Friday, September 27, 2013

Global Disaster Watch on Facebook

**If you want to forget all your other troubles,
wear too tight shoes.**

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 9/26/13 -

Pakistan quake survivors face long wait for aid - Tens of thousands of survivors of Pakistan's earthquake waited for help in soaring temperatures Thursday, as the death toll rose past 350 and anger grew at the at the slow pace of government aid. More than 100,000 people made homeless by Tuesday's 7.7-magnitude quake spent a second night in the open or under makeshift shelters as response teams struggled to reach the remote region in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.
"At least 357 people died and 620 others injured." 311 people died in Awaran district, where the quake struck, and 46 were killed in neighbouring Kech district. The sheer scale of the territory involved is daunting -- the population of Awaran is scattered over more than 21,000 square kilometres (8,000 square miles) of remote and rugged terrain - and infrastructure is extremely limited, with few medical facilities or even roads.
The area is also home to Baluch separatist rebels waging a decade-long insurgency. Highlighting the danger from militants, a helicopter carrying the head of the National Disaster Management Authority came under rocket fire in Awaran, though no damage was done and no one was hurt. Hours later paramilitary troops helping the relief effort were fired at with small arms by suspected rebels, around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Awaran, but there were no casualties.
The quake is Pakistan's deadliest since the devastating Kashmir tremor of 2005 which killed 73,000. The toll is expected to rise further as rescue teams dig through the rubble of countless flattened mud-brick homes. Teams were struggling to reach some areas, even 40 hours after the quake. The government is preparing to send more than 14,000 tents.
In Arawan town, around 200 angry survivors demonstrated outside government offices complaining they had not been given food or shelter. Survivors in Gajjar, some 120 kilometres east of Awaran, where the quake killed at least 108 people, said they were forced to scavenge for food, complaining of a lack of government aid. "The government is completely missing and we have not received a single relief item like tents or food."
Temperatures in the arid region were reaching 42 degrees Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) and many survivors said they were desperate for some relief from the blistering heat. The quake left more than 100,000 people homeless in Arawan, a dirt-poor expanse of land roughly the size of Wales. Besides flattening homes and affecting more than 300,000 people in six districts, the earthquake even created a new island about 650 feet off the coast.


* In the Western Pacific -
Tropical depression Twenty is located approximately 713 nm east-southeast of Hanoi, Vietnam.
Tropical depression Twenty is forecast to strike Vietnam as a typhoon at about 00:00 GMT on October 1. According to the Saffir-Simpson damage scale the potential property damage and flooding from a storm of Twenty's strength (category 1) at landfall includes: Storm surge generally 1.2-1.5 metres (4-5 feet) above normal. No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage. There is also the potential for flooding further inland due to heavy rain.


Mexico - Torrential rain has caused fresh floods in the Mexican beach resort Acapulco, less than two weeks after two storms killed 139 people. Authorities evacuated people from high-risk areas and closed schools, after flooding reached more than 1m (3ft).
Acapulco was one of the areas worst affected by the bad weather, which left thousands of tourists stranded. The government issued renewed alerts for the rest of the state of Guerrero, as further heavy rain was expected. September, days before its end, is SET TO BREAK RAIN RECORDS BY A LARGE MARGIN in Mexico.
Acapulco's international airport re-opened for commercial flights on Sunday, a week after it had to close due to power cuts and flooding. But on Thursday, one of the main access roads to the airport had to be closed. Authorities issued fresh rain alerts, as torrential rains led to evacuations in more than 20 districts. The population was called on to remain alert, as more rain was expected in the next "two or three days."
Some 20,000 people are still living in shelters in Guerrero. "We will have to wait for this [the rain] to lessen in some areas so we can regain control over many of these river beds that have flooded." Flooding was reported in more than 20 city districts of Acapulco. More than 50 people are still missing after last week's storms. Twenty-four out of Mexico's 31 states have been affected by the twin storms.
Rescue workers continue to search the rubble and mud for bodies of those buried in a landslide in La Pintada, where some 40 homes were swept away by mud from a hillside. A total of 1.2 million people were affected when Tropical Storm Manuel made landfall on 15 September on Mexico's south-western coastline. More than 25,000 tourists had to be airlifted out of Acapulco after the beach resort was cut off. Just 24 hours after Manuel had made landfall, Tropical Storm Ingrid hit the country's Gulf coast, causing destruction in Verazcruz and Tamaulipas. After temporarily weakening, Manuel regained strength and hit Mexico's north-western coast with hurricane-strength winds and more rain on Thursday.

Winterlike Storm Threatens Major Flooding in Northwest U.S. - The first powerful winterlike storm of the season will take aim on the Pacific Northwest Friday into Monday with potentially disastrous flooding, damaging winds and dangerous seas. The storm will cross Alaska Thursday with gusty winds, rain and mountain snow, but WILL GROW INTO A MONSTER over the Gulf of Alaska Friday, where it will stall over the weekend. Winds of 40 to 60 mph will roar over the ocean raising 15- to 30-foot seas.
As the storm expands southward and eastward, it will spread heavy rain, flooding, travel delays, high winds, pounding surf and rough seas first to British Columbia, then to Washington and Oregon and finally to northernmost California. The worst conditions are likely to stay north of California, and will instead target areas farther north on Saturday with another heavy dose possible later Sunday into Sunday night.
Enough rain will fall to cause urban flooding and small stream flooding, rockslides and rises on the major rivers. Flooding along the short-run rivers off the Olympics and Cascades is possible later this weekend. Rounds of windswept rain, urban flooding and poor visibility will lead to travel delays along the I-5 corridor and potentially at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and others. The heaviest rain, on the order of 4 to 8 inches (up to 200 mm) will fall on the southwest-facing slopes of the Olympics and Cascades in Washington and the Vancouver Island Ranges Coast Mountains in British Columbia.
Elsewhere, from western Oregon through western British Columbia, a general 2 to 4 inches of rain is forecast. Much less rain will fall over central and eastern Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, but some rain will fall on these areas. Enough rain could fall to end the risk of wildfires once and for all this season.
South-to-southwest winds can be strong enough to down some trees, cause minor property damage and lead to power outages. Wind gusts along the northwestern part of Vancouver Island and parts of the Washington and British Columbia coasts can reach between 50 and 60 mph. Gusts can be locally higher on the ridges. Because of the wind direction from the south and southwest, this will not be the worst-case scenario for Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, Washington., and Portland, Oregon.
Unlike many storms in the winter, snow levels with this storm will remain rather high ranging from 7,000 to 8,500 feet. Snow levels will drop during the latter stages of the storm, Sunday night and Monday, when wet snow can mix in over the higher passes. However, hikers should avoid the peaks in the Cascades throughout the storm, where blizzard conditions are likely.
While seas will be very rough offshore, the south-to-southwest wind driving the waves will not bring the worst-case scenario to most coastal areas in terms of pounding surf and coastal erosion. In some cases, the wind-wave action will be parallel to the coast. However, the worst effects are likely to be along the upper half of Vancouver Island that is exposed to south to southwest winds.
RECORD WET SEPTEMBER Possible - Enough rain could fall at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for this September to rank in the top-five wettest on record. The wettest September on record at the airport was in 1978, when 5.95 inches fell. As of Thursday, Sept, 26, 2013, 3.03 inches of rain have fallen at the site. This September could be the new record-holder. Similarly, Olympia Airport, Wash., could achieve a top five or record rainfall for September. In 1978, the month brought a record 7.59 inches. The fifth-wettest September was in 1977, when 4.58 inches fell. As of Thursday, 3.92 inches of rain have fallen at the site.

+ Russia - State of emergency in Sochi after heavy rain. Floods and mudslides caused by heavy rain have prompted Russian authorities to introduce a state of emergency in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Emergency Situations Ministry said Wednesday that about 1,800 of its personnel were involved in cleaning up the streets and pumping out water after the torrential rain caused local rivers to overfill and flood some sections of highways and a few residential areas in the Black Sea resort.

+ India - Rain pounds Gujarat; 20,000 evacuated. Heavy but intermittent rain continued to lash Ahmedabad on Tuesday. Heavy rain was also reported from the new west zone late in the evening. There was waterlogging and heavy traffic jam at several places, although no underpasses in the city were closed.Meanwhile, mercury level dipped 5 degrees below normal with the city recording a maximum temperature of 30.4 degree Celsius. “I don’t think we have ever experienced such heavy rainfall at the end of monsoon. While the drop in temperature is welcome, the waterlogging and traffic jams are not."
The Met department predicted intermittent rain for the city on Wednesday as well with a possibility of heavy rain. Across the state, 207 talukas in 31 districts received rain. Bharuch, Vadodara, Navsari and Surat were among the worst affected. In Vadodara, the city alone received 232 mm of rainfall resulting in heavy waterlogging. Karjan taluka in the district recorded 302 mm of rainfall. With water level rising in Vishwamitri river, there were fears about crocodiles in the river entering the city.
“It was alarming. Schools and colleges have been shut down due to the incessant rains." “As many as 2,250 people have been evacuated in the city, particularly those living near Vishwamitri. Sixteen boats and a team of 165 firemen are being put on standby to deal with any untoward incident." In all, close to 20,000 people from 50 villages in five talukas of the state were moved to safer locations. The Met department has predicted moderate to heavy rainfall for almost all districts of the state.


Northeast India is reeling under a deficit rainfall - (June to September 35%) condition, which has already posed serious danger to cultivation of paddy (especially in the month of July). Reports reveal that the number of monsoon rainfall deficient years in the Northeast has been growing since 2001. Arunachal Pradesh Meteorological Sub-division has recorded five monsoon rainfall deficient years, while the Assam-Meghalaya Meteorological Subdivision recorded six monsoon rainfall deficient years, with the Nagaland-Manipur-Mizoram-Tripura Meteorological Sub-division recording four monsoon rainfall deficient years since 2001.
Further figures show, month of July was the driest this monsoon as Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and other NE states received very little rain. The state faced a deficit of 36%, while Assam and the NMMT(Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura) belt were reeling under a 45% and 61% rainfall deficit respectively, till the month of July. Since only six per cent of the state`s cultivable land has access to irrigation facility, farmers organization in Assam this year, raised an alarm over the deficit rainfall situation and exhorted upon the state government to undertake emergency measures to tackle the imminent ‘drought like situation’.
“Having a look at the major city figures, we see that there has been a deficit of 25%, 32%, 15% in Guwahati, Agartala and Imphal respectively, for the entire monsoon season (June to Sept). Sadly so, one of the wettest states in the world, Cherrapunji, has also suffered a rain deficit of 16% so far, with only 3749 mm of rain recorded, as opposed to the normal of 4455 mm. As compared to last year, the rainfall deficit figures are way more this year.
Last year, the rainfall figures in most parts of northeast India, except Agartala, hovered around the normal average. The reasons are many. This year, only one depression formed in the Bay of Bengal and all the low pressure systems that did form went westwards, towards central India, giving heavy rain at Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. “Also, no major western disturbance affected the Indian subcontinent this year. These western disturbances usually move towards northeast India, after affecting north India. Therefore it was just the monsoon trough giving rain to the northeast sector. And it was due to little scattered rain this year that the mercury rose to absurd levels”.
This monsoon maximums rose to 38 degrees in many parts of Arunachal Pradesh. Assam too, was seen recording 35 degree Celsius, continuously in the month of July and August, due to little rain, Some believe, other than the uncontrollable weather related factors, it is the direct interference of humans with the nature, i.e. building too many dams and diverting major rivers, that has been the major reason for decreased rainfall activity over the years in the northeast.


+ 'Ecological Armageddon' - Mammals vanish entirely from forest fragments after 25 years. As tropical forests worldwide are increasingly cut into smaller and smaller fragments, mammal extinctions may not be far behind, according to a new study. “Our results should be a warning. This is the trend that the world is going in.”
In 1987, the government of Thailand launched a huge, unplanned experiment. They built a dam across the Khlong Saeng river, creating a 60-square-mile reservoir. As the Chiew Larn reservoir rose, it drowned the river valley, transforming 150 forested hilltops into islands, each with its own isolated menagerie of wildlife. Conservation biologists have long known that fragmenting wilderness can put species at risk of extinction. But it’s been hard to gauge how long it takes for those species to disappear. Chiew Larn has given biologists the opportunity to measure the speed of mammal extinctions.
Tropical forests are regularly cleared for logging, farming and cities. In most cases, the only original tree cover is reduced to isolated patches. Many of the original species of plants and animals may still survive in those fragments, but they experience new stresses. The edges of the fragments are no longer dim and humid, for example. The small size of the surviving populations also creates problems. Over the course of a few generations, a small population can accumulate harmful mutations that make them less fertile or more vulnerable to diseases.
Scientists have hypothesized that many species will gradually decline in forest fragments until they become extinct. Reducing a vast carpet of jungle to isolated patches thus creates a so-called “extinction debt” that nature will sooner or later collect.
Just five years after the dam was built, they could see a difference. Several species were more rare on the islands than on the mainland. Researcherson returned to the same 12 islands in 2012 and repeated the survey. The first survey had found seven species of mammals. Traps on the island found only a single species: the Malayan field rat. This was a startling find for two reasons. One was the drastic crash in diversity. The other was that the Malayan field rat wasn’t on the islands when they first formed.
Malayan field rats thrive around villages and farms and other disturbed habitats. The rats trapped must have come from the surrounding rain forests, where they still remain scarce. When they swam to the islands, they found fragmented forests that they could dominate. “I thought, ‘Wow, what if this trend holds?' And it did.” On most of the islands, all the native species were gone, replaced by the rats. Only on a few islands did some species still cling to existence. All the islands were suffering massive extinctions in about 20 years. “No one expected to see such rapid extinctions.”
“This study confirms for mammals what we’ve long known for birds." Records of birds from forest fragments in the Amazon show species going extinct at a comparable rate. The fast pace of extinction in forest fragments gives an urgency to conserving the large swaths of tropical forest that still remain. “Our study shows we may need to do that very quickly.”


The owners of a Colorado cantaloupe farm have been arrested - Their farm was linked to a 2011 food poisoning outbreak which killed 33 people and sickened 147. Eric and Ryan Jensen were charged with selling contaminated food and face up to six years in prison and up to $1.5m in fines.
The brothers did not adequately wash the melons before selling them, US officials say. The outbreak of listeriosis stretched from California to Virginia. The US Food and Drug Administration said the Jensens installed a new cantaloupe cleaning system - designed to clean potatoes - in 2011. The system included a chlorine spray meant to remove bacteria, which was never used."The defendants were aware that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed. Food processors... bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public." The Jensens' actions resulted in at least six shipments of contaminated cantaloupe being sent to 28 states.

Sunscreens for babies, kids, recalled for contamination - Bacteria and fungi found in some samples of natural sunscreen. About 30,000 tubes of Badger sunscreens for babies and children have been recalled after testing found they could be contaminated with bacteria and fungi. The voluntary recall from a leading maker of natural and organic sunscreens includes all lots of the company's 4-ounce SPF 30 Baby Sunscreen Lotion and one lot of 4-ounce SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Lotion.
The New Hampshire company says the products all passed testing before they were put on sale, starting in February, but routine quality checks later turned up three microbes: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida parapsilosis and Acremonium fungis. The third microbe was found only in one open sample that had been handled and contaminated. The testing suggested all the problems were caused by "preservative instability," the company says.