Archive | October 15, 2014

Landslide kills five in Araku, India

Five die due to landslide
Five members of a family were buried alive at a village near Araku, of Visakhapatnam rural district, as their house got caught in a mudslide due to Cyclone Hudhud.
Though the incident took place on the evening of October 12, officials came to know about it on  the night of October 13. Huge boulders and mud buried the house.
With this incident at Medrasula village of Madula panchayat of Araku mandal, the death toll in the state has touched 30.
Araku police SI G. Narayana Rao said, “The village has only five tribal families who live at the foot of the hill. The mudslide caused by the rain engulfed one of the houses. Barring two people who managed to escape, the others  were buried alive. 
“A woman, Gamili Bon-du, saved her husband. They tried to remove the debris but couldn’t. The roads were blocked and there was no communication. The message reached the local tahsildar only the day after,” SI Narayana Rao said.
The deceased were identified as Gamili Pottu, Gamili Subba Rao, G. Sundo, G. Ashok, and G. Shobamma.
Police also said that trees were uprooted along large tracts in the Araku area. “A tree even fell on our police station. There is no power supply and no mobile connectivity. The landline was restored after repeated requests on Tuesday evening,” said an Araku police official. 

Landslide causes mayhem and kills three people in Guatemala; El Salvador also on alert

The rainy season runs until November. (Photo: @ canaltn8)
A woman and her children were killed Wednesday buried by a mudslide after heavy rains in the north of the capital of Guatemala, Volunteer Firefighters reported.
The spokesman for the lifeguards, William Gonzalez, told local media that the tragedy occurred during the morning. The landslide collapsed precarious housing located at the periphery of a settlement. The victims are a 46 year old woman and her children aged 17 and 26, the spokesman said.
The National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction reported that the rainy season has left 19 dead, half a million homeless and damaged thousands of homes, mainly in the north. The rainy season runs until November.
The orange alert (danger) was declared because “the unstable conditions of rainfall and a low pressure system in the Pacific,” said David de Leon, spokesman for civil protection.
In 2013, natural disasters, mostly caused by the rains left 17 dead and affected 750,000.
El Salvador also on alert
El Salvador has a similar situation due to landslides. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) issued a report on the likelihood of landslides in different areas.In the report, the Marn explains that a “tectonic shift of this magnitude is capable of causing increased slope instability on roads and general soil and cracks can be generated to facilitate the infiltration of rain and in turn increase conditions landslide susceptibility. ”
According to reports from Civil Protection, there have been landslides and collapses due to seismic event along stretches of several highways.

Severe dust storm warning declared in California, USA

Dust Storm Alert

The National Weather Service in Hanford has issued a dust storm warning, advising drivers to stay off the road until after 8 p.m. 
Winds are currently blowing southwest to west between 15 and 25 miles per hour, with occasional gusts reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour. This has kicked up thick clouds of dust and reduced visibility in some areas to zero. 
The National Weather Service said winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. Motorists are advised to keep off the roadway as much as possible and to use extra caution. Travel could become extremely dangerous, their news release said, and persons with respiratory problems should make preparations to remain indoors until the storm passes. 
Affected areas include the Interstate 5 corridor through Fresno, Kings and northwest Kern counties. 
A wind advisory is also currently in effect and will remain until 11 p.m. 

Tropical Storm Ana WILL intensify into a Hurricane as it heads towards Hawaii

Tropical Storm Ana WILL intensify into a Hurricane as it heads towards Hawaii
 Hurricane Alert
ETA: This weekend 18th/19th October 2014

Super Typhoon causes radiation increase in the acquifiers in Fukushima, Japan

Radiation Alert

The level of radioactive contamination detected in the underground water of the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant has increased after torrential rain caused by a typhoon last week, the plant operator said Wednesday.
The level of radioactive cesium water from a well located on the coast and close to the plant amounted to 251,000 becquerels per litre, the highest recorded so far, according to samples taken by Tepco Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Oct 8 and 9, the state television channel NHK reported Wednesday.
The presence of the radioactive isotope is three times higher than what it was four days earlier, an increase that, according to the plant technicians, was due to excessive rainfall caused by Typhoon Phanfone Oct 6.
Rainwater seeped into the sub-soil and mixed with the contaminated fluid coming from the damaged reactors.
Plant managers are expected to take samples of groundwater in the area more often to analyse the evolution of the radiation, according to TEPCO.
For the moment, additional measures have been ruled out since the depth and scope of the contaminated water leaks are unknown, and TEPCO already has in place several measures to control the problem, such as the pumping of groundwater or walls to retain underground water.
Large amounts of contaminated water, much of which flows into the Pacific Ocean, are one of the major challenges that are still unresolved in the nuclear power plant damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
The accident at Fukushima, the world’s worst since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, led to thousands of residents from the surrounding area being evacuated and who have yet to return home.
The emissions and discharges have also severely affected agriculture, livestock and fisheries.

Hurricane Gonzalo Kills 1 in St. Maarten and Injures 12 in Antigua; Bermuda Under Alert

Hurricane Alert

Hurricane Gonzalo was upgraded Tuesday evening to a Category 3 storm, only the during the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.
Although Gonzalo was back over open water, the storm left its mark across the Caribbean, killing one person in St. Maarten, disrupting travel and causing structural damage to homes in Antigua and the Caribbean islands. 
The storm killed one elderly man in the Dutch Caribbean territory of St. Maarten who was aboard a boat in Simpson Bay Lagoon. Over 20 boats sunk in the Lagoon during the storm. 
“It was a big storm, much bigger than people predicted, and a lot of bad things happened,” Susan Cuniff, who runs a hotel in front of the Lagoon said in a phone interview. “Boats crashed into each other and trees were downed and even the zoo was decimated.”
Two more people are missing, one man who was last seen on a boat near the French Caribbean territory or St. Martin and another man standing near a harbor in St. Barts. 
Hundreds of power outages were reported on the north coast of Puerto Rico, but the U.S. territory escaped major damage because Gonzalo’s eyewall remained miles off the coast as it passed by.
The storm’s biggest impacts on Tuesday were on the shared island that is home to the Dutch and French territories of St. Maarten and St. Martin. Most of the Dutch Caribbean territory was without water and electricity Tuesday, and residents reported losing roofs, doors and windows.
Amy Arrindell, vice president of the St. Maarten Zoological and Botanical Foundation, said the St. Maarten Zoo was heavily damaged and that trees were uprooted, the petting zoo was destroyed and the animals’ enclosures were flooded. Thankfully, no animals were injured or hurt. 
“There is major damage to the structure,” she said. “It is total devastation.”
Antigua and the Leeward Islands took the brunt of the storm on Monday, when Gonzalo was still a Tropical Storm, downing trees, ripping roofs off of homes and causing at least 12 minor injuries on the island nation of around 80,000 people.
Winds, which gusted up to 88 mph, damaged a luxury hotel on the west coast of Antigua, tourists told The Weather Channel.
“The walls blew off. A tree landed on our room. We were shaking hiding in our closet, ” said Alexis Sherry of New York City, who is staying at Hermitage Bay resort with her husband, Jason Savage. “I thought we were going to die.”
Sherrod James, Antigua’s deputy director of the National Office of Disaster Services, said the agency has received reports of damaged homes but no injuries or deaths from the storm.
According to the Associated Press, , including that of 36-year-old teacher Condell Maurice. 
“You should have seen us with our buckets, jugs and bowls trying to chase down those leaks,” Maurice told the Associated Press. Power outages were reported across the island and four emergency shelters were opened.
Schools and government offices were not only closed across Antigua, but also in the British Virgin Islands, Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Caribbean News Now reports. El Vocero reports that public schools were canceled in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on the east coast of the island, in advance of Gonzalo. Classes were also canceled at the University of Puerto Rico’s Humacao campus, the paper reports.
Gonzalo disrupted travel across the Caribbean, canceling or disrupting scheduled ferry services, flights and cruises. Ferries were docked or disrupted in the British Virgin Islands Monday, according to British Virgin Island News, and early flights out of the island Tuesday by local airline Seaborne were canceled in advance of the storm.
also canceled flights across the Caribbean on Monday, including some to Curacao and St. Maarten, Caribbean News Now notes.
Gonzalo forecasts also prompted cruise ship companies to tweak itineraries.
Carnival Cruise Lines’ Breeze ship canceled a visit in La Romana, Dominican Republic and its Liberty and Conquest vessels switched to western Caribbean ports to avoid the storm.
Disney Cruise Lines said the Disney Magic cruise ship rearranged its schedule Monday, stopping at the same Caribbean ports, just in a different order.
Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas bypassed a scheduled stop in St. Maarten on Monday and headed to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Severe Hailstorm Causes Significant Losses To Pear Production In Argentina

Severe Weather Alert

The producers, Cipolleti, Fenandez Oro, and Allen, from the province of Rio Negro, were assessing the damage caused by the hail that affected the productive segment located south of Route 22, in the Upper Valley. The producing chambers advanced that, in many cases, the loss had been severe. 
Rio Negro’s Secretary of Fruit Cultures, Alberto Diomedi, confirmed that they had notice that the damage, which was caused on Wednesday, had mainly affected pears. The Secretariat’s Control staff has already visited some sectors and noted that, up to the moment, the Upper Valley most affected areas were Cipolletti, to the south and towards the field of Confluencia, and Allen’s rural fringe to the west.
“It is impossible to quantify the damage today but there are marked pears. We will probably have an estimate of the damages in seven days,” said Diomedi when he announced that the Secretariat of Fruit Cultures were preparing affidavit forms for the producers that had been affected by hail. 
In Allen, the hailstorm caused concern among producers, which yesterday began to analyse whether there were damages. Sebastian Hernandez, president of the chamber, said some producers had reported damages in pear crops. 
“Hail and water fell for some eight minutes in my field, but I know of other sectors, further west, where the storm lasted longer and the hail was drier. I think we have to wait to see if the hail caused damage, at least one or two days,” said the fruit leader who met with producers yesterday to assess the situation. 
“The damage on pears was total. Some fruits were hit between 14 and 15 times. Some of the red apple varieties might have survived, but the rest is all damaged,” said producer Eduardo Artero, who has a farm in the area affected by hail, yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Association of Producers of Fernandez Oro stated that the farms in that locality had suffered heavy losses because of the water and the hail. The president of the association said they had lost 50% of the fruits and all of the pears.

Very rare and bizarre hailstorm strikes parts of the Philippines

Frightened Muslim peasant Alikhan Omaima performed a sunnah prayer rite after hailstones fell in parts of Balabagan town before dusk Tuesday, which he thought was a bad omen.
Officials of the science and technology department of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have called on Balabagan residents not to panic and avoid interpreting the phenomenon superstitiously.
In a statement, ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said he had ordered the region’s Department of Science and Technology to initiate an investigation on the reported falling of cold, crystal hailstones on several barangays in Balabagan.
Residents of Balabagan, a seaside town in the second district of Lanao del Sur, were virtually shocked experiencing the phenomenon, which was for them so bizarre, never before heard in Maranaw communities.
“Malamig ito at katulad talaga ng ice na galing sa freezer,” said Mokendi Saripada, 35, mother of three grade school children.
Local officials said the hailstones as big as marbles were crystals that were identical with fragments of ice with jagged edges.
Community elders in Balabagan’s adjoining Barangay Narra and Poblacion confirmed the strange experience to radio stations in Cotabato City via mobile phone.
Omaima said he was so scared that he immediately prayed a sunnah (optional) Islamic prayer, convinced that the hailstones that fell on their barangay could be a divine warning of an impending disaster, or calamity.
“Yung mga bata natuwa, pero karamihan sa mga matatanda ay natakot,” said another Maranaw farmer, Digoh Umpak, 40.

National Emergency Declared Due To Chikungunya Virus Outbreak In Jamaica

National Emergency Alert

Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says the country is in a “national emergency” over the outbreak of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus in the country.
The virus, which is similar in symptoms to Dengue fever, often leads to fever and severe joint pain that can last from a few days to, in some cases, for years, though it is rarely fatal.
The disease has spread across the Caribbean region after initially appearing in St Martin in late 2013, but has hit Jamaica particularly hard.
“I want to stress that we are in a NATIONAL emergency,” Simpson Miller said at a briefing on Tuesday. “I have therefore, assumed a lead role in mobilizing the nation and national resources.”
She said she sympathized with those across Jamaica who had come down with the painful illness.
“I understand that some MPs even as we speak are out with the virus,” she said. “I want to commend MPs, Mayors and Councillors who have been active in encouraging your constituents to get involved in the only sustainable way to control and reduce the epidemic – which is, to destroy and reduce mosquito breeding sites.”
She said the government had called on about $4.5 million USD in state resources for national health emergency response, with the objective of reducing mosquito breeding sites by starting with the worst-affected areas.
“This is our country,” she said. “We all have a stake and a vested interest in protecting it and in keeping our people safe and healthy.”
There have been almost 800,000 suspected cases in the Caribbean region, with the majority in the Dominican Republic.


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 32 km S of Bern, Switzerland / pop: 121,631 / local time: 21:36:32.5 2014-10-15
27 km W of Interlaken, Switzerland / pop: 5,067 / local time: 21:36:32.5 2014-10-15
3 km W of Erlenbach im Simmental, Switzerland / pop: 1,730 / local time: 21:36:32.5 2014-10-15

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