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Disaster Chronicles

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Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean, the NE US, and Canada.

New York Army National Guard Deploys during Hurricane Sandy

The National Guard Video – 10.29.2012

Hurricane Sandy Devastation in New Jersey – ABC News Video – 10.31.2012

DC National Guard preps for Hurricane Sandy Deployment overnight – 10.30.2012

Hurricane Irene inundates Vermont with 100-yr flood. Sunday: 8/28/2011

Tropical storm Hurricane Irene veered inland today as its wind speed slowed to 50 mph causing heavy rains and 100-yr flash floods. Rivers, lakes, and creeks overflowed their banks taking down trees, road-sections, and electric poles in their paths. Although Irene did not cause as much damage and or loss of life (22) as was prepared-for as it traversed the coastal states of North Carolina, Virginia, New York, and New Jersey, landlocked Vermont, which sits in a valley surrounded by spectacular mountain ranges and with its network of rivers, lakes, and creeks, was a captive victim of Irene’s extraordinary rains.

Vermont Governor Hon. Peter Shumlin qualifies Irene rains as a 100-yr. event. Damaged bridges and road-sections cordoned off communities from each other and power outages were experienced by nearly all Vermont. Irene’s floods caused one loss of life and will undoubtedly result in Billions of dollars in damage and recovery. Vermont’s neighbor to the north, Canada, is forecasting power outages in Quebec later today.

Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan March 11th., 2011

Pictures of the Japan QuaTsunami courtesy of:

Keystone/Rex, Reuters, AP, The UK Guardian, EPA, AFP/Getty, NOAA, and The Japan Meteorological Agency.

Mudslides in Bolivia

Earthquake in New Zealand Feb. 22nd, 2011

New Zealand is located in what is termed “The Pacific Rim of FIre”, a band prone to earthquakes, tremors, and volcanoes.

The 6.3 magnitude quake came struck around lunchtime tuesday coming on the heels of thousands of smaller tremors during January and February. An office building housing close to 200 people, the Christchurch cathedral’s spire, the airport tower, and the Press Building all collapsed. All flights across NewZealand were temporarily suspended. Mayor of Christchurch, Hon. Bob Parker declared a state of emergency for the area. A cordon has been set up around Christchurch central business district.

Most of the population of Christchurch was busy at work or at school. It is feared a lot of people would be crushed under collapsed buildings. The quake broke drainage pipes which effluence flooded some communities. A 40-member disaster team has been dispatched from Australia to assist in the Christchurch quake recovery and relief. A contingent of US rescue workers has also arrived in Christchurch.

2.24.2011. The death toll stands at 120 with more than 200 people unaccounted-for.
2.27.2011. Death toll – 147 and over 50 missing. Sunday service was held outside the damaged cathedral.
3.3.2011. Death toll – 161 including many Chinese and Japanese students of an English language school. dozens still unaccounted-for. Property damage estimated at $11 billion US.
3.4.2011. Death toll – 162. Water has now been restored to 75% of Christchurch. Electricity  to 90%. Cordon remains around CBD except for home and business owners. Debris and solid waste removal more frequent as the city gets back to normal. Thousands of portaloos (mainly from US) and chemical toilets (mostly from China) in use in Christchurch. Gracious New Zealand sets up a special info line for new migrants to Christchurch: settlementinformation@dol.govt.nz
3.5.2011. Death Toll – 165. Another aftershock hits west of  lyttelton measuring 3.4 and 5km deep. Schools have been consolidated with morning and afternoon shifts to accomodate students from quake areas. Credits will be worked out. No bodies were found in the collapsed cathedral to the relief of the Right Reverend Peter Beck’s relief. Red Cross volunteers go door-to-door to perform wellness checks. More aftershocks mag 3.3, 3.2, reported. Auckland is expected to receive many of Christchurch’s displaced. Canada pledges relief aid to New Zealand. Queensland’s brave return home to Australia – May God bless their souls.
The pictures from the Christchurch New Zealand earthquake are courtesy of : The New Zealand Herald, BBC news, Reuters, Toronto Sun.
Here is an excellent Cartographic simulation of the Christchurch earthquake by Paul Nichols of the University of Canterbury. The simulation gives quake radius, depth, time, and date from feb 22 to-date local:



Flood and Mudslides in Brazil  Wed. Jan 12th., 2011

1/12/2011. Torrential rains (26 cm in less than 24 hrs.) dislodged boulders and mud which came cascading down through the villages (such as Teresopolis) nestled in the mountains just north of Rio De Jenairo early wednesday morning, with no prior warning. The inertia, aided by the Santo Antonio River, swept away people, animals, trees, cars, trucks, road-sections and bridges and this new momentum carted away homes and whole buildings. Emergency automobiles and boats were made useless. Rescue had to be conducted by air. Electricity and phone service were out.

210 people have died so far in the Serrana region which includes Teresopolis, Sao Paulo, Nova Friburgo, and Petropolis. Teresopolis Mayor Jorge Mario Sedlacek declared a state of emergency for the area.

This would be new President Dilma Roussef’s first major test and she activated Brazil’s civil defense forces and firefighters for search and rescue. The rains have stopped by noon wednesday.

1/14/2011. As rescue efforts continue, the death toll climbs to over 500 and thousands still missing in Brazil’s worst ever natural disaster.

1/16/2011. The death toll stands at 591. hundreds still missing. Schools and stadiums have been converted into shelters and emergency triage centers.

1/18/2011. The death toll rises to 700 as rescue workers are able to reach remote mountain villages. The Brazillian Navy has set up field hospitals.

The Brazil flood and mudslide pictures are courtesy of: CBC News, AP, Reuters, Agence France Presse, UK-Telegraph, ChinaDaily, Wikipedia, and Australian Herald Sun.

1/24/2011. 803 people confirmed dead so far from reports of Brazil’s civil defense agency. Close to 14,000 people were displaced, and hundreds more are still unaccounted-for.

Spain, Argentina, Australia, Mexico, The US, Iran, and Portugal have offered assistance. Brazil also has brought to bear the experience it had garnered during the Haiti earthquake. The cost of damage is estimated at $1.2 billion. Due to the extended duration of search and rescue efforts, helicopters have been ferrying the injured and food and water was in short supply for survivors in areas that are cut-off. Many survivors had to bury their dead in home-made coffins.


Flooding in Australia

Cyclone Tasha brought with her an unprecendented amount of rainfall at the end of 2010. This led to an inordinate rise in water levels for the Nogoa, Condamine, Macintyre, Burnett, Bremer, Mary and Lockyer Valley, Fitzroy, Brisbane, and Loddon rivers, submerging islets in Queensland, Eastern Australia. The death toll stands at 9 with some 45 people reported missing around 1/3/2011. Queensland’s respite from Cyclone Tasha would be short-lived as more rain fell on the saturated ground and as Queenslanders breathed a brief sigh of relief and the Brisbane river swells to inundate its banks.The regional capital of Brisbane, which sits in the East and West Creeks valley, is threatened and the Central Business District is evacuated around 1/10/2011.

The Aussie spirit of community and shared sacrifices will be tested once again as the death toll rises to 30 with some 70 people reported missing. The famous Brisbane Riverwalk was casually floated away. Water levels rose up to 2 meters inside Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium. It would be Australia’s worst flooding since the floods of 1974.

The Queensland Flood pictures are courtesy of: The Boston Globe, Reuters, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Christian Science Monitor, Vielmetti, Associated Press, and The Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

1/14/2011. An all volunteer citizen army is to be formed to assist National Emergency crew in clean-up efforts in Brisbane as the flood waters recede. This to ward off the spectre of waterborne disease and to dispose of strewn debris and mud. Premier Anna Bligh joins Brisbane mayor Campbell Newman and State Emergency Services to mount an all-out effort and restore normalcy to Queensland. Australia’s National Rugby League players also pitch in. Flood victims are asked to drop off furniture and other soiled debris curbside for pickup and National parks will be the drop-off locations for damaged TVs, appliances, and other household equipment. Extra Police Patrols are formed for added safety.

1/17/2011. inundated pasture and farm-crops (41,000 ha.), mines, and other open-field operations caused billions in losses to the Queensland communities. Prime Minister Julia Gillard suggests a one-year, 0.5% to 1% flood tax levied on those high-income earners of Australia, which, if passed by parliament, and in addition to the massive fundraising effort ever undertaken in Australia, will help alleviate some of the economic loss and encourage unemployed Australians to move to Queensland for the overwhelming recovery and recostruction effort. New Zealand, the USA, and The UK govts. assist in Australia’s flood recovery as UK foreign secretary William Hague tours the flood-ravaged region.

1/28/2011. The death toll stands at 35 confirmed with 9 missing. The death toll does not tell the story of the scale of devastation. Damages are expected to top 30 billion dollars. Average rainfall for Queensland was 8.25 in. during this flood.

Culled from CBC News:

The toll of Australia’s floods

Last Updated: Thursday, January 13, 2011 | 9:00 AM ET

CBC News

The flooding that’s inundated much of south and central Queensland, Australia, is the worst to hit the country in half a century. It was triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rains just before Christmas and has been fed by much higher-than-normal rainfall since.
Here are some other facts and figures from the floods:1,000,000: The area in square kilometres (approximately) affected by the flooding. That’s larger than France and Germany combined and 10 per cent larger than British Columbia.

200,000: The number of people affected by the floods.

10 million: The number in tonnes of the country’s wheat crop that has been downgraded to less than milling quality because of rain damage. That’s equal to half the country’s wheat crop.

343: The number of millimetres of rain that hit some areas of Queensland in a 24-hour period ending Jan. 10, 2011.

150: The number of millimetres of rain that fell in half an hour near the city of Toowoomba on Monday.

15: The number of people killed during a flash flood that followed that deluge of rainfall.

22: The number of towns or cities that are either substantially flooded or isolated.

45: The percentage increase in the global grain prices because of the flood damage to Australia’s wheat crop.

30: The percentage by which food prices in Australia could rise, according to investment bank JP Morgan.

20: The percentage of all crops in Queensland that have been wiped out by the floods.

$10 billion: Estimated damage caused by the floods — so far.

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