Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**If a family has an old person in it, it possesses a jewel.**
Chinese proverb

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 4/6/15 -

Future earthquake, tsunami likely to start off British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii - Scientists say 2012 quake increased pressure south of the islands along the Queen Charlotte Fault. Experts studying the second-biggest earthquake measured in Canadian history have zeroed in on the Pacific archipelago of Haida Gwaii as the likely source of a future large quake and tsunami.
An earthquake off British Columbia’s coast in the same area in October 2012 relieved some of the region’s tectonic strain, but new research shows the shifting also increased pressure immediately south of the islands along the Queen Charlotte Fault. “What this has done in essence is raise the possibility of future thrust earthquakes and tsunamis along this part of the British Columbia margin."
The Pacific and North American tectonic plates mostly slide along one another, but where those plates meet at certain points along the Queen Charlotte Fault they also push against each other. The release of that pushing pressure gave rise to the thrust earthquake of 2012. This type of earthquake is “unusual and, to a certain degree, unexpected” for the region. “Any large earthquake can generate a tsunami but thrust earthquakes are especially effective.”
The provincial government released a consultation report that found British Columbia is falling behind on earthquake preparedness. The absence of major seismic activity near densely populated areas has contributed to a culture of public apathy and resulted in government diverting resources away from emergency management agencies. “The problem when you are living in earthquake country . . . is that an earthquake is inevitable. It is going to happen. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”
"While the Haida Gwaii earthquake of 2012 caused little structural damage and no serious injuries, in large part thanks to its remoteness, the region experienced tsunami run-up of up to 13 metres. Some of the land also reportedly shifted a full metre from its original location. I was quite amazed at the emotional trauma. Some people felt it but they weren’t really all that bothered by it. Other people were quite shaken up, figuratively and literally.”
Thousands of aftershocks could be felt in the weeks following the main event. While the timeline is uncertain, researchers say B.C. is due for a powerful megathrust earthquake, popularly described as the Big One, which is forecast to impact more populated regions of the province.

Fukushima’s fallout - Radiation from the leaking Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan has been detected on the shores of Vancouver Island. Scientists say it’s the first time since the tsunami in Japan four years ago that radiation has been found on the shorelines of North America.
Low levels of the radioactive isotope Cesium-134 were collected last February in waters off a dock at Ucluelet, B.C., about 315 kilometres west of Victoria. That amount of radiation is minuscule and does not pose risks to human health or the ocean ecosystem.


* In the South Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Ikola is located approximately 1352 nm west-northwest of Learmonth, Australia.

- Tropical cyclone Joalane is located approximately 484 nm northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius.
Cyclone relief in Vanuatu continues over Easter despite difficult conditions - Rough conditions, shallow water and coral reefs are challenging New Zealand Defence Force personnel supporting cyclone relief efforts in Vanuatu over Easter. The amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury has now moved south to operate around the southern part of the Shepherd Islands and the islands of Makura and Mataso. Away from the large sheltered island of Epi, the more remote islands have had little contact with the outside world since the cyclone.
The conditions have forced the NZDF to improvise away from traditional landing craft operations to get much-needed food, water and medical teams ashore. The ship's helicopter has dropped teams and provisions at islands further out from the planned destinations and the challenge of getting ashore has been overcome by the use of Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to move personnel and equipment close to the reef to be cross-loaded on to smaller Zodiac inflatable boats.
"The smaller volcanic peak islands make beach access much more difficult. It has been a real joint effort. We have had navy and army personnel working together on the islands, with the Air Force-maintained helicopter working alongside the boats moving equipment, supplies and both NZDF and NZ Government officials. It's very challenging with small boats. They were manned by our hydrographers, who have the most experience on inflatables in surf zones, and we also had a RHIB right there as a safety boat throughout the task."
The teams ashore include Ministry of Health doctors and nurses who run day clinics, USAR representatives checking water supplies and NZDF engineers assessing damage to key infrastructure in the villages. Some 70 personnel, mainly NZDF, are still working on Epi and Tongoa Islands continuing the repair and rebuilding tasks with heavy equipment that is not suitable to be brought ashore in the southern area.


Major U.S. Severe Weather Outbreak Possible This Week - The atmospheric ingredients are aligning for what could be intense severe weather this week, especially on Wednesday and Thursday.

Dramatic Chile flood Video - Cars, entire houses swept away by freak mudslides in Atacama. The most disastrous rains in 80 years caused heavy flooding in the Chilean region of Atacama last week. The footage shows the small village of El Salado, where flash floods practically wiped out the area. The disaster left 17 people dead, and 20 others missing. The Atacama region is in the north of the country and is considered one of the driest areas on Earth.


Extreme Weather Cost the US Over $19 Billion Last Year - America had eight severe weather, flood, and drought events last year, causing more than $19 billion in damage across 35 states and killing 65 people.
Over the past four years, the report found:
There were 42 extreme weather events that each caused at least $1 billion in damage.
These extreme weather events caused 1,286 fatalities and $227 billion in economic losses across 44 states.
On average, there were 61 presidential major disaster declarations per year because of extreme weather events.
The most expensive weather disaster of this decade, by far, is the Western drought, “which has cost $46 billion to date, according to CAP analysis.”
The likelihood for extreme weather disasters is rapidly increasing, too. “In only five years, the 2010s have witnessed almost as many extreme weather events as the 1960s and 1980s combined,” and data analysis shows “that the 2010s may see a total of as many as 644 disasters by 2019.”
“Evidence shows that we are living in an era of extreme weathe. If trends continue, the government must increase investments in resilience strategies, such as climate-smart pre-disaster mitigation, fortified infrastructure, sustainable resource management planning, and scientific research.” These investments could drastically reduce the disasters’ costs, as “every $1 investment towards resilience reduces disaster damage by $4.” But, unfortunately, the proposed budget isn’t adequately funding these resilience strategies.
“At only this decade’s halfway point, extreme weather events of all sizes have devastated Americans’ lives and their wallets to the tune of more than $447 billion,” the report concluded, “a sum that was dwarfs the roughly $90 billion in resilience spending that the president’s budget proposal calls for in order to protect and fortify the nation’s future. Congress must act in accordance with the math, listen to the overwhelming warnings of the world’s best scientists, and heed the S.O.S. calls of its citizenry lest the United States succumb to the rising impacts of extreme weather.”


The latest U. K. government risk matrices, visual aids designed to help civil servants and ministers make informed decisions on risks to the nation, have shown the enormous threat of disease, which far outweighs that of terrorism, extreme weather, and widespread public disorder.
The danger of pandemic disease, including killer influenza, will be exacerbated in the coming two decades by growing microbial resistance to the drugs used to treat them. Simple ailments that can easily be treated at the moment could kill thouands in the near future – with the government estimating 80,000 could be killed in the United Kingdom in just one infectious event.
Death on such a scale in the United Kingdom is not without precedent – even in recent history. In the immediate aftermath of the Great War from 1918 onwards, a pandemic of flu killed 230,000 in just a couple of years, a fraction of the estimated 50 million killed worldwide. The prime minister has warned the regression of modern medicine over the past century would cast Britain back into the “dark ages”.
The government document, the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies, which is released to the public in reduced form but is available in full detail to senior ministers, and contains the most sensitive risk assessments and secrets of the state, also quantifies the risk of various forms of terror attack. The events are organised on two axis, one representing likelihood of happening in the next five years, and the other representing the level of impact a successfully attack would have.
While a ‘catastrophic terrorist attack’, a large-scale event on a similar level to the 9/11 attacks in the United States or worse, is rated as having the highest potential impact, it is also rated as having a ‘medium low’ chance of occurring. On the other hand, cyber- terrorism is has the highest-rated chance of taking place over the next five years, but the lowest potential impact.
More concerning is the rating of deadly terrorist attacks against transport systems in the UK, similar to the attacks against the London Underground and London buses. While the impact on the nation would be medium-to-high, the chance of a successfully attack in the next five years is the highest category.
Among other events that could ravage the United Kingdom, remarkably crises such as extreme snowfall and solar weather taking out electronic devices are rated to be as likely to occur, and as dangerous as terrorist attacks on public places.
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