brad brace

2/22/2017

Another Sudan Famine

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On 20 February 2017, the United Nations declared a famine in parts of former Unity State of South Sudan and warned that it could spread rapidly without further action. The World Food Programme reported that 40% of the South Sudanese population (4.9 million people) needed food urgently, and at least 100,000, according to the UN, were in imminent danger of death by starvation. UN officials said President Salva Kiir Mayardit was blocking food deliveries to some areas, though Kiir said on 21 February that the government would allow “unimpeded access” to aid organizations.

In addition, parts of South Sudan have not had rain in two years. According to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Representative Serge Tissot, “Our worst fears have been realised. Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive. The people are predominantly farmers and war has disrupted agriculture. They’ve lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch.

The reports also warned that about 5.5 million people, half of South Sudan’s population, are expected to suffer food shortages and insecurity by July 2017. According to Jeremy Hopkins, the South Sudan representative for the UN children’s agency, more than 200,000 children are at risk of death from malnutrition in the country.

http://cdn.wfp.org/donate/

12/18/2016

larsen

8/26/2016

Made in the U.S.A.

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Cluster munitions are dropped from aircraft or fired from the ground or sea, opening up in mid-air to release tens or hundreds of submunitions, which can saturate an area up to the size of several football fields. Anybody within the strike area of the cluster munition, be they military or civilian, is very likely to be killed or seriously injured. The horror, the shame.

The fuze of each submunition is generally activated as it falls so that it will explode above or on the ground. But often large numbers of the submunitions fail to work as designed, and instead land on the ground without exploding, where they remain as very dangerous duds.

A cobalt bomb is a theoretical type of “salted bomb”: a nuclear weapon designed to produce enhanced amounts of radioactive fallout, intended to contaminate a large area with radioactive material. The concept of a cobalt bomb was originally described in a radio program by physicist Leó Szilárd on February 26, 1950. His intent was not to propose that such a weapon be built, but to show that nuclear weapon technology would soon reach the point where it could end human life on Earth, a doomsday device.

139 financial institutions worldwide are investing over US$24 billion in companies producing cluster munitions: investment in the producers of this deadly weapon by banks, pension funds and other financial institutions around the world. Cluster munitions have recently been used against civilians in Syria. These weapons have killed and injured thousands of people for decades, which is why the majority of the world’s nations have banned them. Syria has not joined the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. Syria’s use of cluster munitions should be a wake-up call for governments and financial institutions of the severe and real consequences of this indiscriminate weapon. Financial institutions have invested in cluster munition producers since June 2010. The majority of these investments come from financial institutions in states that have not yet joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The ‘Hall of Shame’ includes 22 financial institutions from 6 countries that are part of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions: Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

8/17/2016

Dakota Access Pipeline Standoff: Mni Wiconi, Water is Life

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The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project is back in the news. Over the weekend, tribal activists faced off against lines of police in Hunkpapa Territory near Cannon Ball as construction crews prepared to break ground for the new pipeline, while Standing Rock Sioux governmental officials resolved to broaden their legal battle to stop the project.

On July 26, 2016 the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was stunned to learn that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had given its approval for the pipeline to run within a half-mile of the reservation without proper consultation or consent. Also, the new 1,172 mile Dakota Access Pipeline will cross Lake Oahe (formed by Oahe Dam on the Missouri) and the Missouri River as well, and disturb burial grounds and sacred sites on the tribe’s ancestral Treaty lands, according to SRST officials.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners will build, own and operate the proposed $3.78 billion Dakota Access Pipeline and plans to transport up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil fracked from the Bakken oil fields across four states to a market hub in Illinois. The pipeline—already facing widespread opposition by a coalition of farmers, ranchers and environmental groups—will cross 209 rivers, creeks and tributaries, according to Dakota Access, LLC.

Standing Rock Sioux leaders say the pipeline will threaten the Missouri River, the tribe’s main source of drinking and irrigation water, and forever destroy burial grounds and sacred sites.

“We don’t want this black snake within our Treaty boundaries,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II. “We need to stop this pipeline that threatens our water. We have said repeatedly we don’t want it here. We want the Army Corps to honor the same rights and protections that were afforded to others, rights we were never afforded when it comes to our territories. We demand the pipeline be stopped and kept off our Treaty boundaries.”

On July 27, SRST filed litigation in federal court in the District of Columbia to challenge the actions of the Corps regarding the Dakota Access pipeline. The suit seeks to enforce the tribal nation’s federally protected rights and interests. The nation is seeking a preliminary injunction to undo the Corps’ approval of the pipeline at a hearing on August 24. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and several other native nations have asked to join the lawsuit.

On August 8, Dakota Access called the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to give 48-hour notice that construction would begin on August 10 for an access corridor and staging area where pipes and other equipment will be stored for construction.

As news of the planned construction spread via social media among tribal citizens and activists, a grass-roots gathering assembled at what is now being referred to as the Sacred Stone Camp where people are holding the line to stop construction. After Dakota Access workers began clearing an area for preliminary pipeline work, several hundred protestors gradually assembled at the site, prompting law enforcement to intervene and arrest more than a dozen people. Among those were Chairman Archambault and SRST Councilman Dana Yellow Fat, who quickly posted bond and were released.

“We have a voice, and we are here using it collectively in a respectful and peaceful manner,” Archambault said. “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is doing everything it can legally, through advocacy and by speaking directly to the powers that be who could have helped us before construction began. This has happened over and over, and we will not continue to be completely ignored and let the Army Corps of Engineers ride roughshod over our rights.”

Archambault said the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples requires free, prior and informed consent for development impacting Indian land, territories and waters.

“We have a serious obligation, a core responsibility to our people and to our children, to protect our source of water,” he said. “Our people will receive no benefits from this pipeline, yet we are paying the ultimate price for it with our water. We will not stop asking the federal government and Army Corps to end their attacks on our water and our people.”

The proposed construction route is within a half-mile of the tribe’s reservation border, sparking concerns for protection of cultural resources that remain with the land. Hunkpapa religious and cultural sites are situated along the route of the pipeline, including burial sites of ancestors.

“The land between the Cannonball River and the Heart River is sacred,” said Jon Eagle Sr., STST’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. “It’s a historic place of commerce where enemy tribes camped peacefully within sight of each other because of the reverence they had for this place. In the area are sacred stones where our ancestors went to pray for good direction, strength and protection for the coming year. Those stones are still there, and our people still go there today.”

Eagle worries that the pipeline will harm many tribal nations along the Missouri.

“Wherever the buffalo roamed our ancestors left evidence of their existence and connection to everything in creation,” he said. “The aboriginal lands of the Oceti Sakonwin extend as far west as Wyoming and Montana, as far north as Canada, as far east as the Great Lakes, and as far south as Kansas. Construction along this corridor will disturb burial places and cultural sites.”

According to the recently filed “motion for preliminary injunction” by the SRST, Dakota Access initially considered two possible routes: a northern route near Bismarck, and a southern route taking the pipeline to the border of the Standing Rock reservation. Federal law requires the Army Corps to review and deny or grant the company’s permit applications to construct the pipeline. The southern route takes the pipeline across the Missouri River and Lake Oahe, implicating lands and water under federal jurisdiction.

In the initial environmental assessment, the maps utilized by Dakota Access and the Army Corps did not indicate that SRST’s lands were close to the proposed Lake Oahe crossing. The company selected this route because the northern route “would be near and could jeopardize the drinking water of the residents in the city of Bismarck.” The Army Corps of Engineers has not issued a public response to the newly filed litigation or protest. In a statement that appeared in a May 4 story in the DesMoines Register, Col. John Henderson, commander of the Corps’ Omaha District said, “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is not an opponent or a proponent of the project. Our job is to consider impacts to the public and the environment as well as all applicable laws, regulations and policies associated yet with this permission and permit review process.”

An Energy Transfer spokesperson said, “It is important to note that Dakota Access does not cross any reservation land and is compliant with all regulations regarding tribal coordination and cultural resources. We have communicated with the various tribes that have an interest in the DAPL project as we recognize the traditional range of the Native Americans and their sensitivity to historic ranges for cultural properties. We are confident the USACE has adequately addressed the portion of the project subject to their review and where a NEPA analysis is required. They are the experts in this area, and we believe they have done an excellent job addressing any comments received to date.”

Tribal leaders and environmental activists say the company’s draft environmental assessment of December 9, 2015 did not mention that the route they chose brings the pipeline near the drinking water of tribal citizens. In fact, it omitted the existence of the tribe on all maps and analysis, in violation of environmental justice policies.

Great Sioux Nation Defends Its Waters From Dakota Access Pipeline

While federal law requires meaningful consultation with affected Indian nations, SRST governmental officials allege that didn’t happen despite numerous requests by the nation. Since they first heard of the proposed project in 2014, SRST leaders have voiced strong opposition to company, state and federal officials, and to Congress.

They met with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to discuss the harm imposed by the pipeline. All three agencies subsequently wrote letters to the Army Corps expressing environmental and cultural resource concerns related to the pipeline.

Archambault said they’ve been working on many levels for more than seven months to stop construction. But the tribe and the three federal agencies were apparently ignored by the Army Corps, which moved ahead with permits for the pipeline.

In addition, Standing Rock youth ages 6–25 from the reservation vowed to run to Washington, D.C. to deliver a petition with 160,000 signatures on change.org opposing the pipeline to the President of the United States. After running for 2,200 miles, they were able to meet with Army Corps officials and hold rallies along the way; they returned home on August 10.

Standing Rock leadership has also put out the call to Indian country to stand in support of protecting their water, land and people. Dozens of Indian nations have already written letters and resolutions to support the Lakota people.

As for the growing number of people at the grassroots rally, Archambault publicly asked that everyone be peaceful and respectful of one another in the coming days.

“We want peaceful demonstrations and I need everyone to understand that what we are doing, in the manner we are doing it, is working,” he said. “By being peaceful and avoiding violence we are getting the attention needed to stop the pipeline.

The emphasis was on peace as a Lakota man smudged police officers at the scene of an ongoing protest at the construction site of the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota.

“We’re getting the message out that all the wrongdoing that’s been done to Indian people will no longer be tolerated,” he said. “But we’re going about it in a peaceful and respectful manner. If we turn to violence, all that will be for nothing. I’m hoping and praying that through prayer and peace, for once the government will listen to us.”

Archambault also honored the Lakota youth who want to make a better future in his message.

“Our youth carry powerful messages when they speak, and we respect our youth and listen to them,” he said. “We honor and support the youth, runners, elders, campers, and supporters, and we are thankful for all the important efforts they’re making to protect our water.”

In the midst of an ongoing effort by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other entities to prevent construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the company Dakota Access LLC has begun construction of the 1,150-mile project, which will carry crude oil from western North Dakota to Illinois.

Construction has begun in North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois, but not yet in Iowa, where regulators have declined to allow construction just yet. In consideration of the environmental impact of the project and other safety concerns, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not yet issued permits for the project to cross the Missouri River—Standing Rock’s main water source—or the Mississippi.

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault insists that the fight to stop the pipeline has not come to an end and that the tribe and its allies will continue to exercise their rights to ensure that consideration of the health and well-being of the citizens of the Great Sioux Nation will be taken into consideration by the Army Corps of Engineers and other influential entities.

“The start of construction by Dakota Access will not deter us,” Archambault said in a statement. “To the contrary, the Tribe will continue to press forward, to demonstrate that the Corps has not adequately consulted with the Tribe regarding cultural resource issues, and has not adequately addressed the risk of an oil spill that would harm the Tribe’s waters. The Tribe is dedicated to the protection of our Treaty rights, our Reservation lands, and our people—and we will ensure that the federal government upholds its trust responsibility when it makes its decision regarding the Dakota Access pipeline.”

6/21/2016

Global forced displacement hits record high

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UNHCR Global Trends report finds 65.3 million people, or one person in 113, were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015.

Wars and persecution have driven more people from their homes than at any time since UNHCR records began, according to a new report released today by the UN Refugee Agency.

The report, entitled Global Trends, noted that on average 24 people were forced to flee each minute in 2015, four times more than a decade earlier, when six people fled every 60 seconds.

The detailed study, which tracks forced displacement worldwide based on data from governments, partner agencies and UNHCR’s own reporting, found a total 65.3 million people were displaced at the end of 2015, compared to 59.5 million just 12 months earlier.

“At sea, a frightening number of refugees and migrants are dying each year. On land, people fleeing war are finding their way blocked by closed borders.”

It is the first time in the organization’s history that the threshold of 60 million has been crossed.

“More people are being displaced by war and persecution and that’s worrying in itself, but the factors that endanger refugees are multiplying too,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

“At sea, a frightening number of refugees and migrants are dying each year; on land, people fleeing war are finding their way blocked by closed borders. Closing borders does not solve the problem.”

Grandi said that politics was also standing in the way of those seeking asylum in some countries.

“The willingness of nations to work together not just for refugees but for the collective human interest is what’s being tested today, and it’s this spirit of unity that badly needs to prevail,” he declared.

The report found that, measured against the world’s population of 7.4 billion people, one in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee – putting them at a level of risk for which UNHCR knows no precedent.

The tally is greater than the population of the United Kingdom – or of Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined.

To put it in perspective, the tally is greater than the population of the United Kingdom – or of Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined. It is made up of 3.2 million people in industrialized countries who, at the end of 2015, were awaiting decisions on asylum – the largest total UNHCR has ever recorded.

Also in the tally are a record 40.8 million people who had been forced to flee their homes but were within the confines of their own countries, another record for the UN Refugee Agency. And there are 21.3 million refugees.

Forced displacement has been on the rise since at least the mid-1990s in most regions, but over the past five years the rate has increased.

The reasons are threefold:

* conflicts that cause large refugee outflows, like Somalia and Afghanistan – now in their third and fourth decade respectively – are lasting longer; * dramatic new or reignited conflicts and situations of insecurity are occurring more frequently. While today’s largest is Syria, wars have broken out in the past five years in South Sudan, Yemen, Burundi, Ukraine and Central African Republic, while thousands more people have fled raging gang and other violence in Central America; * the rate at which solutions are being found for refugees and internally displaced people has been on a falling trend since the end of the Cold War, leaving a growing number in limbo.

“We’re stuck here. We can’t go on and we can’t go back,” said Hikmat, a Syrian farmer driven from his land by war, now living in tent outside a shopping centre in Lebanon with his wife and young children. “My children need to go to school, they need a future,” he added.

The study found that three countries produce half the world’s refugees. Syria at 4.9 million, Afghanistan at 2.7 million and Somalia at 1.1 million together accounted for more than half the refugees under UNHCR’s mandate worldwide. Colombia at 6.9 million, Syria at 6.6 million and Iraq at 4.4 million had the largest numbers of internally displaced people.

While the spotlight last year was on Europe’s challenge to manage more than 1 million refugees and migrants who arrived via the Mediterranean, the report shows that the vast majority of the world’s refugees were in developing countries in the global south.

In all, 86 per cent of the refugees under UNHCR’s mandate in 2015 were in low- and middle-income countries close to situations of conflict. Worldwide, Turkey was the biggest host country, with 2.5 million refugees. With nearly one refugee for every five citizens, Lebanon hosted more refugees compared to its population than any other country.

Distressingly, children made up an astonishing 51 per cent of the world’s refugees in 2015, according to the data UNHCR was able to gather (complete demographic data was not available to the report authors). Many were separated from their parents or travelling alone.

5/18/2016

Solomon Islands Disappear Under the Sea

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Indigenous Pacific Islanders in the Solomon Islands are watching their homes disappear into the ocean as climate change raises the sea level and the natural trade wind cycle physically pushes the water against their shores.

Here in North America, governments have yet to engage the problem on a serious scale as the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Indians in the Mississippi Delta watches their homes fall into the Gulf of Mexico. It will be too late to act when the expensive real estate of Manhattan Island or Miami is facing a similar fate.

Simon Albert of the University of Queensland told New Scientist, “All the projections show that in the second half of the century, the rest of the globe will reach the rate of sea level rise that the Solomon Islands is currently experiencing.”

The rate of sea level rise is measured in millimeters per year. It is accelerating, but at the current rate five of the islands in the Solomon chain have disappeared entirely since 1947, and six others have shrunk between 20 and 62 percent.

The sunken islands — Kakatina, Kale, Rapita, Rehana and Zollies — were wildlife habitat, but the only human use was by fishers. The six currently falling into the Pacific will hit humans a bit more directly. On the most populated, Nuambu, 11 families have lost their homes since 2011. Nuambu is still home to 25 indigenous families.

Albert and his four colleagues, writing in the International Business Times, detailed how they determined the current land disappearances are not part of a normal variation in sea level:

We studied the coastlines of 33 reef islands using aerial and satellite imagery from 1947–2015. This information was integrated with local traditional knowledge, radiocarbon dating of trees, sea level records, and wave models.

Because the Solomon Islands government—unlike the U.S. government—respects the customary land tenure they call “native title” and the U.S. calls “aboriginal title,” the indigenous people have been able to relocate whole villages to higher ground.

The capital of Choiseul Province, Taro, is expected to become the first provincial capital in the world to relocate because of sea level rise.

The original study on the islands disappearing was published in Environmental Research Letters. Some of the questions were addressed by the common sense but rare method of asking the indigenous people who live in the Solomons. Oral traditions helped separate natural cycles from climate change and told how long two villages relocated to the interior had been on the coast. The answer from the people who lived there was about 80 years.

The people losing their homes now are called Pacific Islanders, but if the settlers don’t pay attention and act on climate change, history will call these indigenous people the canaries in the coalmine.

8/1/2014

Disaster-Prone Caribbean Looks to Better Financing

Filed under: agriculture,caribbean,climate change,disaster,weather — admin @ 4:58 am

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Jun 15 2014 – A freak storm, followed by heavy floods in December 2013, will go down in history as the most destructive natural disaster to have hit the Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with reported total damages and losses of at least 103 million dollars.

Six months later, the country, which is a member of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), is still in the recovery phase of this crisis, but Tourism Minister Cecil McKee said several lessons have been learned, making the country better prepared for future catastrophic weather events.

“Although Caribbean nations have contributed little to the release of the greenhouse gases that drive climate change, they will pay a heavy price for global inaction in reducing emissions.” — Hela Cheikhrouhou, executive director of the Green Climate Fund “We have been dealing with our river defences and our coastal defences,” McKee told GIP, adding that the government is not only repairing damaged homes but also “relocating a number of persons whose homes are situated on river banks in areas that are obviously going to put them at risk should we have a reoccurrence of such events.”

A slow-moving, low-level trough on Dec. 24 dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain on the Caribbean island states of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Dominica, killing at least 13 people.

Scientists have called the floods the worst disaster in living memory for the small countries, caused by higher-than-average rainfall of 15 inches, which overwhelmed the water systems’ ability to facilitate smooth run-off.

For Mckee, the Christmas disaster was a reminder that “climate change is going to be here with us for some time.”

“If we look at the events of Christmas Eve 2013, I think we can all agree that climate change is affecting not only St. Vincent and the Grenadines but the entire Caribbean in a significant way,” he asserted.

But simply understanding the problem is not enough – many of the island nations in the Caribbean are in dire need of financial resources to assist with mitigation and adaptation.

Caribbean looks to climate finance

Flooding is commonplace in the Caribbean, with Guyana, one of the most flood-prone countries in the region, recently benefitting from a multi-million-dollar credit scheme to guard against flooding. A statement from the World Bank said more than 300,000 people from the flood prone region of East Demerara will benefit from reduced flooding and climate risks as a result of an 11-million-dollar loan from the International Development Association (IDA).

Nearly 90 percent of Guyana’s population lives in this narrow coastal plain, largely below sea level and, therefore, highly vulnerable to climate change.

Extreme rainfall in 2005 resulted in flooding and damages estimated at nearly 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), or 465 million dollars at the time.

The impact on poverty was evident and many subsistence farmers, small business operators and vendors were affected.

Sophie Sirtaine, the World Bank’s country director for the Caribbean, said the funds would assist in providing opportunities for all Guyanese by reducing vulnerability to climate change.

“To boost competitiveness, it is essential to address the vulnerability to climate risks and ensure that the skills learnt in the classroom lay the foundation for future work-place success,” she told GIP.

Specifically, the project will upgrade critical sections of the East Demerara Water Conservancy dams and channels; improve drainage capacity in priority areas along the East Demerara coast; and increase flood preparedness by installing instruments to monitor hydro-meteorological data.

The IDA credit to the Government of Guyana has a final maturity of 25 years, with a five-year grace period.

During its annual board of governors meeting held in Guyana last month, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) President Dr. Warren Smith said the Caribbean was becoming more aware of the severe threat posed by climate change on a daily basis. “Seven Caribbean countries…are among the top 10 countries, which, relative to their GDP, suffered the highest average economic losses from climate-related disasters during the period 1993-2012.

“It is estimated that annual losses could be between five and 30 percent of GDP within the next few decades,” he added.

According to Smith, despite the region’s high vulnerability and exposure to climate change, Caribbean countries have failed to access or mobilise international climate finance at levels commensurate with their needs.

Caribbean countries are hoping that the South Korea-based Green Climate Fund (GCF) would prove to be much more beneficial than other global initiatives established to deal with the impact of climate change.

GCF Executive Director Hela Cheikhrouhou, who delivered the 15^th annual William Demas Memorial lecture during the CDB meeting, said that the concern expressed by Small Island Developing States all over the world finds a strong echo in the Caribbean, where the devastating effects of hurricanes have been witnessed by many.

“Although Caribbean nations have contributed little to the release of the greenhouse gases that drive climate change, they will pay a heavy price for global inaction in reducing emissions,” Cheikhrouhou warned.

The GCF came into being at the 16^th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UFCCC) held in Cancun, Mexico.

Its purpose is to make a significant contribution to global efforts to limit warming to two degrees Celsius by providing financial support to developing countries to help limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

There are hopes that the fund could top 100 billion dollars per annum by 2020.

“Our vision is to devise new paradigms for climate finance, maximise the impact of public finance in a creative way, and attract new sources of public and private finance to catalyse investment in adaptation and mitigation projects in the developing world,” Cheikhrouhou said.

Selwin Hart, climate change finance advisor with the CDB, said the GCF provides an important opportunity for regional countries to not only adapt to climate change but also to mitigate its effects.

McKee said the region is also putting measures in place to mobilise financial support in events similar to what affected the three OECS countries in December 2013.

“Countries are being asked to place monies in regional holding systems that would allow the region to respond more [efficiently] and I think that we are looking more and more to the international bodies and the more developed countries”, which are largely responsible for climate change, for assistance, he told GIP.

CODRINGTON, Barbuda, Jun 30 2014 (GIP) – The 1,800 residents of the tiny Caribbean island of Barbuda are learning to adapt as climate change proves to be a force to reckon with, disrupting not just the lives of the living but also the resting places of those who died centuries ago.

United States-based archaeologist Dr. Sophia Perdikaris said when Hurricane Georges hit in 1998, it did a lot more than turn the spotlight on the island’s shrinking coastline. “One of the sure things that will happen as a result of climate change is that one-third wetlands will engulf the one-third lowland…so that will leave us with 21 square miles of usable land.” — John Mussington

“In the early years when I first started coming to Barbuda, it was because hurricane activity had exposed a lot of archaeology and it was an effort to do rescue. A human skeleton from 450 AD was exposed in the area called Seaview,” Perdikaris told GIP.

“In fact, some of the archaeology [including the human skeleton] that we are now housing in the newly formed museum was excavated by Hurricane Georges.”

Perdikaris, a professor of anthropology and archaeology at the City University of New York, Brooklyn College, said some of the findings coming out of Barbuda point to climatic shifts in weather conditions at the same time that the northern part of Europe was experiencing the little Ice Age.

“Similar signatures are coming out of Barbuda that actually have the same stories in Greenland, Iceland and the North Coast of Africa,” she said. “Hence, Barbuda is not just a small island in the Caribbean but actually a major part of bigger weather events in the circum Atlantic.”

Perdikaris said one of the things that Barbudans are faced with today is “a big word, climate change – what does it really mean and how is it affecting people’s lives and what can they do to change it?”

But she noted that the residents are very adaptive.

“We do find solutions with the help of the amazing expertise of the local people because they are the best experts for their local environment,” she said.

“We are trying to gather enough information to see what our challenges are and how we move forward; and then find the funding resources and technology to make that happen.

“We are monitoring erosion in many parts of the island and we also have been testing the wells to see whether the water is safe to drink or whether the salinity has been changing; all of these efforts in order to assess the three aquifers that are under Barbuda,” she added. Another project being developed on the island is aquaponics, the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics (growing plants without soil), amid a growing realisation that climate change will likely seriously threaten food security in Barbuda.

“There are diminishing resources in the sea. It is problematic to grow crops if you have a drought or if you only have salty water to water them so we have developed an aquaponics facility,” said Perdikaris.

Dr. Perdikaris said climate change has forced the residents of the island with a single village to make changes to their way of life and also to put measures in place to secure their future.

“As glaciers melt because of high temperatures what it’s doing to the rest of us is actually increase the sea level, and by increasing the sea level a number of things are taking place,” she said. “With a low-lying island like Barbuda, one of our main concerns is how much of the island, how fast, will actually be under water.

“As the sea waters are rising, they are not only claiming land but they are actually claiming the coral reefs,” Perdikaris added.

Marine biologist and environmentalist John Mussington said the warning by scientists that the 62-square-mile [161-square-kilometre] island is becoming one of the most vulnerable spots due to the consequences of climate change is not being taken lightly.

“Barbuda is flat; the highest point is just over 100 feet. Now with climate change predictions they are talking about several metres in terms of sea level rise. When you look at the present topography of Barbuda, it is 62 square miles. A third of Barbuda is taken up by lagoons and wetland systems. “Another third is what we call the lowlands. One of the sure things that will happen as a result of climate change is that one-third wetlands will engulf the one-third lowland to become two-thirds wetlands,” Mussington told GIP.

“So that will leave us with 21 square miles of usable land for sustaining communities. That is the reality we are facing.”

Barbuda’s culture is firmly based in a “living off the land concept” that Mussington said is fast becoming a thing of the past with the advent of climate change.

“We want to sustain the fact that Barbuda has a tradition of its people living off the land and one of the things we are going to face in terms of challenges from climate change is we are not going to be able to do that,” he said.

“If we are going to survive we have to overcome those challenges, hence the direction we are taking in terms of being able to continue to feed ourselves protein wise and vegetable wise.”

The entire population is being educated in aquaponics technology, a method of growing crops and fish together in a re-circulating system.

“We had a dream in 2012 of actually helping the situation in Barbuda by being able to guarantee that we can continue to get our protein source in the form of fish as well as to produce vegetables in spite of what was going to happen and what is happening from climate change,” Mussington said.

“In the aquaponics technology that we are pioneering we now house in our tanks 4500 tilapia.

“We have to find solutions in order to continue living on the island. That is why aquaponics turned out to be one of those things that we are pushing because the end result of the climate change consequences is that our coral reefs are going to suffer, our beaches are going to be shifting and changing,” Mussington added.

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Jun 26 2014 (GIP) – The Caribbean region’s bid to become food secure is in peril as farmers struggle to produce staple crops under harsh drought conditions brought about by climate change. But scientists are fighting back, developing drought-tolerant varieties which are then distributed to farmers in those countries most severely affected.

“We are mainly affected by issues of drought and…CARDI has been looking at methods of sustainable management of production using drought tolerant varieties. We are working with certain commodities and doing applied research aimed at producing them in the dry season,” Dr. Gregory Robin, CARDI representative and technical coordinator for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), told GIP.

“We’re starting first with the crops that are more significantly affected by drought. We take, for example, dasheen, which is a crop that requires a lot of moisture and I’m working with that crop in St. Vincent and St. Lucia,” he said.

“Validation will serve Jamaica, Grenada, Dominican Republic – all the islands that produce dasheen. Sometimes it’s not cost-effective to do activities in all the islands so some of the sweet potato work done here can be used in St. Kitts, Barbados and islands with similar agro-ecological zones and rainfall patterns,” he added.

The Trinidad-based CARDI (Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute), which has worked to strengthen the agricultural sector of member countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for more than 30 years, is at the forefront of the research.

“CARDI has a body of professionals around the region so if we have any issues of climate change and drought, CARDI is a body of scientists that is available to all the islands of the CARICOM region,” Robin said.

Another crop being given special attention is sweet potato. Robin explained that for the Caribbean region, sweet potato is very important as a food security staple and foreign exchange earner.

“We’re working with the crops that we think are going to be affected most. Sweet potato can take a certain amount of moisture stress but dasheen and crops that require a high level of moisture are not going to be standing up so well to moisture stress, so we are starting with those with a high requirement of moisture first,” he said.

Noting that irrigation is key to productivity, the CARDI official explained that, “I have been working here for the past seven years and it’s the first time I’ve seen it so dry and it’s highlighting the point that we need to look at our rainwater harvesting systems.”

Climate change has also forced Guyana, considered the bread-basket of the Caribbean, to develop new varieties.

“We have also been growing different varieties of crops that are resistant to salt water because one of the impacts of climate change is that the salt water will creep more into the inland areas and so we are looking at salt-resistant rice for example; looking at crops that are much more resilient to dry weather and that can withstand periods of flooding,” Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy told GIP.

“We’ve been doing things like shade technology, drip irrigation, using technology and methods and utilising animals and crops that are far more resilient to extreme weather conditions.”

In addition to developing drought-tolerant varieties, CARDI is also actively developing new technologies to assist farmers with irrigation.

“I remember when I started in agriculture probably 20 years ago farmers used to irrigate using a drum and a bucket,” Bradbury Browne told GIP.

But he said over the years CARDI has introduced drip irrigation technology and other types of irrigation technology.

“For example if I want to apply 3,000 gallons of water to an acre of sweet potato I can programme [the irrigation system] so that I don’t have to be there physically to be turning on a hose or a pipe and there would be no issue of flooding if I am called away on an emergency,” said Browne, who now serves as a field technician at CARDI.

Meanwhile, longtime legislator in Antigua and Barbuda Baldwin Spencer noted that more frequent and extreme droughts are expected to become a feature of Caribbean weather.

And he said the impact of such drought conditions will increase heat stress, particularly for the more vulnerable, such as the elderly.

“Despite the decline in the production and export of major agricultural commodities from the OECS, agriculture remains an important sector in the economic and social development of the region from the stand-point of food security, rural stability and the provision of input to other productive sectors,” said Spencer, who served as prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda from March 2004 until Jun. 12 this year.

“These benefits are at risk from climatic events and this risk only increases as the climate continues to change,” he said.

Experts project that decreased production levels of major crops combined with increasing food demand will pose large risks to all aspects of food security globally and regionally including food access, utilisation and price stability.

The World Bank said food security is consistently seen as one of the key challenges for the coming decades and by the year 2050, the world will need to produce enough food to feed more than 2.0 billion additional people, compared to the current 7.2 billion.

It said most of the population growth will be concentrated in developing countries, adding pressure to their development needs.

The World Bank added that to meet future food demand, agricultural production will need to increase by 50-70 percent, according to different estimates. And this will happen as the impacts of climate change are projected to intensify overall, particularly hitting the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

6/27/2014

Monsoon

Filed under: bangladesh,disaster,india,weather — admin @ 3:57 pm

Monsoonal flow develops in Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal The past week has seen the appearance of low-level monsoon flow in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, with an increase in rainfall activity in the region. This monsoonal flow is expected to strengthen and deepen with further advancement towards India likely this week. When the onset of the southwest monsoon arrives over Kerala, it signals the arrival of the monsoon over the Indian subcontinent. Based on the recent appearance of monsoonal flow in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, the India Meteorological Department expect onset at Kerala on 5 June (plus or minus four days). The normal date of monsoon onset over Kerala is 1 June. This past week has also seen enhanced tropical convection along the equator over Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea and the western Pacific Ocean. Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) has recently weakened over the Indian Ocean. Climate models indicate it will remain weak over the next two weeks, with the chance of a very weak signal propagating eastwards along the equator over Southeast Asia and into the western Pacific. The MJO is not expected to be strong enough to have a substantial influence on tropical weather during the next fortnight.

A Bangladeshi ferry with around 200 passengers on board capsized in a river near the capital Dhaka. Police have stated six bodies have been recovered but more are still missing. The M.V. Miraj-4 ferry capsized in stormy weather in the Meghna river at Rasulpur in Munshiganj district, 27 kilometres from Dhaka. The accident occurred at around 3:30 pm (0930 GMT). So far six bodies had been recovered, including that of a child, according to Oliur Rahman, a police officer at the scene. With the monsoon season setting in more weather flooding and storm related problems can be expected.

Strong M6.4 earthquake registered off the coast of Vanuatu

Filed under: climate change,disaster,vanuatu — admin @ 2:47 pm

Earthquake registered as M6.4 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of Vanuatu on June 19, 2014 at 10:17 UTC. USGS reports depth of 59.9 km (37.2 miles), EMSC is reporting same magnitude at depth of 60 km.

Epicenter was located 85 km (53 miles) WNW of Sola, and 219 km (136 miles) N of Luganville, Vanuatu.

There are about 6 295 people living within 100 km radius.

USGS issued green alert for for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

Seismotectonics of the Eastern Margin of the Australia Plate

The eastern margin of the Australia plate is one of the most sesimically active areas of the world due to high rates of convergence between the Australia and Pacific plates. In the region of New Zealand, the 3000 km long Australia-Pacific plate boundary extends from south of Macquarie Island to the southern Kermadec Island chain. It includes an oceanic transform (the Macquarie Ridge), two oppositely verging subduction zones (Puysegur and Hikurangi), and a transpressive continental transform, the Alpine Fault through South Island, New Zealand. Since 1900 there have been 15 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded near New Zealand. Nine of these, and the four largest, occurred along or near the Macquarie Ridge, including the 1989 M8.2 event on the ridge itself, and the 2004 M8.1 event 200 km to the west of the plate boundary, reflecting intraplate deformation. The largest recorded earthquake in New Zealand itself was the 1931 M7.8 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, which killed 256 people. The last M7.5+ earthquake along the Alpine Fault was 170 years ago; studies of the faults’ strain accumulation suggest that similar events are likely to occur again.

North of New Zealand, the Australia-Pacific boundary stretches east of Tonga and Fiji to 250 km south of Samoa. For 2,200 km the trench is approximately linear, and includes two segments where old (>120 Myr) Pacific oceanic lithosphere rapidly subducts westward (Kermadec and Tonga). At the northern end of the Tonga trench, the boundary curves sharply westward and changes along a 700 km-long segment from trench-normal subduction, to oblique subduction, to a left lateral transform-like structure.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 60 mm/yr at the southern Kermadec trench to 90 mm/yr at the northern Tonga trench; however, significant back arc extension (or equivalently, slab rollback) causes the consumption rate of subducting Pacific lithosphere to be much faster. The spreading rate in the Havre trough, west of the Kermadec trench, increases northward from 8 to 20 mm/yr. The southern tip of this spreading center is propagating into the North Island of New Zealand, rifting it apart. In the southern Lau Basin, west of the Tonga trench, the spreading rate increases northward from 60 to 90 mm/yr, and in the northern Lau Basin, multiple spreading centers result in an extension rate as high as 160 mm/yr. The overall subduction velocity of the Pacific plate is the vector sum of Australia-Pacific velocity and back arc spreading velocity: thus it increases northward along the Kermadec trench from 70 to 100 mm/yr, and along the Tonga trench from 150 to 240 mm/yr.

The Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone generates many large earthquakes on the interface between the descending Pacific and overriding Australia plates, within the two plates themselves and, less frequently, near the outer rise of the Pacific plate east of the trench. Since 1900, 40 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded, mostly north of 30?S. However, it is unclear whether any of the few historic M8+ events that have occurred close to the plate boundary were underthrusting events on the plate interface, or were intraplate earthquakes. On September 29, 2009, one of the largest normal fault (outer rise) earthquakes ever recorded (M8.1) occurred south of Samoa, 40 km east of the Tonga trench, generating a tsunami that killed at least 180 people.

Across the North Fiji Basin and to the west of the Vanuatu Islands, the Australia plate again subducts eastwards beneath the Pacific, at the North New Hebrides trench. At the southern end of this trench, east of the Loyalty Islands, the plate boundary curves east into an oceanic transform-like structure analogous to the one north of Tonga.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 80 to 90 mm/yr along the North New Hebrides trench, but the Australia plate consumption rate is increased by extension in the back arc and in the North Fiji Basin. Back arc spreading occurs at a rate of 50 mm/yr along most of the subduction zone, except near ~15?S, where the D’Entrecasteaux ridge intersects the trench and causes localized compression of 50 mm/yr in the back arc. Therefore, the Australia plate subduction velocity ranges from 120 mm/yr at the southern end of the North New Hebrides trench, to 40 mm/yr at the D’Entrecasteaux ridge-trench intersection, to 170 mm/yr at the northern end of the trench.

Large earthquakes are common along the North New Hebrides trench and have mechanisms associated with subduction tectonics, though occasional strike slip earthquakes occur near the subduction of the D’Entrecasteaux ridge. Within the subduction zone 34 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded since 1900. On October 7, 2009, a large interplate thrust fault earthquake (M7.6) in the northern North New Hebrides subduction zone was followed 15 minutes later by an even larger interplate event (M7.8) 60 km to the north. It is likely that the first event triggered the second of the so-called earthquake “doublet”. (USGS)

Fukushima’s Children are Dying

Filed under: disaster,disease/health,japan,nuclear/radiation — admin @ 2:43 pm

More than 48 percent of some 375,000 young people–nearly 200,000 kids–tested by the Fukushima Medical University near the smoldering reactors now suffer from pre-cancerous thyroid abnormalities, primarily nodules and cysts.Some 39 months after the multiple explosions at Fukushima, thyroid cancer rates among nearby children have skyrocketed to more than forty times (40x) normal.

More than 48 percent of some 375,000 young people–nearly 200,000 kids–tested by the Fukushima Medical University near the smoldering reactors now suffer from pre-cancerous thyroid abnormalities, primarily nodules and cysts. The rate is accelerating.

More than 120 childhood cancers have been indicated where just three would be expected, says Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project.

The nuclear industry and its apologists continue to deny this public health tragedy. Some have actually asserted that “not one person” has been affected by Fukushima’s massive radiation releases, which for some isotopes exceed Hiroshima by a factor of nearly 30.

But the deadly epidemic at Fukima is consistent with impacts suffered among children near the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island and the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl, as well as findings at other commercial reactors.

The likelihood that atomic power could cause such epidemics has been confirmed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which says that “an increase in the risk of childhood thyroid cancer” would accompany a reactor disaster.

In evaluating the prospects of new reactor construction in Canada, the Commission says the rate “would rise by 0.3 percent at a distance of 12 kilometers” from the accident. But that assumes the distribution of protective potassium iodide pills and a successful emergency evacuation, neither of which happened at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima.

The numbers have been analyzed by Mangano. He has studied the impacts of reactor-created radiation on human health since the 1980s, beginning his work with the legendary radiologist Dr. Ernest Sternglass and statistician Jay Gould.

Speaking on the Green Power & Wellness Show, Mangano also confirms that the general health among downwind human populations improves when atomic reactors are shut down, and goes into decline when they open or re-open.

Nearby children are not the only casualties at Fukushima. Plant operator Masao Yoshida has died at age 58 of esophogeal cancer. Masao heroically refused to abandon Fukushima at the worst of the crisis, probably saving millions of lives. Workers at the site who are employed by independent contractors–many dominated by organized crime–are often not being monitored for radiation exposure at all. Public anger is rising over government plans to force families–many with small children–back into the heavily contaminated region around the plant.

Following its 1979 accident, Three Mile Island’s owners denied the reactor had melted. But a robotic camera later confirmed otherwise.

The state of Pennsylvania mysteriously killed its tumor registry, then said there was “no evidence” that anyone had been killed.

But a wide range of independent studies confirm heightened infant death rates and excessive cancers among the general population. Excessive death, mutation and disease rates among local animals were confirmed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and local journalists.

In the 1980s federal Judge Sylvia Rambo blocked a class action suit by some 2,400 central Pennsylvania downwinders, claiming not enough radiation had escaped to harm anyone. But after 35 years, no one knows how much radiation escaped or where it went. Three Mile Island’s owners have quietly paid millions to downwind victims in exchange for gag orders.

At Chernobyl, a compendium of more than 5,000 studies has yielded an estimated death toll of more than 1,000,000 people.

The radiation effects on youngsters in downwind Belarus and Ukraine have been horrific. According to Mangano, some 80 percent of the “Children of Chernobyl” born downwind since the accident have been harmed by a wide range of impacts ranging from birth defects and thyroid cancer to long-term heart, respiratory and mental illnesses. The findings mean that just one in five young downwinders can be termed healthy.

Physicians for Social Responsibility and the German chapter of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War have warned of parallel problems near Fukushima.

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) has recently issued reports downplaying the disaster’s human impacts. UNSCEAR is interlocked with the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, whose mandate is to promote atomic power. The IAEA has a long-term controlling gag order on UN findings about reactor health impacts. For decades UNSCEAR and the World Health Organization have run protective cover for the nuclear industry’s widespread health impacts. Fukushima has proven no exception.

In response, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the German International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War have issued a ten-point rebuttal, warning the public of the UN’s compromised credibility. The disaster is “ongoing” say the groups, and must be monitored for decades. “Things could have turned for the worse” if winds had been blowing toward Tokyo rather than out to sea (and towards America).

There is on-going risk from irradiated produce, and among site workers whose doses and health impacts are not being monitored. Current dose estimates among workers as well as downwinders are unreliable, and special notice must be taken of radiation’s severe impacts on the human embryo.

UNSCEAR’s studies on background radiation are also “misleading,” say the groups, and there must be further study of genetic radiation effects as well as “non-cancer diseases.” The UN assertion that “no discernible radiation-related health effects are expected among exposed members” is “cynical,” say the groups. They add that things were made worse by the official refusal to distribute potassium iodide, which might have protected the public from thyroid impacts from massive releases of radioactive I-131.

Overall, the horrific news from Fukushima can only get worse. Radiation from three lost cores is still being carried into the Pacific. Management of spent fuel rods in pools suspended in the air and scattered around the site remains fraught with danger.

The pro-nuclear Shinzo Abe regime wants to reopen Japan’s remaining 48 reactors. It has pushed hard for families who fled the disaster to re-occupy irradiated homes and villages.

But Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and the plague of death and disease now surfacing near Fukushima make it all too clear that the human cost of such decisions continues to escalate–with our children suffering first and worst.

Zimbabwe’s Unfolding Humanitarian Disaster – 18,000 People Forcibly Relocated to Ruling Party Farm

More than 18,000 people live in the Chingwizi transit camp in Mwenezi district, about 150 kms from their former homes in Chivi basin as they wait to be allocated one-hectare plots of land by the government.

MASVINGO, Zimbabwe, Jun 25 2014 – As the villagers sit around the flickering fire on a pitch-black night lit only by the blurry moon, they speak, recounting how it all began.

They take turns, sometimes talking over each other to have their own experiences heard. When the old man speaks, everyone listens. “It was my first time riding a helicopter,” John Moyo* remembers.

“The soldiers came, clutching guns, forcing everyone to move. I tried to resist, for my home was not affected but they wouldn’t hear any of it.”

So started the long, painful and disorienting journey for the 70-year-old Moyo and almost 18,000 other people who had lived in the 50-kilometre radius of Chivi basin in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo province. “We don’t want this life of getting fed like birds.” — John Moyo, displaced villager from Chivi basin

When heavy rains pounded the area in early January, the 1.8 billion cubic metre Tokwe-Mukosi dam’s wall breached. Flooding followed, destroying homes and livestock. The government, with the help of non-governmental organisations, embarked on a rescue mission. And even unaffected homes in high-lying areas were evacuated by soldiers.

According to Moyo, whose home was not affected, this was an opportunity for the government, which had been trying to relocate those living near Chivi basin for sometime.

“They always said they wanted to establish an irrigation system and a game park in the area that covered our ancestral homes,” he says.

For Itai Mazanhi, a 33-year-old father of three, the government had the best excuse to remove them from the land that he had known since birth.

“The graves of my forefathers are in that place,” he says. Mazanhi is from Gororo village.

After being temporarily housed in the nearby safe areas of Gunikuni and Ngundu in Masvingo province, the over 18,000 people or 3,000 families were transferred to Nuanetsi Ranch in the Chingwizi area of Mwenezi district, about 150 kms from their former homes.

Chingwizi is an arid terrain near Triangle Estates, an irrigation sugar plantation concern owned by sugar giant Tongaat Hulett. The land here is conspicuous for the mopane and giant baobab trees that are synonymous with hot, dry conditions.

The crop and livestock farmers from Chivi basin have been forced to adjust in a land that lacks the natural fertility of their former land, water and adequate pastures for their livestock.

The dust road to the Chingwizi camp is a laborious 40-minute drive littered with sharp bumps and lurking roadside trenches.

From the top of an anthill, a vantage point at the entrance of this settlement reveals a rolling pattern of tents and zinc makeshift structures that stretch beyond the sight of the naked eye. At night, fires flicker faintly in the distance, and a cacophony of voices mix with the music from solar- and battery-powered radio sets. It’s the image of a war refugee relief camp.

A concern for the displaced families is the fact that they were settled in an area earmarked for a proposed biofuel project. The project is set to be driven by the Zimbabwe Bio-Energy company, a partnership between the Zimbabwe Development Trust and private investors. The state-owned Herald newspaper quoted the project director Charles Madonko saying resettled families could become sugarcane out-growers for the ethanol project.

This plan was subject to scathing attack from rights watchdog Human Rights Watch. In a report released last month, the organisation viewed this as a cheap labour ploy.

“The Zimbabwean army relocated 3,000 families from the flooded Tokwe-Mukorsi dam basin to a camp on a sugar cane farm and ethanol project jointly owned by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front [ZANU-PF] and Billy Rautenbach, a businessman and party supporter,” read part of the report. Sugar cane fields like this one in Chisumbanje are planned to feed the ethanol project in Mwenezi district. The displaced villagers from Chivi basin fear they will be used as cheap labourers.

Sugar cane fields like this one in Chisumbanje are planned to feed the ethanol project in Mwenezi district. The displaced villagers from Chivi basin fear they will be used as cheap labourers. Credit: Davison Mudzingwa/GIP

The sugarcane plantations will be irrigated by the water from the Tokwe-Mukosi dam. Upon completion, the dam is set to become Zimbabwe’s largest inland dam, with a capacity to irrigate over 25,000 hectares.

Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development, COTRAD, a non-governmental organisation that operates in the Masvingo province sees the displacement of the 3,000 families as a brutal retrogression. The organisation says ordinary people are at the mercy of private companies and the government.

“The people feel like outcasts, they no longer feel like Zimbabweans,” Zivanai Muzorodzi, COTRAD programme manager, says.

Muzorodzi, whose organisation has been monitoring the land tussle before the floods, says the land surrounding the Tokwe-Mukosi dam basin was bought by individuals, mostly from the ruling ZANU-PF party.

“Villagers won’t own the land or the means of production. Only ZANU-PF bigwigs will benefit,” Muzorodzi says. The scale of the habitats has posed serious challenges for the cash-strapped government of Zimbabwe. Humanitarian organisations such as Oxfam International and Care International have injected basic services such clean water through water bowsers and makeshift toilets.

“It’s not safe at all, it’s a disaster waiting to happen,” a Zimbabwe Ministry of Local Government official stationed at the camp and who preferred anonymity tells GIP. “The latrines you see here are only one metre deep. An outbreak of a contagious disease would spread fast.” Tendai Zingwe fears her child might contract diarrhoea due to poor sanitation conditions in Chingwizi camp.

Tendai Zingwe fears her child might contract diarrhoea due to poor sanitation conditions in Chingwizi camp.

Similar fears stalk Spiwe Chando*, a mother of four. The 23-year-old speaks as she sorts her belongings scattered in small blue tent in which an adult cannot sleep fully stretched out. “I fear for my child because another family lost a child due to diarrhoea last week. This can happen to anyone,” she tells GIP, sweating from the heat inside the tent. “I hope we will move from this place soon and get proper land to restart our lives.”

This issue has posed tensions at this over-populated camp. Meetings, rumour and conjecture circulate each day. Across the camp, frustrations are progressively building up. As a result, a ministerial delegation got a hostile reception during a visit last month. The displaced farmers accuse the government of deception and reneging on its promises of land allocation and compensation. Children stampede for reading material at the Chingwizi transit camp. Most of the kids had their schooling disrupted due to the displacement.

Children stampede for reading material at the Chingwizi transit camp. Most of the kids had their schooling disrupted due to the displacement.

The government has promised to allocate one hectare of land per family, at a location about 17 kms from this transit camp. This falls far short of what these families own in Chivi basin. Some of them, like Mazanhi, owned about 10 hectares. The land was able to produce enough food for their sustenance and a surplus, which was sold to finance their children’s education and healthcare.

Mazanhi is one of the few people who has already received compensation from the government. Of the agreed compensation of 3,000 dollars, he has only received 900 dollars and is not certain if he will ever be paid the remainder of what he was promised. “There is a lot of corruption going on in that office,” he says.

COTRAD says the fact that ordinary villagers are secondary beneficiaries of the land and water that once belonged to them communally is an indication of a resource grabbing trend that further widens the gap of inequality.

“People no longer have land, access to water, healthcare and children are learning under trees.”

For Moyo, daily realities at the transit camp and a hazy future is both a painful reminder of a life gone by and a sign of “the next generation of dispossession.” However, he hopes for a better future.

“We don’t want this life of getting fed like birds,” says Moyo.

*Names altered for security reasons.

5/24/2014

Monsoon Season

Filed under: bangladesh,climate change,disaster,india,png,weather — admin @ 4:19 am

Monsoonal flow develops in Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal The past week has seen the appearance of low-level monsoon flow in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, with an increase in rainfall activity in the region. This monsoonal flow is expected to strengthen and deepen with further advancement towards India likely this week. When the onset of the southwest monsoon arrives over Kerala, it signals the arrival of the monsoon over the Indian subcontinent. Based on the recent appearance of monsoonal flow in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, the India Meteorological Department expect onset at Kerala on 5 June (plus or minus four days). The normal date of monsoon onset over Kerala is 1 June. This past week has also seen enhanced tropical convection along the equator over Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea and the western Pacific Ocean. Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) has recently weakened over the Indian Ocean. Climate models indicate it will remain weak over the next two weeks, with the chance of a very weak signal propagating eastwards along the equator over Southeast Asia and into the western Pacific. The MJO is not expected to be strong enough to have a substantial influence on tropical weather during the next fortnight.

A Bangladeshi ferry with around 200 passengers on board capsized in a river near the capital Dhaka. Police have stated six bodies have been recovered but more are still missing. The M.V. Miraj-4 ferry capsized in stormy weather in the Meghna river at Rasulpur in Munshiganj district, 27 kilometres from Dhaka. The accident occurred at around 3:30 pm (0930 GMT). So far six bodies had been recovered, including that of a child, according to Oliur Rahman, a police officer at the scene. With the monsoon season setting in more weather flooding and storm related problems can be expected.

4/7/2014

All Native Now

It was Good Friday, 50 years ago on March 27, 1964, that according to seismologists, the snow peaks of Prince William Sound jumped 33 feet into the air and fell back down. Emergency warnings about an earthquake-spurred tsunami went out to towns from Valdez, Alaska, to Malibu, Calif., but no one thought to send a message to the Chugach Natives in Chenega, Alaska.

Chenega chief Nikolas Kompkoff watched the mountains leap and the waters around his island disappear over the horizon.

Knowing the water would return with a vengeance, he ran his four daughters up a hill toward high ground. But the nine-story-tall tsunami was moving too fast for their little legs. Kompkoff made a decision: He grabbed the two girls closest to him, tucked them under his arms and ran up the slope, leaving the other two to be seized by the wave.

Days later, a postal pilot on his weekly mail drop could not find Chenega because every single house and a third of the residents had been washed out to sea.

When he circled back to the site he saw the village’s church on the hill with survivors waving.

Kompkoff found the body of his youngest daughter stuck in the high branches of a pine tree. He buried her, then left to join the survivors, all refugees scattered throughout Alaska. The government told the village of seal hunters they could never return. No longer able to hunt, Kompkoff became an Orthodox priest and a notorious drunk.

On Good Friday each year, Father Nikolas would return to his island with the remainder of his flock to place a cross among the broken sticks of the old village. Each year he swore they would rebuild.

The years passed, and the oath to rebuild seemed increasingly ludicrous. After a decade of helplessness, Father Nikolas put a gun under his chin and pulled the trigger. The bullet passed through his jaw. Embarrassed church bishops defrocked him in response. On Good Friday, 1989, the 25th anniversary of the earthquake, Kompkoff led his congregation (they still considered him “Father” Nick) in a commemoration of the tsunami’s dead at the church they built at New Chenega. The village had been resurrected stick by stick by Kompkoff’s nephew Larry Evanoff after Evanoff returned wounded from Vietnam.

What the celebrants did not know was that that very night another tsunami would head toward them, a wave of oil from the Exxon Valdez.

As the oil slick spread from the grounded tanker through Chugach waters, Exxon made the Old Chenega area what the industry calls a “sacrifice zone.” The company’s executives allowed it to be slathered by tons of crude.

Weeks after the spill, the president of Exxon stopped by New Chenega for a “we care” television photo-op. Village patriarch Paul Kompkoff, Nikolas’ brother, asked him, “Are my parents’ bones covered with oil?”

The official answer was that the bones were undisturbed. In fact, as I reported in my book, Vultures’ Picnic (http://www.palastinvestigativefund.org/?id=46) , both the oil and bones were being scooped up by Exxon bulldozers at that very moment.

The Chugach hired me to investigate the spill’s true cause and the true culprits. Paul Kompkoff asked me to arrange a secret meeting with Exxon in hopes of getting a few dollars so the new village could survive. In particular, the Chenegans wanted Exxon to hire them to clean up the beaches and fishing grounds still contaminated with Exxon’s gunk.

With Chenega leader Gail With Chenega leader Gail Evanoff, Kompkoff and I flew from Alaska to San Diego to corner Exxon USA General Manager Otto Harrison. It was now three years after the spill and still no money had been forthcoming. The Exxon honcho, an enormous Texan, took us to a corporate meeting room, and from across the giant conference table looked down at the diminutive Evanoff and said, “Now, Gail, ah cayn’t be payin’ a bunch o’ Natives to go ’round picking up oil that ain’t there, can I?”

In 2010, I returned to Prince William Sound for British television. On the Chugach’s islands, I picked up gobs of the “oil that ain’t there” in my (carefully gloved) hand. It was more than two decades after the Exxon Valdez spill.

Then I flew down to the Gulf of Mexico where I collected giant hunks of Deepwater Horizon oil nearly a year after the spill, more “oil that ain’t there” at least according to our government and BP television ads.

* In 2011, 22 years after the Alaska spill, Exxon paid for the damages but only after the Supreme Court cut the payout by 90 percent. Part of Chenega’s money was meant for a new fishing boat for Paul Kompkoff. But he was long dead by then, as were a third of my Native clients.

* I was in Chenega on the second anniversary of the Exxon spill. Paul Kompkoff and I snacked on dried salmon while we watched the first Gulf War on CNN. The U.S. Air Force was bombing the bejesus out of Baghdad.

The old man watched a long while in silence. Then said, in his slow, quiet voice, “I guess we’re all some kind of Native now.”

Flash Floods Worst Ever

Head of the National Disaster Management Council says today’s heavy rains and flash floods are the worst he’s ever witnessed for Honiara.

Loti Yates made the statement on national radio today when announcing the NDMO’s evacuation program for people worst hit by today’s heavy torrential rains and its consequential flash floods.

Reports reaching SIBC state communities in White River, Rove, Mataniko, Koa Hill and other areas located near rivers and streams are among the worst hit areas.

Other unconfirmed reports state that the flooding Mataniko River swept away homes, livestock and a number of people – with some of the people being found in seas outside of Point Cruz.

Heavy flooding also swept away the old Mataniko Bridge in Chinatown, and most businesses and offices were forced to close early today.

One shop owner in Chinatown reportedly opened his shop and invited people to take goods for free after the behind of the building was swept away by the flooding Mataniko River.

Director of National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates told SIBC News this current bad weather is the worst he’s seen since he took up his job as head of the NDMO.

“This event is the worst I’ve ever seen since taking up the job, that there are so much heavy rain around this area that creates this massive flash foods. Not only that, it won’t help when our drainage systems in the city are not working properly, contributing to the floods. Driving around to assess the situation myself today I was sad to notice the fact that there were children and women carrying little kids in the rain trying to evacuate themselves from the flooded areas and in some places it seems people’s belongings have been washed away by the Mataniko floods.”

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Office has urged road users to drive back to their homes and garage their vehicles.

NDMO Head Loti Yates told national radio today the road needs to be cleared for police and emergency response workers.

“It would be good if people just head straight to their homes rather than creating extra hurdles for emergency response workers. The police will need space to run their vehicles if we are to engage them to evacuate people from the high risk areas, we will all need space and it won’t help when everyone else wants to witness the events, creating extra traffic on our roads. I think for safety purposes please drive back to your homes, pack your vehicles and remain in the safety of your homes. That will be the biggest message I want to tell people because now the emergency response workers, like police and others working to help those affected will need space on the roads to carry out their duty.”

Malaysia Airlines MH370

Filed under: airlines,disaster,malaysia — admin @ 5:53 am

Military radar-tracking evidence suggests the Malaysia Airlines jetliner missing for nearly a week was deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman Islands, sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Friday. Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation’s Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman briefs reporters on search and recovery efforts within existing and new areas for missing Malaysia Airlines plane. Two sources said an unidentified aircraft that investigators believe was Flight MH370 was following a route between navigational waypoints – indicating it was being flown by someone with aviation training – when it was last plotted on military radar off the country’s northwest coast. The last plot on the military radar’s tracking suggested the plane was flying toward India’s Andaman Islands, a chain of isles between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, they said. Waypoints are geographic locations, worked out by calculating longitude and latitude, that help pilots navigate along established air corridors. A third source familiar with the investigation said inquiries were focusing increasingly on the theory that someone who knew how to fly a plane deliberately diverted the flight, with 239 people on board, hundreds of miles off its intended course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. “What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards,” said that source, a senior Malaysian police official. All three sources declined to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to the media and due to the sensitivity of the investigation.

Kuala Lumpur/Beijing: Multinational search operations for the Malaysian airliner that went missing March 8 continued Monday in the Indian Ocean but there is no trace of the aircraft.

Australian Defence Minister David Johnston said his country would do what it could to assist Malaysia to locate flight MH370 in whatever state it was in, Xinhua reported.

“We are now changing our focus to the central eastern Indian Ocean to try to solve this mystery,” he said.

Australia has provided two RAAF P-3C Orion aircraft to assist the Malaysian government in its search since March 9.

Malaysia Airlines MH370 with 239 passengers and crew on board vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur early March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was initially presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea.

The plane was due to land in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. the same day. The 227 passengers included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Contact with the plane was lost along with its radar signal at 1.40 a.m. March 8 when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Ho Chi Minh City.

Johnston confirmed Australian aircraft were being directed by the Royal Malaysian Air Force commander for the western region search area and information on the search would be directed to the Malaysian authorities.

One RAAF P-3C Orion started searching in the Indian Ocean to the north and west of the Cocos Islands and the other would continue to search west of Malaysia.

France, which experienced its own search for a missing plane when an Air France flight disappeared off the coast of Brazil in 2009, has also confirmed its assistance, with the assignment of four experts.

India has supported search operations in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal but this was suspended Sunday at the request of Kuala Lumpur.

The Indian defence ministry said the search would remain suspended until notice by Malaysia on which areas to search.

Malaysian authorities confirmed the pilot of the aircraft spoke to air traffic control after a signaling system was disabled on the jet, without referring to any trouble.

This comes as speculation grows about possible pilot complicity and a possible hijacking.

Malaysian Prime Minister Razak Sunday hinted at foul play, saying someone probably deliberately diverted the plane from its flight path from Kuala Lampur to Beijing.

“ALL right, good night,” were the last words heard by air-traffic controllers from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 8th. That makes them a rarity in the baffling story of the disappearance of a Boeing 777 carrying 239 passengers and crew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing: an undisputed fact. In the days following, the Malaysian government provided information only in dribs and drabs, much of it confusing, even contradictory.

It seemed possible that the agonising wait for the passengers’ families might be nearing an end. On March 20th Australia’s prime minister, Tony Abbott, told parliament that satellite pictures showed debris in the southern Indian Ocean, some 2,500km southwest of Perth, in an area where the 777 might plausibly have crashed. At 20 metres or so, one object seemed the size of a wing or tail fin. Aircraft and ships were headed to the area to investigate further. If the plane’s wreckage is found, and especially if its “black box” flight recorder can be recovered, what happened to flight 370 should become clearer. What is already beyond doubt is that air-traffic communication protocols need to be updated to ensure that, however rare, such a disappearance cannot be repeated. The distressed relatives of the mostly Chinese passengers are not alone in their bewilderment that, in a world of pervasive electronic surveillance, a 200-tonne passenger plane can vanish. With little concrete information, speculation has run wild. Commentators of varying degrees of authority have attempted to fill the blank canvas with theories ranging from an accident to suicidal tendencies on the flight deck, and conspiracies of a complexity that would seem farfetched in a disaster film.

Hijacking seems unlikely: flight-deck doors are locked and sturdy. And investigations into the backgrounds of the crew and passengers have so far turned up no plausible motive. The first credible theory was that the plane had suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure and crashed, probably at sea. But a search along its flight path failed to turn up any sign of wreckage.

Then news emerged that Malaysian military radar had tracked the plane apparently turning west off its route shortly after the final radio message. Malaysian authorities added that its ACARS, an on-board system which transmits intermittent data about the performance of engines and other parts, appeared to have stopped functioning just before that, and that the transponder, another device that communicates a plane’s position to air-traffic control radars, appeared to have been switched off around the time of the turn. The fact that the pilots had not reported the switch-off led the authorities to infer foul play. On March 15th the Malaysian prime minister blamed “deliberate action”, with suspicion falling on the pilot or co-pilot. That the plane vanished between signing off with Malaysian air-traffic controllers and establishing contact with Vietnamese ones, and apparently continued flying for several hours under the control of a skilled aviator, lent credence to the assertion.

But this version of events was later revised by the Malaysian authorities. The ACARS, which sends messages intermittently, might have ceased functioning at exactly the same time as the transponder, it turned out. This makes the notion of an emergency more likely, perhaps a fire that incapacitated crew and passengers, leaving the plane to fly on ungoverned. The risk of an electrical fire is one reason why pilots are able to switch off on-board equipment, including that responsible for communications. But many are now calling for an automatic alert to be sent in such circumstances, so that ground authorities know that they should start tracking the plane with conventional radar.

The ACARS has at least provided information about the jet’s continued path, albeit wildly imprecise. Though it stopped transmitting data it continued to “ping” (send out a signal with no information other than that it was still operating) for six hours. That is about how long the plane’s fuel tanks would have taken to empty. But the pings were only picked up by one satellite, making triangulation to establish the plane’s path during that time impossible.

Malaysian military radar apparently lost contact with the plane as it flew over the Indian Ocean. (According to reports on March 19th, Thai military radar may also have tracked it turning off course.) That suggests it is somewhere on an arc hundreds of miles wide running from Kazakhstan almost to Antarctica (see map). Planes and ships from 26 countries have now joined the hunt. The northern part seems less plausible: it approaches land and passes through several countries with military radar primed to look for unidentified aircraft. But to the south, where the search is now focused, there is little coverage.

The information age is taking to the skies only slowly. Planes far out at sea keep in touch using VHF radio, and the newer ones send ACARS data continuously via satellite. Many are also equipped with ADS-B, another system that uses satellites and GPS to pinpoint their location when they are out of radar range. But flight 370’s ADS-B seems to have stopped transmitting about the time its transponder went off.

Clearer skies

Aircraft-tracking websites use several of these newer sources of data. They will eventually replace radar when their safety and reliability are beyond dispute, a long process in the plodding world of aviation regulation. And the next generation of communications technology, due in around a decade, will relay all flight information at once, acting like a real-time version of the black box that all planes now carry. Adding internet connectivity, as many airlines are doing, will provide another way to get a message to the ground.

Until parts of the plane are examined, how it came to grief will remain unknown. In the meantime, for the grieving relatives, there is little comfort to be taken from the fact that such mysteries should soon be a thing of the past.

While searching for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean, an Australian airplane crew says they have spotted two objects. The aviators reportedly saw an “orange rectangular object” and a “gray or green circular object.” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott also told the Malaysian government that a ship, the HMAS Success, is nearby and will be attempting to retrieve the objects either tonight or tomorrow morning. The objects are around 1,550 miles southwest of Perth, Australia.

An Australian plane has spotted an “orange rectangular object” and a “gray or green circular object” while searching for missing Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean, officials said.

Hishamuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s acting transport minister, said that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had told his counterpart in Kuala Lumpur that the objects could be retrieved as soon as later Monday by a ship hunting the Boeing 777. It has come to our attention that the browser you are using is either not running javascript or out of date. Please enable javascript and/or update your browser if possible.

Britain’s Inmarsat used a wave phenomenon discovered in the 19th century to analyse the seven pings its satellite picked up from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 to determine its final destination.

The new findings led Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to conclude on Monday that the Boeing 777, which disappeared more than two weeks ago, crashed thousands of miles away in the southern Indian Ocean, killing all 239 people on board.

The pings, automatically transmitted every hour from the aircraft after the rest of its communications systems had stopped, indicated it continued flying for hours after it disappeared from its flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

From the time the signals took to reach the satellite and the angle of elevation, Inmarsat was able to provide two arcs, one north and one south that the aircraft could have taken.

Inmarsat’s scientists then interrogated the faint pings using a technique based on the Doppler effect, which describes how a wave changes frequency relative to the movement of an observer, in this case the satellite, a spokesman said.

The Doppler effect is why the sound of a police car siren changes as it approaches and then overtakes an observer.

Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch was also involved in the analysis.

“We then took the data we had from the aircraft and plotted it against the two tracks, and it came out as following the southern track,” Jonathan Sinnatt, head of corporate communications at Inmarsat, said.

The company then compared its theoretical flight path with data received from Boeing 777s it knew had flown the same route, he said, and it matched exactly.

The findings were passed to another satellite company to check, he said, before being released to investigators on Monday.

The paucity of data – only faint pings received by a single satellite every hour or so – meant techniques like triangulation using a number of satellites or GPS (Global Positioning System) could not be used to determine the aircraft’s flight path.

Keeping track

Stephen Wood, CEO of All Source Analysis, a satellite analytic firm, said it seemed that the investigators had narrowed down the area substantially. “But it’s still a big area that they have to search,” he said.

The incident is likely to spur a review of aviation rules, especially related to communications equipment and the ability to turn off a plane’s transponder.

But it is too early to say what that would entail because it remains unknown what made the plane divert from its original course.

“This type of incident will cause everyone who flies airplanes commercially with passengers to be really pressed for a whole new line of ways to keep track of their precious cargo,” said Wood, a former U.S. intelligence officer who headed the analysis unit of DigitalGlobe Inc, a satellite imagery firm, until July 2013.

DigitalGlobe last week provided images that Malaysia’s government called a “credible lead” for the massive trans-national effort to locate the plane.

Shortly after the plane went missing on March 8, Inmarsat used the ping data to plot two broad areas where the plane likely flew after it vanished from radar. One path took it north over central Asia, the other south to the Indian Ocean.

As days passed, more images and data became available, helping focus the search. But piecing that information together is time consuming and requires synchronizing the clocks of the various data systems, sometimes to a fraction of a second, said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

“Every time they get additional information from an additional site, they’ve got to go back and revisit what they’ve already done,” Goglia said.

But the efforts are rewarded, he said, when all the sources of the data point to one spot at the same time.

The complexity of the work can take weeks, he added. “As difficult as this one was, I’m amazed that we’ve got some of what we’ve got so quickly,” he said.

Inmarsat said for a relatively low cost its satellites could keep tabs on flights and provide data exchanged between the air and the ground to help organise routes to save time and fuel.

Its systems, which are widely used in shipping, have been embedded into surveillance and communications technologies that allow air traffic controllers to build up a picture of where aircraft are, and to better manage routes.

“If you have that (…) capability you get a preferred routing at the right altitude that makes your aircraft more fuel efficient, but if you don’t have it you have to fly lower and get less priority in air-traffic control,” said David Coiley, Inmarsat’s vice-president for aeronautics.

The system is used in planes in the North Atlantic, Coiley told Reuters earlier this month, but it is not commonly used in all parts of the world.

Sinnatt said on Monday that such a facility would cost about $10 per flight. “It is something we have been pushing the industry to do because it significantly adds to safety,” he said. Other satellite providers are also developing tracking systems.

Authorities consider the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, missing for more than two weeks, to be lost “beyond any reasonable doubt” somewhere in the Indian Ocean, with all passengers and crew assumed to have perished.

The fate of the missing plane has captivated the world since March 8, when the Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200 vanished mysteriously from civilian radar screens, less than an hour after departing Kuala Lumpur.

Families of the 239 missing passengers received a text message from the airline with the information, according to a CNBC producer who saw a copy of the message.”We deeply regret that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that the MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board have survived,” the message read.

(The airline, facing a backlash over the use of text messaging, later clarified that families had also been contacted in person and by phone, and that texts had only been used to supplement that).

At a press conference on Monday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak delivered a terse statement. According to new information, the flight was most likely at the bottom of the sea, though the circumstances behind its disappearance were still unclear.

“It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that according to this new data, MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” said Razak, delivering the news that grief stricken friends and relatives had been dreading for days. He said a new analysis of satellite data indicates the missing plane was lost in a remote area of the world’s third largest water body, which spans more than 28 million square miles. Play Video Sad ending for Malaysia MH 370 CNBC’s Eunice Yoon reports the family members of Malaysia MH 370 are grieving after the Malaysia Prime Minister says the flight ended in the Southern Indian Ocean.

No confirmed sighting of the plane has been made since its disappearance, though unconfirmed reports have claimed to have spotted debris.

Malaysia Airlines said in a statement to the families that “our prayers go out to all the loved ones of the 226 passengers and of our 13 friends and colleagues at this enormously painful time.”

“We know there are no words that we or anyone else can say which can ease your pain,” the airline said. “The ongoing multinational search operation will continue, as we seek answers to the questions which remain.”

Malaysian flight MH370 tragedy abused by Chinese hackers for Espionage attacks The Mysterious Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200 aircraft that has gone missing by the time it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The Malaysian Prime Minister had also confirmed that the Malaysia Airlines plane had crashed in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean. Cyber Criminals are known to take advantage of major news stories or events where there is a high level of public interest and now Scammers are also targeting tragedy of MH370 to trap innocent Internet users. Just a few days before we warned you about a Facebook malware campaign claimed that the missing Malaysian Airlines ‘MH370 has been spotted in the Bermuda Triangle’ with its passengers still alive and invites users to click a link to view breaking news video footage. This week, Security researchers at FireEye have revealed about various ongoing spear phishing and malware attacks by some advanced persistent threat (APT) attackers. According to the researchers, the Chinese hacking group called ‘admin@338’, specialized in cyber espionage attacks had sent multiple MH370-themed spear phishing emails to the government officials in Asia-Pacific, with an attachment referring to the missing Malaysian flight MH370. Malaysian flight MH370 tragedy abused by Chinese hackers for Espionage attacks The attachment file was actually merged with Poison Ivy RAT (remote access tool) and WinHTTPHelper malware to hijack the computer systems of government officials. The Chinese Hacking Group also initiated another attack against the US based think tank on 14th March. A malicious attachment was dropped via spear phishing mails, contains “Malaysian Airlines MH370 5m Video.exe”. The malicious attachment pretended to be a Flash video related to the missing plane and attached a ‘Flash’ icon to the executable file. “In addition to the above activity attributed to the Admin@338 group, a number of other malicious documents abusing the missing Flight 370 story were also seen in the wild.” researchers said.

As the search for any wreckage for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight continues, insurance experts have warned of “divergent” compensation claims, with the families of U.S. passengers potentially receiving millions more than their Asian counterparts.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Monday that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 – missing for more than two weeks – was lost “beyond any reasonable doubt.” New satellite data indicated the plane was probably at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean, Razak added.

All 239 of the people on the plane – 227 passengers and 12 crew – are assumed to have died.

The airline must pay the families of those on board around $176,000 under a multilateral treaty known as the Montreal Convention, and said it had already given relatives $5,000 per passenger in compensation.

But relatives can also sue for further damages – and it is these further pay-outs that experts warn could vary widely.

“Compensation for loss of life is vastly different between U.S. passengers and non-U.S. passengers,” Terry Rolfe, leader of the aviation practice at Integro Insurance Brokers, told CNBC.

“If the claim is brought in the U.S. courts, it’s of significantly more value than if it’s brought into any other court. And for U.S. citizens there is no problem getting into the U.S. courts.” Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, CEO of Malaysia Airlines, says the airline’s top priority remains taking care of families and relatives from the missing MH370 jet.

Numerous nationalities

There were passengers of 14 different nationalities on board the flight, Malaysia Airlines said, with the majority – 152 – Chinese. There were also 38 passengers from Malaysia, seven were Indonesian, six were from Australian and three Americans were on board, among other nationalities.

Rolfe estimated that an American court could pay out between $8-10 million on a per-passenger basis, but compensation would be a fraction of this outside of the U.S. In China, she estimated relatives would receive less than $1 million per passenger.

Allianz, the main reinsurer for the missing Malaysia Airlines yet, has already started pay out on claims relating to its disappearance, according to Reuters.

The German insurance giant would not comment on financial details, but The Telegraph reported that some $110 million had been placed in an escrow account and Allianz had agreed to make hardship payments to the relatives of those on the fight.

Where claims can be brought

The Montreal Convention dictates that a claim has to be brought in one of five places: where the carrier is domiciled; its main place of business; where the ticket was bought; the destination of the flight or the primary residence of the plaintiff.

“So for the majority of passengers on this flight, this is either China or Malaysia and these countries have very limited views of damages as opposed to America,” Illinois-based aviation crash attorney Floyd Wisner told CNBC.

“They could evaluate these cases and say a Chinese life is (of) less value than an American life. That’s unfair and that’s going to cause problems.”

Indeed, Wisner said disparate pay-outs could lead to international backlash – especially if the plights of the families continued to be highly publicized.

“I would be raising holy hell if I was a family member of a passenger from one country getting less than someone who happened to be sitting next to me from another country,” he said.

Another option open to the families is a class-action lawsuit, which would allow multiple relatives to sue over the same legal grounds.

In theory, a class action would give the families more clout – because they’re acting together rather than just as one person.

“But where there’s more clients, there’s more money to be made – so a class action lawsuit is of massive financial benefit to the lawyers.”

The airline and insurer will want to avoid this by being pro-active, he added, reassuring relatives that their individual claims will be managed swiftly and sensitively. The theory of someone in the crew taking over the airplane is the most likely explanation for why the Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was diverted from its flight path.

One reason for the high compensation pay-outs in the U.S., according to New York-based Rolfe, was the sheer number of attorneys and litigators here willing to take on the cases.

“There are a significant numbers of lawyers here who take on these airline cases and they know how to use to court system. They’re used to doing it,” she said. “And there isn’t the same level of attorney or litigation or precedence in the rest of the world.”

Same amount per passenger?

Wisner said the airline could pay out between $500-750 million in total compensation to the families, and was likely to have liability insurance to value of around $1 billion.

But he added that the total amount paid out could be reduced by offering one amount per passenger – whatever their nationality.

“They could aim for one standard for all, ” he said. “It would be worth trying to avoid this disparate treatment and pay a flat-sum per passenger.”

Integro Insurance Brokers’ Terry Rolfe, however, said this was unlikely. “The families won’t sign off on it if they know they can get a higher pay-out in the U.S. courts,” she added.

Malaysian flight MH370 tragedy abused by Chinese hackers for Espionage attacks The Mysterious Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200 aircraft that has gone missing by the time it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The Malaysian Prime Minister had also confirmed that the Malaysia Airlines plane had crashed in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean. Cyber Criminals are known to take advantage of major news stories or events where there is a high level of public interest and now Scammers are also targeting tragedy of MH370 to trap innocent Internet users. Just a few days before we warned you about a Facebook malware campaign claimed that the missing Malaysian Airlines ‘MH370 has been spotted in the Bermuda Triangle’ with its passengers still alive and invites users to click a link to view breaking news video footage. This week, Security researchers at FireEye have revealed about various ongoing spear phishing and malware attacks by some advanced persistent threat (APT) attackers. According to the researchers, the Chinese hacking group called ‘admin@338’, specialized in cyber espionage attacks had sent multiple MH370-themed spear phishing emails to the government officials in Asia-Pacific, with an attachment referring to the missing Malaysian flight MH370. Malaysian flight MH370 tragedy abused by Chinese hackers for Espionage attacks The attachment file was actually merged with Poison Ivy RAT (remote access tool) and WinHTTPHelper malware to hijack the computer systems of government officials. The Chinese Hacking Group also initiated another attack against the US based think tank on 14th March. A malicious attachment was dropped via spear phishing mails, contains “Malaysian Airlines MH370 5m Video.exe”. The malicious attachment pretended to be a Flash video related to the missing plane and attached a ‘Flash’ icon to the executable file. “In addition to the above activity attributed to the Admin@338 group, a number of other malicious documents abusing the missing Flight 370 story were also seen in the wild.” researchers said.

Anticipation has repeatedly turned into frustration in the search for signs of Flight 370 as objects spotted from planes in a new search area west of Australia have turned out to be garbage. It’s a time-wasting distraction for air and sea crews searching for debris from the Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished March 8.

It also points to wider problems in the world’s oceans.

“The ocean is like a plastic soup, bulked up with the croutons of these larger items,” said Los Angeles captain Charles Moore, an environmental advocate credited with bringing attention to an ocean gyre between Hawaii and California known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which by some accounts is about the size of Texas.

The world’s oceans have four more of these flotsam-collecting vortexes, Moore said, and the searchers, in an area about 1,150 miles west of Perth, have stumbled onto the eastern edge of a gyre in the Indian Ocean.

“It’s like a toilet bowl that swirls but doesn’t flush,” said Moore.

The garbage patches are nothing like a typical city dump. In fact, most of the trash can’t even be seen: it’s composed of tiny bits of plastic bobbing just below the surface.

The larger items also tend to be plastic and are often fishing-related, Moore said, although he has come across light bulbs, a toilet seat, and, bobbing off the California coast, a refrigerator, complete with defrosted orange juice.

Seattle oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer has been studying the phenomena of ocean debris for years. He said there are smaller collections of garbage within the gyres.

“If you go into a house you’ll find dust bunnies,” he said. “The ocean has a mass of dust bunnies, each moving about 10 miles a day.”

Ebbesmeyer said he’s fascinated by what happens to the trash that spews from the hundreds of shipping containers lost overboard from cargo ships each year. He said there’s one that keeps belching out Lego pieces onto the beaches of Cornwall, England. Another spilled 2,000 computer monitors. Another released thousands of pairs of Nike sneakers.

Sometimes, he said, the containers themselves can become hazards as they bob about for months, buoyed by plastic objects inside or the air trapped behind watertight doors.

Trash also gets into the ocean after being washed down rivers or swept up in tsunamis, Ebbesmeyer said.

Scientists are particularly worried about small and seemingly ubiquitous pieces of plastic that can be from shopping bags, plastic water bottles or other household items. Waves break the items up into smaller pieces. Wing Cmdr. Andy Scott, of New Zealand’s defense force, said the crew in a P-3 Orion scouring the ocean for Flight 370 on Saturday spotted about 70 objects in four hours.

Three were deemed worthy of further investigation, he said, but none turned out to be from the missing plane. One was probably a fishing line, he said, another was a suspected icebox lid and a third was some unidentified brown and orange material.

A cluster of orange-colored items spotted on Sunday from an Australian search plane and thought to be a promising lead also turned out to be fishing equipment.

With garbage complicating an already fraught effort to find flight wreckage, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott — elected late last year — said on Monday that the search is nowhere near over.

“I’m certainly not putting a time limit on it,” Abbott told the press at RAAF Pearce, the Perth military base coordinating the operation, “We can keep searching for quite some time to come.”


MH370 Apparently Flown to Diego Garcia: Navy Intelligence’s Part in the Exposed False Flag Operation

Despite weak, questionable, and conflicting evidence, the general consensus in the MSM is that MH370 appears to have followed a primarily southerly route and crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean (over 1000 km SW of Perth, Australia) after running out of fuel. This theory is primarily based on the alleged satellite data of a British satellite telecommunications company named Inmarsat. There are significant questions about the reliability of Inmarsat’s findings, not the least of which is that no other satellite data has confirmed them and that the company has extensive military contracts. No evidence from any source has been found to confirm Inmarsat’s findings.

The investigation into MH370’s disappearance has been filled with incompetence, cover-ups, and disinformation. The scope of this paper is not to rebut the loads of questionable and conflicting evidence, but to show that the evidence suggests that the plane was probably flown to a strategic US naval and satellite communication facility in the central Indian Ocean. On a small island named Diego Garcia, 450 miles from the Maldives, there is a US naval base with a runway that can accommodate jumbo jets. There is nothing else on Diego Garcia except for the US Navy base and its satellite communications facility.

Around sunrise at 6:15 AM on March 8, 2014 (9:15 AM Malaysia time), several residents on the Maldives island of Huvadhoo reported seeing a very low-flying jumbo jet. The residents provided good detail and described the aircraft as white with red stripes, which is very similar to the colors of MH370. According to some residents, the plane was flying so low they could see the doors on the plane. The residents stated that they sometimes see small seaplanes around the island, but this was the first time they ever saw a jumbo jet. People were coming out of their houses to see what was causing the tremendous noise. The eyewitnesses say that the airplane was traveling in a southeast direction toward Addu, the last and most southern island in the Maldives.[24]

There are several important facts and observations that need to be made at this point: * Huvadhoo residents would have been the first (the sighting happened around sunrise) and last to see the plane before it reached Diego Garcia, which is mainly south of Huvadhoo. Although there was one more Maldives island (Addu Island, about 50 miles straight south of Huvadhoo) before Diego Garcia, the plane was reportedly traveling in a southeast direction apparently in order to miss Addu Island. * If the plane was flying so low that some people could see the plane’s doors and it was very loud, then it was probably flying no more than 500 feet above sea level. At this flying height, the plane was flying low enough to avoid conventional radar. * The time the plane was spotted was about 8.5 hours from take-off and it had flown roughly 2,200 miles, averaging approximately 250 miles per hour. (From Kuala Lumpur to the original destination of Beijing was 2,700 miles.) Although the plane had more drag at the lower altitude and would have gotten worse fuel mileage, the much slower than normal speed would have compensated for the greater air resistance.[25] * From the point where the plane was spotted, there was another 500 miles to Diego Garcia, or approximately two hours at its then current speed.

The day after the sightings were reported in the Maldives media, the acting Malaysian transport minister stated that the Maldives reports were “not true,” based on a conversation between the heads of Malaysia’s and Maldives’ Defense Forces. Maldives National Defence Force stated there was no trace that MH370 had been picked up on their radar.[26] Of course not, the plane was apparently flying at around 500 feet and all other tracking devices have been intentionally turned off. The finding of the sightings being “not true” implies that the residents deliberately lied and no evidence or support was provided for this fact. Indeed, if the residents who spotted the plane were found to be intentionally lying in one of the most high profile international investigations in years, then it would likely be a crime and there’s no evidence they were charged with one. What would be the eyewitnesses motivation to tell such an alleged blatant lie?

As reported in the MSM, the head pilot of MH370, Capt. Zaharie Ahmed Shah, had a “sophisticated” self-built flight simulator in his house. Despite the FBI lying that they found nothing unusual on the simulator, several MSM organizations reported that Shah had Diego Garcia programmed into his simulator which suggests that he practiced flights to that remote island.[27] As a glance at Google Maps reveals, the closest easily-sighted amount of land to a direct path between the last-known location of MH370 and Diego Garcia is the Maldives, so it would make sense (especially if fuel was tight and navigation was uncertain) to aim for the Maldives en route to Diego Garcia.

A major Malaysian news organization reported that investigators found that Diego Garcia and its runway was among the top-five locations programmed in Shah’s simulator, along with Male, Maldives.[28] The only thing on Diego Garcia is the US Navy and commercial flights do not go to Diego Garcia. Given that Shah appears to have flown the plane at about 500 feet above sea level, practicing on a simulator would have been very helpful.

Diego Garcia is owned by the British government and is leased to the US government. US navy operations on the island include a large ship and submarine base, an air base, a communications and “space tracking” facility, and a logistics anchorage for regional operations, including for the Middle East. Diego Garcia was used as the launching pad for US bombers in both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and as a logistics supply hub.

Diego Garcia also happens to be the place where the US has several hundred “bunker-buster” bombs stored in event of a possible attack on Iran. The Scotland Herald reported in 2010 that a Florida-based shipping company (Superior Maritime Services) entered into a contract with the US government to ship 387 “Blu” bombs used for blasting hardened or underground structures.[29] Thus, Diego Garcia might well be a logical staging area for a false flag operation against Iran. Coincidentally, Superior Maritime Services does lots of military work and is located in the same Florida County (Broward) as GA Telesis.

With the bunker buster bombs stored at Diego Garcia, it’s probable that there is an Israeli presence there that is involved in the planning and preparation of a possible attack on Iran. It’s likely that there has been military coordination between the US and Israel and it would make sense that Diego Garcia would be used given its state of the art satellite systems (to identify Iran’s potential nuclear sites) and its probable use as a launch pad for possible bombing strikes against Iran.

Another significant unanswered question is why didn’t Diego Garcia’s sophisticated satellite systems pick up any data on MH370 given it allegedly flew within about one thousand miles of the base and allegedly crashed about 2,000 miles from Diego Garcia. There’s speculation that US military and intelligence did have the means to monitor MH370’s flight. Diego Garcia’s satellite systems would almost certainly have had the capability to pick up the same “pings” that Inmarsat’s satellite allegedly picked up.

The Feeble Framing of Iran and the Exposed “Plan A” of the Attempted False Flag Operation

For about the last decade, Israel and US neocon hawks have been trying to convince the world that Iran is six months away from producing a nuclear bomb, and the dire consequences if they’re not stopped. Israel’s cited source for this evidence is their vaunted intelligence services which have been proven wrong time and time again. Realizing that President Obama and the rest of the world is sick and tired of their “crying wolf,” Israel and certain neocon related elements within the US military and intelligence apparatus are clearly getting desperate for action which now appears to be in the form of a joint false flag operation to implicate Iran.

The Iranian connection to MH370 was established quickly when two Iranian men were found to have boarded the flight using stolen passports. Although many American MSM organizations have floated the theory that the Iranian men could have been party to a terrorism plot, most MSM organizations have not promoted it as likely theory. However, Fox News and its owner Rupert Murdoch have been aggressively promoting this theory along with the Israeli mainstream media. These false flag actors are clearly trying to set the stage that Iran is most likely behind MH370’s disappearance and that they are probably going to use the plane in some sort of terrorism attack.

One of the first signs that the fix was in on Iran, is when the UK Daily Mail noticed the obviously photoshopped picture of the two Iranian passengers on Flight MH370. The March 24, 2014, Daily Mail pointed out that both Iranian men had the exact same green pants, brown shoes, and leg positions in their photos.[30] In a very strange excuse, the Malaysian police said the image of one man had been accidently placed on top of the other when they were photocopied. MH370’s pilot’s apparent complicity in the diversion of the plane to Diego Garcia and the flagrant errors and cover-ups attempted by the Malaysian government may indicate certain individuals in Malaysia may have been recruited into the likely US/Israeli covert operation.

There are several different ways that a false flag attack involving two identical Malaysian Airlines 777’s could have been undertaken, but now that the plan has been exposed we will probably never know what was actually being planned. However, one possible scenario is that GAT’s Malaysian 777 in Tel Aviv was undergoing retrofitting for the operation that probably included such things as automated flight systems, Iranian/Russian parts, explosives, etc. The Malaysian Airlines name would be painted back on the plane and it would be used in another 9/11-type attack. MH370 would be disassembled at Diego Garcia and identifying parts would be placed at the crash site of the substitute plane suggesting that it was indeed MH370 and that the Iranians had retrofitted it for the operation.

Naval intelligence’s fingerprints are all over MH370’s disappearance, from it’s likely flight path to Diego Garcia to Abdol Moabery’s possible involvement in the Navy Intelligence. The fact that GAT had an identical Malaysian Airlines 777 sitting in a hangar in Tel Aviv is another long shot coincidence that is too hard to ignore. US and Israeli intelligence do not think inside the box and they were apparently up to some of their old tricks in the case of MH370. With hundreds of one-ton bunker buster bombs sitting in Diego Garcia dying to be used, the temptation of using them and attacking the second most significant oil rich country in the world was apparently too much for the US military and Israel to resist. Now that Plan A has been foiled, we’ll now have to wait awhile to see what Plan B has in store.

9/25/2013

New Island

Filed under: disaster,geography,global islands,pakistan — admin @ 8:11 am

At least 238 people died in a mountainous region of southwest Pakistan on Tuesday, when a powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck there. The earthquake struck in Pakistan’s Balochistan region, its largest but least populated province. The quake was felt in the Indian capital Delhi, where some buildings shook. It caused a new island to rise from the sea, just off the Pakistan’s southern coast.

A new island, created in what one scientist called a “mud volcano,” has risen from the sea off the coast of Pakistan, following the September 24, 2013 earthquake there. Not surprisingly, people are already out walking on the new island.

Television stations in the region were the first to report a small, mountain-like island. It is about 60 to 70 feet (18 to 21 meters) high, up to 300 feet wide and up to 120 feet long, it sits about 200 meters away from the coast. The new island is a “mud volcano.” It is apparently a jet of mud, sand and water that gushed to the sea surface following the earthquake.

5/13/2013

MAHANSEN

Filed under: bangladesh,burma,disaster,india,weather — admin @ 5:57 am

Cyclone Mahansen continues to be only forecasted to become a equivalent of a weak typhoon before landfall in Bangladesh on Thursday. To many around the world and especially first world countries this sounds like a gentle breeze to ride out in the coming days.

Yet many of those living in low lying areas in Myanmar this storm is a very real and serious threat. Nearly 130,000 people are living in makeshift camps near the coastal plains of the country after fleeing violence between clashes Buddhist and Muslims in western portions of the country. These cyclonecamps are not made to withstand cyclone, even a weak one. And this pending storms brings the threat of a disaster if it is to hit of these refugee camps as a Severe Cyclonic System.

At this time the worst of the storm is forecasted to stay west but with the pending track still uncertain. Even if the was to miss the refugee camps a heavy rainfall would still bring harsh conditions for those who make the area home. We hope for the safety of those ahead of the storm.

It would be easy to say this area is used to deadly storms. In 2008 the country suffered 180,000 casualties when a cyclone hit the Irrawaddy River delta. In 1991 a cyclone hit a little farther north in Bangledesh resulting in the deaths of 350,000 people.

5/8/2013

Aid agencies rush help to drought-stricken Marshalls

Filed under: disaster,marshall islands,weather — admin @ 2:04 pm

MAJURO — Thousands of gallons of drinking water and solar-powered water-making units are being rushed this week to drought-stricken populations in the Marshall Islands

“We’ve got 3,700 people without drinking water,” said national water advisor Tom Vance on Wednesday following a trip to Mejit Island.

Earlier this week, the United States and Australian governments announced $100,000 in emergency-aid grants as Marshall Islands officials elevated a drought “emergency” to a drought “disaster.”

With almost no rainfall since late last year on islands above eight degrees north of the equator, most have run out of drinking water and ground well water has turned salty and brackish. Health officials who tested the wells say the wells are unsafe to drink from. Drinking coconuts offer some relief, but there are no other sources of fresh water on these islands besides rain. “The situation is dire,” Vance said.

Four new reverse-osmosis water-making units provided by the U.S. government are expected to arrive later this week for installation on northern islands. More RO units are expected to be purchased and flown in to provide water relief, according to government Chief Secretary Casten Nemra, who is heading the emergency-relief program. Four hundred and fifty large, collapsible water containers donated by the U.S. government were filled with water in Majuro and sent to the stricken islands by ship Tuesday. Locally, groups are fundraising and collecting water and food donations for distribution on the outer islands.

“The situation will become increasingly desperate if this drought persists in the northern islands and atolls,” said Nemra. “We have yet to receive a full assessment from the deployed teams still out there but, through the radio, indications clearly are that the ground wells are not safe to drink from anymore while water tanks have been depleted in most of the affected communities.”

Several of the remote islands have RO water-making equipment. But the units are small, producing at most 300 gallons of water daily for island populations ranging from 100 to over 600 people.

The drought has severely damaged local food crops, and people’s lives and health are in imminent danger, Nemra said. Many of the affected communities have less than 11 days of drinking water left and are already rationing households to one gallon of drinking water for six people per day.

Several of the islands are reporting cases of diarrhea, conjunctivitis (pink eye), influenza and other illnesses that officials say are drought related. “The Northern Marshall Islands is suffering an incredible level of hardship and reports indicate that conditions will get worse in the coming days,” Nemra said. “We want to ensure that all affected communities in the Northern Marshall Islands get the assistance they need quickly and this declaration (of drought disaster) will give them access to all available resources of the government.”

4/9/2013

Filed under: disaster,mauritius,weather — admin @ 4:34 am

3/27/2013

Filed under: australia,disaster,weather — admin @ 7:00 am

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