Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Global Disaster Watch - the latest earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tropical storms, wildfires and record-breaking weather.

**If life gives you melons,
you might be dyslexic.**

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 12/10/13 -

Relief efforts after earthquake in Pakistan lagging - The 7-7-magnitude earthquake that hit Pakistan's Baluchistan province September 24 left an estimated 200,000 people homeless in the region. More than two months later and winter at hand, international aid groups say their efforts to help the quake victims get back up on their feet are being rebuffed by the government. International aid organizations say the government has refused their help.
The earthquake killed as many as 386 people and injured 816. More than 30,000 families - an estimated 200,000 people - in Awaran district, 400 miles southwest of the provincial capital of Quetta, have been homeless since the temblor. Awaran is considered the country's most backward district, receiving the least government aid to schools, health, potable water and other basic needs. Villagers who lost their homes in the earthquake are worried about the coming winter and say they have not received sufficient help. "It is reported in the media that all is going well in the quake-hit areas, which is not completely true." If a family has food, it lacks shelter.
National and provincial disaster management authorities were given the task of conducting surveys to assess losses the earthquake caused to property and civic infrastructure in Awaran. In 2 1/2 months, these organizations have yet to finish assessing the damage. Relief and rescue activities had not been well organized, leaving scores of families and injured in mountainous areas without help for weeks. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees was repeatedly denied permission from the provincial government to take part in rescue and relief operations.
In the Jahoo area of Awaran district, there are still areas where no relief consignment had reached victims. In Non Dara village, 5,000 people have been living without shelter since the earthquake created deep cracks in the walls of their houses. None of the victims in that area had so far received relief goods from the government. "They were provided a small quantity of food items by welfare groups of religious organizations, but no tents. Several villages are still awaiting relief, but they are denied, given the alleged poor law-and-order situation in the district."

The supervolcano that lies beneath Yellowstone National Park in the US is far larger than was previously thought, scientists report. A study shows that the magma chamber is about 2.5 times bigger than earlier estimates suggested. A team found the cavern stretches for more than 90km (55 miles) and contains 200-600 cubic km of molten rock.
“We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger... but this finding is ASTOUNDING." If the Yellowstone supervolcano were to blow today, the consequences would be catastrophic. The last major eruption, which occurred 640,000 years ago, sent ash across the whole of North America, affecting the planet’s climate.
Now researchers believe they have a better idea of what lies beneath the ground. The team used a network of seismometers that were situated around the park to map the magma chamber. The team found that the magma chamber was colossal. Reaching depths of between 2km and 15km (1 to 9 miles), the cavern was about 90km (55 miles) long and 30km (20 miles) wide. It pushed further into the north east of the park than other studies had previously shown, holding a mixture of solid and molten rock. “To our knowledge there has been nothing mapped of that size before."
The researchers are using the findings to better assess the threat that the volatile giant poses. “Yes, it is a much larger system… but I don’t think it makes the Yellowstone hazard greater. But what it does tell us is more about the area to the north east of the caldera.”
Researchers are unsure when the supervolcano would blow again. Some believe a massive eruption is overdue, estimating that Yellowstone’s volcano goes off every 700,000 years or so. But more data was needed, because there had only been three major eruptions so far. These happened 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 640,000 years ago. “You can only use the time between eruptions (to work out the frequency), so in a sense you only have two numbers to get to that 700,000 year figure. How many people would buy something on the stock market on two days of stock data?”
Other researchers have been looking at other, more ancient volcanic eruptions that happened along the same stretch of continental plate that Yellowstone’s supervolcano sits on. “We looked at a time window of between 12.5 to 8 million years ago. We wanted to know how to identify these eruptions and find out how frequently they happened.” The team found there were fewer volcanic events during this period than had been estimated, but these eruptions were far larger than was previously thought. “If you look at older volcanoes, it helps to understand what Yellowstone is likely to do.”

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the North Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone Madi is approaching India and is forecast to strike there as a tropical storm on Friday the 13th.
‘Cyclone Madi’ will pack some punch when crossing India's coast on Friday. Very severe cyclone Madi has weakened, and is forecast to enter Tamil Nadu coast by Friday as a storm just below cyclonic strength. The US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre projected that ‘Madi’ may cross the Cuddalore-Chidambaram belt early in the morning. Tropical Storm Risk Group of London concurred saying that Madi will be a tropical storm (deep depression in India Met Department parlance) while crossing the coast.
On Tuesday, the storm weakened ahead of executing the turn back southwest from its current bearing over west-central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal. Madi briefly displayed an ‘eye’ towards its centre on Tuesday in a signal it had reached peak strength. India Met Department located it to 630 km northeast of Chennai, India and 900 km north-northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka).
Madi will move nearly northwards slowly for some time and then re-curve to southwest, setting it on course for expected rendezvous with the Tamil Nadu coast. The weakening storm is projected to scythe through interior Tamil Nadu past Madurai towards Kochi and slip into the warm Arabian Sea waters. Storm trackers said that Madi could whip up strong northeasterly flows over the Arabian Sea as it closes in for landfall over Tamil Nadu coast. There is no forecast yet of its remnants consolidating in the Arabian Sea and regenerating as a fresh storm, as happens occasionally. But one model ventured to suggest Madi could conjure up some buzz in the Gulf of Mannar and squeeze in a rain wave just south of the southern Indian peninsula.
The Met Department has said that rains may lash isolated places over coastal Andhra Pradesh, coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during next two days. Later, rain or thundershowers would increase gradually over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Fishermen along and off Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh coasts are advised against venturing into the deep sea during next three days. Longer term outlook for four days until Tuesday next suggested rains for parts of the southern peninsula.

India - Cyclone-hit Villages Await Power Supply. Many parts of cyclone-ravaged Ganjam are still in dark, two months after Phailin hit the district.


Cyprus - Extreme weather conditions coming as Cyprus braces for wind. Local services were bracing themselves to deal with possible repercussions from extreme weather conditions, expected to hit the island Tuesday evening. Temperatures are set to drop. Strong winds, thunderstorms and snowfall are also on the cards.
Municipal authorities are closely monitoring weather developments, preparing places to accommodate people who do not have heating at home. Police are also watching the weather conditions in order to inform the public on the situation of roads. The weather will deteriorate as of Tuesday. “The main characteristics of the weather for the next three-four days will be low temperatures”. During the night the temperature will be around zero degrees in the capital Nicosia and up in the mountains it will be below zero. It is expected to snow on the mountains of an altitude over 1200 meters. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday storms and strong northeastern winds are expected. A shelter will open and hot beverages will be served to those in need in a Municipal Centre.

Floods kill 11 in Brazil's drought-stricken northeastern Bahia state - 6 others missing. Brazil's northeast is in the grips of THE WORST DROUGHT IN A CENTURY, so the sudden downpour was PARTICULARLY UNEXPECTED. Intense rains overnight Saturday to Sunday in the town of Lajedinho caused the floods, which destroyed some 70 houses. Around 200 people have taken shelter in schools and a local gym.
Emergency response personnel were searching the flooded buildings for survivors, the missing and other possible victims Monday. About 4.7 inches (12 centimetres) of rain fell in a few hours. That's the equivalent of TWO MONTHS OF NORMAL RAINFALL in the region.


Oregon - RECORD-BREAKING COLD idles buses, bursts pipes. An arctic airmass brought frigid weather to Central Oregon over the past week, culminating in a weekend with subzero temperatures.

New York - RECORD-BREAKING SNOW was expected Tuesday. After quite a few UNUSUALLY WARM DAYS for the season, New York City was finally facing wintery weather, with snow showers expected Tuesday.


Australia - Bees back from the brink following flower drought. Members of the bee industry are reporting that hives are on the road to recovery following some rain in drought-affected areas.


Madagascar village 'hit by bubonic plague' - Tests were carried out after at least 20 people in the village, near the north-western town of Mandritsara, were reported to have died last week. The International Committee of the Red Cross warned in October that Madagascar was at risk of a plague epidemic. The disease is transmitted to humans via fleas, usually from rats.
Bubonic plague, known as the Black Death when it killed an estimated 25 million people in Europe during the Middle Ages, is now rare. Last year, Madagascar had 60 deaths from the plague, the world's highest recorded number. Health officials have now gone to the remote area to investigate.
Prisoners on the island are usually most affected by the plague, which is spread because of unhygienic conditions. The prevalence of rats in Madagascar's prisons means the plague can spread easily. There are concerns that the disease could spread to towns and cities where living standards have declined since a coup in 2009 and the ensuing political crisis.

Global Disaster Watch is on Facebook - with breaking news during the day.