Category: Global Disasters


Earth Watch Report  –  Flooding

Flooded streeets in Dresden’s Gohlis district
Getty Images
Getty Images
The old town is flooded by the river Elbe in Meissen, eastern Germany
Getty Images
Residents transport sand bags to build a flood protection in a street flooded by the river Elbe in Dresden, eastern Germany
Getty Images

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06.06.2013 Flood Czech Republic Capital City, Prague Damage level Details

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Flood in Czech Republic on Monday, 03 June, 2013 at 03:06 (03:06 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Tuesday, 04 June, 2013 at 04:09 UTC
Description
Czech officials have said the waters of the Vltava river could reach critical levels in the capital city Prague as torrential rain continued to cause chaos and claim lives across central Europe. At least eight people have died and at least two are missing after heavy rain caused landslides and swelled river waters to dangerously high levels in three countries. Czech officials said the waters of the Vltava river could reach critical levels in Prague and that special metal walls were being erected to prevent flooding. Interim Mayor Tomas Hudecek said they were shutting down eight stations of the capital’s subway network and urging people not to travel to the city. Anticipating traffic problems, the mayor said all nursery, elementary and high schools in the Czech capital will be closed today. In the nearby town of Trebenice where a woman was found dead in the rubble after a summer cottage collapsed due to the raging water, authorities discovered the dead body of a man, Czech public television reported. Separately, at least three other people were reportedly missing.

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Flood in Czech Republic on Monday, 03 June, 2013 at 03:06 (03:06 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Tuesday, 04 June, 2013 at 04:43 UTC
Description
The government of Czech Republic declared a state of emergency across much of the country on Monday. In Prague, the fire brigade erected flood barriers to try to protect the Old Town from the swollen Vltava River, which flows through the Czech capital. Meteorologists said the flooding in Prague and other areas of the country probably had not yet reached their peak. Heavy rainfall has also caused heavy flooding in low-lying regions of Austria – as well as landslides on some mountains. The number of deaths attributed to the flooding rose to two on Monday after the body of a man missing since Saturday evening was recovered. There has been at least one flood-related death in Germany and six in the Czech Republic since the floods hit. The European Commission noted that help would be available to the victims of the current flooding through the European Solidarity Fund, which it set up after the last major floods to hit the region in 2002. “I want to assure those affected and the politicians, too, that the European family will lend support to its member states and help where it’s needed the most,” said Johannes Hahn, a spokesperson for EU Regional Policy Commissioner.

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Flood in Czech Republic on Monday, 03 June, 2013 at 03:06 (03:06 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Tuesday, 04 June, 2013 at 08:32 UTC
Description
On Tuesday, at least e10 pople wre confirmeed dead in Czech Republic. About nine others are reportedly missing. Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas declared a state of emergency on June 2 and promised relief aid. The Czech Republic capital, Prague, is preparing for more flooding as the Vltava river is continuing to rise.

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Flood in Czech Republic on Monday, 03 June, 2013 at 03:06 (03:06 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Thursday, 06 June, 2013 at 14:04 UTC
Description
In the Czech Republic, firefighters said some 700 Czech villages, towns and cities have been hit by flooding in the last few days and some 20,500 people had to be evacuated. In the country’s north, the water in the Elbe reached its highest level overnight and began to recede Thursday.

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The Telegraph

Aerial footage shows extent of flooding across Europe

Flooding in the German city of Dresden and Czech capital Prague is een from the air, as the death toll due to the floods in Europe rises to at least 10.

9:28PM BST 04 Jun 2013

 photo AerialfootageshowsextentoffloodingacrossEurope-PragueV01-19_zpsc5569f49.jpg

Aerial footage shows extent of flooding across Europe – Prague V01:19

Another nine people have been reported missing in the floods that have also swept through Austria and Switzerland.

Peak floodwaters coursing out of the Czech Republic were expected to hit Dresden, capital of the German province of Saxony, along the Elbe in three to four days.

Many areas of Dresden were already badly flooded on Tuesday, including some parts of the historic city centre.

Cities and towns in the German states of Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia and Brandenburg were also hit with flooding.

Seven of those killed in the floods were in the Czech Republic, where a man was found dead in the water in eastern Bohemia on Tuesday.

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The Telegraph

Woman wakeboards along street in flood-hit Czech Republic

Video of a woman wakeboarding through the flooded streets of a Czech town has provided a rare moment of levity for the Czech Republic as it continues to battle the worst flooding in over decade.

Woman wakeboards along street in flood-hit Czech Republic  V00-34 photo Womanwakeboardsalongstreetinflood-hitCzechRepublicV00-34_zps1496d2be.jpg

Woman wakeboards along street in flood-hit Czech Republic V00:34

View  Video Here

The video, which has become an internet hit in the Czech Republic, shows the 26-year old, known only as Mila, being towed by a car and skimming along the water-filled streets of the town of Pisek in southern Bohemia.

“We were going round the town taking pictures and then we saw children splashing in the water and that gave us the idea,” Radek, the man who made the video, told the Czech press. “We thought we could go boarding.”

The wakeboarding video came as vast flood waters caused by days of torrential rain continued to leave a trail of death and destruction across the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Read Full Article and  Watch Additional Videos Here

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Residents transport sand bags to build a flood protection in
a street flooded by the river Elbe in Dresden, eastern Germany
Getty Images

See Additional Photos Here

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06.06.2013 Flood Germany Saxony, Dresden Damage level Details

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Flood in Germany on Thursday, 06 June, 2013 at 14:02 (02:02 PM) UTC.

Description
The surging Elbe River crested Thursday in the eastern German city of Dresden, sparing the historic city center but engulfing wide areas of the Saxony capital. Residents and emergency crews had worked through the night to fight the floods in Dresden. The German military and the national disaster team sent more support in a frantic effort to sandbag levees and riverbanks as floodwaters that have claimed 16 lives since last week surged north. “Everybody’s afraid but the people are simply fantastic and sticking together,” said Dresden resident Silvia Fuhrmann, who had brought food and drinks to those building sandbag barriers. The Elbe hit 8.76 meters (28 feet, 9 inches) around midday – well above its regular level of two meters (6 1/2 feet). Still, that was not high enough to damage city’s famous opera, cathedral and other buildings in its historic city center, which was devastated in a flood in 2002. Germany has 60,000 local emergency personnel and aid workers, as well as 25,000 federal disaster responders and 16,000 soldiers now fighting the floods. Farther downstream, the town of Lauenburg – just southwest of Hamburg – evacuated 150 houses along the Elbe, n-tv news reported, as the floodwaters roared toward the North Sea.

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Natural disasters uprooted more than 32 million people in 2012

32,4 million people were forced to flee their homes last year due to natural disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes, according to a report released by Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre on May 13, 2013. According to the report, 98% of those uprooted were displaced by climate- and weather-related events. Climate change is believed to play an increasingly significant role in global disasters. 2012 Special Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that, “disasters associated with climate extremes influence population mobility and relocation, affecting host and origin communities.”

This map shows internal displacement worldwide in 2012 by state and number of displaced people. CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW (Credit: NRC/IDMC)

Floods in India and Nigeria were responsible for 41 % of displacement worldwide last year. Monsoon floods in India uprooted about 6.9 million people, while in Nigeria some 6.1 million were newly displaced. While Asia and Africa were hardest affected, some 1.3 million people were displaced in wealthy nations, especially the United States. Last year, the U.S. was among the 10 countries that experienced the most new displacement. Following Hurricane Sandy, most of those displaced were able to find refuge in adequate temporary shelter while displaced from their own homes.

The largest regional increase in the number of internally displaced people in 2012 was in the Middle East and North Africa, where 2.5 million people were forced to flee their homes. There were almost 6 million affected in the region at the end of 2012, a rise of 40 % on the 2011. Asia showed the second highest increase in new displacement after the Middle East and North Africa, with 1.4 million people forced to flee their homes during 2012.

 Read Full Article Here

Veterans Today

Image Source

Mayan Calendar Guatamala Pyramid and End of Baktun13

By Harold Saive – Chemtrailsplanet.net

 

(3/27/2013) – The Mayan’s didn’t use their calendar to predict doom in 2012 but their 394 year Baktun cycle may predict a long period of low solar activity and years of extreme global cooling starting now.

Marking the end of the thirteenth Baktun on Dec 21, 2012 places the onset of solar events that led to the Maunder Minimum – also referred to as the “Little Ice Age”.

 

Are we ready yet for potentially disastrous impacts of space weather?

“Comparing a future solar event to the 1859 Carrington event: “Directly or indirectly, a comparable geomagnetic storm today (and foreseeable future) would likely include widespread and long-term disruptions on transportation and commerce, agriculture and food stocks, medical facilities, satellite-based communication and navigation systems, national security, etc.” — By Steve Trackton – The Capital Weather Gang – A review of the 2012 Space Weather Enterprise Forum presented by The National Space Weather Program Council.

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Are we ready yet for potentially disastrous impacts of space weather?

“Comparing a future solar event to the 1859 Carrington event: “Directly or indirectly, a comparable geomagnetic storm today (and foreseeable future) would likely include widespread and long-term disruptions on transportation and commerce, agriculture and food stocks, medical facilities, satellite-based communication and navigation systems, national security, etc.” — By Steve Trackton – The Capital Weather Gang – A review of the 2012 Space Weather Enterprise Forum presented by The National Space Weather Program Council.

Our Sun is Losing Energy: The typical peak-to-peak solar cycle have long been established to be about 11 years. The last solar minimum began in 2001 following an unremarkable maximum. But in April 2009 the solar minimum was officially recognized as having lasted far longer than normal. It was not until the middle of 2010 when sunspot numbers began to increase, signalling an overdue, but very weak return to a solar maximum. Relative to Earth, the maximum would be even weaker than forecast due a mysterious absence of earth-directed solar flares – a persistent event that continues to defy the label of “coincidence.”

The health of Earth’s atmosphere - extending out to the magnetosphere – relies on the energy of solar flares to maintain what we have come to expect as a “normal” electrical balance between Earth, Sun and the solar system. For unknown reasons, what little solar flare activity is taking place has been mostly directed away from Earth – causing our atmosphere to experience conditions not much different than an extended “minimum” – as if the solar maximum had not yet returned. If flares continues to miss earth for much longer, the return of the next solar minimum could delay a replenishing solar charge of our magnetosphere for years.

Changes in our Solar System:

  • Along with a decline in solar energy NASA has detected increased seismic activity on Mars
  • The rotation of Venus and possibly Saturn has measurably slowed.
  • Jupiter has exhibited significant weather changes including loss of a characteristic “stripe” as it gained a new red spot.
  • During 2012 telescopes recorded a giant flash on Jupiter that was larger than Earth. NASA called it a comet or asteroid but didn’t explain the telltale concentric rings and the absence of evidence that anything penetrated Jupiter’s atmosphere.
  • The 30 year cycle of Saturn Storms has broken stride to appear ten years earlier than predicted.
  • Hubble has been scanning space for years but only recently has been able to “see” auroras on Uranus.
  • In 2005 data from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide “ice caps” near Mars’s south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.
  • Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars melting ice caps data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.
  • Earthquakes are on the rise within our own moon.

 

Read Full Article Here

Published on Jan 21, 2013

1) The climate change is real, and there is more to it than CO2 and ‘global warming’ – it is all extremes.
2) The entire solar system appears to be changing simultaneously.
3) The magnetic changes on earth began hundreds of years ago, and need to be tracked more effectively.
4) Weather modification appears to be implemented, and IMHO it is a zero-sum game.

Fact vs Opinion: The ‘Weather Modification’ segment contains many statements of my personal opinion on the negative aspects of the various applications. I have nothing but my humble opinion on those matters; humans survived this event before, and we can do it again now.

HAARP comments are meant to help focus our efforts to properly identify these various machines of modification. While auroral modulation has it’s benefits, my negative comments about weather modification applies to HAARP as well.

Music: Instrumentals by HOT100, version of ‘Ambition’ by Wale, Meek Mill & Rick Ross

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/08jan_sunclimate/

Cosmic Ray Links: http://calderup.wordpress.com/category/3c-falsification-tests/ ; http://scitech.au.dk/en/current-affairs/news/show/artikel/scientists-at-aarhu… ; http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/17/new-study-links-cosmic-rays-to-aerosols… ; http://www.leif.org/EOS/Cloud%20Cover%20and%20Cosmic%20Rays.pdf ; http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/11/2697/2011/acpd-11-2697-2011.pdf ; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090801095810.htm

Solar Minimum:
http://www.ips.gov.au/Solar/1/6
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/01apr_deepsolarmini…
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/30sep_blankyear/
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/solar-minima.html

Planetary Changes:
http://www.astrobio.net/pressrelease/4581/modern-marsquakes
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2013/01/17/cassini-spacecraf…
http://www.agu.org/news/press/pr_archives/2012/2012-19.shtml
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/19may_saturnstorm/
http://www.science20.com/news_articles/now_broadcasting_radio_jupiter-93369
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/20may_loststripe/
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2006/02mar_redjr/
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/media/cassini-062804.html
http://www.universetoday.com/93494/is-venus-rotation-slowing-down/
http://dvice.com/archives/2012/09/video-jupiter-t.php
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/15oct_ibex/

CO2 Data: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html ; http://earthsky.org/earth/noaa-releases-the-2012-arctic-report-card ; http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-StLFXcpY8T0/TptEmTYnseI/AAAAAAAAAfg/yRYUhLyOT_0/s16… ; http://www.southwestclimatechange.org/files/cc/figures/icecore_records.jpg ; http://co2now.org

Climate History: http://worldview3.50webs.com/6globalwarming.html ; http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00411.1?af=R
Climate Data: http://www.climate.gov/#dataServices
Collapsing Atmosphere: http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/07/16/nasa.upper.atmosphere.shrinking/index.html

Magnetic Field Failing: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3359555.stm ; http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/16dec_giantbreach/ ; http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/magnetic-field-1.html ; http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/09/0909_040909_earthmagfield.html ; http://geomag.org/info/declination.html ; http://wdc.kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp/igrf/anime/index.html

Magnetic Pole Flip: http://news.discovery.com/earth/earth-magnetic-field-north-110304.html ; http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2003/29dec_magneticfield/ ; http://news.discovery.com/earth/earth-atmosphere-shrinking.html

ENA: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/15oct_ibex/ ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ENAs_Impact_Titan_Atmpsphere.jpg ; http://science.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2009/10/15/15oct_ibex_resources/39…

Weather Modification Links: http://coto2.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/atmospheric-geoengineering.jpg ; http://justmeint.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/solar-radiation-management.jpg ; http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/oct/01/china-cloud-seeding-pa… ; http://dvice.com/archives/2011/01/did-scientists.php ; http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/index.html ; http://wwwppd.nrl.navy.mil/whatsnew/haarp/ ; http://www.hangthebankers.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/HAARP1.jpg ; http://www.colinandrews.net/OtherCircles.html ; http://2012indyinfo.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/dallas-radar-ring-april-19-20… ; http://sincedutch.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/des-moines-haarp-flash-radar-ri…

Disaster Management  –   Technological Disaster

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Today Technological Disaster Russia [Asia] Rostov Oblast, Taganrog Damage level Details

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Technological Disaster in Russia [Asia] on Thursday, 13 December, 2012 at 16:53 (04:53 PM) UTC.

 

Description
One person was killed and six injured when a building collapsed in the southern Russian city of Taganrog on Thursday, rescuers and law enforcers said. “Today [on Thursday] two walls and a ceiling collapsed in a four-storey building under construction in Taganrog. One worker died, five of his colleagues were taken to hospital in serious condition,” the regional police department said in a statement. The Russian emergencies ministry said up to five people were believed to be trapped under the rubble. A law enforcement source earlier said that 23 people have already been rescued from the collapsed building.

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desertrose:

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Fire, flood or giant calabash… pick your apocalypse

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP)

Devoured by a giant squash, engulfed by flood or flames, frozen in a nuclear winter or new ice age, mankind has looked to The End with fear and fascination since the dawn of civilisation.

Nature’s cycles — day succeeding night, the four seasons — long fed fears of being plunged into eternal darkness, or an endless winter.

“Before the great monotheistic religions, most ancient civilisations lived in fear that these cycles would one day stop,” explained the historian Bernard Sergent, author of a recent book exploring 13 apocalyptic myths.

The Aztecs believed there was a chance that — once every 52 years — the sun would no longer rise, so they ordered copious human sacrifices to ensure it did.

But rather than The End of all things, throughout history a good old apocalypse has often been viewed as a way to reset the clock, divide good from evil and start anew.

Derived from ancient Greek, the word means “revelation”. Chosen to figure in the Bible, the Apocalypse of John is just one of the many world’s end scenarios that were in circulation in early Christian times.

The Book of Revelation, the last in the New Testament, describes a string of cataclysmic events that annihilate part of life on Earth, culminating with the announcement of the Second Coming of Christ.

Islam also offers a repertoire of tales of mass destruction — by sandstorm, invasion or fire.

Plague, famine and brutal wars made Europe in the Middle Ages, to many, seem ripe for extermination — leading to a flourishing of prophecies the world would end in 1,000 AD, just as doomsayers would foretell The End a millennium later.

At the start of the Renaissance, the Anabaptists were convinced the end of the world was nigh, and that it was vital to “rebaptise” adults before it came.

— “It’s part of the human make-up” —

“What is most often at stake is being called to account by the gods, or by nature, it’s about being punished for defying some higher order,” said Jean-Noel Lafargue, author of a study of world’s end myths through history.

“Today we no longer need Gods to make us tremble. Man-made disasters suffice. That’s what changed in the 20th century.”

For thousands of years water was the apocalyptic weapon of choice.

For Judeo-Christians, the flood evokes the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, but the motif of a deluge sent upon man by an angry divinity stretches back deep in time.

In Mesopotamia all-engulfing flood myths date from Sumerian times, between the fourth and second millennium BC, as told in the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest surviving works of literature.

Ancient Greece and Rome had their share of floods, too: from the Greek deluge of Ogyges — named after a mythical ruler — to Atlantis, the legendary island swallowed up by the sea, as recounted by the philosopher Plato.

At the dawn of our era, a deluge myth told by a small people from the Near East, the Hebrews, went on to become the most famous of all.

According to the Book of Genesis, God decided to rid Earth of men and animals, instructing a single, “righteous” man, Noah, to build an ark to save himself and a remnant of life.

Fire usually comes just before, or after a flood.

Greece, Scandinavia, India and native American cultures all spoke of the annihilation of early mankind by flames.

Africa and ancient Egypt had no flood myths, but West African folk tales do speak of a “devouring gourd”, or calabash, that swallows up entire settlements, homes, livestock, even the whole of mankind.

“I think it’s part of the human make-up, part of the human psyche somewhere, to have a fascination with the end of the world,” Jocelyn Bell Burnell, visiting professor of astrophysics at Oxford, told AFP.

In the globalised 21st century, the apocalypse — on the silver screen — most often comes as a pandemic or climate cataclysm, but the most enthusiastic doomsayers will doubtless be stockpiling supplies as December 21 supposedly marked by the Mayan calendar as a world’s end moment, draws near.

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Mayan Ac Tah Explains What Will Happen On December 21st, 2012

Originally posted on Piazza della Carina:

“Liberal” [sic] still thinking of voting for Obomba ? watch this and then tell me, personally i  could not stop crying, this is your flavor of humanity, accept it and do something about it or suffer the karma ……..

VIDEO: NATO’s gifts to the children of Libya ~ via Lizzie Phelan

 

 

 

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Earth Watch Report –  Landslides

 

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28.11.2012 Landslide Colombia Departmento de Norte de Santander, Teorama Damage level
Details

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Landslide in Colombia on Wednesday, 28 November, 2012 at 17:57 (05:57 PM) UTC.

Description
Ten people were missing and 50 others left trapped after a massive landslide in the northeastern Colombian province of Norte de Santander, authorities said. The avalanche that struck the hamlet of Teorama was caused by torrential rains, Colombia’s emergency management office said. An army reconnaissance flight confirmed that one residence was buried in the mud and “its 10 inhabitants still remain missing,” the office said. “The only way to reach the impact site is by air,” provincial emergency management chief Norela Arenas Valencia said, adding that the army is providing planes to bring in aid and transport search and rescue gear for the Red Cross. Search efforts had to be suspended due to poor visibility, but were set to resume at first light on Wednesday, Arenas said.

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Earth Watch Report

Global Disasters :  Space – Disaster Management

Satellites to the rescue: Disaster monitoring network extends its services to all

by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX)

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Sendai Oil Refinery Fire, Japan. Credit: UK-DMC2 Image (C) DMCii, 2011.

Building on a decade of success in making satellite data available to users for disaster response, the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ has opened its doors even wider and is now providing universal access to the Charter during natural emergencies – a move that was initiated when the UK was leading the Charter in 2011.

Any country, regardless of whether they are a Charter member, is now able to draw upon the data provided by this international network of satellites.

This new principal of free universal access means the Charter will play an even bigger role in helping countries respond effectively to emergencies and will ultimately help save more lives.

Satellite images can make a tremendous difference in the immediate aftermath of an emergency, providing invaluable and immediate satellite images during times of crisis. Without the Charter it could be many days before a satellite is able to provide the images needed by civil protection authorities during a disaster.

By using the Charter they have access to a vast range of satellite resources and can assess the extent of damage or decide where to target their resources. Radar images can see through fire or smoke, and other sensors can even monitor the spread of pollution.

The Charter is a great example of the enormous benefits space can bring to our everyday lives. Since it was set up in 1999, it has helped in more than 300 disasters for more than 100 countries. Events where the constellation has played an important role during the past decade include the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (2005), the Asian Tsunami (2004) and the UK floods of 2007, amongst others.

English: Activation cycle of International Cha...

English: Activation cycle of International Charter on Space and Major Disasters Polski: Cykl aktywacji Międzynarodowej Karty Przestrzeni Kosmicznej i Kataklizmów (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Uniquely, the UK is a member of the Charter on a public-private basis that makes best use of the available government and commercial expertise. The UK Space Agency holds a seat on the Charter’s Board, providing policy direction and examining ways to improve Charter performance in future.

The UK’s DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii) operates the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC), a currently five-strong commercial satellite constellation specifically designed to respond to disasters. DMCii provides the UK operational contribution to the Charter as a member of the Charter’s Executive Secretariat.

Related Links
UK Space Agency
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

China censors coverage of deadly Beijing floods

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP)

Terra Daily

SHAKE AND BLOW

Beijing authorities have reportedly ordered Chinese media to stick to positive news about record weekend floods, after the death of at least 37 people sparked fierce criticism of the government.

Censors also deleted microblog posts criticising the official response to the disaster in China’s rapidly modernising capital, which came at a time of heightened political sensitivity ahead of a 10-yearly handover of power.

City propaganda chief Lu Wei told media outlets to stick to stories of “achievements worthy of praise and tears”, the Beijing Times daily reported, as authorities tried to stem a tide of accusations that they failed to do enough.

Many Beijing residents took to the country’s popular microblogs, or weibos, to complain that some of the deaths could have been prevented if better warnings had been issued and the city’s ancient drainage systems modernised.

A call by the Beijing government for donations to an emergency flood relief fund was also criticised by microbloggers, with many ridiculing the authorities for asking ordinary people to pay for the damage.

On Tuesday, over 72,000 postings on a microblog thread focused on the call for donations were deleted.

David Bandurski, who monitors China’s Internet censorship at the Hong Kong-based China Media Project, said most of the microblog postings censored in China over the last two days related to the Beijing floods.

“There could be a number of reasons for this, but the overarching reason could be the upcoming change of leadership at the (Communist Party’s) 18th Party Congress,” Bandurski told AFP.

“This is an important political meeting, so when people are pointing responsibility at local government incompetence, everyone goes into sensitive mode… no one wants to take responsibility for anything.”

This year’s Congress will see President Hu Jintao step down from his position as head of China’s ruling Communist party in a leadership change that will usher in a new generation of leaders expected to be led by Vice President Xi Jinping.

Authorities were still clearing up the damage from Saturday’s disaster as the country’s top leaders gathered in Beijing on Monday for a meeting addressed by Hu that was given front-page coverage in state newspapers.

The China Daily, a state-run English-language newspaper with a predominantly foreign readership, ran an editorial on Tuesday urging Beijing authorities to improve the drainage system, which it said “leaves much to be desired”.

But much of China’s state-run media steered away from critical stories, focusing on human interest angles of residents helping each other out.

Senior Beijing leaders at an emergency meeting late Monday urged greater efforts to find those still missing, identify the bodies and repair flood-damaged roads.

But residents in the worst hit district of Fangshan on the mountainous southwestern outskirts of China’s sprawling capital told AFP the government was doing little to help find their missing loved-ones.

“The government doesn’t help at all, every family is responsible for searching for their own family members,” said Wang Baoxiang, whose 30-year-old nephew had been missing since going out in Saturday’s rains.

According to official assessments released Monday, seven people remained missing, but in the badly hit Fangshan district, locals told AFP reporters that at least 10 people were missing in one small village.

Tuesday’s Beijing Daily quoted mayor Guo Jinlong as saying any increases in the death toll should be reported immediately, amid suspicion that the authorities may be underplaying the impact of the floods.

Guo also urged journalists to “correctly guide public opinion”, code words in China that which mean to only portray the government in a positive light.

“The news media has played a very good role in timely reporting the developments in emergency response operations, correctly leading the public opinion… and playing a role in boosting morale,” Guo said.

“The focus of our rescue work and news propaganda must now be moved toward the suburban areas, especially those areas severely hit by the disaster like Fangshan.”

 

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
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Brace for the Apocalypse! Surviving the Worst in an Inland Lifeboat

STATIM Shelter Section

Because the STATIM pods are modular, you can customize them for your particular nightmare scenario.

First things first. Before worrying about food storage or access to clean water during a major disaster, you need to make sure you get through the first wave safely. But never fear: When the next big tsunami hits, a water-ready modular bunker called the STATIM pod aims to float you above the flooding.

Invented by Miguel Serrano, President at Brahman Industries, the STATIM (Storm, Tornado And Tsunami Interconnected Modules) pods are designed to withstand the awesome power of tsunamis, while giving survivors a fighting chance in the aftermath.

Brahman Industries calls the pods “inland lifeboats.” The reason: they’re buoyant and self-righting, so when the floods come, they will bob to the surface. They’re also low-tech, easy to maintain, and easy to construct, which means there’s a possibility for wide deployment. The company’s plan is to install and anchor them in flood-prone areas so when the alarm bells ring, those most at risk can rush to the safety of the pods. Inside, up to 50 people can cling to secure seating arrangements.

Rendering depicting STATIM system in use

It’s the end of the world, but this guy is feeling fine.

The biggest issue with rescue-shelter design is always cost. We already know how to make structures that can withstand natural disasters; it’s just incredibly expensive. The key to keeping costs down is using concrete, a cheap and well-understood building material. “We’re addressing a high-priority need with a low tech approach,” says Serrano. When STATIM reaches scale, Serrano aims to offer the 50-person pod at around $1,800 a head.

The tubular hull is made from a series of pre-cast concrete modules. The modules can be created at local factories, shipped separately, and then aligned and winched together on site to create a watertight seal. “Everyone knows how to do this,” says Serrano. According to the company, the assembly process for the pre-cast parts requires about the same amount of knowledge as installing a drain system.

 

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