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