de la réassurance, dont l’étude annuelle fait référence en la matière, estime à 110 milliards de dollars (93 milliards d’euros) les coûts cumulés des catastrophes de l’an dernier, moins que l’année précédente (140 milliards de dollars) et que la moyenne des dix et même des 30 dernières années....................Le coût des catastrophes naturelles a reculé en 2014

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January 2015 a

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Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 01, 2015

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

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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
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Τετάρτη, Δεκεμβρίου 31, 2014

Death toll from tropical storm rises to 35 in Philippines

Tropical storm Jangmi, locally known as Seniang, has claimed at least 35 lives in the central and southern parts of the Philippines, the government disaster relief agency said Wednesday.

Jangmi also left 26 others injured and eight missing, while forcing more than 5,000 families to live in 79 evacuation centers, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in a report issued Wednesday morning.

The tropical storm maintained its strength as it moves closer to the Palawan Island in the western part of the country, packing peak winds of 65 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 80 kph.

Due to bad weather, 17,656 passengers have been stranded at ports, 14 domestic flights have been canceled, 43 roads and 22 bridges are not passable in Visayas and Mindanao regions. Some provinces in central Philippines are experiencing power or water interruption, the agency said.

 Source: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
31/12/14
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Σάββατο, Δεκεμβρίου 27, 2014

Severe flooding hits southeast Asia (Malaysia and Thailand among countries affected)


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Severe flooding has killed 13 people and left at least 180,000 displaced in Malaysia and neighbouring Thailand, officials said.

In Malaysia, rescue teams on Saturday were struggling to reach inundated areas in the northeast as victims accused the government of being slow to provide aid and assistance after the country's worst flooding in decades.

Malaysians have vented their anger at Prime Minister Najib Razak after the release of photos which went viral on social media showing him playing golf with US President Barack Obama during the storms.

The number of people forced to flee their homes climbed past 120,000 with weather forecasters warning of no respite for the northeastern states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. 

The under-fire-Najib was expected to arrive in Kelantan on Saturday to lead the national flood response after cutting short his vacation in Hawaii, his aide Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad told the AFP news agency.

The government has allocated about $14m to manage relief centres. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin admitted rescuers were facing challenges with power outages and roads being washed away by the floods.

"I admit the situation is challenging to the rescue workers and we are trying our best to make sure that the food arrives to the victims depending on the flood situation," he was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper.

Military helicopters and trucks were seen in Kota Bharu area, which is near the border with southern Thailand, but rescue efforts were being hampered by fast rising waters and strong currents while roads to hard-hit areas were impassable.
"The severity and scale of the floods had taken the authorities completely by surprise as it was worse than anticipated, overwhelming all disaster management plans and preparations," Lim Kit Siang, veteran opposition MP with the Democratic Action Party said in a statement on Saturday.

Muddy lake
Kelantan, one of the worst-affected areas, is led by the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) and is one of the poorest states in the country.
From the air, parts of the state capital Kota Bharu resembled a vast, muddy lake, with row after row of rooftops peeking out of the murky waters.
Tempers flared among people sheltering at a crowded relief centre just outside Kota Bharu, with fears the situation would worsen as it continued to rain in surrounding areas.
"I am angry with them [the government]. We don't care about their politics. We just want the government to do what they should do and help us," 23-year-old Farhana Suhada, who works for a courier service, told AFP.
Neighbouring Thailand's disaster prevention and mitigation department on Friday declared disaster zones in eight of its southern provinces after floods killed at least 13 people.
The zones are in Surat Thani, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Pattalung, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Songkhla and also Trang, which has been flooded since mid-December.

More than 184,000 households have been affected by the floods and nearly 8,000 displaced, according to the department.
Although the water level is receding in Nakorn Sri Thammarat and Surat Thani provinces, authorities are monitoring the situation around the clock
 [aljazeera.com]
27/12/14
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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.

[sputniknews.com]
8/12/14
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Πέμπτη, Δεκεμβρίου 04, 2014

Oil pipeline bursts near Israel-Jordan border.(the reason for the spill was under investigation)

An oil pipeline rupture has caused thousands of cubic metres of crude oil to spill into the Arava desert in southern Israel near the border with Jordan, officials said Thursday (Dec 4).The incident took place just north of the Red Sea resort city of Eilat and 500m from the frontier. 

The spill was "a couple of kilometres long", according to an Israeli environment ministry spokeswoman who was unable to give more specific information.

She said it was unclear whether there was any foul play and environmental authorities would open an investigation. "They have forces on the ground that prevented it from spreading to Jordan," she added.
The leak involved a 245km pipeline carrying crude oil from the southern port city of Ashkelon on Israel's Mediterranean coast to Eilat. 

Ronen Moshe, spokesman for the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC), said the spill happened at 12.45 am on Thursday in a new section of the pipeline.
"The leak has been stopped," he said, adding that the reason for the spill was under investigation. "There are dozens of people in the field taking care of the aftermath," he said, indicating there had been no impact on supply. According to the company's website, the EAPC was founded in 1968 and serves as a land bridge for transporting crude oil between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

Δευτέρα, Σεπτεμβρίου 22, 2014

Night flight operations in N. Philippine airport halted due to typhoon damage

Night flight operations in an international airport in northern Philippines have been suspended after its runway was partly damaged by tropical storm Fung-Wong (local name Mario), the state aviation agency said Monday.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said that it has informed the airline operators that arrival and departure of their aircraft were temporarily halted from sunset to sunrise at the Laoag International Airport in Ilocos Norte province.

It cited the breakdown of the airport's runway edge light after the heavy rains spawned by Fung-Wong inundated the runway, grounding electrical connections.

"Airlines are only allowed to operate during day time from 6 a. m. to 6 p.m. until the grounded portion of runway are fixed," CAAP said.

Technical personnel were already deployed in the area to fix the problem, it added.

As of Monday, Fung-Wong has left 11 people dead, 12 injured and two missing.
  • Of the 258,976 families affected in 1,126 villages in 27 provinces in northern part of the Philippines, including Metro Manila, 30,266 families or 129,676 individuals were being assisted at 324 evacuation centers.
Sources: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
22/9/14
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Powerful Storm Blows Through Taiwan, Hits China

Taiwan has begun cleanup efforts after Tropical Storm Fung-Wong pounded the island with massive downpours, while China braced for the onslaught of the upgraded Typhoon Fung-Wong.

The powerful storm arrived in Taiwan Sunday, pounding the north and south of the island but causing only limited damage. It blew into the South China Sea Monday morning, leaving at least one person dead and four injured.
East China's Zhejiang Province faced a strengthened storm as Fung-Wong made landfall Monday afternoon.

Authorities say more than 157,000 people have been evacuated from coastal areas.

Fung-Wong, which means "phoenix" in Chinese, caused severe damage when it moved through the Philippines Friday and Saturday, killing at least five people.
http://www.voanews.com/content/powerful-storm-blows-through-taiwan-hits-china/2457819.html
22/9/14
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Σάββατο, Σεπτεμβρίου 20, 2014

Death toll in Typhoon Fung-Wong climbs to 7 in Philippines. (A total 118,839 families or 530,438 persons were affected by the storm)

Typhoon Fung-Wong, which was enhanced by southwest monsoon, left at least seven people dead in the northern parts of the Philippines, including Metro Manila, the state disaster management agency said Saturday.

In its 8:00 a.m. report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said that six other people were injured, while one was missing.


Of those who died, two were female and the rest were male, who were either drowned, electrocuted or hit by falling objects.

A 55-year old male was reported missing in Quezon City, Metro Manila.

  • A total 118,839 families or 530,438 persons were affected by the storm, of which 23,581 families or 93,062 individuals were inside 181 evacuation centers.

Some areas in the provinces of Apayao, Abra, Benguet, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Laguna and Occidental Mindoro were experiencing power interruption.

A total of 2,400 passengers, 15 vessels, 254 rolling cargoes were stranded in central region of Visayas due to rough sea condition.

Meanwhile, 46 flgihts, six international and 40 domestic, were diverted or canceled.

An estimated 87 roads and five bridges are still not passable in the capital region of Metro Manila and southern Luzon island.

Sources: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
20/9/14
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Τρίτη, Αυγούστου 19, 2014

Briefing Security Council, UN deputy chief urges protection for frontline ‘humanitarian heroes’

UN,19 August 2014 – United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson had one main message – “we must protect humanitarian workers” – as he marked World Humanitarian Day with a special briefing to the Security Council, addressing a subject critical to people caught in conflict.
Recalling that the Day commemorates the 19 August 2003 bombing of the UN premises at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Mr. Eliasson said the occasion is “dedicated to the memory of all the staff members and partners who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty for the humanitarian imperative.”

“We have since then seen shocking tragedies and terrorist acts against UN personnel and premises in places like Algeria, Nigeria, Somalia and Afghanistan. These appalling incidents remain fresh in our minds,” he added during his briefing, which also included statements from Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Masood Director and Co-Founder of The Liaison, an Afghan non-governmental organization (NGO).
Humanitarian workers from the UN, the ICRC, international organizations and NGO’s dedicate their lives to assisting millions of women, children and men affected by conflicts and natural disasters around the world. Working in some of the most dangerous places, they take great risks to help people in desperate need.
“Yet, all too frequently,” Mr. Eliasson continued “their safety is compromised in the most despicable of ways: by threats, by attacks, and by the use of illegal methods of warfare that endanger lives or damage the infrastructure needed for the delivery of assistance.”
Such acts are part of a brutalization seen today in which parties to conflict often ignore international humanitarian law and target civilians for political and military gains. They have used collective punishment, incited ethnic violence, impeded the delivery of humanitarian assistance and attacked humanitarian actors.
He commented: “What this represents is nothing less than a deficit of humanity. Regretfully, this trend is getting worse, rather than better.”
Last year, more humanitarian workers were kidnapped, seriously injured or killed than ever before: 155 were reportedly killed; 171 were wounded and 134 kidnapped – representing a 66 per cent increase from 2012. According to preliminary figures, 2014 has already witnessed the deaths of 79 humanitarian workers in addition to 33 wounded and 50 kidnapped.
“In Somalia alone,” Mr. Eliasson asserted, “over a dozen humanitarian staff were kidnapped or detained during the first quarter of 2014. In recent weeks, several humanitarian workers have been killed in South Sudan and in Gaza.”
The consequences are not only felt by humanitarian workers and their families but also by the millions of people who cannot be reached when assistance is sabotaged by violence. They are felt by the children who do not get vaccinated; the sick and wounded who go untreated; and by those forced from their homes and left without shelter.
In recent years, the majority of incidents have occurred in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria – with the overwhelming majority of victims being national humanitarian workers struggling to save the lives of their own people.
“As we mourn these losses, and recall the plight of the many wounded and kidnapped, we must not accept this as the necessary cost of operating in risky environments,” Mr. Eliasson argued. “Our shared responsibility is to do everything we can to provide humanitarians with the safety and the space they need to do their life-saving work.”
Humanitarian action must not be politicized. A clear distinction between humanitarian actors and political or military actors must be guarded – even when military objectives are to protect civilians.
“If these lines are blurred, perceptions of humanitarian organizations can change quickly and radically and further expose them to violence,” warned the UN deputy chief. “For this reason, political and military actors must respect the need for humanitarian actors to carry out their work in an impartial, neutral and independent manner. Dialogue on how to best maintain this distinction – strike this balance, I would say – is an on-going endeavour.”
“This must include preserving the ability of humanitarian workers to engage with all parties to conflict. Such engagement serves humanitarian purposes. But I want to stress that it does not confer legal status or political legitimacy on non-state groups,” he explained.
Mr. Eliasson outlined four priority actions for the Security Council to support urgently needed humanitarian work in conflict situations. First, it can routinely call on parties to conflict to uphold their legal obligations – and condemn them when they do not.
Second, the Council can ensure that measures to safeguard peace and security, such as the negotiation of peace agreements or deployment of UN peacekeeping operations, do not blur the lines between political, military and humanitarian objectives. “Humanitarian efforts, essential as they are, are no substitute for political action to resolve the causes of conflicts,” Mr. Eliasson underscored.
Third, the Council can impose targeted measures against parties to conflict who violate their obligations to respect and protect humanitarian workers and the civilian population.
And finally, it can use all tools at its disposal to seek accountability for those who perpetrate attacks against humanitarian workers and assets. “This means supporting investigations and prosecutions at the national level, creating special criminal tribunals or mixed arrangements, making use of commissions of enquiry and fact finding missions, and referring relevant situations to the International Criminal Court,” elaborated the Deputy Secretary-General.
Those who take civilian populations hostage – consciously spreading fear and using intimidation to reach their goals – must never succeed.
Mr. Eliasson closed by reiterating that attacks against humanitarian workers and facilities were part of a deeply disturbing trend. “I think of the increase in unacceptable and cowardly attacks against civilians in armed conflict, and the sadly growing lack of respect for international humanitarian law. Let us not accept, but let us stop, the growing deficit of humanity,” he pressed.
On World Humanitarian Day, the Deputy Secretary-General encouraged everyone to honour the victims. “Let us protect the heroes on the frontlines of disaster and war, and let us do everything we can to help them – and to help us all – to alleviate human suffering in a difficult time of turmoil and violence in the world,” he concluded.
 [un.org]
19/8/14

Σάββατο, Ιουλίου 19, 2014

Typhoon Rammasun strikes South China

Super typhoon Rammasun, the strongest to hit South China since 1973, made landfall in Wenchang, South China's Hainan Province on Friday afternoon, and continued to ravage Guangdong Province on Friday evening.

According to the National Meteorological Center, the typhoon landed in Wenchang packing rainstorms and winds of up to 60 meters per second and the lowest central atmospheric pressure dropped to 910 hectopascals.

The meteorological center forecast that some of the coastal areas in Hainan, Guangdong and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region would have to sustain gales and heavy rainstorms until Sunday. The rainfall is expected to surpass 600 millimeters in some of the regions.


The center is warning against possible geological disasters including landslides and mudslides in Yunnan Province and Hainan, and water logging in farmland as well as in-city surface water logging in Hainan, southwestern Guangdong and southern Guangxi.

Although more than 198,000 fishermen and residents in areas in possible danger in Hainan had been evacuated by 8 am Friday, around 1,300 people were trapped in rural Wenchang soon after the typhoon landed, according to the Hainan provincial command center for flood prevention, drought control and typhoon response. At least one person died in Wenchang, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The Hainan provincial tourism authority issued an urgent circular on Friday and Guangdong provincial authorities put their emergency response system at the highest level.

Typhoon Rammasun is expected to land in Guangxi early on Saturday morning. "This is possibly the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Guangxi since 1949," said Zhang Ling, chief forecaster at the Typhoon and Marine Forecast Center of the China Meteorological Administration.

The typhoon had killed 64 and injured another 100-plus in the Philippines by Friday since it made landfall there Tuesday night.

 By Ni Dandan Source:Global Times 
19/7/14
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Τετάρτη, Ιουλίου 02, 2014

UN initiative strengthens drought monitoring and early warning in Asia-Pacific

UN, 1 July 2014 – Although drought is a “silent killer” in Asia and the Pacific, access to scientific information and knowledge remain a challenge for many countries in the region, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said today at a milestone forum on drought monitoring and early warning.
“Over the past three decades, it is estimated that droughts in the region have affected more than 1.3 billion people and caused damages of over $53 billion,” Shamika Sirimanne, Director of ESCAP’s Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division, said today in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The meeting, organized by ESCAP and the Sri Lanka Ministry of Technology and Research, drew senior Government representatives, regional experts and UN agencies to exchange good practices and discuss strategies to reduce the impacts of agricultural drought and help save lives.
Ms. Sirimanne emphasized that efforts to reduce the impacts of drought require timely access to satellite-derived data. “Signs of drought can be observed from space long before they are visible to the human eye. Advances in space technology allow us to monitor the condition of crops, or the availability of water, from satellite images, and sharing this information through regional cooperation will save lives and protect livelihoods.”
However, despite significant progress in monitoring agricultural drought, access to satellite-derived data and knowledge for improving early warning remains a challenge for many countries in Asia and the Pacific.
In 2013, ESCAP launched the Regional Drought Mechanism – a platform providing timely and free satellite-based data; products; and training to regional drought-prone countries – to enhance the capacity of Governments for agricultural monitoring and early warning. When combined with information collected on the ground, the data leads to more effective detection of potential drought conditions.
“For example, satellite images can detect the onset of drought in specific areas or provinces, allowing time for local authorities to take immediate action, such as informing farmers to switch to more drought-resistant crops or implementing water management strategies,” Ms. Sirimanne elaborated.
The Sri Lankan Minister of Technology and Research, Patali Champika Ranawaka warned, “This year may witness the beginning of another El Niño period affecting Sri Lanka – possibly with serious implications for agriculture, one of the most important sectors for the country.”
“We have great hope that ESCAP’s Regional Drought Mechanism will help Sri Lanka address this issue by expanding our options for monitoring and responding to agricultural drought, in the meantime effectively harnessing the potential of space technology applications towards this end,” he added
Currently, the Mechanism is being piloted in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Its initial work in Mongolia and Sri Lanka – supported by two regional service nodes – demonstrates clearly the efficiency and effectiveness of the initiative.
Supported by China and India, the regional service nodes were established under the Regional Drought Mechanism to provide the pilot countries with satellite imagery, services, expert training and capacity development.
Though several of the pilot countries already experience severe drought conditions due to regular climate oscillations, including El Niño and La Niña, climate change projections indicate that drought is likely to become more frequent and severe in the future.
Given these challenges, forum participants recognized the importance of coordination and cooperation across the relevant ministries and initiatives in the region and looked at practical ways to improve early warning through enhanced integration with climate change trends, and new scientific modelling techniques.
Recommendations from the forum will provide guidance for strengthening the effectiveness of the Regional Cooperative Mechanism and will feed into the national disaster management plans of the pilot countries.
Participating countries benefit from: enhanced access to space-based data; capacity building in preparedness and response; strengthened institutional coordination and policies at the country level; and Regional and South-South cooperation and support networks.
[un.org]
1/7/14
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Κυριακή, Μαρτίου 02, 2014

Ukraine Calls Up Reservists, as PM Warns of Looming 'Disaster'

Ukraine's interim government ordered a full military mobilization Sunday, in an effort to to counter what its new prime minister says is a Russian act of war.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, in an address to parliament, warned lawmakers "we are on the brink of disaster." He spoke as Russian troops continued to take up positions on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, and Western governments issued repeated condemnations of the Russian deployments.



NATO convened an emergency session Sunday to discuss the crisis, which Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said is threatening peace and stability across Europe. He urged Moscow to "de-escalate" the tension in the region.

Russian news agencies say Russian President Vladimir Putin told U.S. President Barack Obama late Saturday that Moscow reserves the right to protect ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

In Washington Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry blasted the Russian deployments, calling them "an incredible act of aggression." He also warned of potential economic sanctions against Moscow for military action he likened to "19th century" behavior on a "completely trumped-up pretext." He also told CBS television that Moscow still has "a right set of choices" that can still be made to defuse the crisis.

Ukraine's top security official, Andriy Paruby, says military reservists were mobilized to "ensure the security and territorial integrity of Ukraine." But many Western analysts are questioning the effectiveness of the call up, saying Ukraine's limited military capabilities are no match for Russian military might.

  • At the United Nations, Ukrainian Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev said 15,000 Russian troops are already in Crimea under the pretense of protecting Russian citizens.

  • Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin blamed the West for ratcheting up tensions in Ukraine and backing protests that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych last month.

Crimea is a Black Sea peninsula placed under Ukrainian control in 1954 by then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. It became part of Ukraine when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Crimea has a tiny border with Russia on its far eastern point. Most of the people living in Crimea are ethnic Russians, but the region also is home to ethnic Muslim Tartars who generally show disdain for Russia.

Ukraine's troubles began in November when President Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties and economic aid from Russia. The move triggered weeks of pro-Western demonstrations in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine, and forced the pro-Russian Yanukovych to flee the capital in late February. 

 http://www.voanews.com/content/ukraine-calls-up-reservists-as-pm-warns-of-looming-disaster/1862496.html
2/3/14
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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.
 http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_01_18/Global-climate-catastrophe-Weather-anomalies-to-double-in-20-years-expert-7430/
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Σάββατο, Ιανουαρίου 11, 2014

Ban calls on world for more resources to end conflicts, spur development, counter climate change



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10 January 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the international community to provide “more political attention, more resources, more support” for the United Nations as it faces “an overflowing inbox of conflicts and disasters of growing severity, frequency and complexity.”
“The situations in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic have gone from bad to worse,” he said in his first news conference of the new year, highlighting not only the immediate need to end the fighting in those countries but also the larger imperatives of 2014 in the run-up to reaching the UN’s anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and achieving a global accord to counter climate change.

The year 2015 is the deadline for attaining both targets.
Mr. Ban stressed that the UN is doing its utmost to ease the suffering and provide life-saving aid in all three strife-torn countries, staying and delivering assistance wherever it can even as people continue to flee their homes and countries.
“These are avoidable tragedies in which millions of civilians are paying an unconscionable price,” he said. “I am especially alarmed by the spread of sectarian animosity, and by the dangerous regional and global spillover effects. Years of development are at stake. A generation of young people is at risk.”
Mr. Ban said UN personnel are all showing “tremendous courage and professionalism in volatile conditions” in all three countries, “but humanitarian assistance, vital as it is, can be only part of our response.
“The international community must pull together to help these countries find the path of peace. Together, we must send a strong message that there will be accountability for the killing, raping, chemical weapons attacks and other atrocious crimes that have been committed,” he added.
On Syria, where well over 100,000 people have been killed and 8 million others driven from their homes, 2 million of them as refugees in neighbouring countries, since conflict erupted almost three years ago between the Government and various groups seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, Mr. Ban called for an immediate end to all violence, including the Government’s use of barrel bombs and other heavy weapons that kill and maim indiscriminately.
“All parties must improve humanitarian access to people in besieged areas,” he stressed. “The situation in Eastern Ghouta (near Damascus) is shocking: 160,000 people have gone without aid for more than a year. The United Nations is prepared to enter the area assistance, but we need the full cooperation of the Syrian Government.”
He called for strengthening strengthen the African-led peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), where thousands of people are estimated to have been killed, nearly 1 million driven from their homes, and 2.2 million, about half the population, need humanitarian aid in a conflict which erupted when mainly Muslim rebels launched attacks a year ago and has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones as mainly Christian militias have taken up arms.
And he demanded that there be no further delays in ceasing hostilities in South Sudan, where well over 1,000 people have been killed and some 300,000 others driven from their home since fighting erupted between Government and opposition forces less than a month ago. He noted that he called President Salva Kiir yesterday and urged him to immediately release political prisoners.
“In each of these crises, humanitarian needs are escalating and funding is falling short,” Mr. Ban said. “I urge all donors to show their solidarity, including at the humanitarian pledging conference for Syria and the affected neighbours that I will chair next Wednesday in Kuwait.”
Turning to other current and former world hotspots he pledged UN support for the people of Afghanistan at a time of transition with the withdrawal of the International Assistance Force (ISAF) by the end of the year, and he called on Israelis and Palestinians to “make decisive progress in resolving their conflict and drawing back from a perilous status quo.”
He also called on the Government and opposition in Thailand to resolve their differences, voicing fears that the situation could escalate.
On a more positive note, he noted that 2014 marks a milestone in Sierra Leone, the West African country once submerged by a vicious civil war and horrendous human rights abuses, as the UN mission prepares to close – “a measure of the tremendous distance the country has travelled since the years of conflict” over a decade ago.
“The long engagement of the United Nations in Sierra Leone demonstrates the value of staying the course through the hard process of keeping, consolidating and building peace,” Mr. Ban said.
Other tasks facing the UN this year include preparing for the crucial 2015 deadline for the MDGs and making “clear progress” on the post-2015 development agenda by setting sustainable targets and providing the financial means to attain them.
“And if we are to adopt a new global agreement on climate change in 2015, we need to arrive in Lima (Peru) in December of this year with a solid draft for negotiation. The climate summit I will host (in New York) in September aims to advance bold action on the ground and mobilize political will for an ambitious agreement.”
Mr. Ban concluded by stressing that last year’s use of chemical attacks in Syria recalled the horrors of the “fields of Flanders” during World War I. “In this year that marks the 100th anniversary of the First World War, we will strive to push the boundaries of diplomacy and collective action.
“Despite crises and concerns, 2014 also brings major opportunities to build a safer, more just and prosperous world. I am determined to make this a year of progress for people and the planet.”
un.org
10/1/14
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Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 02, 2014

Multiple emergencies pose great test of the global humanitarian system, UN official says


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2 January 2014 – An unprecedented number of people are beginning the New Year either internally displaced or as refugees, the United Nations humanitarian chief warned today, urging sustained support in 2014 for millions who have been driven from their homes by violence and bloodshed or uprooted by devastating natural disasters.

“2013 was a real test of the global humanitarian system, and there is no indication that 2014 will be any different,” said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, briefing reporters in New York on the past year, which was marked by the international community’s massive efforts to ease suffering in war-torn Syria and typhoon-hit Philippines, and the year ahead, which has opened amid sectarian fighting in both Central African Republic and South Sudan. 

“It is clear that the United Nations and its partners will be needed more than ever,” she said, noting that just a little more than two weeks ago, the Organization had launched its largest ever funding appeal – nearly $13 billion – to reach millions of people with life-saving aid in 2014, with half of that sought for those affected by the deepening crisis in Syria.
Tragically, since then, inter-communal fighting has shattered the world’s youngest nation – South Sudan – and bloody violence has spread throughout the Central African Republic, where a worrying crisis has been unfolding against a backdrop of abject poverty and a collapsing State. The world’s collective response capacity and resources are being stretched to the limit,” she said, stressing that more funds will be needed to address emerging needs. 
 un.org
2/1/14
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Κυριακή, Νοεμβρίου 10, 2013

VIDEO. Philippines : Haiyan, "le typhon le plus puissant jamais connu"./Officials say death toll in Leyte province expected to be as high as 10,000



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La Croix-Rouge philippine parle d'au moins 1 200 morts. 15 000 soldats sont dépêchés vers les zones les plus touchées...

La Croix-Rouge philippine a déclaré, samedi 9 novembre, avoir reçu des informations laissant penser que le super typhon Haiyan avait fait au moins 1 000 morts à Tacloban et 200 autres dans la province de Samar. Le bilan officiel provisoire, communiqué dans la matinée, n'est encore que d'au moins 100 morts. Il ne concerne que Tacloban, une ville de 220 000 habitants sur la trajectoire du typhon. De nombreuses villes sont injoignables pour le moment dans cette région où vivent 4 millions de personnes.

"On peut voir flotter plus de 1.000 corps à Tacloban, selon nos équipes de la Croix-Rouge", a déclaré le secrétaire général de la Croix-Rouge philippine. "A Samar, il y a autour de 200 morts. Les vérifications sont en cours."

Le typhon le plus puissant de l'Histoire ?
Le gouvernement a dépêché, samedi matin, 15 000 soldats vers les zones les plus touchées par Haiyan. Il a notamment envoyé des avions chargés de matériel de secours et de communication, des hélicoptères et des unités d'infanterie par camion et à pied.
Le typhon, doté d'un front de 600 km, a frappé les provinces orientales de Leyte et Samar, avec des vents atteignant des pointes de 315 km/heure, devenant ainsi le typhon le plus violent enregistré cette année sur la planète. C'est aussi l'un des plus forts à avoir atteint les terres depuis des décennies. Il devrait toucher les côtes vietnamiennes dimanche.
Jeff Masters, météorologue américain chez Weather Underground, une entreprise privée de météorologie, a indiqué cette semaine que Haiyan était "le plus puissant cyclone à toucher terre de l'Histoire". Il a été classé en catégorie 5, la plus élevée, avant d'être rétrogradé en catégorie 4. Le typhon le plus violent de 2012, Bopha, avait frappé les Philippines, laissant quelque 2 000 personnes mortes ou disparues sur Mindanao, une île du sud du pays.
 francetvinfo.fr
9/11/13 
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  • As super typhoon Haiyan hits Philippines, UN and partners prepare to provide support

8 November 2013 – The United Nations and its partners are supporting the Government of the Philippines in assessing the damage caused by super typhoon Haiyan, which made landfall this morning in Guiuan on Samar Island and is currently making its way across the country.
“We are working closely in support of Government and local authorities to assess the life-saving needs of the people affected by this typhoon,” said Julie Hall, acting Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines.
The super typhoon, known locally as Yolanda, has ripped roofs off housing, uprooted trees and affected businesses, but the full extent of the damage will not be known until the storm has passed.
According to media reports, it is one of the strongest storms ever recorded, with sustained winds of 295 kilometres per hour (kph), placing it above the 252 kph threshold for a Category 5 hurricane, the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. Three people have reportedly died, and seven others have been injured.
Haiyan is expected to travel over eastern, central and western Visayas, Bicol and Southern Tagalog, which have a combined population of 29.4 million people. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) described the typhoon as “violent” but said it is expected to weaken slightly on a trajectory towards Viet Nam.
The Government has taken preventative steps to save lives by moving people from coastal and low-lying areas known to be prone to flash flooding and landslides. The UN Humanitarian Country Team and partners have complemented these efforts by pre-positioning stocks to respond to life-saving needs of affected people.
“The Humanitarian Country Team and partners are fully prepared to support and assist the Government in response to this latest typhoon,” said Ms. Hall. “We will continue to support their efforts as we wait to see exactly the extent of the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan.”
The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that 2.5 million people will require immediate assistance in the aftermath of the typhoon, and said it would participate in the Government-led assessment.
Haiyan is the third major crisis to hit the Philippines in just two months. In October, the Bohol earthquake affected more than 3 million people, triggering landslides engulfing entire homes, ripping apart bridges and tearing down centuries-old churches. Seven cities in three different provinces were initially affected. In September, tens of thousands were forcibly displaced by armed clashes in Zamboanga City in the southern part of the country.
 http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46448&Cr=Philippines&Cr1=#.Un5ZSCeIzJc
8/11/13
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  • Regional officials say that the death toll after Super Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines could reach as high as 10,000.
Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria said early on Sunday that he was briefed by Leyte provincial Governor Dominic Petilla and told that there were about 10,000 deaths on the island, mostly by drowning and from collapsed buildings.
Tacloban city administrator Tecson Lim said the death toll in that city alone "could go up to 10,000".
Soria said that as much as 80 percent of the area in the path of Haiyan in Leyte province was destroyed.


"Imagine a strip one kilometre deep inland from the shore, and all the shanties, everything, destroyed," Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said after visiting coastal towns in Leyte, which was one of the worst-hit provinces in the east of the archipelago.
Earlier, the Philippines Red Cross estimated that more than 1,000 people had been killed in Tacloban and at least 200 in hard-hit Samar province when one of the strongest typhoons in history slammed into the country.
Gwendolyn Pang, secretary-general of the Philippine Red Cross, said on Saturday that those numbers came from preliminary reports by Red Cross teams in Tacloban and Samar, among the most devastated areas hit by Typhoon Haiyan on Friday.
"An estimated more than 1,000 bodies were seen floating in Tacloban as reported by our Red Cross teams," she told Reuters. "In Samar, about 200 deaths. Validation is ongoing."
She said she expected a more exact number to emerge after a more precise counting of bodies on the ground in those regions.

Communications cut off
The Philippines has yet to resume communications with officials in Tacloban, a city of about 220,000 that suffered the worst of the typhoon. Reports say the sea flooded the entire city.
It was a similar situation in the town of Palo, further south. It was said to be under three and a half metres of water.
One UN official said the damage was similar to the devastation caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.
The 'category five' storm weakened after hitting six spots in the Philippines and has been downgraded to 'category four', though forecasters said it could strengthen again over the South China Sea on its course to hit Vietnam.
More than 500,000 people have been evacuated in central and northern Vietnam as forecasters predict the typhoon will make landfall there on Monday morning.

According to Vietnam's national Television station, VTV, heavy rain and floods triggered from the typhoon have already killed six people in central provinces.
An average of 20 typhoons strike the Philippines every year, and Haiyan was the 24th in 2013.
Last year, Typhoon Bopha flattened three towns in southern Mindanao, killing 1,100 people and causing damage of more than $1bn.
 aljazeera.com
10/11/13 
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