Friday, October 29, 2010

INDONESIA - The combined death toll from twin Indonesian disasters topped 400 today, with the tsunami toll rising to 394 and volcanic activity resuming. Hopes dimmed for another 312 still listed as missing. 33 people were killed by the volcano that erupted Tuesday more than 1300km to the east in central Java. Jolted awake by the powerful earthquake survivors ran with their screaming neighbors to high ground. They watched as the sea first receded and then came roaring back "like a big wall" that swept away their entire village. "Suddenly trees, houses and all things in the village were sucked into the sea and nothing was left." Rescue teams "believe many, many of the bodies were swept to sea."
Mount Merapi began rumbling again Thursday after a lull that allowed mourners to hold a mass burial for its victims. There were no reports of new injuries or damage. It was unclear whether the new activity was a sign of another major blast to come.
The catastrophes struck within 24 hours in different parts of the seismically active country, severely testing Indonesia's emergency response network. Aid workers trickling into the remote region found giant chunks of coral and rocks in places where homes once stood. Huge swaths of land were submerged. Swollen corpses dotted roads and beaches. In a rare bright spot, an 18-month-old baby was found alive Wednesday in a clump of trees on Pagai Selatan. One of the hardest hit areas with 65 dead was the village of Pro Rogat, on Pagai Seatandug island. Officials say a multimillion-dollar tsunami warning system that uses buoys to detect sudden changes in water levels broke down a month ago because it was not being properly maintained. The system was installed after a monster 2004 quake and tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries. A German official at the project disputed there was a breakdown, saying Monday's 7.7-magnitude quake's epicenter was too close to the Mentawai islands for residents to get the warning before the killer wave hit.

**For me, the secret to happiness,
which I may not be able to follow myself,
is that you should be happy with what you have
and not always be hankering.**
Ravi Shankar

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/28/10 -

PAKISTAN - A moderate earthquake Thursday rattled northern Pakistan', injuring five children. Jolts with a magnitude of 5.7 on the Richter Scale were felt across the north-western province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as well as in the capital Islamabad. The quake occurred at a depth of about 172 kilometers and its epicentre was located at the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border about 280 kilometers north-west of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. At least five schoolchildren were injured when the roof of their class room collapsed in Shabqadar district. At least 73,000 people were killed and several hundred thousand became homeless in October 2005, when a strong earthquake shook northern Pakistan and the Himalayan region of Kashmir.


Two volcanoes have erupted on Russia's far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, tossing massive ash clouds kilometres into the air, forcing flights to divert and blanketing one town with thick, heavy ash.
The Klyuchevskaya Sopka, Eurasia's highest active volcano, exploded Thursday along with the Shiveluch volcano, 70km to the northeast. Ash clouds from the remote volcanoes billowed up to 10km and were spreading east across the Pacific Ocean. Streams of lava flowed down the slopes of Shiveluch. Emissions have "intermittently complicated air travel" in the area of the Kamchatkan Peninsula. Several pilots have reported seeing ash clouds in the Alaskan region.
Volcanic ash blanketed the nearby town of Ust-Kamchatsk, reducing visibility to only a few metres and turning buildings ghostly white. Ust-Kamchatsk is 70km east of Shiveluch and 120km northeast of Klyuchevskaya Sopka, and winds blew ash from both on the town.Emergency officials said the town's 5000 residents weren't in any immediate danger but urged them to stay indoors and tightly close doors and windows to avoid inhaling ash particles that could lead to respiratory illnesses and allergic reactions. Schools and businesses in Ust-Kamchatsk quickly closed and all streets were shut down to traffic. Scientists warned that ashes will likely continue falling on the area for at least 10 days.
Shiveluch quietened down later on Thursday but Klyuchevskaya Sopka, which stands 4750 metres high, kept erupting. The Emergency Situations Ministry warned that another volcano across the peninsula to the south, Gorely, has begun spewing gases and could erupt any moment. Gorely is located about 70km south of Kamchatka's regional capital, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

-Cyclone 01S was 664 nmi SE of Diego Garcia

-Typhoon CHABA was 267 nmi SSE of Kagoshima, Japan

-Tropical storm SHARY was 282 nmi S of Hamilton, Bermuda [likely to be short-lived]


U.S. - Midwest battered by 56 tornadoes in two days. Residents of US states from North Dakota to North Carolina are cleaning up after a fierce storm unleashed driving rain, blustery winds, heavy snow and 56 tornadoes in just two days. The National Weather Service said the storm had caused the second-largest October tornado outbreak on record. Injuries from the storm have been reported in states across the US.
Conditions in many states returned to normal on Thursday as the storm made its way north-east toward Ontario.
But windy weather is still being felt in some regions in the Midwest, the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley. Snow and gusty winds struck North and South Dakota for a second day on Wednesday, leaving roads throughout the state covered with ice and slush. Tornadoes formed as far east as Virginia, with eight touching down in Indiana, three in Kentucky and six in Ohio. Some residents across the Midwest and the East Coast also lost power as a result of the storm. Forecasters at the Weather Channel said there had been 42 tornadoes on Tuesday and 14 on Wednesday.

BENIN - An airlift of 1,500 tents arrived Thursday in Benin, the country seen as hardest hit by West African floods that have killed hundreds and left scores homeless this rainy reason.

Despair of Pakistan's forgotten flood victims - Three months after the flooding which affected 20 million people and one fifth of the country, survivors have no home, no hope and no answers. Children are crying for food. "I tell them God will send someone very kind, and I send them to sleep. In the morning they ask again for food, and I say again that God will send someone." Queues of desperate flood victims are waiting for help in vain. Like many other areas in Sindh, Daur is cut off by water - an island of desperation. Troops are deployed to control the hungry, who began gathering at six in the morning. With a single helicopter the United Nations World Food Programme could only bring in 250-300 rations. But three or four times that number had joined the queue. "It is heartbreaking. The need is so big, and you want to help everyone." Soon there could be even less to go around. The WFP says it will have to cut rations - by half - in November because of a lack of donations. The UN's $2bn (£1.26) appeal for Pakistan is less than 40% funded. There is already the spectre of malnutrition. It is always a problem in Sindh province and now it is rising dangerously. "We are dying from hunger."
Aid agencies say many promises of help have receded with the flood waters. They warn that funds are drying up, as new threats are emerging. Some families and their livestock are living out in the open, marooned on embankments Diseases are spreading, and winter is closing in on the 20 million flood victims - seven million of whom still do not have shelter. Farmland is still buried beneath the water. Thousands are marooned on a network of embankments, hostage to the flood waters, and exposed to heat, cold and mosquitoes. "We are worried about the winter. We have no blankets and no warm clothes, and there is nothing to eat." After two months on the embankments they do not even have tents - failed by their leaders, and by the international community.