Friday, August 23, 2013

Global Disaster Watch is on Facebook

**Even our misfortunes are a part of our belongings.**
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 8/22/13 -

Kizimen volcano (Kamchatka) - The lava dome continues to grow at the top of the volcano and produce incandescent rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows, generating ash plumes.


In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical depression Nine-E is located about 390 mi (630 km) SSW of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Forecast to become a tropical storm on Friday.

In the Western Pacific -
Tropical storm Pewa is located approximately 242 nm northeastward of Wake Island.

Philippines - A new potential cyclone or low pressure area (LPA) was sighted some 2,000 km east of Northern Luzon on Thursday morning, August 22; the effects to be felt on the weekend.

Chinese Floods Kill 250 During Past Week - Earth's 4th Deadliest Disaster of 2013. Typhoon Trami hit Southeast China on Wednesday as a Category 1 storm with 85 mph winds, after dumping torrential rains in the Philippines that killed 17 people. Trami's rains are creating new flooding flooding problems for a Chinese nation already reeling from a week of deadly floods that have left over 250 people dead or missing. Twenty-one of the deaths came on Tuesday evening, due to a flash flood in northwest China's Qinghai Province.
The deadliest incident came earlier this week, when torrential rains caused the Nei River in northeastern Liaoning province to overflow near the city of Fushuan, killing 54 people and leaving 97 missing. It's been a disastrous summer for flooding in China. The 250 people killed in the past week of flooding in China make this disaster Earth's fourth deadliest natural disaster of 2013. The deadliest was the monsoon flood in India and Nepal in June that killed 6,500; the second deadliest was the severe winter weather that hit India, Bangladesh, and Nepal in January, killing 329; the third deadliest was flooding in China in mid-July that left 305 people dead or missing. China had three billion-dollar flooding disasters in July.

The tropical Atlantic is dominated by dry, stable air, and a new outbreak of dust and dry air will exit the coast of Africa this weekend, keeping the Tropical Atlantic dry though at least Thursday, August 29. Dry air coming off the coast of Africa may abate some after that, as the long-range models call for the Azores High to shift more to the northeast.

In the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Depression 9-E has formed, about 390 miles SSW of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Cold waters off the coast of Baja California will likely keep TD 9-E from strengthening into a hurricane, and the storm is not expected to make landfall in Mexico. However, moisture from TD 9-E will stream into Northwest Mexico and possibly the Southwest U.S. 3 - 5 days from now, which could triggering flash flooding. The European and GFS models predict formation of a second tropical storm that will follow a similar path to TD 9-E late next week, along the west coast of the Baja Peninsula.

Much of Hong Kong was shrouded in a haze on Thursday as a continental air stream associated with Tropical Cyclone Trami contributed to the trapping of pollutants in the city’s air. The air pollution index remained a “very high level” for most parts of the city on Thursday as smog and pollutants accumulated.
Roadsides of three busy areas were the worst hit. Mong Kok recorded a roadside air pollution index of 167 at 8am, Causeway Bay hit 184 and Central reached 174. A reading of between 101 and 200 means the pollution level is very high and that people with heart or respiratory illnesses may notice a mild aggravation of their condition. Visibility in Central also dropped to only 1,500 metres between 9am and 10am.
Local winds were stagnant under the influence of Trami, making it difficult for air pollutants to disperse. Trami made a landfall in Fujian early on Thursday, bringing torrential rain and winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour to the province.


Portugal - Firefighter dead, 6 hurt in wildfire in a remote and hilly region. They could not immediately provide more information about what happened to the firefighters sent on Thursday to put out a fire in the municipality of Tondela, in north central Portugal. Numerous fires have broken out in three regions of north central and northern Portugal in recent days, and 700 firefighters are battling the blazes.

Drought Called a Factor in Syria's Uprising - Dara'a is a mostly agricultural community in a region that has suffered an unrelenting drought since 2001. Some experts say it's no accident that Syria's civil war began there. In 2009, the United Nations and other international agencies found that more than 800,000 Syrian farmers and herdsmen had been forced off their lands because of drought, with many crowding into cities like Dara'a. Additionally, thousands of illegal wells were drilled, drastically lowering the nation's ground water supply. Experts estimate that 60 percent of the aquifer has been lost due to illegal drilling, and a total of 177 million-acre feet of water disappeared, the second-largest aquifer loss in the world.
“I actually don't think the aquifer will recover.” Seven years of NASA satellite data show the Tigris-Euphrates region second only to India in the speed of its groundwater loss. “The Middle East is the dry part of the world and now that climate change is expressing itself very clearly, one of the things that we will see is that the dry parts of the world will get drier. Think of it as a persistent prolonged drought.” Because of climate change, the Tigris-Euphrates basin and the underground reservoirs of fresh water that once nurtured this fragile desert climate may not be able to sustain future populations in Syria.
The Syrian uprising was unlike political uprisings in Egypt, Yemen and other Middle East states, all of which started in the major cities. Dara'a was a regional agricultural hub with a pre-war population of 90,000. “Dara'a is the capital of an agricultural province, one of the most significant agricultural areas." Their protests spread from Dara's at Syria's southern border to communities north of Aleppo and across the vast al-Jazira plain that stretches from the banks of the Euphrates to the banks of the Tigris.
The pattern of the protests followed the rural path of the drought. “Even until today it's been a peasant revolt isolated to the rural areas." Assad's economic reforms focused on global trade that benefitted the urban middle classes, thereby worsening the plight of Syria's farmers. The reforms were implemented “at the expense of the population in the rural areas, where they abolished agricultural subsidies. The regime turned its back to the rural population and the result was the revolt.”
Even before climate change threatened less rainfall in the region, water was a hot-button issue. With little or no regional cooperation on water issues, experts fear that the turmoil now wrecking Syria could be a prelude to other conflicts in the region.

Texas - Statewide 89% of the state is considered to be in a drought. That is up from 79% .


There is growing evidence for the benefit of organic food - according to a previously sceptical doctor who says many agricultural pesticides are lethal to good bacteria in the bowel. "Scientists have always said eating organic food is senseless and makes no difference as pesticides don't harm humans. However, the pesticides kill certain species of gut bacteria, not us."
This causes an imbalance that contributes to obesity and poor general health. "This thinking is becoming mainstream, particularly among gastroenterologists. My wife and patients have told me for 20 years that they feel better on an organic diet, but I have said there is no reason why they should." It turns out they are protecting their gut flora, he says.
"For the past 10 years doctors have been looking at gut bacteria as something that makes us healthy. If our gut bacteria is not healthy, we cannot be healthy. A lot of what doctors see in their surgeries is just a consequence of altered bacteria playing up." He says entire families can become obese if something in their environment disrupts their gut. "It's not what they eat or some type of moral corruption of the owner of those bugs."
He is particularly concerned about the high rate of elective caesarean sections, which may leave babies with inadequate gut flora for years after birth, affecting their weight. "More research is needed for a solution, but breastfeeding appears to be a healthy and effective way to encourage a broader diversity of gut bacteria in the infant." As the baby grows, plenty of fresh organic fruit and vegetables in season and minimising grains is the key to a gut-healthy diet.

New case of cheese-linked listeriosis - Six people in five states have been infected in an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to cheese from Crave Brothers Farmstead of Waterloo, Wisconsin. This includes 1 new case in Texas since the CDC's previous report in July. Other states with cases are Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio with one each and Minnesota with two. All patients have needed hospitalization, and one of the Minnesota patients died. The illness resulted in miscarriage in a pregnant patient as well. The cheese company voluntarily recalled Les Freres, Petit Frere, and Petit Frere with Truffles, the cheeses thought to be the source, on Jul 3. The cheeses were distributed through retail stores and foodservices as well as by mail nationwide.

At least 3 more patients affected by Cyclospora, putting the total at 601. Texas, the state with the most cases, accounts for 250 cases in CDC's current count, but the state's own count lists 274 case. With those additional 24 cases, the national count would stand at 625.The new cases include two in New York City and one in New Jersey, with the latter noted to potentially have been acquired out of state. The number of states affected, 22, is unchanged, as is the number of hospitalizations (40, or 9%, based on 465 cases). The majority of the Texas cases have been in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.