Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A third of humanity, mostly in Africa and South Asia, face the biggest risks from climate change and rich nations in northern Europe will be least exposed, according to a new report.

**For every change, there is opportunity.
The main thing is to recognize change and be flexible
and say that change is not bad.**
Carl Weschcke

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/25/11 -
5.1 JAN MAYEN ISLAND REGION [1017 km (632 miles) NE of REYKJAVIK, Iceland]

TURKEY - The death toll from the quake disaster has risen to 459 people, as rescue teams continued to search for survivors. Some 1,352 were injured. Survivors have continued to be rescued, including a two-week-old baby, her mother and grandmother.
Meanwhile, the Turkish government has pledged more aid to the thousands made homeless and aid agencies have set up field hospitals and kitchens and distributed thousands of tents and blankets. The main street in Ercis has been transformed. Some of the buildings lean over at alarming angles, bits of debris dropping from them. Then there are the mounds of concrete slabs, multifloor apartment blocks crushed down to the height of a single storey. They are all swarming with orange-suited rescue workers, hammering and drilling, cranes standing by to lift the sawn-off hunks of masonry in the hope that someone may have survived in an air pocket.
Every so often, there is a call for silence. The drills, saws and generators stop, and one of the rescuers shouts into the rubble, listening intensely for any sounds of life. However, hopes are fading for many more who remain unaccounted for, and Turkish officials warn that the death toll is likely to rise.
Trouble at the Van prison is reported to have begun when a strong aftershock of 5.4 magnitude caused panic among the inmates. Prisoners set fire to the jail and fought their guards because authorities refused to let them out. Security forces surrounded the jail, from which a number of prisoners were reported to have escaped on Sunday. Angry relatives gathered outside the prison as they tried to find out what was going on. "From what we heard, prisoners in the jail asked permission to get some air, naturally, after an aftershock, because they were concerned. When they couldn't get permission, they reacted and fire broke out in the jail. That's what we were told. But we heard gunshots with our own ears and learned that police fired tear gas." Turkey is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits on major geological fault lines. (map)


Tsunami debris floating toward US - Up to 20 million tonnes of tsunami debris floating from Japan could arrive on Hawaii's shores by early 2013, before reaching the US west coast. A Russian training ship spotted the debris in an area of the Pacific Ocean where scientists at the University of Hawaii predicted it would be. The massive amount of rubble [twice the size of Texas] includes a refrigerator, TV set and other appliances. The debris will reach the US and Canadian coasts of Oregon, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia around 2014.

In the Atlantic -
Category 2 Hurricane Rina was located about 240 mi (385 km) ESE of Chetumal, Mexico. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the East Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the coast of Belize from Belize City northward and for the Honduran Bay Islands of Roatan and Guanaja. Rina is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 8 to 16 inches over the eastern Yucatan Peninsula and Cozumel from this morning into Friday. Rina could become a major hurricane at any time. Rina is the 17th named storm of the Atlantic season.

Hurricane Rina has swelled to a Category 2 storm as it sweeps towards Mexico's Yucatan peninsula and Caribbean beach resorts. Rina was expected to become a "major hurricane" by Tuesday night. Further south, a Nicaraguan navy vessel that went missing in the storm with 27 people on board has been found safe. The vessel, which had been evacuating fishermen, was spotted by a shrimping boat after two days adrift.
At 1500GMT Rina was already packing sustained winds of 105mph (165kph). It was expected to further increase in strength before hitting the coast of Yucatan on Thursday morning. A hurricane warning is in force from Punta Gruesa to the tourist resort city of Cancun on Mexico's Caribbean coast, with tropical storm conditions extending further south. Destructive waves and rainfall of 8 to 16 inches (20-40cm) are predicted.
Rina formed off the coast of Honduras and Nicaragua but has now turned away from Central America, which is already struggling to recover from weeks of torrential rain. Floods and landslides have killed more than 100 people in the region, with El Salvador and Guatemala particularly badly effected. The UN has launched an emergency appeal for $15.7m (£9.8m) in funds to help 300,000 people affected by the downpours in El Salvador. "El Salvador is facing ONE OF ITS BIGGEST DISASTERS IN ITS HISTORY, given the scale and magnitude of the impact, as well as the damage caused to agriculture and infrastructure." Throughout the region, 1.2 million people have been affected.


THAILAND - Floodwaters inched closer to a terminal at the Thai capital's second largest airport Wednesday, leading many who had sought refuge at a shelter there to flee amid warnings that parts of Bangkok could be inundated by up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) of water. The flooding at Don Muang airport, which is primarily used for now-grounded domestic flights, is one of the biggest blows yet to government efforts to prevent the sprawling capital from being inundated. Its effective closure is certain to further erode public confidence in the ability of the Prime Minister's administration to defend the increasingly anxious metropolis of 9 million people. By Wednesday morning, more than 1,000 people sheltering there had fled as water continued to build around the terminal.
Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, the country's main international gateway, has yet to be affected by flooding and flights there were operating normally. Most of the city has been spared inundation so far, though bottled water and other emergency supplies were running low in many areas. The government declared a five-day public holiday on Tuesday in affected areas, including Bangkok, while the Education Ministry ordered schools to close until Nov. 7. They called for those who don't need to be in the city and can afford to leave to do so. The prime minister warned in a televised address Tuesday that in a worst-case scenario, the enormous pressure of floodwaters pushing downstream into the city could combine with monthly high tides on Friday and Saturday to overwhelm recently reinforced flood walls and embankments protecting the city.
The flooding at Don Muang airport symbolizes the gravity of the Southeast Asian nation's deepening crisis, which has seen advancing waters drown a third of the country and kill 373 people over the last three months.
The airport houses the government's recently established emergency Flood Relief Operations Center, and one of its terminals has been converted into an overcrowded shelter filled with tents for about 4,000 people who fled waterlogged homes. The government's flood relief command will remain at the airport for now since it is still accessible by road. Last week, they ordered key floodgates opened to help drain runoff through urban canals to the sea, but there is great concern that rising tides in the Gulf of Thailand this weekend could slow critical outflows and flood the city.
The flood relief center had earlier said water levels in the worst-hit parts of the country — the submerged provinces north of Bangkok — were stable or subsiding. But the massive runoff was still bearing down on the capital as it flowed south toward the Gulf of Thailand. While neighborhoods just across Bangkok's boundaries are underwater, most of the city is dry and has not been directly affected by the deluge. Anxious Bangkokians, though, have been raiding stores to stock up on emergency supplies, and many have been protecting their homes and businesses with sandbags. Some have even erected sealed cement barriers across shop fronts.


Flu shot effectiveness is questioned in new study - Annual flu shots protect only about 59 percent of the population - far less than previously thought - according to a new study.