Sunday, November 14, 2010

Something obviously happened in Nigeria - but was it a volcanic eruption? - The frightening description of the devastating effects of the volcanic eruption in Abelakpam community in Benue State by some of the witnesses, an incident they claimed occurred Thursday, November 4 at about 9p.m after a heavy downpour, could set one wondering whether the end as professed by christians and many other religious groups was near. First according to the account, was a thunder storm followed by heavy vibration and then a flow of lava into the streams & wells and later an unprecedented destruction of lives and property. Going through records, the people of the unfortunate community are familiar with such incidents. In 1985, 2005 and 2009, similar eruptions devastated the community when Mount Mbatyough cracked. Although the three volcanic eruptions destroyed houses and farmlands, no life was lost. But according to some of the villagers, it turned the residents of the area into beggars.
November 4, 2010, Abelakpam claimed not less than twelve people aside from cutting off bridges, large expanse of farmlands and causing damage to houses. The emission, if not checked, may in future match the one that occurred recently in Indonesia. At the time of filing this report some of the victims of the eruption were yet to be found as their corpses may have been buried by the lava or the broken stones from the mountain. When the rumblings from the vibrations increased in intensity, it uprooted trees and rocks, threw them kilometers away and at the end of the wreckage, houses animals and other property estimated to cost millions of naira had been destroyed. In the midst of the confusion, the residents had to run for their dear lives to find refuge somewhere since their houses were no longer safe from the vagaries of the volcanic eruptions. The only source of drinkable water is the Kipam stream that has now been contaminated by the volcanic emission.
The State’s Commissioner for Enviroment and Water Resources said it was not a volcanic eruption but a landslide and that his ministry had sent some of his top officials to the scene to assess the damage and their reports indicated that there was no emission. “There is nothing like volcanic eruption in the state, it is not volcanic eruption but landslide.” (photos)
Fear Grips the Hilly Areas of Benue State - Last week's volcanic eruption has sent warning signs to the government and people of the state, as there are still areas in the state prone to future volcanic disturbances. The Kwande Local Government, which is on the border of the Republic of Cameroon in the North East, has over the years been caught in the wave of natural disasters. Should the Lake Nyos in Cameroon eventually over-flood its banks as has been projected by environmental scientists, the area will be a casualty. The history of the area traces volcanic eruptions, or whatever environmental scientists may want to call it, that have been observed in the mountainous areas of the local government in Turan for sometime now. In the Abande hills in the early 1980's, also close to Cameroon, one of the mountains vibrated and cracked, with gushed-out water destroying farmlands. Similarly, another big mountain in the area, called Bar-Mbatyough, in 2009 cracked and shook the earth, releasing poisonous water which destroyed and washed away major bridges, farms and submerged houses. More devastating were the effects of volcanic 'flakes' on the Abelakpam Mountain, in Mkomon district, in 2005. And as a result, the people were in 2005 traumatised with cracks and water havoc, a development which was repeated in the recent 2010 incidence.
The inhabitants of the area said that in this most recent incident,the mountain released a thunderous vibration that shook the entire district for more than one hour, during a heavy down pour that also lasted for three hours. During a media visit to the foot of the raging mountain, journalists noticed that grass surrounding it dried up at all the points where the water from the mountain forced it down the mountain. The bridges across Kipam, Mkomon and Nya Rivers and many culverts were visibly washed away at the time of the visit. If the calamity had struck in the day time, many people would have died out on their farmland. For the first time in the area, even at dawn, the earth was engulfed with heavy mist for five hours, thereby throwing more panic to the people. The people now survive on stored rain water for bath and drinking, as they cannot fetch from their normal sources. Water from the streams has not assumed its natural colour as it was said to be poisonous.
It was clear at the time of the visit to the community that despite the hue and cry by the community for assistance, no government presence was noticed at any point. The Director for Environment, State Ministry of Water Resources and Environment stated in a phone conversation that nobody died, though he admitted that it was impossible for him to visit the other side of the mountain, where he said a landslide had occurred. Meanwhile, an environmental specialist called on the federal government to urgently take action to rescue the people from imminent danger, suspecting the incident to be an active volcanic line which has been traced from the Adamawa high land. He urged government to install alarm signals in the area and suggested also the relocation of the people from the disaster area to other settlements.

**Allow yourself the luxury of doubt.
I love that expression, viewing doubt as an actual luxury,
not as something troubling.**
Will Self

This morning -

Yesterday -
11/13/10 -

11/12/10 -

PAKISTAN - At least 12 people, including women and children, were injured when a powerful earthquake jolted Quetta and its surroundings on Friday afternoon. According to the Metrological Department, the earthquake lasted 8 seconds and measured 4.5 at the Richter Scale. The epicentre of the earthquake was detected at 10-kilometre depth in Chiltan mountains in the northeast of Quetta. It caused panic and fear amongst the people who rushed outside their houses, shopping centres and other commercial buildings. Twelve people suffered injuries in different parts of the city as they jumped off their rooftops. Two people received serious injuries. The powerful earthquake also caused minor damages to houses.

ARKANSAS - An Arkansas Geological Survey official says there's no correlation between the hydraulic fracturing method used to extract natural gas and recent earthquakes in central Arkansas, but he said the deep-well disposal of liquids used in the process may be a factor. A swarm of earthquakes in the Guy area began Oct. 1. More study is needed to determine whether the temblors have a natural cause or are connected to the process in which waste liquids are pumped under high pressure into deep injection wells that are then sealed. An injection well at a Colorado chemical weapons manufacturing center was determined to be the cause of earthquake activity there in the 1960s.


INDONESIA - Merapi, Indonesia's most volatile volcano has unleashed another cloud of searing gas as rescuers pull more bodies from a village smothered a week ago by eruptions, raising the death toll to 240. The blast Saturday followed a similar one the day before. No new deaths have been reported from the latest flows, which were well within the zone that has been evacuated.
The mountain has continuously spewed ash - and occasionally torrents of rock, gas and lava in dramatic eruptions - since it roared to life Oct. 26 after years of dormancy. But several days of reduced activity have prompted scientists to warn that the volcano remains dangerous and they are still registering tremors around it.

PHILIPPINES - Brace yourselves, as two of the most active volcanoes in the Bicol Region may explode simultaneously, the director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned on Thursday. While Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon province has erupted thrice since November 6, Mount Mayon in neighboring Albay province has been showing signs of unrest, with its crater glowing. Low-frequency earthquakes caused by Mayon was another indicator of the volcano’s “progressive unrest.” When asked iif Mount Bulusan and Mount Mayon will explode simultaneously, the Phivolcs director said that the possibility is not remote as the two volcanoes are restive. “It is not impossible and not remote to have simultaneous explosions from active volcanoes. In 2006, Mayon Volcano and Mount Bulusan erupted at the same time, so it might happen again now." Although there has been no magma build-up detected beneath Mount Bulusan,an active volcano like it still will most likely erupt. “Since 1682, when the worst case explosion of Mount Bulusan took place or nearly 400 years ago, all (its other) eruptions were steam-driven." He urged the officials and the mayors to monitor the volcano round the clock. The Director of the OCD-Bicol earlier expressed disgust with the ill-preparedness of local governments of Sorsogon. He told the local governments to come up with accurate data, which should be the basis for their responses to eventual emergencies. “Update immediately your contingency plans. We need that for planning purposes and strictly enforce the no-human-activity policy within the 4-kilometer PDZ to attain the zero-casualty goal of the government. Don’t wait for December to come up with accurate data." The local governments earlier said that they would be able to draw up contingency plans by next month.
Bulusan, a stratovolcano formed inside a calderal, has erupted 17 times since 1852. Before this month’s explosions, it had erupted between March 2006 and October 2007. Since 1918, there have been no magmatic eruptions. Mount Bulusan’s most destructive eruption happened 40,000 years ago.


PAKISTAN - Floodwaters could linger up to six more months. The magnitude of the crisis means people are still going without aid. “There is nearly water everywhere. The only perspective of getting rid of the water is evaporation. Depending on depth and climate conditions, this will take between two and six months." The displaced “need everything to survive and to live with minimum respectability and this situation will continue for several months." UN and Western officials have described the floods as THE BIGGEST NATURAL DISASTER TO FACE THE INTERNATIONAL AID COMMUNITY and the magnitude of the crisis is “tremendous”.