Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Flood - USA (Seattle) DEC

SEATTLE – More than 5.8 billion gallons of rain fell Monday, on what city officials call the second wettest day in Seattle history.

News by NBC

Early Tuesday morning, Seattle Public Utilities had 31 crews responding to areas worst hit, including Seattle's Meadowbrook area, where a fast-moving, overflowing creek caused extensive flooding.

Residents in north Seattle were busy cleaning up after 3 feet of water invaded some homes and businesses, including Pioneer Building Supply, where workers were shoveling out debris. They say everything was destroyed except for the computers - which they managed to save.

"We were here about 9:30 a.m. and it just got unsafe," said Gary Corum, spokesperson. "The whole street was submerged."

Golden Gardens Drive at View Ave NW remains closed until spring due to a collapsed roadway, and Sounder service between Everett and Seattle was cancelled Tuesday morning because of mudslides over the tracks.

Woodinville as one of the worst areas hit, after Little Bear Creek spilled over the banks Monday.

At the height of the storm, 14 roads were closed in Woodinville, including Highway 522.

While many residents say the heavy rain would have caused flooding no matter what, some are blaming a tree stump and debris for blocking a culvert in the creek and making the situation worse.

Steve Body says the flood wiped out his specialty wine shop, called VinElla.

"It's done; we're out of business," he said. "We just grabbed everything and took it to higher ground."

He says at the peak of the storm, the store was under 4 inches of mud and water. He blames raging Little Bear and the stump, which he says sat in the creek, unmoved, until Mother Nature came calling.

"God knows what was upstream, as strong as the water was, something could have floated down from a mile up there," he said. "But at least was what right here was that stump, and when the water got deep and fast enough, that stump was gonna float like a wooden thing will."

A spokesperson for the Woodinville city manager couldn't comment on the stump, or who or what agency was responsible for the creek maintenance. But the city will be looking into any and all causes for the flooding.

By mid-day Tuesday, all roads were open in Woodinville, except for part of Highway 522.

Highway 522 was closed in one lane eastbound after the Little Bear clawed away a 10-by-5 foot chunk of its eastbound shoulder.

"Once it got underneath the asphalt, it undermined that," said Jim McBride, of the Department of Transportation.

"In 95-96 we had a storm event that took out the same section and it was a little more extensive than this time," McBridge said.

That repair will take a couple days to complete, but Body says his store can't be fixed.

"People said it wasn't like going to a wine shop - it was like drinking wine with friends in your living room ... I'm not going to be able to talk about it anymore ... it's bad," he said. - Source

Earthquake - Indonesia (Sulawesi) DEC

JAKARTA - A strong earthquake jolted North Sulawesi province in eastern Indonesia on Tuesday, but there were no immediate reports of injury or structural damage, officials said.

The quake, measuring 6 on the Richter scale, jolted Manado, the provincial capital, and nearby areas, an official at Jakarta's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

"No reports of damage so far," said the agency's Yusuf, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.

The quake, which was centred in the ocean about 138 kilometres north-east of Bitung, was not strong enough to trigger a tsunami. It occurred about 35 kilometres beneath the seabed.

Indonesia is located in the Pacific volcanic belt known as the Ring of Fire, where earthquakes and volcanoes are common. - Sapa-DPA - Source

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Earthquake - Martinique (Ducos) NOV

DUCOS, Martinique (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 struck near the Caribbean island of Martinique on Thursday, sending tremors and panic through the region but causing little damage, witnesses said.

Residents screamed and fled into the streets as the deep quake rumbled for nearly 10 minutes. One person had a heart attack and another was injured jumping out of a window, according to witnesses.

"When it started, I ran out of the building straight away but when I saw my students were still inside I ran back and shouted, 'Everybody get out,'" said Pamela Morin, head of a training school in the central town of Lamentin. "Everybody was terrified."

At least five houses collapsed in the quake, the strongest in living memory, and walls cracked in buildings on Martinique and nearby St. Lucia to the south, authorities said.

But "there were neither deaths nor serious damage," said Bernard Cavignaux, assistant director general of Martinique's central university hospital, who spoke by telephone from the capital, Fort-de-France.

On St. Lucia, water lines and water tanks were damaged, said Julian Dubois, deputy director of the St. Lucia Civil Defense.

The quake hit at 3 p.m. (1900 GMT), 13 miles northwest of Martinique, at a depth of 90 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Earthquakes with a deep epicenter are less likely to cause damage.


No tsunami warning was issued because of the depth of the quake, Richard Robertson, head of the seismic research unit of the University of the West Indies, said from Trinidad.

The quake was felt as far away as Colombia. In the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, some residents evacuated offices.

There were no reports of injuries or damage to property in Venezuela and the state oil company said it had no reports of any of its installations being affected.

Trinidad affiliates of oil and gas majors BP Plc and BG Group said no damage had been reported at their offshore installations.

The quake was also felt in Guadeloupe, which, like Martinique, is an overseas department of France.

"Schools, secondary schools, and universities will be closed until Monday to give time to evaluate the safety of the premises," said Francois Pesneau, an official in the Guadeloupe prefecture. Martinique schools were also closed until Monday.

French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie's office said she called a crisis meeting over the quake.

The earthquake also set off a series of false alarms in California and elsewhere as U.S. Geological Survey computers struggled to interpret the data from deep beneath the surface and suggested a series of other earthquakes.

"It has happened before and it will happen again," said David Oppenheimer, a scientist with the USGS in Menlo Park, California, about false alarms that included a 6.0 north of California's capital, Sacramento, that was quickly removed from the USGS Web site. - Source

Earthquake - Malaysia (Pahang) NOV

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- Three minor tremors with magnitudes 3.5, 2.9 and 3.3 respectively were recorded to have occurred at 10.13 am, 10.42 am and 8.42 pm today in the Bukit Tinggi area in Pahang.

According to a Malaysian Meteorology Department statement, the tremors happened on the Bukit Tinggi fault line which has not been active.

People living in the area would have felt minor vibrations in the Earth's surface, the statement said.

However, the magnitudes were not likely to cause any damage and the public need not worry, it added. - Source

Monday, November 26, 2007

Volcano - Nicaragua (Managua) NOV

MANAGUA, Nicaragua: The Concepcion volcano in Nicaragua sent huge columns of ash into the sky in eruptions that prompted a ripple of small earthquakes, local seismologists said Sunday.

The volcano, one of two on an island in the region's largest lake, erupted Saturday night and related earthquakes continued to rattle the area on Sunday. No one was injured by the blast, Nicaragua's Institute of Territorial Studies said in a statement.

The 1,610-meter (5,282-foot) volcano is located 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of the capital, Managua, on an island popular with adventure tourists in Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake.

Ash rained down on local communities on Sunday, as strong winds carried it to toward the capital, the institute said.

The Concepcion volcano, which shares its lake island with the dormant Maderas volcano, last erupted in 2005. - Source

Earthquake - Costa Rica (Guanacaste) NOV

Several communities in the northwestern Guanacaste province were rocked by an earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale Saturday, according to the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) based at National University in Heredia, north of San José.

The earthquake occurred at 5:22 p.m. and originated nine kilometers northwest of Playa Sámara.

At 1:06 a.m. Friday, a magnitude 4.0 earthquake rattled the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica about 15 kilometers northwest of Puerto Armuelles, Panama.

The quake originated 40 kilometers below the surface of the Pacific Ocean and was reported felt in the coastal city of Golfito. - Source

Earthquake - Pakistan (Lahore) NOV

A moderate earthquake measuring 5.2 magnitude on the Richter scale struck Pakistan on Sunday evening, the Meteorological Department said in New Delhi.

The quake, which occurred at 7.24pm, had its epicentre at 29.4 degree North latitude and 69.4 degree East longitude, the Met department said. - Source

Earthquake - USA (California) NOV

The 12:31 p.m. quake measured at magnitude 3.1 by automated seismographs, which placed its epicenter 8 miles east-southeast of Big Bear City and about 30 miles north of Palm Springs.

The earthquake struck in the same area as two large earthquakes that hit in 1992. Those quakes, matnitude 7.2 in Landers and 6.4 near Big Bear, caused widespread damage.

Sunday’s earthquake was too small to be felt by most people, according to measurements. - Source

Earthquake - India (New Delhi) NOV

New Delhi awoke to strong tremors at 4:43 am this morning (November 26). Major tremors were felt in and around Delhi, measuring 4.3 on the Richter Scale.

Although the earthquake was described by the Met department as one of "light intensity", which measured 4.3 on the Richter scale, it felt stronger than that because the epicentre was in Delhi-Haryana border, 4 km east of Najafgarh.

The local weather office puts the time of the tremor at 4.43 am. The tremors were strong enough to shake high-rise buildings in the capital. However, there have been no reports of any damage to property or loss of life.

Besides the capital, the tremor was felt in surrounding areas such as Noida (UP), Faridabad and Gurgaon (both in Haryana). - Source

Earthquake - Indonesia (Sumbawa) NOV

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Two strong earthquakes that struck eastern Indonesia killed at least three people, including a child, and injured 45 others, a senior official said Monday. Dozens of buildings were reportedly destroyed or damaged.

The first quake, with a magnitude of 6.4, struck late Sunday just off Sumbawa island, briefly triggering a tsunami alert. Several hours later, a powerful aftershock hit the same region.

"Everyone panicked, they were running from their houses, some to the hills," said Agung Prasetyo, a local police officer, adding that the ground shook violently for around 30 seconds.

Rustam Pakaya, the top disaster official at Indonesia's Health Ministry, said that three people, one of them a young child, died and 45 others were injured. He said a disaster assessment team and emergency supplies were being flown to the island.

On Monday, several aftershocks caused jumpy residents to flee their homes in the remote island. Media reports said rumors of an approaching tsunami caused some to panic further.

State news agency Antara said dozens of buildings were either destroyed or damaged, while witnesses said electricity was temporarily cut in some places, including a hospital, which was briefly evacuated.

Earlier on Sunday, a third earthquake rattled residents on the west coast of Sumatra island. Scores of people fled from their homes in the region, which has been hit by a series of powerful earthquakes in recent months.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheavals due to its location on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

In December 2004, a massive earthquake struck off Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries, including 160,000 people in Indonesia's westernmost province of Aceh. - Source

Sinkhole - USA (Georgia) NOV

AUGUSTA, Ga- It took hours to clean it all up Sunday evening when a fire truck sunk into the road in downtown Augusta.

It happened when a water main broke beneath the road, creating a sink hole.

Crews shut down 12th Street while they worked to pull the truck out.

Firefighters were not in the truck when the street collapsed, and no one was injured. - Source

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wildfire - USA (California) NOV

AT least 20 homes were destroyed and about 200 threatened as a wind-driven wildfire raged out of control in the celebrity enclave of Malibu.

The fire erupted in parkland above Malibu at around 3.30am (2230 AEDT) officials said and quickly engulfed multi-million dollar homes in the area that is home to dozens of Hollywood celebrities.

By 7.50am (0255 AEDT) around 607 hectares had been scorched as the flames burned unchecked, racing towards the ocean, Los Angeles County Fire Captain Mike Brown said.

At least 20 homes had been destroyed by the flames so far, Captain Brown said, and around 200 more were threatened.

Ten water-dropping helicopters and two fixed-wing air tankers were bombarding the flames, backing up around 300 firefighters struggling to contain the blaze, officials said.

Captain Brown said winds blowing at speeds of up to 80km/h were hampering efforts to bring it under control.

"The fire is being fanned by 30-40 mph winds with gusts up to 50 mph (80km/h),'' Captain Brown said.

"This is posing a grave, grave problem for firefighters on the ground right now.

"When you're dealing with a wind-driven fire, the wind dictates the progression of the flames."

Captain Brown said the fact that no other fires were burning in southern California had allowed extra resources to be diverted to tackling the Malibu blaze.

"This is the only fire that is burning in the region right now so we are able to utilise a lot more resources than we normally could have,'' he said.

Firefighters were banking on a forecast lull in the winds later today to help battle the blaze, reports said.

The wildfire is the second to hit Malibu inside a month following the devastating fire in October that destroyed 1847 hectares, six homes, two businesses and a church.

Malibu, around 30 kilometres west of Los Angeles, is home to celebrities including Sting, Jennifer Aniston, Mel Gibson, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Cher and Richard Gere.

Last month's California wildfires were among the worst in the state's history, leaving eight people dead, destroying 2,000 homes, displacing 640,000 people and causing more than $US1 billion ($A1.15 billion) in damage.

Los Angeles has suffered record-low rainfalls this year, with just 8.15 centimetres of rain between January 1 and June 30 - barely a fifth of the average rainfall and the lowest since records began 130 years ago. - Source

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Earthquake - Israel (Dead Sea) NOV

An earthquake hits Israel for the third time in a week: The Geophysical Institute of Israel (GII) reported Saturday that a 4.1 magnitude earthquake was felt throughout the country. No injuries or damage were reported.

According to reports, the earthquake hit around 00:19am, originating in Israel's plains area.

Earlier this week, two earthquakes, measuring 3 and 4.2 on the Richter scale, were felt throughout Israel, causing no damage or injuries.

"We were just sitting in the living room when the whole building started to shake for about 20 seconds," Tomer Morgenstern of Kiryat Uno told Ynet.

Rami Hopshteter, manager of the GII, explained that "the quake is not surprising as there is a lot of activity in the Dead Sea area… However, it is impossible to draw any clear conclusions about the future. The State of Israel has been preparing for an earthquake for the past several years, but more can always be done to improve our preparedness."
- Source

Landslide - China (Beijing) NOV

BEIJING (AP) — Workers clearing rocks from a landslide in central China discovered a bus underneath the rubble Friday, three days after the accident, and authorities said the 27 people believed to be on board were unlikely to be found alive.

The landslide tore a 165-foot gash in a mountainside Tuesday and heightened concern that the massive reservoir of the Three Gorges Dam, 120 miles away, was wreaking ecological havoc in the region.

Work crews clearing the rubble found the wreckage of the bus Friday morning, a local official and the government's Xinhua News Agency reported.

The bus was traveling from Shanghai to Lichuan city when the accident occurred. Records from a safety checkpoint the bus passed through showed there were 27 people on board, said Tang Mingyi, a government spokesman for Badong county, where the accident happened. Tang was speaking from the accident site.

Xinhua said there were 30 people aboard — a figure Tang said was wrong. - Source

Earthquake - Indonesia (Banda Aceh) NOV

A powerful 6.0 magnitude earthquake has rocked Aceh province on the northern tip of Sumatra Island.

Local meteorologists say the quake struck about 6 a-m local time on Friday. The epicenter was more than one hundred kilometers southwest of Banda Aceh, the capital city of Aceh province.

The quake occurred 16 kilometers under the ocean floor. There have been no reports of damages or causalities so far. - Source

Typhoon - Vietnam (Nha Trang) NOV

NHA TRANG, Vietnam (Reuters) - A tropical storm has dumped rain on several south-central Vietnam provinces, disrupting the coffee harvest and endangering fishermen, officials said on Saturday.

The streets of the coastal resort of Nha Trang were quiet after a night of rain, wind and waves from Tropical Storm Hagibis, downgraded from a typhoon on Friday as it changed direction in the South China Sea after hitting the Philippines.

The government's flood and storm committee said nearly 31,000 people had been moved away from the coast in four provinces.

Vietnam sent a diplomatic note to China about four vessels with 36 fishermen requesting shelter in Chinese territory. Authorities alerted 245,000 fishermen and most sailed out of the danger zone, government reports said.

Officials in the main coffee-growing province of Daklak said light rain had kept farmers from resuming the harvest. The disruption since Thursday at the peak of the harvest threatens to delay deliveries from the world's top robusta producer.

The storm is also passing Vietnam's oil and gas production fields in the South China Sea.

Historically, storms rarely strike in late November, the usual start of a six-month dry season.

Vietnam's long coastline is battered every year by up to 10 storms, killing hundreds, even thousands of people. Since August, some central provinces have been hit by a series of storms, raising floodwater to the highest levels in decades.

So far this year, storms and floods have killed 368, injured 515 and left 30 unaccounted for, according to government reports. Total property damage was 7.2 trillion dong ($441 million). - Source

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Flood - Bulgaria (Stara Zagora) NOV

Bulgaria's municipality of Stara Zagora announced Wednesday it lifts the state of emergency after floods, although rescue teams continue draining dozens of houses in several villages there.

Teams of Civil Defence service are still helping the residents in Galabovo, where the situation remains critical with 12 homes flooded.

Draining works carry on also in the municipality of Radnevo and the villages of Kovachevo and Troyanovo.

The damages of the community centre building in Bratya Daskalovi municipality have been set at BGN 100,000, authorities reported.
The region declared state of emergency after it dawned under water after the downpours on Sunday.

This is the second time this year that Bulgarian authorities are facing an uphill battle in shoring up rescue efforts following the floods that swept northeastern Bulgaria at the beginning of August.

The downpours claimed the lives of eight people and damaged thousands of homes in the worst-hit town of Tsar Kaloyan.

The floods in Tsar Kaloyan followed torrential rains over several days, which came after weeks of sizzling heat, drought and wildfires. - Source

Flood - UK (Hull) NOV

Many homes in Hull were damaged in the summer floods becaue Yorkshire Water failed to act on warnings dating back to 1996, a damning report says.

More than 10,000 properties were affected when heavy rains overwhelmed the city's drainage system on 25 June.

An independent review says that if the water company had heeded warnings about a pumping station "some properties in Hull would have not been flooded".

Yorkshire Water said no drainage system could have coped with the deluge.

"It is wrong to say that homes would have escaped flooding if we simply had bigger pumps," the company said in a statement.

"We are not complacent, however, and will act immediately to make further significant investment to upgrade and improve the resilience of our infrastructure."

Hull City Council commissioned the report from an independent body chaired by Tom Coulthard, professor of physical geography at Hull University.

It concluded that more than 8,600 homes, 1,300 businesses and 90 schools suffered flood damage as a result of June's heavy rain.

"Using evidence from a series of reports commissioned by Yorkshire Water, we have noted that over a period of 11 years, a series of clear recommendations relating to the condition, design and operation of the drainage and pumping systems of Hull were made to Yorkshire Water," it said.

"For some of these recommendations Yorkshire Water was unable to produce any records of, or confirm action taken, in respect of this advice.

"We believe that had these recommendations been implemented the impacts of the floods in June 2007 would not have been as severe."

The report added that: "Until a permanent solution is built, Hull is served by an under-capacity, sub-standard system helped out by two 40-year-old pumping stations."

Much of the criticism relates to a pumping station at Bransholme which broke down after it was flooded.

Because it was unable to pump away water, homes and businesses nearby remained flooded longer than those in other areas and 1,000 households suffered extensive damage.

Capacity 'overestimated'

The report recommends the pumping station be modernised and its capacity increased.

Three reports dating back to 1996 had recommended the station be improved and there were suggestions that a second should be built.

The water company is also accused of repeatedly overestimating the capacity of its equipment to deal with heavy rain, a failing which the report said had probably contributed to thousands of pounds worth of damage to properties which could have been protected from flooding.

Yorkshire Water said: "The issue is not about building bigger pumps, but of the capacity of the drains and the sewers to cope with the intensity and concentration of the rainfall in these extreme weather events.

"We cannot pump water if the water cannot get to the pumps because the drains and sewers are full to capacity.

"This report should have been a catalyst for change and better co-operation and we are disappointed that it has chosen to focus instead on the shortcomings of our pumping infrastructure rather than the bigger picture of protecting Hull from future flooding and the effects of climate change."

Were you affected by the floods in Hull? Should Yorkshire Water have taken more preventative action? Send us your comments and experiences using the form below. - Source

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sinkhole - USA (Texas) NOV

HARLINGEN - A Harlingen fire truck responding to a routine fire drill and ended up in a sink hole.

It happened in front of the Valley Baptist Medical Center. We're told the fire truck was going down the street when the road caved in underneath it.

City leaders tell us they're dealing with an underground water leak and working to find the source.

No injuries were reported. - Source

Monday, November 19, 2007

Flood - Papua New Guinea (Pt. Moresby) NOV

More than 70 people are reported to have been killed in Papua New Guinea because of heavy flooding caused by Cyclone Guba.

Seven consecutive days of heavy rain left a trail of destruction in Oro Province, north of Port Moresby.

The death toll has increased dramatically since Friday evening from three to at least 71, with another 55 people missing.

Reports from the provincial capital Popendetta claim the town is like an island with roads and bridges to the airport and main wharf destroyed.

Disaster officials are still assessing the damage and fear more deaths could occur if the thousands of people displaced by the rains are not helped soon.

Eyewitness reports

Reverend Glenn Buijs is an Anglican Minister visiting Papua New Guinea.

He has told the Australia Network he rushed to a low lying village early this morning after the cyclone hit, and found a scene of devastation.

"There were lots of logs and debris that had come down from the hills in the river that had been washed out to the sea, and by the time we got to the school, and the village near the school, they had been totally annihilated," he said.

"The villages were under probably 2.5 to 3 metres of logs, which would have stretched a kilometre or more."

He says the toll is probably a lot higher than believed.

"There were a number of huts where it was just the roof sticking above the debris and we tried to climb in and have a look," he said.

"At that stage we were told that a number of people had been swept away.

"We knew of at least one woman who'd come into the hospital with a broken arm - she'd been rescued trapped under a house, and her husband and two children had been washed away." - Source

Earthquake - Iran (Kerman) NOV

Iran's southeastern Kerman province has been hit again, this time by a small earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale.

Iran's seismological center registered the quake at 6:56 pm local time in Faryab a small village in Kerman, famous for its copper mines, Hayat news agency reported.

The epicenter of the earthquake was put at latitude 27.82 north and longitude 57.49 degrees east.

No casualties were reported following the quake.

On December 26, 2003, a powerful earthquake hit the ancient southeastern city of Bam,also located in Kerman province killing upwards of 30,000 people. - Source

Landslide - Australia (Victoria) NOV

SYDNEY, Nov 19 (Reuters) - A gold mine in Australia's southeastern state of Victoria has collapsed after a landslide, trapping 27 miners underground, police said on Monday.

"There are 27 workers trapped at various levels, up to one kilometre. We have communication with one miner via mobile phone but it has very bad reception," said Carina O'Grady, a spokeswoman for Victoria's state police said.

No workers are believed to be injured and a mine rescue team has already been organised, O'Grady said.

The accident occured at Ballarat gold mine, owned by Lihir Gold Ltd (LGL.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) and located about 100 kilometres west of Melbourne.

Lihir could not immediately be reached for comment. - Source

Landslide - USA (California) NOV

SAN DIEGO -- The city of San Diego wants to scrape away four houses that are sliding off their foundations on Soledad Mountain Drive, then remove 20,000 cubic yards of unstable dirt from the hillside that suddenly gave way Oct. 3, it was reported Saturday.

A city engineer wants to carve a temporary dirt access road into the yawning crater, then allow homeowners to bring in trucks to salvage whatever they can from their homes.

Those people will not only not be paid by the city, but they will have to bear the burden of demolition any possible further soil collapse onto downhill houses on Desert View Drive. City officials said the project is an emergency, and therefore the property owners will not be paid for their lost possessions or property.

That has angered attorneys for the homeowners, who maintain that the entire catastrophe was caused by improper city management of leaking water lines. The city says the water pipes leaked because improperly graded private property started sliding.

Courts will eventually determine who was responsible for the entire mess, which may have originated when the lots were graded for construction more than 40 years ago.

Robert Hawk, the city's chief engineering geologist, told a local newspaper that "there's basically a big pod of unstable soil perched above Desert View Drive," and that the soil could start moving again if it rains.

Should the council approve the plan, homes on the east side of the road, and the dirt underneath them, will be shoveled away starting in two weeks, and would take between four to six weeks to complete.

City crews continue to work on the west side of the street, and have installed about two thirds of the support columns designed to prevent the head of the landslide from advancing uphill, toward more houses. Once work is finished on those devices, work will begin on rebuilding Soledad Mountain Road - Source

Friday, November 16, 2007

Landslide - Australia (Victoria) NOV

A HUGE landslide at one of Victoria's biggest power plants - Yallourn power station - has slashed electricity production.

The landslide has left Yallourn running at less than a third of its capacity ahead of a week of forecast 30C days.

However Yallourn operator TRUenergy and Premier John Brumby assured Victorians there was no immediate threat to power supplies.

The State Government will investigate the landslip, which opened a giant chasm and let the rain swollen Latrobe River pour into the Yallourn open cut mine.

Heavy rainfall this month has been blamed for putting pressure on the mine's wall, causing it to collapse and cover two major conveyor belts with coal and earth.

Work has started on diverting the river to stem the flow of water into the mine.

Flows to the river from the Blue Rock Dam and Lake Narracan have been reduced with only minimal urban water being sent down.

No one was injured in the landslide, which happened before 2am yesterday.

The Environment Protection Authority is monitoring the river for possible contamination, and Southern Rural Water has advised farmers and domestic customers downstream of Thoms Bridge to stop using river water until further notice.

Engineers yesterday assessed the damage which has left the station running on minimum power in two of its four generators.

Operator TRUenergy said the power station was burning emergency coal supplies which were expected to run out this morning.

Coal will continue to be mined from unaffected sections of the mine, but the plant is expected to run at a reduced capacity for weeks.

A TRUenergy spokesman said it would shift conveyors to those parts of the mine within days. It will be a staged implementation back to full production, possibly taking months.

"Realistically, it will be longer than a week," he said.

Consultants were hired last week to review seepage into the brown-coal mine, but a TRUenergy spokeswoman said there was no indication the wall was about to collapse.

The station supplies approximately 22 per cent of Victoria's electricity needs and 8 per cent nationally.

Only two of its four generators were operating on minimum power yesterday, producing 440 megawatts of power.

The station can produce up to 1480 megawatts of power, supplying two million houses, when operating at full capacity.

The National Electricity Market Management Company said the collapse would not jeopardise the security of Victoria's power supply.

Reserve power from NSW, South Australia and Tasmania can be used to top up Victoria.

TRUenergy managing director Richard McIndoe said significant works were needed to repair the damage.

"Remedial works to address the problem were scheduled to commence at the mine today," Mr McIndoe said.

"Due to the significant subsidence and resulting leakage, the river will now need to be diverted to restore downstream river flows."

Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor's spokesman Dan Ward said an investigation into the landslide would be conducted but the priority was to fix the leak.

"There's nothing to suggest they (TRUenergy) have done anything specifically to cause the leak," Mr Ward said.

"There's nothing at this stage to suggest what's caused it and we cannot rule anything in or out."

Mr Ward said the EPA would assess the water that had leaked into the mine before it was pumped out.

Premier John Brumby also assured Victorians there was no immediate threat to the state's power supplies.

Mr Brumby said he was waiting for advice on what would be needed for repairs, but he did not believe the state was at risk of losing power. - Source

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Earthquake - Chile (Calama) NOV

A major earthquake rocked a large area of northern Chile on Wednesday, toppling power lines and closing roads. There were no immediate reports of injuries from the quake, which was felt in the capital as well as neighboring Peru and Bolivia.

“It was horribly strong. It was very long and there was a lot of underground noise,” said Andrea Riveros, a spokeswoman for the Park Hotel in Calama, about 60 miles east-southeast of the epicenter.

She said the quake knocked out power to the hotel, but caused no damage.

“I was very frightened. It was very strong,” added Paola Barrie, administrator at the Agua del Desierto Hotel, three miles from Calama. “I’ve never felt one that strong.”

'Floating' feeling
She said the hotel felt “like a floating island” during the quake, which downed power lines and cracked windows on nearby houses.

A reporter for Radio Cooperativa who had just landed in Antofagasta, about 105 miles south of the epicenter, told the station she saw cracks in the airport tarmac.

Presidential spokesman Ricardo Lagos Weber said it was centered in the Andean village of Quillahua, near Calama, site of the large Chuquicamata copper mine.

Initial reports “indicate that there have been no injuries, but some damage has occurred, apparently not serious,” he said.

Carmen Fernandez, head of the government’s Emergency Bureau, said the quake was felt across nearly 1,300 miles, from Chile’s northern border with Peru to the capital.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, 36.7 miles deep, was centered 66 miles west of the town of Calama and struck at 1540 GMT (10:40 a.m. ET).

The quake was initially reported at 7.8 magnitude by the agency and later verified at 7.7.

Chilean authorities discounted Wednesday the chances of a tsunami along its Pacific coast.

Warning for Hawaii
Meanwhile, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for Hawaii, west across the Pacific, but said the quake would cause only small non-destructive sea level changes and strong unusual currents for a few hours.

“Based on all available data there is no destructive tsunami threat to Hawaii,” the center said in its advisory.

Meanwhile, the National Emergency Office in Chile said it had no information on any casualties but it was evaluating the impact of the quake.

“We are evaluating the impact that the quake might have caused,” an ONEMI spokesman told national television.

State copper miner Codelco had no immediate comment on possible damages. - Source

Earthquake - Indonesia (Halmahera) NOV

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 (Bernama) -- Indonesia's Halmahera, the largest island of the Moluccas, was shaken by a magnitude 6.0 earthquake at 12.29pm today, the latest in a series of temblors which have rocked provinces in Asia and the Pacific over the past week.

According to an alert by the Malaysian Meteorological Department, the quake occurred 245km east of Manado in Indonesia and 1,035km southeast of Tawau in Sabah. No tsunami warning was issued.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported in its website that the quake epicentre was at the depth of 99.4km.

It was the strongest quake in Asia-Pacific monitored by the USGS over the past week, a tad stronger than the magnitude 5.5 temblor which hit south of the Mariana Islands on Monday.

Also on Monday, Indonesia's Taulud islands, north of Sulawesi, were rocked by a moderate quake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale.

-- BERNAMA - Source

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Flood - Japan (Aomori) NOV

Aomori Prefecture, 72 people evacuated

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Earthquake - Indonesia (Bengkulu) NOV

JAKARTA, Nov 11 (Reuters) - An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale struck Indonesia's Sumatra island on Sunday, but there were no reports of casualties or damage, the meteorology agency said.

The epicentre of the quake lay 129 km southwest of Bengkulu at a depth of 10 km. There was no tsunami warning. The tremors were followed by a 5.7 Richter aftershock.

Bengkulu was hit by a powerful quake of magnitude 8.4 in September that killed at least 25 people and toppled thousands of homes. It has been jolted by frequent tremors since then.

Indonesia suffers frequent earthquakes as it is on an area of intense seismic activity in the "Pacific Ring of Fire". (Reporting by Mita Valina Liem and Telly Nathalia, Editing by Sugita Katyal) - Source

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Earthquake - Taiwan (Taipei) NOV

TAIPEI: A moderate earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale rattled northern Taiwan on Thursday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 6:54 a.m. (1054 GMT) was about 46 km (29 miles) east of the northeastern Ilan county, at a depth of 4 km (2.5 miles), the Central Weather Bureau said in a statement.

Earthquakes occur frequently in Taiwan, which lies on a seismically active stretch of the Pacific basin. One of Taiwan's worst-recorded quakes occurred in September 1999.

Measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, it killed more than 2,400 people and destroyed or damaged 50,000 buildings. - Source

Earthquake - Bangladesh (Cox's Bazar) NOV

COX's BAZAR, Bangladesh — A strong earthquake shook coastal areas in southern Bangladesh, and residents rushed out of their homes in panic, officials and witnesses said. A few buildings developed cracks, but no casualties were immediately reported.

The quake struck around 1:10 p.m. and measured 6.0 on the Richter scale, the Meteorological Office in the capital, Dhaka, said. Its epicenter was about 157 miles southeast of the capital.

Earlier, the U.S. Geological Survey gave the quake's magnitude as 5.2 and said it was centered about 170 miles southeast of Dhaka. An official at the Meteorological Office said the discrepancy could be due to the location where the measurements were taken.

"We are closer to the epicenter, and our instruments at two points registered 6.0," Farah Diba said. The measurements were taken at seismic observatories in Dhaka and Chittagong.

Shaheda Ahmed of Cox's Bazar, a resort town about 185 miles south of Dhaka, said she was on the phone when "the whole building suddenly shook." "The chandelier and crockery rattled. We rushed out into the streets from our apartments," Ahmed said.

The private Channel-I network reported that the quake was felt as far as the Chittagong Hill Tracts, about 30 miles northeast of Cox's Bazar.

Several residents reported cracks in neighborhood buildings, including at a court house in Bandarban and at a fire station in Rangamati, both hill districts bordering India and Myanmar.

Bangladesh lies near the earthquake zone of southeast Asia, and mild tremors are often felt across the populous nation. But casualties or property damage are rare. - Source

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Earthquake - Indonesia (Fakfak) NOV

JAKARTA, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- An earthquake measuring 6.5 magnitude on the Richter scale jolted eastern most of Indonesia on Tuesday, but there was no report of damages or casualty, the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

The quake occurred at 13:41 Jakarta time (0641 GMT) with epicenter at 200 kilometers northwest Fakfak town of Irian Jaya Barat province and at 49 kilometers in depth, an official of the agency said.

In 2004, over 170,000 people died in Aceh province in the northern tip of the island after a tsunami triggered by a powerful quake devastated coastal areas of the province and other countries in southeast Asia.

Indonesia lies at a vulnerable zone so called "the Pacific Ringof Fire", where two continental plates, stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia, meet, causing frequent volcanic movements. - Source

Earthquake - Philippines (Bohol) NOV

A magnitude-4.2 earthquake rocked Bohol and Cebu provinces in central Philippines Wednesday without casualty or damage reported, said the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

The earthquake occurred at 12:12 p.m. local time with its epicenter at Anda town in Bohol. The quake was felt to different degrees of intensity in several cities and provinces in central and southern Philippines, said Phivolcs.

The United States Geological Service said the quake was measured at Magnitude 5, with its epicenter 95 km southeast of Cebu, according to local television network GMA News. - Source

Sinkhole - USA (Boston) NOV

DORCHESTER A large water main break is causing problems for some commuters and homeowners in Boston.

The underground main ruptured at about 1 a.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Gallivan Boulevard and Rangeley Street in Dorchester. The break created a sinkhole on Rangeley Street and sent water gushing on to the road.

State police say eastbound traffic on Gallivan Boulevard will be restricted to one lane between Dorchester Avenue and Adams Street for an indefinite period of time.

Water was shut off to several homes and some basements were flooded. - Source

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Drought - China (Beijing) NOV

BEIJING: China suffers a water shortage of nearly 40 billion cubic metres a year which Water Resources Minister Chen Lei blamed largely on global warming, state media reported on Monday.

"The changes have led to a combination of both frequent drought and flooding," the China Daily newspaper quoted Chen as saying.

Although global warming has contributed to falling water tables in China, rising consumption both by farmers and booming cities as well as severe pollution have also led to the problem. Decades of heavy industrialisation have made water from some lakes and rivers so polluted it is no longer useable, and tonnes of untreated waste are pumped directly into water sources.

Data also showed that rainfall in arid north China has been decreasing, the report said, adding that water resources in areas surrounding the Yellow, Huai, Hai and Liao rivers had dropped by about 12 percent.

"Seasonal water shortage in some of those areas are getting worse, seriously restricting sustainable social and economic development," the newspaper quoted an unnamed official as saying.

Water shortage has also been affecting rice cultivation in China, the world's top consumer and producer of the grain, leading to plans for it to expand acreage for a new kind of rice that can grow in dry soil. - Source

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Volcano - Indonesia (Bandung) NOV

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's Mount Kelud volcano appears to have erupted, a top official said on Saturday, based on seismographic signals, but the volcano is obscured from view by heavy cloud cover.

An estimated 350,000 people live within 10 km (6 miles) of the volcano, which is about 90 km (55 miles) southwest of Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city.

Saut Simatupang, an official at Indonesia's Centre for Vulcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, told Reuters that the centre had detected continuous tremors in the volcano indicating that it had erupted, even though it was impossible to see any sign of ash or lava because of heavy cloud in the area.

"There is heavy cloud over there, so even ash could not be seen. But instrumentally it has erupted, as shown by the seismographic records that were over the scale," he said.

The authorities have been monitoring the volcano in East Java for several weeks and raised its alert status to the highest level about two weeks ago as its activity increased and an eruption appeared imminent.

The volcano's crater lake makes it much harder to monitor than others, but in recent weeks the lake temperature has risen and the frequency of tremors has increased.

When Mount Kelud last erupted in 1990 at least 30 people were killed. Indonesia has the highest number of active volcanoes of any country, sitting on a belt of intense seismic activity known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire." - Source

Landslide - Indonesia (Papua) NOV

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A landslide injured 13 workers at U.S. firm Freeport's gold and copper mine in Indonesia's Papua province on Saturday, the company said.

The landslide outside the Grasberg mine did not affect company operations, Mindo Pangaribuan, a Freeport Indonesia spokesman, said.

"It's a natural incident. The victims sustained light injuries," he said, adding that the injured, all Indonesian workers of the mine, had been taken to the company-run hospital.

The mine -- believed to have the world's third-largest copper reserves and one of the biggest gold deposits -- has been a frequent source of controversy over its environmental impact and the share of revenue going to Papuans. - Source

Flood - Vietnam (Hanoi) NOV

Flooding in central Vietnam killed at least 18 people this week while rivers in the area have increased to an alarming level for the third time in a month, officials said on Saturday.

The official death toll rose from 13 on Friday, with most of the victims perishing in strong currents of streams and rivers.

The dead came from Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Ngai, Quang Nam, Quang Binh and Quang Tri provinces.

Four others remained missing, said a report from the national flood and storm control committee in Hanoi.

Soldiers have been mobilised in Thua Thien Hue province to help people restore damaged houses, schools and medical clinics, the report said.

In Quang Nam and Quang Tri provinces, authorities provided rice, medicine and chemicals to clean the environment and fight possible epidemics.

However, according to the report, heavy rain saw water levels of rivers rise to record levels on Thursday and Friday, resulting in the third serious flooding since early October.

In October, 114 people died in floods and storms that ravaged central provinces and cities, the General Statistics Office said. - Source

Earthquake - Chile (Santiago) NOV

SANTIAGO, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- An earthquake registering 6.3 on the Richter scale rocked Antarctica at 2031 GMT Friday, the Chilean national TV station reported.

According to the survey of the U.S. geological research bureau, the epicenter of the quake was 3,641 kilometers from Punta Arenas, Chile's southern most city.

Earthquakes rarely hit Antarctica, and their scales are normally small. - Source

Friday, November 2, 2007

Hurricane - Dominican Republic NOV

SANTO DOMINGO (AFP) - The death toll from Tropical Storm Noel's Caribbean rampage rose to 100 on Thursday, as floodwaters hampered the rescue of people trapped on rooftops in the Dominican Republic.

Even as the deadly storm barreled over Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, its sequels still wrought havoc in the Dominican Republic Thursday, four days after it slammed into the Caribbean nation.

The death toll in that country rose to 66 people, with 27 more reported missing, officials said on Thursday.

In Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, the death toll reached 34, officials said on Thursday. A further 14 people were listed as missing.

No deaths were reported in Cuba, which was hit on Wednesday, but there was significant damage to agricultural fields.

The islands of the northwestern Bahamas were placed under a hurricane watch amid concerns the storm could strengthen as it barrels over the Atlantic Ocean.

Residents boarded up their homes and stocked up on basic goods, as schools shut down and Bahamasair grounded its flights.

Forecasters warned Noel could dump as much as 38 centimeters (15 inches) of rain on Bahamian islands.

Even after the storm left the Caribbean basin for the Atlantic Ocean, the three countries slammed by Noel earlier in the week remained on high alert.

"Rains in Hispaniola and Cuba are expected to cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," said forecaster James Franklin of the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Noel's rip through the Caribbean came at a time when dams were already full, rivers bloated and the soil saturated from weeks of rain.

Rescue officials said improved visibility made it possible for the first time on Thursday to deploy helicopters to the worst affected areas of the Dominican Republic, where surging flood waters forced people to perch on their rooftops.

Torrents of water smashed several bridges, while authorities reported that 664 homes were destroyed and a further 15,600 were damaged. In all 62,428 people have fled their homes, 21,503 of whom are staying in official shelters.

The Dominican government is seeking international emergency loans for a total of 100 million dollars to deal with the disaster, officials said.

In Haiti, the fatalities included a 14-year-old girl and her mother killed when an uprooted tree crushed their house in the capital, while several homes were swept away by floods.

"I want to appeal to the whole world .... send clothes, blankets, food, every thing you can," said Gustave Benoit, the deputy mayor of Cite Soleil, a slum in the Haitian capital that at the best of times looks like it has been hit by a powerful hurricane.

With thousands of people in need of urgent assistance, Benoit did what he could to help, handing out rice and water from his beat up car.

In Cuba, almost 1,300 homes were damaged. Some interior areas remain incommunicado due to flooded roads, and coffee crops were damaged by flooding.

Noel on Thursday morning packed maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers (60 miles) per hour, with higher gusts, the NHC said, adding that some strengthening was possible in the course of the day.

At 1800 GMT, the center of the storm was located near Nassau and moving in a north-northwesterly direction that would take it over other islands of the Bahamas archipelago and then over open Atlantic waters.

It packed maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers (65 miles) per hour, with higher gusts with some strengthening possible later Thursday, the NHC said. - Source

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Flood - Algeria (Algiers) OCT

Algiers - At least four people died in Algeria when heavy rains caused streams to flood their banks and buildings to collapse in the west and centre of the country, the Civil Defence Agency said Tuesday.

Two of the victims were found near M'sila, some 250 kilometres south of the capital Algiers, where the rains caused two wadis, or river courses, to flood.

An elderly man died in the region of Laghouat, some 400 kilometres south of Algiers, when the roof of his barn collapsed under the weight of the water.

The fourth victim was swept away by floodwaters early Tuesday at Medea, 90 kilometres west of the capital. - Source

Flood - Mexico (Tabaco) OCT

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico (Reuters) - Thousands of homes were flooded on Wednesday after several rivers burst their banks in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco and heavy rains left 70 percent of the swampy region under water.

The Tabasco state government said 20,000 people were rushed to shelters after floodwater poured over sand-bagged riverbanks and into hundreds of villages and towns, including state capital Villahermosa.

The floods, caused by a cold front that has wreaked havoc with the oil industry along Mexico's Gulf coast, were the worst in the state's history, said Gov. Andres Granier.

"Water normally covers 34 percent of Tabasco's surface, but at the moment, I can assure you that more than 70 percent is water," Granier said.

Floodwater half-covered several giant carved stone heads built by the Olmecs, America's first great civilization, at the state's La Venta archeological site. Some of the heads are over 9 feet tall.

Tabasco is a low-lying and oil-rich state on Mexico's tropical Gulf coast. Much of the territory is covered by rain forests and mangrove swamps.

Bad weather from the cold front caused an oil platform to collide with another rig last week, killing at least 21 workers. Stormy seas closed Mexico's three main oil ports on Sunday, halting almost all exports and a fifth of production. Two of the ports were operating again on Wednesday. - Source

Earthquake - Indonesia (Bengkulu) OCT

JAKARTA, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- A moderate earthquake with magnitude of 5.8 rocked Sumatra Island in western part of Indonesia on Wednesday, no report of damages or casualty, according to Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysiscs Agency.

The quake jolted at 22:54 Jakarta time 1554 GMT with epicenter at 47 km southeast Muko Muko town of Bengkulu province and at 20 km under sea bed, an official of the agency said.

Indonesia lays on a vulnerable quake-hit zone, so called "the Pacific Ring of Fire," where two continental plates meet that cause frequent seismic and volcanic movements. - Source

Sinkhole - Canada (Dundas) OCT

A water main break in London, Ont., has caused a huge sinkhole in the city's core.

Several large buildings have been closed and at least one high school has sent students home when power had to be shut down.

Water flooded the intersection of Dundas and Wellington streets just before five a.m. A short time later the sinkhole, which is about 10 metres in diameter, opened up.

City engineer Peter Steblin said the damage is extensive.

"In congested downtown cores, just like it's congested on the surface, it is very congested underground with many different utilities in close proximity. And so when there is a water main break, there's a lot of water," Steblin said.

"It comes out at high pressure and there's a lot of damage that does occur. In this particular case there are hydro vaults and lines in very close proximity that have been impacted."

The city has activated its emergency operations centre and will set up public information lines as soon as possible.

City Hall was also affected by the flooding and a power outage.

It isn't known how that part of the flood will affect the city's response. - Source

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Earthquake - USA (California) OCT

OAKLAND, California (Reuters) - A magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck in a rural area about 9 miles northeast of San Jose, California, Silicon Valley's biggest city, on Tuesday night, causing minor damage.

The earthquake was felt across the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond just before 8:05 p.m. (11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday).

There were no immediate reports of major damage but the San Jose Mercury News Web site reported phone service failed in a part of Palo Alto, home to Hewlett-Packard computer company and Stanford University.

It said the quake caused minor damage and residents poured out of apartments in downtown San Jose to survey the damage. San Jose in the 10th most populous U.S. city.

"It was pretty significant. you could actually hear the rumbling of the ground. It was a good shake," said Nick Muyo, a spokesman for the San Jose Police Department.

Asked about damage, he said he knew of "nothing other than things tipping off cabinets and dressers."

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake occurred on the Calaveras Fault, located east of the San Andreas Fault along which some of the most destructive earthquakes in California have struck -- including one in 1906 which, together with a subsequent fire, destroyed much of San Francisco.

Residents of San Francisco, 50 miles north of San Jose, and Stockton, the same distance to the east, reported feeling Tuesday's quake.

Jeff Brown, a spokesman for video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc based in Redwood Shores, 25 miles north of San Jose, said: "There's no damage but a couple people are there and they said the curtains banged against the windows and the building creaked. They definitely felt it."

The quake occurred at a depth of 5.7 miles, according to the USGS. - Source

Earthquake - N. Mariana Islands (Saipan) OCT

CANBERRA, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- A magnitude 7.2 earthquake on Wednesday hit the Northern Mariana Islands, but the islands' Emergency Management Office said there is no threat of a tsunami.

Reports reaching here said the quake was located 408 km north of Saipan and 93 km north, northwest of the volcanic island of Pagan.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, with the depth of 248.3 km, occurred at 13:30 local time Wednesday (0330 GMT).

Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio reported that buildings in Saipan, the main island of the Northern Marianas, swayed for a few seconds as the quake jolted the chain of tiny islands. Work and classes were momentarily interrupted.

Last month, two strong quakes also jolted the Marianas region which refers to Guam and the Northern Marianas. - Source

Flood - India (Andhra Pradesh) OCT

Heavy rains continued to batter south coastal Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday as the death toll in the flash floods under the impact of low pressure over the Bay of Bengal rose to 14.

The worst-hit districts of Nellore and Prakasam as well as Chittoor and Kadpa continued to receive heavy rains for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as the flash floods wreaked havoc, inundating dozens of villages, damaging crops and disrupting road and rail traffic in the region.

As many as 50,000 people from low-lying areas have been evacuated and shifted to about 50 relief camps set up by authorities in the four districts.

In Kadapa district, all-night efforts with rescue teams summoned from Chennai and Bangalore brought to safety 18 passengers of an RTC bus.

Two home guards who went in to rescue were among four people found dead.

''According to the bus conductor, there are dead bodies in the bus of a lady and a man,'' said M T Krishna Babu, Collector, Kadapa district.

Nearly one hundred relief camps have been opened in Nellore district, that has borne the fury of the northeast monsoon. And the over 32000 people taking shelter in the camps cannot return home immediately as the Met department has predicted more rain.

''All low-lying areas are flooded. We evacuated people living there to shelters and are looking after their food requirements,'' said M Ravichandra, Collector, Nellore district.

Road traffic has been affected in several areas. The South Central Railway cancelled 20 Express trains on Monday and five on Tuesday.

About a dozen buses, trucks and other vehicles were caught in flash floods in the affected districts. Local authorities rescued most of the people travelling in these vehicles.

However, four members of a marriage party travelling in a private bus were washed away near Naidupeta in Nellore when the vehicle was caught in swirling waters.

Villagers rescued four people by a boat but four others drowned when the bus turned upside down and was washed away.

Rivulets, streams and tanks are overflowing in the four districts due to heavy rains and flash floods, which have damaged standing crops over a large area.

Meanwhile, weathermen have forecast more rains in south coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalseema and north coastal Tamil Nadu due to the low-pressure area over the Bay of Bengal.

Officials said strong winds with a speed of 40 to 50 km per hour were blowing along the coast. The fishermen have been warned against venturing into the sea, which remained rough.

Heavy rains and floods have claimed over 100 lives in two spells in the state since June. Andhra Pradesh has a coastline of over 1,000 km that has seen repeated floods, storms and cyclones in recent times. (With Agency inputs) - Source

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Drought - Australia (Sydney) OCT

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's wheat, barley and canola winter crops were again revised lower Tuesday due to the severity of the long-running drought, the country's official forecaster said.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics said the winter wheat crop for 2007/08 would drop from the September estimate of 15.5 million tonnes to 12.1 tonnes due to a lack of drenching rains.

Barley would fall from a projected 5.9 million tonnes to 5.0 million tonnes and canola drop from 1.1 million tonnes to 900,000 tonnes, it said.

The bureau said rainfall during the crucial September to October period had been well below average in the country's main grain-growing regions, with some areas of New South Wales recording their lowest ever levels for those months.

"This lack of rainfall, combined with hotter than average daytime temperatures and strong winds, has led to the rapid deterioration of crop yield potential and in many areas has resulted in total crop failure," ABARE executive director Phillip Glyde said.

The three major crops of wheat, barley and canola will amount to 18.0 million tonnes for the year -- about 42 percent below the five-year average but still 4.0 million tonnes above the previous year's output, the bureau said.

ABARE said poor pasture growth and high feedgrain prices had also forced farmers battling the worst drought in a century to continue to reduce stock numbers.

But the bureau said the outlook for summer crop production was promising, with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology suggesting above-average rainfall is likely for some farming regions.

In September the bureau said the drought, which has stretched to seven years in some parts of the country, was expected to slash wheat production in the coming year by a third from 22.5 million tonnes to 15.5 million tonnes. - Source

Earthquake - USA (Seattle) OCT

SEATTLE — A small earthquake with a 2.7 magnitude was recorded at 10:55 p.m. Sunday about three miles northwest of Tonasket, according to the University of Washington's Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

It could be felt in the area but there are no reports of damage. - Source

Earthquake - Turkey (Denizli) OCT

A moderate earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 shook Denizli on Monday, a seismology center said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The epicenter of the quake was near the town of Çameli, in Denizli province, the İstanbul-based Kandilli Observatory said. Earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, much of which lies atop the active North Anatolian fault. Two devastating earthquakes killed about 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey in 1999. In 2003, an earthquake measuring at a magnitude of 6.4 caused the collapse of a school dormitory in Bingöl, in southeast Turkey, killing 83 children. - Source

Earthquake - Nepal (Kathmandu) OCT

AN earthquake measuring 5.0 shook parts of central Nepal today, sending panic-stricken residents out of their homes in the capital Kathmandu, officials said.

The epicentre of the tremor was located about 40km north of Kathmandu, a National Seismological Centre official said.

The quake lasted a few seconds and was felt in the hill-ringed capital city, home to more than 1.5 million people.

“I was having my tea when the ground started to shake. I left the cup of tea and rushed out,” said Shanta Nepal, a Kathmandu housewife.

Police said there was no immediate report of damage or injuries.

More than 700 people were killed in an earthquake in east Nepal in 1988. - Source

Volcano - Hawaii (Hilo) OCT

HILO, Hawaii — Lava flowing from a new vent on Kilauea volcano's s eastern flank is now feeding into a lava tube that could allow it to travel farther and faster, geologists have confirmed.

The formation of tubes can be worrisome because they insulate the lava, which has advanced 1.5 miles from the end of the open lava channel on the Big Island of Hawaii, and let it flow farther.

But Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's daily assessment that "there are no immediate threats directly from lava flows" remained unchanged, meaning thousands of residents near the volcano. Puna residents remain at a safe distance.

Kilauea has been erupting for 24 years. On July 21, a new outbreak of lava occurred to the east of Puu Oo vent. It was the first time lava erupted in the area outside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park since 1992.

This new vent started out as an aa flow, characterized by a rough, broken and sharp surface.

But the hotter lava promotes the formation of pahoehoe flows, which has a smoother surface created by the movement of fluid lava under a congealing crust.

The new eruption site is situated on lands adjacent to the park in the Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve, which is administered by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Access to the remote area, which is not accessible by car, is closed to the public. - Source

Monday, October 29, 2007

Firestorm - USA (California) OCT

After seeing these videos, I think some of the US citizens will somehow got a clue on how Iraqi wars look like. Please stop the war.

Video 1

Video 2

Flood - China (Jiangxi) OCT

At least 10 people were trapped underground after a local colliery where they were working was flooded early Sunday, coal mine safety watchdog in east China's Jiangxi Province confirmed.

The flood occurred around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday at Lingxian coal mine, a township-owned mine in Le'an County of central Jiangxi, said an official with the local coal mine safety administration.

Preliminary investigations show at least 12 people were working underground, and only two managed to escape, the official said, adding that they are still trying to find out the accurate number of trapped miners.

The mine's license has not expired, he said. - Source

Flood - Israel (Tel Aviv) OCT

“Israel will face a severe water shortage by 2040,” says Dr. Wolfgang Seiler. He will present this claim at a lecture at the International Water Technologies and Environmental Control Exhibition and Conference - Watec 2007 in Tel Aviv this week. Seiler will be a guest of Netafim Ltd., one of the conference sponsors. He is a former director of Germany’s Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, and serves on several international climate research committees, including a joint committee of Tel Aviv University and Germany’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

Seiler says that the coming water shortage will be the result of global warming. He adds that melting glaciers will raise the sea level by at least 50 centimeters. This will cause flooding of coastal cities, including in Israel, affecting millions of people. He adds that global warming will change atmospheric cycles, which will change the global precipitation regime. This will greatly affect agriculture, nature, and the condition of the world’s forests. Deliveries of clean drinking water to populations in many parts of the world, especially coastal regions, will suffer.

Seiler says that one of the most important consequences of climate change, which has not yet attracted much attention, is the increasing frequency of extreme meteorological phenomena, such as floods, drought, storms, and avalanches. These events will undoubtedly affect the lives of millions of people. - Source

Landslide - Scotland (Loch Lomond) OCT

A long stretch of the A83 has been shut after a major landslide at the Rest and be Thankful road, west of Loch Lomond.

A section of the A83, starting northbound at Ardgarten and southbound to Lochgoilhead, will be closed until further notice.

A total of 400 tons of soil and rock, loosened by several months of rainfall, tumbled down onto the road at about 0300 GMT on Sunday. No-one was injured.

A subsequent landslip on the underside of the road then took place.

No vehicles were on the road at the time.

Geotechnical staff are assessing the damage to the road and what steps might be necessary to secure it.

The effect of further heavy rainfall forecast overnight will also be monitored. Road maintenance company Transerv said it does not know when it will reopen.

A landslip at the same place three years ago led to the road's closure for a couple of days. - Source

Hurricane - Haiti OCT

MIAMI (Reuters) - The 14th named storm of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, Noel, formed on Sunday in the Caribbean and was expected to drench impoverished and vulnerable Haiti with potentially deadly rains, forecasters said.

The storm, which had top sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, was moving slowly toward Haiti's southwestern peninsula and was then expected to head toward southeastern Cuba, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

While the storm's track was highly uncertain, the center forecast it was likely to make a sharp turn to the northeast near the end of the week and head out over the Bahamas into the Atlantic rather than into the Gulf of Mexico, where critical oil and gas facilities are located.

It was also unclear whether the storm would have an opportunity to strengthen into a hurricane with winds of at least 74 mph because that would depend on whether it stayed over warm water or spent more time over land.

By 2:15 p.m. EDT, Noel was located around 150 miles south-southeast of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, and it was moving to the north-northwest at 5 mph, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

Storms alerts were posted for Haiti, parts of southeast Cuba, and for Jamaica.

The hurricane center said potentially dangerous amounts of rain -- 8 inches to 12 inches with isolated downpours of up to 20 inches -- could be expected over parts of Hispaniola, southeast Cuba and Jamaica.

Tropical storms do not pose much of a threat to developed countries, but their rains can be life-threatening in poor areas. Haiti in particular is vulnerable to deadly flash floods and mudslides because most of its forests have been chopped down to make charcoal.

Around 3,000 people died in the port city of Gonaives in 2004 when Tropical Storm Jeanne passed to the north of Haiti on its way to hit Florida as a hurricane.

The six-month hurricane season runs until the end of November. The peak of the season, in September, was unusually quiet but the development of a La Nina weather phenomenon in the equatorial Pacific has the potential to make late-season storms more likely than in other years, experts say.

So far the season has spawned four hurricanes, two of which became potentially catastrophic maximum-strength Category 5 storms before slamming into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and Central America. - Source

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Volcano - Philippines (Sorsogon) OCT

MANILA, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- At least five villages were relocated on early Tuesday as heavy rains triggered volcanic mud flows along the restive Bulusan volcano in eastern Philippines.

"Lahar and boulders came down the mountain. There was some panic among the residents. Cars cannot pass through here in MonbonBliss (in Monbon village). The highway has been affected, vehiclescannot move," local news network GMA-TV quoted Crispulo Diolata Jr,science research assistant of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), as saying.

Crispulo said as Bulusan volcano did not explode or spurn out ashes on Monday night, what fell from the volcano were ash deposits and boulders.

Resident volcanologist Bella Tobianosa said 54 millimeters of rain was recorded at the region on Monday night. Aside from Monbon, she said the volcanic mud and debris flow also affected four villages in neighboring Irosin, a small town with a population of 45,507, GMA-TV said.

Earlier this month, Phivolcs warned residents near Bulusan volcano to watch out for possible mud flows after ash explosions recorded as early as October 4. - Source

Landslide - Nigeria (Adamawa) OCT

Sixty eight farmers in Sili-Centa village in Guyuk Local Government of Adamawa, have lost farmlands following a landslide, the council’s chairperson, Mrs Wilbina Jackson, said.

Jackson told newsmen in Guyuk, headquarters of the council, that the incident which occurred fortnight ago, claimed farmlands worth millions of naira after a loud explosion.

She said that though no life was lost, the victims lost their only means of livelihood.

According to her, the affected areas were the most agriculturally productive sites within the council.

Jackson called on the Federal Government to send experts to the affected areas to determine the actual phenomenon.

Two farmers, Demas Alinco and Lenus Glastone who lost their farmlands, that they heard a loud sound, accompanied by thick smoke.

They also said that fears of the unknown had forced some elders of the community to seek spiritual solutions.

According to them, some other elders have attributed the disaster to the anger of their ancestors and gods.

Meanwhile, some Christian and Muslim leaders have also offered special prayers in churches and mosques, seeking God’s forgiveness and intervention.

The District Head of Chikila, Mr Ginka Friya, said that the incident started gradually on September 30 and climaxed with the recent incident when the affected areas experienced a downpour.

Friya recalled a similar experience in 1964 but said the recent incident had a greater impact.

He called for the relocation of the victims, and urged the government to erect a building for the victims.

Dr Paul Michaullum, a geographer and one time minister during the Second Republic, who hails from the area, described the incident as a “potential disaster”.

Michaullum said the incident was more of a slide as the area constituted more of “very high mountains and deep valleys”.

The Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Median Teneke, said that the residents may be relocated to a safer place pending the assessment of the problem by the Federal Government and international experts.

A visit to four sites of the slide in Sili-centa revealed deep cracks, gullies and submerged farmlands while the residents had deserted their farms.

Mr Otiji Phillip, the chief geologists in charge of the Geological Survey Department, Yola, Adamawa, said that the incident was the falling off of truncated rocks along the Atlantic Ocean.

“The incident could only be a landslide or mud fall.

“Guyuk, Demsa, Numan, Lamurde, Girei, Yola South and North, Fofure, and part of Song have huge bolder rocks, mostly sedimentary types and fragile.

“They can easily crumble and fall through a channel created by water erosion.

“Song, Hong, Gombi, Maiha, Toungo, Jada, Mayo-Belwa, Mubi South and North, Michika and Madagali are situated on igneous rock and these are areas you can expect volcanic eruption but they too are dormant.

“Soft rocks have a tendency to slide over one another especially during rainy season, equally swollen clay when it has soaked enough water can trigger off a slide.”

“The incident is sometimes accompanied by loud noise and debris that raise a lot of dust that may be mistaken for smoke,” Phillip explained.

The geologist called on the residents not to entertain fear of any earth tremor or volcanic eruption.

He said that landslides were common in highland areas including Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Plateau and Taraba States.

He disclosed that panyam area in Plateau was the only currently active volcano site in the country while all other sites that had erupted long ago were now dormant.

Phillip said that a survey conducted by him on Biu mountains in Borno State revealed that most of the rocks have been weathered and their vicious blocked, indicating that there was no imminent eruption.

It would be recalled that there were some reported cases of possible volcanic eruptions in Maiha and Sahuda in parts of Adamawa in 1992 and 1993.

Similar incidents mistaken for either earthquake or volcanic eruption were also reported on Mver and Maisamari hills on the Mambilla Plateau, Sardauna Local Government, Taraba State in 1994 and 2004, respectively. - Source

Volcano - Indonesia (Sunda) OCT

Three volcanos in Indonesia - including the one known as the Child of Krakatoa - are under close watch following heightened activity.

The alert on Mount Anak Krakatau was raised to the second-highest level on Friday.

Indonesia's Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation made the move after the volcano threw up showers of ash.

The volcano, which lies in the Sunda strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra, is about 80 miles west of the capital Jakarta. - Source

Earthquake - Greece (Athens) OCT

ATHENS, Greece: A magnitude 5 earthquake rattled southwestern Greece on Saturday, affecting areas ravaged by deadly August forest fires. There were no immediate reports of serious damage or injury.

Seismologists at the University of Thessaloniki said the undersea quake occurred at 8:32 a.m. (0532GMT), 330 kilometers (205 miles) west of Athens.

"Earthquakes of this magnitude are not uncommon in this part of the country ... We will have to wait for one or two days before we can say that this was the main earthquake," said Efthymios Lekkas, professor of geology at Athens University.

The quake struck in an area affected by the country's worst wildfires on record. At least 65 people died in the blazes between Aug. 24 and Sept. 3. - Source

Earthquake - Pakistan (Kashmir) OCT

SRINAGAR: A moderate intensity quake measuring 5.1 on the richter scale shook the Kashmir valley on Friday.

The tremor was recorded at 1220 hours in Srinagar and adjoining areas, a spokesman at the divisional disaster management control room said.

There were no reports of any damage or casualty, he said. The epicenter of the quake was located 35.8 degree north latitude and 76.9 degree east longitude on the Indo-China border of Jammu and Kashmir, the spokesman said.

Kashmir is placed in seismic zone five, making it highly vulnerable to earthquakes. - Source

Tornado - Australia (NSW) OCT

AN area of the New South Wales north coast damaged by storms has been declared a natural disaster zone.

Large hailstones and destructive winds battered the towns of Dunoon, Lismore, Grafton, Byron Bay and Mullumbimby on Friday.

The NSW government has estimated that the storms caused about $1 million worth of damage and has declared the Lismore City Council area a natural disaster zone, triggering a range of financial assistance for individuals, businesses and councils.

The State Emergency Service (SES) logged more than 100 calls for assistance in the wake of the storm, which was the second wave of severe weather to hit the area during the past three weeks.

Crews have worked around the clock to remove fallen trees, cover damaged roofs with tarps and provide assistance to residents.

Dunoon, 10km north of Lismore, was hardest hit by the storm with a mini tornado tearing through the town.

It severely damaged 20 homes and buildings. The town was also left without electricity until yesterday afternoon.

Acting NSW Emergency Services Minister Verity Firth said emergency services had responded quickly to calls for help and put in a huge effort in the clean-up.

"In times of trouble, whether it be storms, floods, other natural disasters or accidents, the SES volunteers and members of other emergency services are always ready to help those in need," she said.

"Their hard work and commitment to protecting their community deserves the highest praise." - Source