Archive | August 25, 2015

Landslide kills at least 8 in Indonesia

Landslide Danger Alert

Eight people are missing and feared dead after a major landslide hit a road in remote eastern Indonesia, an official said Tuesday (Aug 25).
Heavy downpours in an isolated mountainous region of Papua province triggered the landslide Sunday, burying six construction workers and two bystanders under rock and rubble. Papua police spokesman Patridge Renwarin said news of the incident did not reach local authorities until Monday, when a rescue team was quickly assembled.
But bad weather prevented police, the army and local officials from reaching the site of the landslide on Monday, with the effort to reach those buried resuming Tuesday.
“I have heard reports that the team reached the site and the evacuation process is ongoing,” Patridge told AFP.
Landslides are common in Indonesia, one of the world’s most natural-disaster prone nations. The national disaster agency estimates about half of the country’s 250 million population live in areas susceptible to landslides.
Courtesy of

280,000 told to evacuate as typhoon hits Japan

The Japanese authorities advised 280,000 people to evacuate their homes as Typhoon Goni lashed southern Kyushu island and western Japan, bringing torrential rains and winds gusting at more than 180kmh.
The risk of landslides prompted officials in Yamaguchi prefecture to issue the warning yesterday, according to public broadcaster NHK.
The powerful storm, which killed at least 26 people in landslides and floods in the Philippines, hit south-western Kumamoto prefecture at about 6.00am, Japan’s weather agency said.
More than 20 people were injured as a result of the typhoon, and some flights and train services were also suspended.
Most of those injured suffered minor cuts from broken glass, a prefectural official said.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the typhoon was moving to the north, and forecast a maximum of 200mm of rain an hour.
Most regional railway operators halted their operations, while scores of flights at local airports were also cancelled.
Japan Airlines suspended 110 domestic flights and ANA Holdings cancelled 78.
International flights were unaffected, the airlines said.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said that the storm is expected to affect north-eastern China later in the week, after making landfall near the Russian and North Korean borders early last Thursday.
The storm could impact crops in the three north-eastern Chinese provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang, Xinhua said, important soya bean and corn production bases.
Meanwhile, eight people are missing and feared dead after a major landslide hit a road in remote eastern Indonesia, an official reported yesterday.
Heavy downpours in an isolated mountainous region of Papua province triggered the landslide on Sunday, burying six construction workers and two bystanders under rock and rubble.
Papua police spokesman Patridge Renwarin said news of the incident did not reach the local authorities until Monday, when a rescue team was quickly assembled.
But bad weather prevented the police, the army and local officials from reaching the site of the landslide on Monday, with the effort to reach those buried resuming yesterday.
Courtesy of

Tropical Storm Erika to become a hurricane; sets sights on South Florida

If it keeps itself together, Tropical Storm Erika could be off South Florida as a Category 1 hurricane late Sunday.
South Florida, home to millions of people, is now in the so-called “cone of uncertainty” at the end of the current 5-day forecast. Erika could be positioned anywhere inside that cone, based on information currently available.
Of course, hurricanes are notoriously difficult to predict in strength and position beyond three days. Some models have had Erika dissipating over Hispaniola far to the east-southeast of Florida. Other models have shown the storm becoming even more powerful, nearing Category 2 strength. Some models have the storm curving out into the Atlantic, avoiding the Florida peninsula. National Hurricane Center forecasts typically follow a consensus of the models.
Erika formed in the Atlantic Monday night and has been following a track similar to Hurricane Danny, which has now dissipated into a remnant low pressure system after bringing rains to the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico.
After showing some disorganization earlier in the day, NHC forecasters say Erika has regained some composure and is beginning to look more impressive. Erika’s winds are estimated at 40 mph and the storm is expected to strengthen as it moves over warmer waters and faces moderate wind shear, which can tear tropical storms apart, for the next two days.
Hurricane Hunter aircraft inspected Erika Tuesday afternoon, gathering direct data that confirmed earlier estimates of the storm’s strength.
Computer models have been mixed on Erika’s future, and the NHC issued its 5 p.m. Eastern forecast update with a caveat that the storm’s future is uncertain. Erika is expected to reach hurricane strength Sunday about 100 miles east-southeast of Miami. But because of the models’ divergence, that prediction has a low confidence.
The models also show a range of tracks for Erika, with the NHC giving the fast-moving storm a track over the Lesser Antilles on Thursday morning, then north of Hispaniola on Friday and north of Cuba on Saturday. A tropical storm watch is already in effect in the northern Lesser Antilles.
Intensity models updated at 8 a.m. on Weather Underground show Erika growing much stronger, approaching 100 mph winds by Monday.
Although hurricane forecasting has advanced in recent years, particularly what paths storms take, reliable forecasts beyond three days remain elusive.
The remnants of Danny haven’t just faded away. They’ve drifted into the Caribbean, where they remain under watch by NHC forecasters, though the collection of thunderstorms isn’t given much chance of reforming into a cyclone.
Courtesy of

Massive gas storage blasts kill 11, mostly children in Afghanistan

Gas Explosion

At least 11 people, most of them children, were killed after a series of explosion at an Afghan gas storage facility triggered a fire in a nearby settlement for displaced people, officials said on Tuesday.
It was not immediately clear whether the blasts late Monday on the edge of the relatively peaceful western city of Herat were the result of an accident or caused by a militant attack.
“Around midnight (Monday) a gas tanker exploded which triggered blasts in a gas storage plant, killing 11 people and injuring 10 others,” Herat police spokesman Abdul Rauf Ahmadi told AFP.
The explosions triggered a plume of flames into the night sky, which rapidly spread to a nearby settlement of mud houses for internally displaced people where most of the deaths occurred.
Ihasanullah Hayat, spokesman for the governor of Herat, confirmed the toll and said the majority of those killed were children.
A resident of the hillside settlement, who lost a 9-year-old daughter in the fire, said many of the victims were trying to flee the towering flames.
“The explosions were powerful and sparked a huge fire,” said the man, who had sought refuge in Herat after fleeing the neighbouring restive province of Badghis.
“After the first explosion everyone started to flee the area and got caught up in the flames,” he added, reluctant to give his name.
Mourners gathered at the settlement for funeral prayers on Tuesday morning, with turbaned pall bearers seen carrying bodies for burial on makeshift stretchers.
Domestic gas cylinder explosions are an almost daily occurrence around the country, where safety standards are poor and fatal accidents not uncommon.
Courtesy of


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

384 km SE of Lilongwe, Malawi / pop: 646,750 / local time: 19:40:36.5 2015-08-25
146 km S of Blantyre, Malawi / pop: 584,877 / local time: 19:40:36.5 2015-08-25
26 km SE of Nsanje, Malawi / pop: 21,774 / local time: 19:40:36.5 2015-08-25

Global viewRegional view


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 93 km E of Tehrān, Iran / pop: 7,153,309 / local time: 22:06:37.1 2015-08-25
27 km N of Īstgāh-e Garmsār, Iran / pop: 49,491 / local time: 22:06:37.1 2015-08-25

Global viewRegional view

Large 25,000-35,000 litre oil spill at the Vac Aero International Inc. in central Oakville, Canada

Oil Spill Alert

The Oakville Fire Department and other authorities have confirmed that a large oil spill at the Vac Aero International Inc. facility in central Oakville Sunday afternoon was caused when a pipe burst.
Officials initially estimated 25,000-35,000 litres of cooling oil escaped the breach, which happened at 2:30 p.m. at the company’s 1371 Speers Rd., property.
Vac Aero International Inc. President Scott Rush said Tuesday the figure is closer to 31,000 litres.
“We had an unfortunate equipment failure Sunday afternoon and that caused an oil spill. It is quench oil, it’s used in one of our processes here,” said Rush.
“The spill was identified relatively quickly and contained by our people here as much as they could. We called in an emergency clean-up company right away. At this point it is under control and it was under control as quickly as possible after it happened.”
Rush said Vac Aero, which employs around 85 people in Oakville and provides heat-treating services to a range of customers, is taking every possible step to clean up the spill and noted corrective actions would be taken to minimize the chance of it happening again.
Rush acknowledged a small amount of oil got into a nearby creek.
In addition to the environmental and industrial services provider Quantum Murray, which was hired by Vac Aero, response teams from the Town of Oakville, Halton Region and the Oakville Fire Department responded to the Vac Aero facility and the impacted creek area to help clean up the spill.
“We were asked to come in and assist with the diking of the nearby creek that runs just east of Third Line and runs down through Appleby College,” said Oakville Deputy Fire Chief Brian Durdin.
“We put down absorbent pads and diking material in the creek to try and stop this stuff from flowing into the lake.”
Quantum Murray brought in a special truck to suck up and contain the oil.
Town staff said members of the Town’s Roads and Works Department visited the site Monday and were satisfied with the clean-up work.
Halton Region’s Commissioner of Public Works Jim Harnum said the Region’s response team began its clean-up efforts when notified about the spill at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.
“An undetermined amount of oil entered into the wastewater system and traveled to the Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant,” he said in an email.
“Regional staff notified the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), and continue to monitor the plant to assess the potential impact on the treatment processes and any potential discharge to the environment.”
Harnum said public works staff is containing the oil at the plant and a specialized environmental contractor has been engaged to clean up the substance.
 As of Monday evening Harnum said clean up efforts are ongoing.
“We continue to work collaboratively with the company, the Town of Oakville, and other agencies to protect Halton’s water and wastewater systems,” he said.
Lindsay Davidson of the MOECC also said Monday evening that clean-up work at the site is continuing.
“Containment measures are in place and are preventing downstream impacts,” she said.
“Oil has been pumped from the creek and the onsite storm sewers. The ministry will continue to monitor progress and effectiveness of the clean-up work.”
Davidson said a sheen was noticed in the creek, but so far they have not received any information about impacted wildlife.
While Rush could not say how much this incident will cost his company, he noted the price tag for the clean-up will be significant.
Rush would not comment on why the Halton Region and Oakville Fire Department were not called to the site until 8:30 p.m., around six hours after the spill had taken place.
“We acted in accordance with our spill response procedures,” said Rush. “They were notified as soon as we thought it was appropriate.”
Davidson said the MOECC would be investigating the timeline of when Vac Aero reported the spill to authorities.
She said the MOECC became aware of the spill at 9:30 p.m. Sunday when the Oakville Fire Department reported it to the Province’s Spills Action Centre.
Davidson said the ministry would also examine the company’s spill contingency plans.
The Oakville Fire Department said no one was injured during the oil spill.
Courtesy of

Chemical Leak At Leisure Centre: 19 Treated in St Andrews, Fife, UK

Chemical Spill Alert

Nineteen people have been taken to hospital after a suspected chemical leak at a leisure centre in St Andrews, Fife.
Several ambulances were called to the East Sands Leisure Centre at about 1pm, and the complex was quickly evacuated.
A Fife Sports and Leisure Trust spokesperson said: “All customers and staff were able to evacuate the building safely without assistance, however, 19 people, including two members of staff, were referred for medical assistance for minor breathing irritation.
“Emergency services and staff are still on site but all customers have left the area. The exact cause of the incident is still being investigated and there is no threat to the surrounding area.”
Although tests are still to be carried out, reports suggest the chemical involved could be sodium hypochlorite, which is commonly used as a disinfectant.
Facilities at the centre include a swimming pool, squash courts and a gym – and a decontamination team is at the scene, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said.
Eyewitnesses described seeing men in “big green bio suits” enter the building as people were brought outside, still in their swimwear.
The service’s spokesman added: “SFRS committed three breathing apparatus teams in gas-tight suits to isolate the power in the plant room and search the building. All persons were accounted for.
“There are currently 13 SFRS appliances in attendance including five pumping appliances, a control unit, an emergency support unit and a hazardous materials appliance.”
Courtesy of Sky News

Terrible Boat Accident Claims The Lives Of 14 Women In Niger State, Nigeria

Fourteen women of the same family have died in two separate boat mishaps in the Munya local government area of Niger state.
Eleven of the women died while travelling from Dangunu village to Sarkinpawa  while the remaining three lost their lives in the boat journey from Guni village to Sarkinpawa.
It was learnt that the disaster occurred when the women were returning from the farm last Monday evening when the boats in which they were travelling ran into stormy weather and capsized.
According to eyewitnesses two men who were in one of the boats were the only survivors as they could not rescue any of the women they were travelling with.
Some of the dead women were identified as Munau, Wara, Fiddausi, Zainab, Najaatu, Ikilima, Fatima, Ladidi, Balaraba and Hafsat.
The Police in Niger state has confirmed the incident describing it as unfortunate and sad.
Police Public Relations ASP Bala Elikana who spoke to newsmen said that the Marine police unit of the force in the area has been directed to furnish the office with details of the disaster.
The Marine Police according to Elikana has also been directed to educate boat owners and operators on the need to adhere to safety rules while sailing.
Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District in the state,  Barrister David Umaru reacting  described it as ‘shocking and unfortunate’, pointing out that the disaster has brought to the fore the sufferings and hardship of the people of the area as a result of the activities of the Shiroro hydro dam
Senator Umaru lamented the lack of motor able roads and bridges in the area adding that “this has shown the urgent need and necessity for the immediate takeoff of the Hydro Power Producing Areas Development commission’ HYPPADEC which was passed into law by the 7th National Assembly and assented to by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Courtesy of