Archive | May 18, 2016

Massive Landslide Buries Homes 350,000 Displaced In Sri Lanka

Disaster Alert

Rescuers in Sri Lanka are searching for scores of people missing after massive landslides following days of rain.
 
The army told the BBC that 134 people remained unaccounted for after mudslides hit three villages in central Kegalle district.
 
At least 14 bodies have been recovered so far. Another three bodies were found elsewhere in the district.
 
Disaster officials say about 150 people have been rescued but more than 60 houses have been buried by mud.
 
Landslides and flooding caused by three days of torrential rain in Sri Lanka have killed at least 37 people in total, according to official figures.
 
Nearly 350,000 people have been displaced.
 
The huge landslide happened near the town of Aranayake late on Tuesday afternoon. Rescuers say they are having difficulty getting heavy equipment to the worst-hit places.
 
Images show a vast stretch of hillside which has sheared off, sending mud, rocks and trees crashing down on the villages of Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitya.
 
“I heard a huge sound like a plane crashing into the earth,” said one villager in Siripura, Associated Press reports.
 
“I opened my door. I could not believe my eyes, as I saw something like a huge fireball rolling down the mountain.”
 
 This photograph released by the Sri Lankan President's Office on May 18, 2016, shows the area where a landslide struck near Aranayake in central Sri Lanka.
Photo By AFP
 
The Sri Lankan Red Cross tweeted that more than 200 families were feared buried in the mud, but later said reports suggested many of the missing had made their way to relief camps.
 
Maj Gen Sudantha Ranasinghe, who is in charge of rescue operations in Aranayake, told BBC Sinhala: “There are around 1,100 people now in the four camps we have set up.”
 
Police confirm they have also recovered three bodies at the village of Bulathkohupitiya, scene of another landslide in the district. Sixteen people are also missing.
 
President Maithripala Sirisena is visiting the Kegalle area to meet victims’ families.
 
Meanwhile, officials in other badly-hit parts of the island have appealed to the public to send water, dry food rations and sanitary items for those affected.
 
In southern India the authorities have been put on alert as the heavy rains are forecast to move on to Chennai and parts of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.
 
Fishermen have been warned against going to sea and rescue teams are on standby.
 
At least 280 people died in a month of heavy rains and floods in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu last year. The rains, the heaviest there in a century, were blamed on climate change although city officials were also criticised for being unprepared.
 
Other parts of India have been suffering a severe drought in recent weeks.
Courtesy of BBC News

Massive fire underneath train tracks, north of Manhattan’s East Harlem section, USA

Metro North Delays
Photo By AP
Commuters into and out of New York’s famed Grand Central Terminal faced crippling delays Wednesday, a day after a raging fire broke out beneath elevated train tracks in the city, officials said.
 
The blaze Tuesday night at a garden center underneath Metro-North tracks, north of the station in Manhattan’s East Harlem section, halted train service and left thousands of commuters stranded on their way home.
 
Metro-North said two of the four tracks in the area of the fire were operational for Wednesday’s morning rush. Trains were slowed from their normal 60 mph to 30 mph as repairs continue.
 
The fire caused damage to a center column beneath the elevated tracks.
 
“You can see the damaged column in the center. We have to take the load off that structure … and transfer it to other places so that the center beam can be supported so the two inside tracks can go back into service,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast told WNYW’s “Good Day New York” on Wednesday morning.
 
Commuters were warned to expect long delays and crowded conditions, and officials encouraged customers to work from home or find alternate travel plans.
 
The commuter line is running on a Saturday schedule and is at 60 percent capacity, MTA spokeswoman Meredith Daniels said. Officials said between 140,000 and 150,000 riders were affected by the delays.
 
Most seemed to take the inconvenience in stride.
 
“I had to stand the whole time. I was only delayed like 30 minutes,” said Mike Joshi, who got on at Southport, Connecticut, headed to New York for his teaching job in Brooklyn.
 
A train that left White Plains at 6:30 a.m. was so crowded that by the time it traveled seven stops, to Mount Vernon, no one could get on. The conductor announced that another train behind would make all local stops. The passengers included many teens on their way to school.
 
Before reopening the tracks for Wednesday’s commute, the MTA said in a statement that crews “inspected all elements, including the supports, track, power and signal, and ran test trains to ensure safety.”
 
More than 150 firefighters responded to Tuesday’s blaze, which officials said also involved construction debris and several trailers and vehicles and may have blown off bolts from the tracks.
 
Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited the scene and detailed the damage, WCBS-TV reported.
 
“The fire was so hot that they could hear the rivets, the bolts popping,” Cuomo said.
 
One firefighter suffered a minor injury when he slipped, but no civilians were hurt.
Courtesy of abcnews.go.com

70+ TONS of fish die in a canal ‘due to heavy rain’ in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Monday’s rain washed polluted water into a major canal in Ho Chi Minh City, having killed 70 metric tons of fish there so far, local authorities said on Wednesday.
 
The 8.7-km Nhieu Loc–Thi Nghe canal was filled with the floating bodies of dead fish on Tuesday morning, following rainfall in several parts of the southern metropolis on Monday afternoon.
 
The city’s Party Committee had tasked relevant agencies with determining the cause of the death, and held a press conference yesterday to announce their results.
 
The municipal environmental department said that as of 5:00 pm on Tuesday, 14 metric tons of dead fish had been retrieved for destruction, with 16 canoes and dozens of employees sent to the canal to retrieve the deceased fish.
 
That number rose to 70 metric tons at noon on Wednesday.
Courtesy of tuoitrenews.vn

Tons of dead fish found in the waters of Claassee, Germany

Fish Kill Alert

Residents have found in Claassee in Rechlin Nord Whitsun hundreds dead fish. On the north side of the lake were on Tuesday still dozens to see dead fish in the boat houses. Chance are already carcasses on the shore, other fish body rot in the water.
 
As the clerk’s office Röbel-Müritz notifies the fish were weakened by spawning and could not cope with the next change in the weather. It would involve no environmental catastrophe, says the Office. However, local residents remain skeptical.
Courtesy of nordkurier.de

1 MILLION+ cattle have died this year due to extreme weather in Mongolia

A pile of carcases on a snowy plain
Photo By HELEN WRIGHT
So far this year, more than one million animals have been killed by the dzud. The word conjures up an image of a mythical monster, but it is a peculiar weather phenomenon and the fear of herders on the Mongolian steppes, as journalist Helen Wright reports.
 
The piles of dead, frozen sheep and goats lie stacked against the rocks, just out of sight.
 
They are victims of the dzud, an unseen and brutal natural disaster unique to Mongolia where a summer drought combines with a harsh winter and vast numbers of livestock die from either starvation or cold.
 
The last dzud in 2010 killed eight million animals. It is thought to descend in five-yearly cycles and each time it wreaks havoc.
 
“We are trying so hard to keep them alive,” 50-year-old herder Bayankhand Myagmar says, talking about her dead sheep and goats. “But nothing we do is working.”
 
In Mongolia it hasn’t rained since last July and this winter temperatures dropped to as low as -50C for days on end. Snowfall covered up to 60% of the country and fell heavier than usual.
 
The dzud is made worse by overgrazing and a creeping desertification. Without rain grass is unable to grow across the vast steppes in summer and the millions of animals that live on them cannot put on enough weight to survive the winter cold. So they die. This winter more than 255,000 people have been affected by the dzud.
Courtesy of BBC News

Large numbers of loggerhead turtles found dead this year on the coast of Almeria, Spain

Last loggerhead turtle found dead in Almería
Last loggerhead turtle found dead in Almería
Equinac, the NGO that deals with the rescue of marine wildlife in Almeria, has warned of a large number of loggerhead turtles this year are showing up dead in various parts of the coast of Almeria, “some concern for this protected species, cataloged in danger and continuous regression “.
 
The last known case took place this weekend when from the rowan Association notice of finding one on the beach of Punta Entinas in Roquetas de Mar. Equinac it himself at the beach for registration stranding is given, proving that it was a loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), more than 50 cm carapace. The animal was in an advanced state of decomposition so it is not possible necropsiarlo or obtain data possible causes of his death.
Courtesy of teleprensa.com