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Hurricane Matthew - a Killer Storm Nears the U.S. Mainland

Posted on October 6, 2016 at 9:42 AM Comments comments (8)
After plowing its way through the eastern Caribbean from Barbados to Dominica; dumping copious amounts of rain on Jamaica and on Cuba and leveling major devastation upon Haiti, Hurricane Matthew - a dangerous Atlantic Ocean Hurricane, is churning up the surf and blowing destructive winds upon the paradise beaches of the Bahamas, this morning, with an eye to reaching the United States(US) mainland, in Florida, on Friday morning.

Hurricane Matthew has already claimed some 15 lives along its path through the Caribbean while wrecking havoc and additional hardships upon the people of Haiti, as towns, sparse possessions and lives were either washed or blown away in the tropical weather system. 

Nassau, in the Bahamas, is now under the full brunt of the storm, which is packing winds of 125 miles-per-hour, as a category 3 hurricane. Authorities warn that the storm could further strengthen to a category 4 with winds around 145 miles-per-hour when it makes landfall on the US mainland, anywhere from Palm Beach, to the Space Coast, to Jacksonville, Florida, early on Friday.

Florida's governor, Rick Scott, offered the following stark reality to residents:"...this storm will kill you." Florida, Georgia and South Carolina have called for the mandatory evacuations of some two million people from along the eastern coast line.

As USAID and other emergency relief organizations look to implement aid operations in Haiti and other places throughout the Caribbean, the Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA) in the US, stands on alert and ready to distribute aid based upon Hurricane Matthew's impact on the US mainland. 

Residents should evacuate threatened coastal areas forthwith. Inland residents should stock up on emergency supplies including non-perishable foods and water. 

Humankind's Vulnerability to Nature - Earthquake Deaths in Italy

Posted on August 25, 2016 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)
Rescue workers aided by sniffer dogs are today continuing the arduous effort to locate any survivors buried in the rubble following Wednesday's devastating earthquake in central Italy, which has thus far, killed 241 people and injured some 264. 

Italy and many other locations including Myanmar, are faced with the reality that in spite of modern technological advancements in building codes, humankind remains more adversely vulnerable to natural events especially in instances when technology is missing from building standards.

Italy's 6.2 magnitude earthquake at 3:36 a.m. on Wednesday was centered in the middle of the country, in the province of Rieti, mainly around the ancient towns of Amatrice and Accumoli. While some fortunate survivors have been pulled from the rubble 24-hours after the tragedy, the event has already taken a big toll of some 241 death and hundreds of injuries. 

That 70 percent of Italian buildings have not been constructed of anti-seismic standards, according to a report by the Associated Press(AP), underscores the vulnerabilities of Italians and other nationalities to future acts of nature. Hence, concerted government and people actions are warranted from Italy and other natural disaster-prone countries to modernize their infrastructures in or order to reduce the human tolls in any future events of nature.

To Reduce Disaster Deaths in Developing Countries - the Greater Incorporation of Technology in Building

Posted on April 21, 2016 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)
The Ring of Fire -  along which path major earthquakes struck Japan and Ecuador last week, serves as a real life  reminder of the pressing need for nations exposed to natural disasters to strengthen the incorporation of technology in building as a means to reducing human casualties when earthquakes, volcano eruptions and tsunamis, occur.

Stretching from New Zealand to Polynesia, to Japan, to Alaska and along the entire stretch of the western coast of the Americas, the Ring of Fire - an active tectonic zone that houses 95 percent of the world's earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, serves as proof of Earth's perpetual geological changes.

Industrialized Japan, which has over the years, strongly incorporated modern technology and design in building structures, suffered two major earthquakes measuring between 6.5 and 7.0 magnitudes on two consecutive days last week. Given the gravity of both earthquakes and the many aftershocks, Japan's death rate in both events numbered less than 50 - an unfortunate number of deaths, yet a low number compared to the strength of the earthquakes, the locations and the timing.

In contrast, developing Ecuador, which suffered a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake, has recorded in excess of 500 deaths in that one event. 

The science of the earthquakes from Japan to Ecuador confirms that incorporating better and modern technology in building structures could reduce the number of deaths in natural disasters. Hence, despite the possible high cost, nations exposed to major natural events of nature, should seek to better their building codes utilizing the latest technology in order to reduce the number of deaths and damages when these events do occur.

Tragedy on the Active Ring of Fire - Three Big Earthquakes in Three Days

Posted on April 17, 2016 at 10:02 AM Comments comments (0)
Two earthquakes in southern Japan in two successive days have claimed the lives of 41 people while 11 remain missing. Yesterday, a powerful 7.8 magnitude quake in Ecuador killed 77 and injured 588 becoming the third consecutive powerful earthquake to shake the Ring of Fire in three consecutive days, signaling an active earthquake period in a region that suffers 90 percent of the world's quakes.

As nations rally their response teams to assist the two effected countries, international prayers and thoughts are pouring in for the victims and families from Japan to Ecuador. 

The trio of earthquakes first struck around Minamiaso, in southern Japan on Thursday and Friday with quakes measuring 6.5 and 7.0 magnitudes and around Pedernales, Ecuador, with a 7.8 quake yesterday. All three quakes occurred along the Ring of Fire  or "circum-Pacific belt" which covers 25,000 miles of fiery volcanoes and earthquake zones in the Pacific Ocean basin from New Zealand through Polynesia and Japan to Alaska and down the west coasts of the Americas.


A Rising death Toll, Severe Damage to a Culture - Nepal's Earthquake Calamity of 2015

Posted on April 27, 2015 at 4:59 AM Comments comments (0)
The death toll from Saturday's 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal has top 3,617, with some 6,500 people injured, Nepalese authorities are reporting. 

And amidst severe damage and destruction to historic and cultural sites in the country of 28 million, there is a bothersome fear that the human tragedy will increase as search and rescue teams claw and dig their way to rural areas, close to the epicenter of the quake, 50-miles northwest of the capital, Kathmandu.

Heavy rains and more than 100 aftershocks have hindered search and rescue efforts. And for the second night in a row, many surviving quake victims in Kathmandu spent Sunday night in tents in open areas, or alongside the roadways - fearing the collapse of damaged, or of remaining structures by one of the many aftershocks, of which one measured 6.7 magnitude on Sunday, fell damaged buildings and caused more avalanches on Mount Everest, where 17 climbers have been confirmed killed, and 62 injured. Aftershock fears have also chased some Kathmandu residents out of the city and onto the plains.

Sadly, UNICEF estimates there are at least 940,000 children severely affected by the calamity in areas including Dhading, Gorkha, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk and Kathmandu districts, Reuters reported.

On Sunday, Nepalese cremated some of the dead as relief efforts struggle to stock Kathmandu with water and food.

Fourteen International medical teams are in Nepal or on the way to render aid. Another 15 International search and rescue teams are already assisting or en route. But relief efforts have also been effected by the forces of nature as heavy rains, triggering mudslides, slowed search and rescue efforts immediately after the quake. Moreover, 100-plus aftershocks have delayed relief teams landing at Kathmandu's airport, as some flights were forced to circle before landing.

Sprawling tents have been set up around the capital by relief teams. Earlier this morning, the skies cleared over Kathmandu - giving relief teams, an open window to search and rescue operations. Helicopters took to the air for rescue missions on Mount Everest and the roads leading to the epicenter of the quake at Gorkha district, were opened.

However, it is at Gorkha and other rural mountainous villages that authorities fear they will meet more devastation and death. 

Culturally, four of the seven UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, were severely damaged in the earthquake. In the city of Bhaktapur, half of all homes have been destroyed and 80 percent of Temples damaged. The Nepali Times editor, Kunda Dixit, described the destruction to the BBC-News as: "...culturally speaking" it is "an incalculable loss."

Thus, faced with a rising death toll and severe damage to its culture, Nepal's road to recovery will be long. Yet, Nepalese could find comfort in knowing and seeing that the International community is doing all that it could to aid in relief and in rebuilding. 

Nepal - Your are not Alone, Aid and Comfort have Arrived

Posted on April 26, 2015 at 10:18 AM Comments comments (0)
The United States(US), India, Norway, Great Britain, Germany, Pakistan and China, have mobilized relief teams and aid to Nepal following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the country early Saturday, killing some 2,220 people thus far and injuring more than 5,000. Other relief efforts are already being coordinated by international organizations including the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Mercy Corps, Doctors Without Borders and others.

But this international effort is only the beginning of what aid Nepal will require to return to some degree of normalcy  following the calamity of this 2015 earthquake. Reports indicate there has been wide spread destruction from the capital Kathmandu and stretching a diameter of more than 100 miles including the epicenter of the quake 50-miles northwest of the capital in the rural Gorkha district.

"All the open spaces in Kathmandu are packed with people who are camping outdoors. When the aftershocks come you cannot imagine the fear. You can hear women and children crying," reported Sanjay Karki, Nepal country head for the global relief agency, Mercy Corps, as reported by the Associated Press(AP). Kathmandu residents braved the chilly elements to sleep outside fearing further collapses from aftershocks of which the largest has been 6.7 magnitude.

Thus far, the death toll has reached 2,169 in Nepal, including 721 in Kathmandu; 61 in India, and fewer deaths in Bangladesh, Tibet and at the Chinese border. Avalanches triggered by the main earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks, have buried part of the base camp at Mount Everest, where some 17 deaths have been reported so far, including Google Executive, Dan Fredinburg. Another 61 injuries have been reported at Mount Everest where rescue helicopters have been evacuating Nepalese Sherpas and foreign climbers.

"We do not yet know the scope of the damage, but this could be one of the most deadliest and most devastating earthquakes since the 1934 tremor which devastated Nepal and (the Indian state of) Bihar," said Jagan Chapagain, Asia-Pacific Director of the International Federation of the Red Cross and red Crescent Societies, the BBC-News reported.

The US embassy in Nepal has pledged an initial $1 million toward relief and USAID has already dispatched search and rescue teams throughout the quake zone. US Secretary of State John Kerry informed: "We are working closely with the government of Nepal to provide assistance and support."

"The absolute priority must be to reach people who are trapped and injured, and provide shelter and protection to those who have lost their homes," British International Development Secretary Justine Greening said. Britain, along with the US and Pakistan, have sent search and rescue experts. China has sent a 62-member emergency team and India has supplied medical supplies and a 285-member relief crew. Norway has pledged $3,9 million in humanitarian aid and Germany and Spain are also sending assistance.

Hence, out of a still unfolding human tragedy, brought to wrought by the forces of nature as the Indian tectonic plate moves northward at about 1.7 inches-a-year, thus undermining the Eurasian plate, humanity is displaying an empathy for the victims of Nepal that is exemplary and fitting of civilized people.

Disaster in Nepal - Lives and History Crumble Under the Forces of Nature

Posted on April 25, 2015 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)
An earthquake measured at 7.8 struck Nepal earlier today killing at least  718 people, according to early reports, and crumbling centuries-old buildings in the south Asian nation of 27.8 million.

Early reports put the death toll at 688 in Nepal alone including 181 in the capital, Kathmandu; 20 across the border in Indian, six in Tibet, two in Bangladesh and two at the Chinese border. The number of deaths is expected to increase. The powerful 7.8 earthquake was also felt in India, Bangladesh, Tibet and China. Deadly avalanches on the Himalayas were also triggered by the earthquake.  

In Old Kathmandu, some buildings erected two centuries ago, were reduced to rubble, including the nine-story Dharahara Tower, built as a watch tower in the 1800s.

As international aid agencies assess and begin to coordinate relief to the effected survivors and regions, this Nepalese natural disaster, stands as a clear example of how fragile all systems and communities are to the unmatched forces of nature.

And as we mourn those lives lost in Nepal, the international community should stand poise to provide comfort  to survivors, to families, to loved ones and to all fellows in Nepal.

Climate, Change, Disaster, Death and Destruction

Posted on May 4, 2014 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)
Today has been declared a day of national mourning in Afghanistan for hundreds, or perhaps, thousands of people killed in a mountain slide last Friday, which engulfed an entire village in the remote northeast along the borders of Pakistan, Tajikistan and China. Some 400 homes were buried in about 50 meters of mud and rocks during a landslide in the Argo District of Badakhstan province; and with the village went some 2,000 souls under rocks and thick mud. As some 600 folks from a neighboring village rushed to attempt a rescue, another mudslide occurred trapping and killing most, if not all, of the rescuers. Surviving villagers are now homeless and calling upon the Afghan government to resettle them elsewhere, away from the mountain. The provincial governor, Shah Waliullah Adib, told the BBC there was no hope for those buried. The search for survivors concluded yesterday.The former village has now become a mud encased tomb.

On March 22, this year, a mudslide at Oso, Washington State, here in the United States, killed 41 people and two people are still missing.

Last week, a serious of tornadoes wrecked havoc across the South and Western U.S. Some 35 people died as a result of the violent storms outbreak across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. Most of the deaths occurred in Arkansas, where the head of Homeland Security will tour today, ahead of President Barrack Obama's survey of the region on Wednesday. Moreover, heavy rains last week also collapsed part of a roadway in Baltimore, Maryland, dropping a number of parked vehicles to destruction. In many other jurisdictions subject to the violent weather of the past week, power outages were common place, bridges were washed out and many roadways and interstates were flooded.

More violent weather and associated natural disasters appear to be a modern norm. In 2004, an Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami killed about 250,000 people across Asia. In 2011, another tsunami across Japan killed some 16,000 people with more than 2,000 still unaccounted for. In December 2012, Typhoon Bopha killed about 5,000 people in the Philippines and less than a year later, in November 2013, more than 6,000 people perished in Typhoon Haiyan(Yolanda) in the Philippines.

Joplin, Missouri, on May 22, 2011, witnessed the wrath of a tornado with winds of over 200 miles per hour along a swath of 22-miles. Last May, Moore, Oklahoma, felt the might of an E5 tornado, which touched down in a two-mile-wide path with winds at 210 miles per hour, wrecking the city, killing 24, and injuring 377 . 

No slide ruler nor multi-logarithm device is needed to underscore the fact that acts of nature are becoming more violent. So, it is paramount that those of us, who are privileged to have some warning systems, heed warnings once posted. Stupidity is no excuse against winds in excess of 200 miles per hour. While not all events are predictable, we need to be cognizant of our individual contributions to climate change with a view to decreasing negative impacts on our environs.                           

Resilience of the People of Washington State

Posted on March 30, 2014 at 9:17 AM Comments comments (0)
The spirits, the strengths and the community determinations of the people of Oso, Arlington and Darrington, Washington State, are strong. Though they have been hampered, dampened and sadden by the debris flow a week ago that has now killed a confirmed 18, Washington State will rebuild. And despite the long odds of finding survivors under the current elements impeded conditions at the landslide site, rescue efforts continue in Oso. Fresh rescue dogs were brought onto the rescue site to help in the rescue  and in the grim recovery of the dead. At 10:37 a.m. P.T. yesterday, Washington State paused in solemn silent vigil on the one-week anniversary of the debris flow. The communities of Washington State,  from children to adults, are involved in many efforts to ease the pain and suffering of the families of the lost. Kids are raising money, adults are lending  hands in rescue efforts. A glimmer of fortune has been the reduction to 30 from 90 of the people reported missing. Yet, the identification of victims remain a difficult process as Jason Biermann, a program manager for the Sohomish County Department of Emergency, conceded: "The slide hit with such force that recuers are not finding full intact bodies."  Dan Rankin, the Mayor of   Darrington acknowledged: "Our community is changed forever...it's going to take a long time to heal."  But Washington State continues to hold out hope of finding  survivors and Mayor  Rankin  confirmed: "In our minds, we are   in recovery mode. In our hearts, we are still in rescue mode." Hope lives on in Oso and though yesterday was a gray day, the elements should clear and usher in better weather across the region  later this week. After the healing process in Washington State, when rebuilding starts, the debris flow will teach us ways in which we can live  better within our environments. We will now apply lessons on how best we could utilize technology to coordinate our habitats within nature.

Thoughts and Prayers to Oso, Washington

Posted on March 25, 2014 at 4:17 PM Comments comments (0)
We continue to offer our thoughts and our prayers to the residents of Oso, Washington, three days after a massive landslide cut short the lives of 14 and has rendered some 176 missing. FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers and members of the Washington State National Guard, have joined local rescuers and volunteers in an element impeded painstaking  search of the debris for survivors. John Pennington, director of Snohomish County emergency management, has acknowledged the difficulty of the tasks facing rescuers as more rain is in the weather forecast for the region. A number of those missing  are from the Steelhead Drive neighborhood. President Barack Obama has pledged whatever assistance Washington State needs to cope with the natural disaster.