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Παρασκευή 20 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

2 strong cyclones hit remote parts of northern Australia

Two powerful cyclones smashed into northern Australia on Friday, with authorities ordering coastal residents to flee their homes amid warnings the storms' violent winds and drenching rains could prove deadly.

The twin storms, dubbed the ''cyclone sandwich'' by locals, struck early Friday, about 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) apart. Cyclone Lam hit a sparsely populated stretch of the Northern Territory, while the more powerful and potentially dangerous Cyclone Marcia began crossing over small coastal towns along the eastern coast of Queensland state a few hours later, packing wind gusts up to 285 kilometers (180 miles) an hour.

''Over the next few hours, many thousands of Queenslanders are going to go through a harrowing and terrifying experience,'' Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. ''This is a severe cyclone. I want everyone to take all the precautions that they possibly can take.''

About 30,000 people living in the Queensland town of Yeppoon and surrounding areas were expected to experience the worst of the storm. More than 100 schools were closed and nearly 900 residents in low-lying areas were told to evacuate their homes.

No immediate damage had been reported, but officials pleaded with hardened Queensland residents _ no stranger to violent cyclones _ to take the storm seriously. A cyclone of similar strength, Yasi, hit the state in 2011, destroying scores of homes but causing no deaths.

''This is going to be a calamity, there's absolutely no doubt about that,'' Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned that Marcia had a ''very destructive core,'' had intensified rapidly and was likely to cause flooding.

In the Northern Territory, Cyclone Lam struck a remote stretch of coast, tearing up trees and downing power lines, but causing no major damage as it weakened and moved further inland. No injuries had been reported. 


Τρίτη 17 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

Tsunami warning lifted for Japan coast (M6.9 quake hits NE Japan)

The Japan Meteorological Agency said on Tuesday a tsunami warning has been lifted for the country's northeast coast.

The agency had issued the warning earlier after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck off northeastern Japan. 

[jpost.com by Reuters]
  • A 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit off northeastern Japan on Tuesday, triggering a 1-meter tsunami warning for Iwate Prefecture, Japan's Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

The quake, which occurred at 8:06 a.m. local time (2306 GMT Monday), was centered 210 km in the Pacific Ocean east of Miyagi Prefecture, with a depth of around 10 km. It registered 4 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale in parts of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Akita prefectures.

The JMA has issued an advisory against a 1-meter tsunami for Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan.

According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, Iwate's Miyako port and Kuji port have observed a tidal wave of about 10 cm respectively. The JMA is closely monitoring bigger tsunamis which may hit northeastern coastal areas later.

No death or injuries were reported immediately after the quake.

china.org.cn - Xinhua
  • Earthquake Magnitude    Mw 6.9
Date time    2015-02-16 23:06:28.9 UTC
Location    40.03 N ; 142.72 E
Depth    10 km
  •  252 km NE of Sendai-shi, Japan / pop: 1,037,562 / local time: 08:06:28.9 2015-02-17
  • 139 km E of Morioka-shi, Japan / pop: 295,172 / local time: 08:06:28.9 2015-02-17
  • 79 km NE of Miyako, Japan / pop: 51,721 / local time: 08:06:28.9 2015-02-17 

Τετάρτη 4 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

Residents of Turkish Thracian province eye suing Bulgaria over floods. Bulgaria sends urgent note to Turkey and Greece on river levels.

Residents in the northwestern Turkish province of Edirne are considering suing the Bulgarian government over floods triggered by dams in the neighboring country, Turkish Forestry and Waterworks Minister Veysel Eroğlu has said, expressing his support for such a move. ..

The Thracian city of Edirne, which borders Bulgaria, has been hit in recent days by floods from the Tundzha and Maritsa (Tunca and Meriç) rivers, as heavy rain that gripped the Balkans caused a sharp increase in the water levels of rivers in the area.

Eroğlu said the floods in the city, which prompted the evacuation of two villages on Feb. 2 after large sections of them were submerged, was caused by the sudden melting of snow melt in Bulgaria and dams constructed by the Bulgarian government “without considering flood margins.”

“They built some dams but unfortunately they don’t leave a marginal volume against floods,” he said on Feb. 4, answering reporters’ questions after the inaugural meeting of the EU River Basins Management Plans Project.

Eroğlu said Edirne residents had signaled that they were considering whether to sue Bulgaria, fed up with repeated overwhelming water flows that “put the city in lockdown.”

“When I was in Edirne, they [residents] said they will file lawsuit against Bulgaria about this issue if necessary. I also think it may be useful to do that,” he said.

Minister Eroğlu claimed that the Turkish authorities had warned their counterparts in Sofia “many times” about the issue, but now “our citizens have run out of patience.”

Joint project ‘at deadlock’

He also complained about Bulgaria’s “inaction” over the two country’s joint Tundzha Project, which was designed to take the flow speed and rate of the river under control in order to pave the way for its more efficient use in tourism activities.

“It was a joint friendship project. We completed everything … But when the time came for a bilateral agreement, the Bulgarian government didn’t do anything, although we sent the draft,” he said.

As the two countries have also failed to reach an agreement over the building of a joint dam on the Tundzha River, Ankara has drafted plan B to prevent floods in the region by constructing a dam on the Turkish side of the border, Eroğlu also said.

“We want to direct those waters to a dam on our soil by constructing a dam in Çömlekköy,” he stated, adding that the government planned to use excess water in irrigation during the summer months.

“Hopefully, we will be able to decrease floods from the Tundzha and Maritsa rivers,” Eroğlu added. 

  • Bulgaria is sending Turkey and Greece an urgent note on the levels of three rivers as well as of dams along the Arda River, the Environment and Water Ministry said on February 4, after days of heavy rainfall...

Officials in Ankara and Athens will sent data on the levels of the rivers Maritsa, Tundzha and Arda. 

Torrential rain that began on February 1 has led to at least two deaths in southern and eastern Bulgaria, a number of missing persons, evacuations of about 600 people close to the swollen Kamchiya River, destruction of property and damage to road infrastructure estimated to exceed 12 million leva (about six million euro).


Τετάρτη 21 Ιανουαρίου 2015

UN: Madagascar needs money to continue battle against locust plague

UN, 21 January 2015 – The battle against a plague of locusts in Madagascar is in danger of being lost, as funding to continue efforts against widespread infestations runs out, putting 13 million people at risk of food insecurity, the United Nations agricultural agency said today.

A three-year anti-locust programme was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) alongside the Madagascan Government in 2013 in response to a plague that swept the country the previous year. It successfully halted the spread but the risks of relapse are high in the rainy season, which provides ideal breeding conditions, an FAO press release said. 

“Taking action now is critical to ensure the significant efforts made so far, financially and technically, are built upon rather than lost,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division. “The current campaign is essential to reinforce the decline of the current plague, avoiding any relapse, and then continue towards a full-fledged locust recession.”

The first quarter of the year is especially important because it corresponds to the second phase of breeding. Most locusts present at this time are wingless 'hoppers', which are easier to combat because they are more sensitive to pesticides and slower moving than winged adults. After last year's successes, the FAO warns that hoppers will gather in smaller groups, making them harder to find and requiring more ground and aerial surveys to do so.

Failure to carry out in full the 2013-2016 FAO-Government joint programme would waste the $28.8 million so far mobilised and could trigger a large-scale food-security crisis in the country. A further $10.6 million is needed to complete the campaign, paying for monitoring and spraying operations to the end of the rainy season in May 2015.

The FAO cautions that even a relatively short interruption to monitoring and spraying operations of about two months could significantly erase progress made so far, which includes the surveying of about 30 million hectares - an area almost as large as Japan - and the tackling of locust infestations over more than 1.3 million hectares.

“The costs that will result from ceasing locust control activities will be far greater than the amount spent so far, so it is critical for the international community stay the course and complete the Locust Emergency Response Programme,” said Patrice Takoukam Talla, FAO's Representative in Madagascar.
About 40 per cent of crops in southern Madagascar are at risk from locusts and more than three quarters of the population in the Atsimo Andrefana and Androy regions, where maize and cassava production have declined sharply and rice output remains well below trend, currently face food insecurity, up notably from a year earlier.

Resources raised so far as part of the $39.4 million needed have come from several Governments, a World Bank loan, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund and the International Fund for Agriculture Development. 

Σάββατο 10 Ιανουαρίου 2015

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake rocked Luzon (Philippines) at Sunday morning.

The quake’s epicenter was in located 13 kilometers southeast of San Antonio, Zambales with a depth of 85 kilometers said the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

The tremors were also felt in Metro Manila. Phivolcs said aftershocks are expected from the quake although no damage to infrastructure is expected.
  • Earthquake M 5.8 - LUZON, PHILIPPINES....75 km W of Manila ... local time: 03:32

Magnitude    Mw 5.8
Date time    2015-01-10 19:32:02.9 UTC
Location    14.80 N ; 120.32 E
Depth    80 km

  •  75 km W of Manila, Philippines / pop: 10,444,527 / local time: 03:32:02.9 2015-01-11
  • 5 km SE of Olongapo, Philippines / pop: 220,021 / local time: 03:32:02.9 2015-01-11 

  • Earthquake M5.8 - 4km N of Mabayo, Philippines 

Nearby Cities:

  1. 4km (2mi) N of Mabayo, Philippines
  2. 6km (4mi) S of Olongapo, Philippines
  3. 10km (6mi) N of Morong, Philippines
  4. 13km (8mi) SSE of Subic, Philippines
  5. 77km (48mi) WNW of Manila, Philippines

Σάββατο 15 Νοεμβρίου 2014

7.3 quake hits Indonesia waters (tsunami possible)

JAKARTA — A 7.3-magnitude quake hit Indonesian waters, off the Moluccas, this morning (Nov 15) and has the potential to generate tsunami waves along nearby coasts, a monitoring agency said.

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake hit 154km northwest of Kota Ternate at a depth of 47km.
There are no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the quake could cause hazardous tsunami waves within 300km of the epicentre along the nearby coasts of Indonesia and the southern Philippines. Waves could reach up to a metre or less, it said.
The nearest communities of Tabukan Tengah on North Sulawesi island could be at risk within an hour or so if a tsunami occurs, the agency said.
The waves could also reach as far as Taiwan, Okinawa in southern Japan, the US territory of Guam, Papau New Guinea, Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific within the next six hours, it said.
Another quake measuring 6.2 was recorded soon after off Indonesia’s Sulawesi, according to the USGS.
The world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.
In 2004, a monster temblor off Aceh shores triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries. Most of the deaths were in Aceh. 

Κυριακή 26 Οκτωβρίου 2014

US to pay for damaged reef (Philippine official)

The 87 million pesos (about $1.94 million) that the Philippines has been asking from the United States as payment for the damage caused by its Navy ship on a marine sanctuary is now on the "documentation stage," a senior government official said Saturday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the 87 million pesos were the amount of compensation that the Philippine government sought from the US after USS Guardian, a minesweeper ship of America, ran aground on the south atoll of the Tubbataha Reefs off western Philippine province of Palawan in January 2013.

"According to Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, the coordination of the two countries regarding the compensation for the damage caused to Tubbataha Reefs has been on documentation stage," he said.

Coloma said the Philippine government would just await for the documentation to be completed and for the finalization of the compensation.

USS Guardian damaged 2,345 square meters of coral in Tubbataha Reefs, which was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in 1993.

Sources: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn

Τετάρτη 17 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

Philippines to pursue compensation from US on reef damage

The Philippine government vowed Wednesday to continue seeking compensation from the United States for the damage caused by its navy ship to parts of a protected marine reserve.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued a statement a day after the Supreme Court junked a petition by environmental groups for a writ of kalikasan (nature) against the minesweeper USS Guardian that ran aground in the Tubbataha Reef in January 2013.

"We will continue our ongoing discussions with the US government on the matter of securing full compensation for the damage caused to the Tubbataha Reef, and will be guided by the Supreme Court decision and the advice of the Office of the Solicitor General," the DFA said.

The department said it will also continue to work with other government agencies to enhance navigational safety in the protected marine sanctuary and preserve the reef and its marine environment.

The SC ruled that it has no jurisdiction over the petition filed by several groups calling on the court for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan for possible criminal, civil and administrative prosecution of American Navy officials responsible for the grounding incident.

The high court instead deferred to the executive branch the matter of seeking compensation and rehabilitation of the damaged area of Tubbataha Reef from the US.

Sources: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn

Τετάρτη 13 Αυγούστου 2014

Poor outlook warned for Great Barrier Reef (five-yearly review to address UNESCO)

Australia's Great Barrier Reef remains under threat despite efforts to rein in major sources of damage to the World Heritage-listed icon, the government said on Tuesday.

Canberra released a five-yearly review of the reef and moves to protect it, to address concerns raised by UNESCO and persuade the world body not to put the key tourist attraction on its "in danger" list next year. "Even with the recent management initiatives to reduce threats and improve resilience, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor, has worsened since 2009 and is expected to further deteriorate," the government said in its outlook report.

The reef, which stretches 2,300 kilometers along Australia's east coast, is the centerpiece of a campaign by green groups and marine tourist operators aiming to stop a planned coal port expansion that would require millions of cubic meters of sand to be dredged up and dumped near the reef.

The reef has the world's largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish, 4,000 types of mollusc, and is home to threatened species, the World Heritage list says.

The government said run-off from farms, crown-of-thorns starfish and climate change remain the biggest threats to the reef, but acknowledged that shipping and dredging occur in reef areas already facing pressure from other impacts. "Greater reductions of all threats at all levels, reef-wide, regional and local, are required to prevent the projected declines in the Great Barrier Reef and to improve its capacity to recover," the government said.

The government said it would not allow any port development outside long-established ports in Queensland. Those existing ports include Abbot Point, where India's Adani Group and compatriot GVK plan a huge coal terminal expansion, and Gladstone, where ship traffic is set to increase sharply from 2015 as huge new liquefied natural gas plants start exports.

Green groups said the report did not let off the hook the mining industry, which is digging up coal for export, adding to climate change and expanding ports along the reef. "The greatest risk, again, is climate change," said Wendy Tubman, an official of the North Queensland Conservation Council.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has asked Australia to submit an updated report on the state of conservation of the reef, which sprawls over an area half the size of Texas, by next February 1. 

Sources: Reuters -  globaltimes.cn


Πέμπτη 17 Ιουλίου 2014

Typhoon Rammasun leaves at least 27 dead in Philippines

MANILA: The death toll from the first typhoon of the Philippines' rainy season climbed to at least 27 on Thursday, authorities said, as millions in the capital and elsewhere endured a second day without power.

As Typhoon Rammasun moved further towards southern China, streets across Manila remained littered with fallen trees, branches and electrical posts while repairmen struggled to restore power services.

The head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Alexander Pama, said that his agency had confirmed 20 fatalities as of late Wednesday, but he expected the death toll to rise with more reports coming in.

"Most of the deaths were hit by falling trees, primarily by debris," Pama told ABS-CBN television.

The council listed five people missing and seven injured. Governors of provinces outside Manila said they had recorded seven other deaths not yet on the council's total.

The typhoon slammed into the eastern Philippines on Tuesday before crossing over the main island of Luzon and then moving westward out to the South China Sea by the middle of Wednesday. 


Δευτέρα 7 Ιουλίου 2014

Japan issues highest alert as typhoon Neoguri approaches Okinawa (one of the worst storms in decades)

Japan’s weather agency on Monday issued its highest alert as super typhoon Neoguri barreled toward the southern Okinawa island chain, warning of violent winds and towering waves from what could be one of the worst storms in decades.

The typhoon warning—the first since a new system began last August—means that the storm poses a threat to life and could inflict massive damage from gusts up to 270 kilometers per hour and torrential rain.

Waves could reach as high as 14 meters, the Japan Meteorological Agency said in a warning that was likely to stoke memories of Japan’s quake-tsunami disaster in 2011.

The alert was aimed at Miyako island in the center of the archipelago, with the massive storm expected to hit more populated areas of Okinawa on Tuesday.
“Please stay alert against violent winds and high waves,” the weather agency said in a brief statement that accompanied the emergency warning.
  • Earlier, officials warned residents in the area to stay indoors, while the biggest US Air Force base in the Pacific evacuated some of its aircraft.
The massive gusts and torrential rain will possibly reach mainland Japan by Wednesday, the weather agency said earlier Monday.

The typhoon was located some 600 kilometers south of Okinawa’s main island at 6 p.m. and was moving north northwest at 25 kilometers (16 miles) per hour.

“Please be vigilant, stay inside buildings and avoid working outside and making unnecessary trips,” a meteorological agency official said at a press briefing.

The official warned that the storm could pack “record level” winds and stir up high waves.

“It is likely to arrive in Okinawa Tuesday morning, generating violent gales and high waves… and, in some areas, violent rains,” he said. “Please be ready to evacuate.”

The meteorological agency forecast Neoguri would dump up to 80 millimeters of rain an hour on Okinawa as it pounds the archipelago.

The storm, which could affect an area with a 500-kilometer radius, was expected to be downgraded by the time it hit the Japanese mainland.

However, southern Kyushu region is already seeing heavy rains and officials warned of possible floods and landslides.

“I’m calling on the heads of municipalities not to hesitate in issuing evacuation warnings and don’t be afraid of being overcautious,” Keiji Furuya, the state minister in charge of disaster management, told a government meeting.

The U.S. Kadena Air Force base in Okinawa, the largest U.S. airbase in the Pacific, began evacuating some of its aircraft Sunday in preparation for the typhoon.

“I can’t stress enough how dangerous this typhoon may be when it hits Okinawa,” Commander James Hecker of the 18th Wing stationed in Kadena said in a statement posted online.

“This is the most powerful typhoon forecast to hit the island in 15 years; we expect damaging winds to arrive by early Tuesday morning.

“So be prepared!” Hecker said. “Tie down your outdoor items and work with your neighbors to help them.”

He added: “During the typhoon, do not go outside… Anything not tied down, even small items, could become deadly projectiles.”

Okinawa is regularly hit by typhoons but islanders were taking no chances, with fishermen on Miyako island bringing boats back to port and tying them down with ropes.

“It’s rare that we brace for a typhoon (as early as) July,” a Miyako fisherman said in television footage from public broadcaster NHK.
© 2014 AFP

Πέμπτη 19 Ιουνίου 2014

Australia hails Barrier Reef deferral. Environmentalists call UNESCO decision "final warning"

Australia Thursday called a decision by UNESCO to defer listing the Great Barrier Reef as in danger "a win for logic," but environmentalists said it was a final warning.

The UN cultural agency on Wednesday said the reef could be put on a list of endangered World Heritage Sites if more was not done to protect it.

It voiced alarm at a "serious decline in the condition" of the reef, and said "a business as usual approach to managing the property is not an option."

Australia was given until February 1 next year to submit a report on what it was doing to protect the natural wonder. The Queensland state government saw the deferral as "a tick of approval."

"I welcome this decision by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, which gives Queensland a big tick and it gives the work we are doing a big tick," state Environment Minister Andrew Powell said.

"Our strong plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef is already producing positive results, creating a brighter future that Queenslanders and tourists from around the world can enjoy. This decision is also a win for logic and science rather than rhetoric and scaremongering."

The reef is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, but is under pressure not only from climate change and the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, but agricultural runoff and development linked to mining.

  • UNESCO raised particular concerns about the approval in December of a massive coal port expansion in the region and allowing the dumping of millions of tons of dredge waste within the marine park waters.
Green groups said the government was on its final warning, and had "clearly not lived up to the standards expected by the international community."

"The World Heritage Committee has resisted intense pressure from the Australian and Queensland governments to water down its decision on the reef," said WWF-Australia reef campaigner Richard Leck, who is in Doha for the committee's annual meeting.

"Instead, the committee has put Australia firmly on notice to take stronger action to protect the Great Barrier Reef."

"This is a victory for the millions around the world who say our reef is not a dump."

The World Heritage Committee is also due to consider a request from Australia to de-list 74,000 hectares (183,000 acres) of the Tasmanian Wilderness, one of the last expanses of temperate rainforest in the world.

The move, which could give access to loggers, has been denounced by environmental groups and led to thousands protesting last weekend outside Tasmania's state parliament in Hobart.

Sources: AFP - globaltimes.cn


Τετάρτη 18 Ιουνίου 2014

UNESCO to decide if Australia's Great Barrier Reef is in danger

The United Nations world heritage body UNESCO will decide on Wednesday whether to list Australia's Great Barrier Reef as "in danger."

Concerns were raised in May over the decision to allow dredging near the reef, the ABC reported.

UNESCO recommended adding the reef to the World Heritage in Danger list in 2015, unless the Queensland Government took further action to protect it.

The committee is meeting this week in Doha and Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell is also there to convince UNESCO the reef is not in danger.

"I'm very confident that there won't be a decision at this session," he said.

"We've delivered nearly everything that UNESCO has asked of us, and by next year we'll have done that."

  • However, Josh Coates from the Cairns and Far North Environment Center said despite the action taken by the government to protect the reef, there were an "unprecedented number" of dredging proposals along the Queensland coast.
  • "Those are actually going to be releasing more sediments and more nutrients into the water column, impacting on the reef and their in-shore environments," he said. 
Sources :Xinhua  - globaltimes.cn


Τετάρτη 21 Μαΐου 2014

Scientists: Rising Sea Levels Threaten NASA Space Centers

U.S. scientists say global warming is forcing NASA to build seawalls near major flight and research centers along the U.S. coasts.

A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists says rising sea levels are the greatest threat to the historic Kennedy Space Center, along the Atlantic Ocean in Florida. It says other NASA facilities already have faced costly damage from erosion and hurricanes.

NASA says it is essential that launching pads be located near water if a test flight has to be aborted in mid-air or a technical problem forces astronauts to make an emergency return to Earth.

Other key NASA facilities are located along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific.

The report says rising seas threaten other historic sites, including colonial Boston, Hawaiian state parks, and Liberty Island in New York Harbor.
Some reporting by AFP

Πέμπτη 1 Μαΐου 2014

UNESCO condemns dredge waste dumping in Barrier Reef waters

UNESCO on Thursday condemned a decision to allow the dumping of dredge waste in Great Barrier Reef waters and recommended the Australian marine park be considered for inclusion on the World Heritage in Danger list.
The decision in January to allow three million cubic metres of dredge waste to be disposed of in park waters followed a decision by the government to give the green light to a major coal port expansion for India's Adani Group on the reef coast in December.
Conservationists warn it could hasten the demise of the reef, which is already considered to be in "poor" health, with dredging smothering corals and seagrasses and exposing them to poisons and elevated levels of nutrients.

In its first comments on the issue, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization "noted with concern" and "regrets" the move, which it said "was approved despite an indication that less-impacting disposal alternatives may exist".
It asked the government to provide a new report to the World Heritage Committee proving that dumping was the least damaging option and would not hurt the reef's value.
More generally, UNESCO expressed concern "regarding serious decline in the condition of the Great Barrier Reef, including in coral recruitment and reef-building across extensive parts of the property".
The body said "a business-as-usual approach to managing the property is not an option".
Given the reef's long-term deterioration, it recommended the World Heritage Commitee consider putting it on its in danger list in 2015 "in the absence of substantial progress on key issues".
WWF Australia spokesman Richard Leck said the government needed to act quickly to prevent the embarrassment of the reef being listed as in danger....................https://sg.news.yahoo.com/unesco-condemns-dredge-waste-dumping-barrier-reef-waters-030016633.html

Πέμπτη 24 Απριλίου 2014

Emergency declared, bridges down after heavy rain hits villages in Vidin area in Bulgaria

A state of emergency has been declared in the municipality of Ruzhintsi in Bulgaria after torrential rain inundated the area, also flooding villages in the Vidin area, damaging bridges, private property and roads.

The emergency was announced after an April 24 special meeting at Ruzhintsi municipal headquarters of the crisis staff headed by Vidin deputy regional governor Nikolai Todorov.

Overnight, about 60 people were evacuated after the heavy rain in recent days flooded the villages of Gyurgich and Pleshivets.

While Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said that there had been no serious damage, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television reported that the mayors of the affected villages said that a house had been destroyed, yards flooded, cars deluged and bridges had collapsed.

  • Separate reports said that 10 bridges had been destroyed in the Ruzhintsi area because of the pouring rain that began in the area on April 18 and was continuing on April 24.

  • The bridges that were destroyed were in the villages of Ruzhintsi, Byalo Pove, Drenovets, Pleshivets, Roglets and Drazhintsi.

A disaster was declared in Chouprene Municipality on April 20 after the Gorni Lom River overflowed its banks.

  • Overflowing dams flooded dozens of houses in Vidin overnight, bTV reported.

Meanwhile, coloured rain fell overnight in Bulgaria, a phenomenon resulting from sand being borne from the Sahara by a cyclone that formed over northern Africa earlier in the week and which has been moving north-east, and was reportedly centred over Albania and Macedonia on April 24.

The Bulgarian Academy of Science said that the rain was not harmful.


Παρασκευή 18 Απριλίου 2014

Powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake strikes Mexico, buildings shaken in capital. There are no immediate reports of any major damage

earthquake hit Mexico
A magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Mexico on Friday in the western state of Guerrero, north of the resort of Acapulco. The quake shook the capital Mexico City for at least 30 seconds, with building swaying as people fled on to the streets.

The city was reportedly more crowded than usual because of the Easter holiday. Despite the relative severity of the quake there are no immediate reports of any major damage. 

Mexico City is vulnerable to earthquakes because much of it is built on the muddy sediments of drained lakes, which are vulnerable to shock waves from quakes.

In 1985, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake killed at least 6,000 people and destroyed many buildings in Mexico City, even though the epicenter was 400 kilometers away on the Pacific Coast.
There is no threat of a tsunami according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

  • M 7.3 - GUERRERO, MEXICO - 2014-04-18 14:27:29 UTC ....39 km N of Tecpan de Galeana....local time: 09:27.

MagnitudeMw 7.3
Date time2014-04-18 14:27:29.0 UTC
Location17.59 N ; 100.79 W
Depth40 km
Distances268 km SW of Iztapalapa, Mexico / pop: 1,820,888 / local time: 09:27:29.0 2014-04-18
137 km W of Chilpancingo de los Bravos, Mexico / pop: 165,250 / local time: 09:27:29.0 2014-04-18
39 km N of Tecpan de Galeana, Mexico / pop: 14,638 / local time: 09:27:29.0 2014-04-18

M7.2 - 36km NNW of Tecpan de Galeana, Mexico 

Event Time

  1. 2014-04-18 14:27:26 UTC
  2. 2014-04-18 07:27:26 UTC-07:00 at epicenter
  3. 2014-04-18 17:27:26 UTC+03:00 system time


17.552°N 100.816°W depth=24.0km (14.9mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 36km (22mi) NNW of Tecpan de Galeana, Mexico
  2. 48km (30mi) E of Petatlan, Mexico
  3. 56km (35mi) NW of Atoyac de Alvarez, Mexico
  4. 78km (48mi) E of Zihuatanejo, Mexico
  5. 273km (170mi) SW of Mexico City, Mexico

magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit Mexico

 earthquake hit Mexico map


Πέμπτη 3 Απριλίου 2014

A strong 7.8-magnitude aftershock and an earlier 6.4-magnitude rocked Chile’s northern coast today (April 3)

SANTIAGO — A strong 7.8-magnitude aftershock and an earlier 6.4-magnitude rocked Chile’s northern coast today (April 3) even as Chilean authorities assessed the damage from a massive earthquake that struck off the northern coast on Tuesday.There are no immediate reports of new damage or injuries from today’s aftershocks.

Tuesday’s 8.2 magnitude quake that shook northern Chile on Tuesday killed six people and triggered a tsunami with 2m waves.

As the ocean waves receded, over 900,000 people who had evacuated the country’s low-lying coastal areas returned to their homes, some to find their houses and livelihoods in ruins.More than 2,600 homes were damaged and fishing boats along the northern coast were smashed up. However, most infrastructure held up and mines in the world’s No. 1 copper producer were generally functioning normally.The arid, mineral-rich north is sparsely populated, with most of the population concentrated in the port towns of Iquique and Arica, near the Peruvian border.In Peru, the earthquake led to temporary power outages and evacuations in some southern towns, but did not cause serious damage or injuries.Chilean President Michelle Bachelet visited Iquique yesterday and praised people’s orderly response to the emergency.“We are here to recognise the calm behaviour of the people of Iquique who showed great civic responsibility, as did those of Arica. I think you have given us all a tremendous example,” she said.The government would put great effort into restoring services, she added.Finance Minister Alberto Arenas said the government would place “no limit on the use of resources to address this emergency.”Ms Bachelet, who was sworn in as president less than a month ago, is likely conscious of the stinging criticism she faced near the end of her first term in office in 2010, when the government was seen to have responded inadequately to a much bigger 8.8 quake and tsunami that killed over 500 people.

It was too early to estimate financial losses, but they were expected to be much lower than the US$30 billion (S$38 million) from the 2010 quake, which affected the more densely populated central region, said earthquake expert Alexander Allmann at reinsurer Munich Re.“The quake has caused severe damage to some buildings in the affected region, but in general the building standards in Chile are comparatively high, allowing buildings and infrastructure to withstand such quakes reasonably well,” said Mr Allmann.“The small tsunami triggered by the quake is not expected to have caused significant damage.”Small fishing vessels in the ports appeared to be among the worst affected.“We struggled just to be able to get a bigger boat and now look at it,” a woman from Iquique’s fishing community, in tears, said in a video posted on Reuters.Several smaller aftershocks, some as big as 5.2 magnitude, continued yesterday and some ports in the area remained closed........http://www.todayonline.com/world/americas/chile-assesses-damage-after-massive-quake?singlepage=true


Παρασκευή 4 Ιανουαρίου 2013

160 δισ. ευρώ το κόστος φυσικών καταστροφών παγκοσμίως, το 2012/ Natural disasters’ damage reaches $140 bln in 2012

Το συνολικό κόστος των φυσικών καταστροφών στον κόσμο έφτασε το 2012 τα 160 δισεκατομμύρια δολάρια (122 δισεκατομμύρια ευρώ), εκτιμά η γερμανική αντασφαλιστική εταιρία Munich Re [1] σε μελέτη της που δόθηκε σήμερα (3-1-13) στη δημοσιότητα.

Οι ασφαλιστικές εταιρίες θα πρέπει να καλύψουν τις απώλειες αυτές στο ύψος των 65 δισεκατομμυρίων δολαρίων, διευκρίνισε η Munich Re σε ανακοίνωσή της. 

Οι μεγαλύτερες ζημιές του έτους 2012 προκλήθηκαν από τον κυκλώνα Σάντι και αναμένεται ότι ο ασφαλιστικός τομέας θα κληθεί να καταβάλει για την κάλυψη ζημιών που προκλήθηκαν απ' αυτόν σχεδόν 25 δισεκατομμύρια ευρώ.
  • Καταστροφή σε όλα τα επίπεδα

    • [1] 2012 Recap. Natural disasters’ damage reaches $140 bln in 2012

    According to the report published by the leading global reinsurer Swiss Re, the damage caused by the natural disasters man caused disasters in 2012 has reached almost $140 billion. For reference in 2011 this figure was $120 billion.

    The report shows that this year was difficult first of all for the US: a draught, several tornadoes and the Sandy hurricane in October caused damage worth $45 billion. By the way the Sandy hurricane that hit the US was not very strong, Vladimir Klimenko, head of the laboratory of the global energy issues at the Moscow Technical University says.

    “Sandy was not even the strongest hurricane this year let alone the history. Though it might seem strange but developed countries turn to be quite unprepared to withstand natural disasters. Such disasters lead to serious material losses. In developing countries material damage is smaller but human losses are much bigger.”

    It is important to remember that the report has been released by the reinsurer and is based on the data provided by insurance companies, Alexei Kokroin, head of the Climate and Energy program of the World Wildlife Fund stresses.

    “The typhoon in the US caused a very serious damage to the property but all this property was insured and the sums of the insurances were quite high. If a similar disaster had hit Bangkok the damage could have been bigger simply most of the property there is not insured. That is why such damage cannot be expressed in monetary terms.”

    Other 2012 natural disasters include floods in Italy, the UK and the countries of the South Asian region, earthquakes in Indonesia, Guatemala, Mexico, volcano eruptions on Kamchatka and in New Zealand.

    In general the number of disasters has not increased this year. It is the number of abnormal weather phenomena that has increased. Heavy rainfalls, snowfalls, frosts, draughts occurred regularly all over the world. Alexei Kokorin attributes it to climate misbalance on our planet.

    “If we study a report of the Russian meteorological service we will see that the precipitation volume was the same as in previous years but precipitation fall has become very lop-sided. Roughly speaking, Moscow now has two heavy snowfalls instead of five small ones. Not only Russia. In Africa dry regions receive two heavy rainfalls which are followed by a long-term draught.”

    However the world has managed to avoid end of the world which was expected December 21 according to the Maya calendar. Luckily, it did not happen.
  • http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_04/2012-Recap-Natural-disasters-damage-reaches-140-bln-in-2012/

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