Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive – Mass die-off, caused by anthropogenic assault on Earth and the effect of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin by 2016

Humans Have Destroyed Half the World’s Trees

Posted by feww on September 3, 2015

More than 15 billion trees are cut down each year: Report

Academics led by Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies say they have prepared the first spatially continuous map of forest tree density at a global scale, which reveals there are approximately 3.04 trillion trees worldwide.

The authors estimate that approximately 46% of the trees have been wiped out since the start of human civilization, and that 15 billion trees are cut down each year.

The report is sold for $32, and only the abstract is available free online.

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Large Wildfires Burn 2 Million Acres in Western U.S.

Posted by feww on September 2, 2015

Dozens of active wildfires burn across 8 states

Some 65 large fires have burned nearly 2 million acres across Western United States, with three new large fires sparked on Tuesday, reported NIFC.

States currently reporting large fires include Alaska (1), Arizona (1), California (8), Idaho (16), Montana (14), Oregon (8), Texas (1) and Washington (16).

The deadly Okanogan Complex fire, raging across north-central Washington, had burned at least 305,000 acres, destroying hundreds of homes and outbuilding as of August 30. The fire has since been subdivided into its component blazes.  The fire killed three fire crews and injured four others last month.

Okanogan was one 16 active wildfire/fire complexes in Washington state that have consumed more than 921,249 acres as of September 1, said NIFC.

Fire Stats (9/1/15)
Acres from active fires: 1,990,649
Number of new large fires: 3
Number of active large fires: 65

Year-to-date statistics
2015 (1/1/15 – 9/1/15)     Fires: 43,819 –  Acres: 8,202,557 or 33,195 km² [NEW Record]

Annual average prior 10 years
2005-2014     Fires: 53,432 – Acres: 5,569,996

Latest Fire Management Assistance Declarations

  • Idaho Tepee Springs Fire (FM-5110)
  • Washington Goodell Fire (FM-5109)
  • Washington Renner Fire (FM-5108)

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Earthquake Rattles Grand Coulee Dam, Washington

Posted by feww on September 2, 2015

M4.3 quake strikes north of Coulee Dam, Washington

Centered at 48.307°N, 119.019°W the quake occurred at a depth of 9.7km north of Coulee Dam, Washington, reported USGS/EHP.

The quake was felt over a large area, prompting authorities to inspect the Grand Coulee Dam, the largest hydroelectric facility in the U.S.

The facility supplies electricity to about a dozen states in the U.S. West.

EQ Details

Magnitude: 4.3Mw
Location: 48.307°N, 119.019°W
Depth: 9.7km
Time: 2015-09-01 16:42:45 UTC

Nearby Cities:

  • 38km (24mi) N of Coulee Dam, Washington
  • 132km (82mi) N of Moses Lake, Washington
  • 136km (85mi) SSE of Penticton, Canada
  • 137km (85mi) NE of Wenatchee, Washington


Grand Coulee Dam on Columbia River, Washigton. More images posted at http://www.usbr.gov/pn/grandcoulee/news/gallery/index.html

Other Significant Quakes

  • M6.0, 271km SE of Hachijo-jima, Japan 2015-09-01 at 15:25:10 UTC depth= 11.3km
  • M5.6, 270km SE of Hachijo-jima, Japan 2015-09-01 at 15:24:09 UTC depth= 10.0km
  • M5.0, 12km SW of Hualian, Taiwan 2015-09-01 at 13:24:45 UTC depth= 20.8km
  • M4.4, 250km E of Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland 2015-09-01 at 13:26:29 UTC depth= 10.0km

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970 MMT of Soil Lost to Erosion Each Year in EU

Posted by feww on September 1, 2015

600 million m³ of topsoil lost to water erosion annually

The greatest loss of soil in Europe is due to erosion by water compared to other erosion processes, such as wind, says the EU in-house science service (JRC).

“Soil erosion by water is one of the major threats to soils in the European Union, with a negative impact on ecosystem services, crop production, drinking water and carbon stocks.”

About 68.3% of total soil losses occurs in agricultural lands, while forests account for less than 1%, says the report.

Italy (8.46 t ha−1 yr−1) has the highest average annual rates of soil erosion by water, followed by Slovenia (7.43 t ha−1 yr−1) and Austria (7.19 t ha−1 yr−1).

Selected Report Highlights

  • The mean soil loss rate in European Union is estimated to 2.46 t ha−1 yr−1 (agricultural, forests and semi-natural areas)
  • Arable and sparse vegetation have the highest soil loss rates.
    • 12.7% of European arable lands have soil loss >5 t ha−1 yr−1
    • Four million hectares of EU croplands have unsustainable rates of soil loss
  • Average annual rate of soil formation in Europe is about 1.4 Mt per hectare.
    • It takes 100 years to form 1 cm of new soil under natural temperate grasslands


Soil loss by water erosion in the European Union

Additional Notes and Discrepancies

Main statistical findings: Agricultural holdings

  • EU-28 total land area: 4,324,782 km² (432.5 million hectares)

 

 

 

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Iraq Casualties in August: U.N.

Posted by feww on September 1, 2015

101 People killed or wounded in Iraq each day in August

At least 1,325 Iraqis were killed and another 1,811 were wounded in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in August 2015*, according to the UN Mission in Iraq (UNAMI)

Civilians killed: 585 (including 20 civilian police and casualty figures in Anbar province)
Civilians wounded: 1,103 (including 44 civilian police and casualty figures in Anbar)

Iraqi Security Forces killed: 740 (including Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army / Not including casualties from Anbar Operations)
Security forces wounded: 708

“Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 1,069 civilian casualties (318 killed, 751 injured). Diyala suffered 108 killed and 162 injured; Ninewa 69 killed and 3 injured; Salah al-Din 23 killed and 13 injured and Kirkuk 17 killed and 15 injured,” UN said.

*CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and are noted below. Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

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Half of Syria’s Prewar Population Have Fled Their Homes

Posted by feww on August 31, 2015

Civil war displaces 11.6 million Syrians

Syria’s bloody civil war has forced half of the country’s prewar population to flee their homes.

At least 7.6 million Syrians are internally displaced, and an additional 4 million have fled the country, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).  The population at the start of the civil war was 23 million. Countries hosting the largest number of refugees are

  • Turkey: 1.8 million
  • Lebanon: 1.1 million
  • Iraq: 230,000
  • Egypt: 140,000
  • Jordan: 600,000 (Jordan insists there are 1.4 million Syrian refugees in the country, a figure equal to 20 percent of the kingdom’s population, said a report.)

In 2013, 9,500 Syrians were displaced per day on average. By July 2014, the total number of internally displaced people (IDPs) reached 6.4 million, a third of the entire population of the country. An additional three million Syrians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. A stable middle-income country that hosted refugees from all over the region and beyond just four years ago, Syria is now experiencing a displacement and protection crisis of a magnitude the world has not seen for many years. [internal-displacement.org]

“This is the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation,” said UN refugee chief.

A large number of Syrians have been killed in the four-and-a-half year bloody civil war; however, the figures suggested are unreliable.

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Major Wildfires Burn 2 Million Acres in 7 U.S. States

Posted by feww on August 30, 2015

70 Large fires or complexes char nearly 8,000 km² across 7 U.S. states

Currently, 70 large wildfires or complexes have burned nearly 2 million acres (~ 8,000 km²) across seven U.S. states, NIFC reported.

The fires are burning in Alaska (1), California (10), Idaho (17), Montana (16), Oregon (10), Texas (4) and Washington (12).

Two hundred soldiers based out of Fort Lewis, Washington have been deployed in Washington state to assist the civilian fie crews,

Dozens of crews and fire management personnel from Canada, Australia and elsewhere have also been deployed.

Preparedness: Level 5

[Geographic Areas are experiencing major incidents which have the potential to exhaust all agency fire resources. Eighty percent (80%) of Type 1 and Type 2 Incident Management Teams and crews are committed, as well as the majority of other National Resources.]

Acres from active fires: 1,954,138
Number of new large fires: 9
Number of active large fires: 70 (individual fires in complexes not included)

Year-to-date statistics 2015 (1/1/15 – 8/29/15)
Fires: 43,396 – Acres: 7,825,559 (an area nearly the size of state of Maryland)

Annual average prior 10 years (2005-2014)
Fires: 52,884 – Acres: 5,467,292

Warnings

Red Flag Warnings, Air Quality Alerts or Dense Smoke Advisories due to wildfires are currently in effect across vast swathes of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

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FIRE-EARTH Q&A DAY: Adobes of Time

Posted by feww on August 30, 2015

CJ Members

Adobes of Time

FIRE-EARTH Q&A TODAY will start @ 23:02 UTC.

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Dominica Set Back 20 Years by ERIKA: PM

Posted by feww on August 30, 2015

Deadly tropical storm ERIKA, devastates Dominica, killing at least 20

Tropical storm ERIKA has devastated the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica prompting the prime minister to declare that his country has been set back 20 years.

“The visual damage I saw today, I fear, may have set our development process back by 20 years,” said Skerrit after surveying his storm-ravaged island country, which has a population of only about 75,000.

Flooding and mudslides caused by the storm has claimed at least 20 lives, and the authorities expect the death toll to rise.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit the deadly storm had caused “monumental destruction” to his country including key infrastructure facilities and roads, and that “hundreds of homes around the country have been destroyed or rendered unsafe to occupy,” local media reported.

Skerrit said the that massive damage had been inflicted on key infrastructure facilities and roads, and that “hundreds of homes around the country have been destroyed or rendered unsafe to occupy.”

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Evil Japan Govt Spending $40+ Billion on Arms, while 1 in 6 Kids in Poverty

Posted by feww on August 29, 2015

Sent by a reader

One in six Japanese kids live below poverty line, amid rising defense budget: Report

Japan is one of the world’s most economically developed countries, but one in six Japanese children live in poverty—one of the worst rates in the industrialized world.

More than half a million single Japanese mothers live below the poverty line, earning less than $10,600 a year, while the defense budget for next year will likely hit an all-time high, exceeding 5 trillion yen ($40.2 billion) for the first time.

The cost of feeding all the poor kids in Japan would be about $1 billion per year, a tiny fraction of the country’s defense budget.

“Many working parents are paid wages that are so low, they can be categorized as working poor. The situation has become especially serious with parents who are in their 20s and 30s.” —Prof. Ryoichi Yamano, Chiba Meitoku College

“Last year, a 28-year-old mother and her 3-year-old child were found dead in a condo near Tokumaru’s previous workplace. They were presumed to have died 3 months earlier from starvation. A memo left by the mother apologized to the child for not being able to provide good food,” said a report.

In 2013, the mother had visited a local government office asking for welfare benefits, but she was turned down, according to the report.

The latest child poverty rate (2013) for children under 18 living in households earning ¥1.22 million, half of the median equivalent disposable income, was 16.3%, the highest ever recorded, said a report.

Japan’s relative poverty rate has been steadily increasing since mid-2000s. Today, it has climbed well above the OECD average.

Meanwhile, Japan has launched a new helicopter carrier, one of the country’s biggest warships since World War II.

Japan’s second largest naval vessel —the helicopter carrier “Kaga”—was launched at the Japan Marine United shipyard in Yokohama earlier this week.

The original vessel Kaga was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). It participated in the bombings of the ports of Shanghai and Nanjing in 1937, and later joined the naval group that attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Kaga was sunk by the US navy in the Battle of Midway the following year, in June 1942.

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Discontinuation of Research Coverage: States of Ohio & Rhode Island

Posted by feww on August 28, 2015

  • CJ Members
  • Public Notice

FIRE-EARTH Science Team has resolved to discontinue ALL research concerning the States of Rhode Island and Ohio.

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300,000 Refugees, Migrants Cross Mediterranean Sea

Posted by feww on August 28, 2015

Up to 3,000 migrants, refugees killed while crossing the Mediterranean: UNHCR

More than 300,000 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year including about 200,000 landing in Greece and 110,000 in Italy. In comparison, about 219,000 people crossed the Mediterranean during the whole of 2014, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

More than 2,500 people have lost their lives while making the crossing this year, excluding about 200 who are feared to have drowned off the coast of Libya over the past day. About 3,500 people died or went missing in the Mediterranean during the whole of 2014, said UNHCR spokesperson at a press briefing in Geneva earlier today.

In the last few days, more people have lost their lives in three separate incidents.

The Libyan Coast Guard carried two rescue operations on Thursday morning, seven miles off the port town of Zwara. Two boats carrying an approximate total of 500 refugees and migrants were intercepted and survivors taken to shore in Libya. An estimated 200 people are still missing and feared dead. A still undetermined number of bodies were recovered and taken to shore. The Libyan Red Crescent has been helping with the collection of the bodies.

On Wednesday (26th August), rescuers coming to the aid of a boat off the Libyan coast found 51 people dead from suffocation in the hold. According to survivors, smugglers were charging people money for allowing them to come out of the hold in order to breathe. One survivor, Abdel, 25, from Sudan told our colleagues, “we didn’t want to go down there but they beat us with sticks to force us. We had no air so we were trying to get back up through the hatch and to breathe through the cracks in the ceiling. But the other passengers were scared the boat would capsize so they pushed us back down and beat us too. Some were stamping on our hands.” Another survivor, Mahdi, an orthopaedic surgeon from Baghdad, told us he paid 3,000 euros to get his wife and two-year-old son on the top deck.

Last week (15 August), in a similar incident, the bodies of 49 persons were found in the hold of another boat. They are thought to have died after inhaling poisonous fumes.

Also on Wednesday, a rubber dinghy carrying some 145 refugees and migrants ran into trouble when the person steering it made a manoeuvre that caused the dinghy to tilt dangerously to one side. Some people fell into the sea and two men jumped into the water to rescue them. Panic ensued and people began to jostle and shove and, as a result, three women were crushed to death on the dinghy. Of those who fell in the water, 18 are still missing and believed to have drowned. The survivors were rescued and taken to Lampedusa, including the two-month old baby of one of the women who died. Most of the survivors are in critical condition, suffering from shock, cuts and bruises.

Bodies of 71 people found in Austria meat truck

Austrian police say they have discovered bodies of 71 people, believed to be migrants, in an abandoned truck near the Hungarian border.

The victims, believed to be Syrian migrants and thought to have been dead for several days, included four children, eight women and 59 men.

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Multiple Crop Disasters Declared in 9 States, USVI

Posted by feww on August 27, 2015

UPDATED

Extreme Weather Events destroy crops in 193 U.S. counties

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 30 counties in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma as crop disaster areas in two separate disaster designations due to damages and losses caused by multiple disasters that occurred in 2015.

USDA Kansas Crop Disaster Designation # 1: The following 13 counties in Kansas and Nebraska have been designated as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by drought, winter kill and insect infestation that occurred on Jan. 1, 2015, and continues.

  • Kansas: Ellis, Graham, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rooks, Russell and Smith counties.
  • Nebraska: Franklin and Harlan counties.

USDA Kansas Crop Disaster Designation # 2:  The following 17 counties in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma have been designated as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by tornadoes, excessive rain, high winds, flooding and hail that occurred from April 15, 2015, through July 14, 2015.

  • Kansas: Atchison, Brown, Clark, Doniphan, Finney, Ford, Gray, Haskell, Hodgeman, Jackson, Jefferson, Leavenworth, Meade and Seward counties.
  • Missouri: Buchanan and Platte counties.
  • Oklahoma: Beaver County.

USDA Missouri Crop Disaster Designation

USDA has designated 162 counties in Missouri and the eight surrounding states as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by excessive rainfall and flooding that occurred from March 1, 2015, and continues. Those counties are:

Missouri: Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Audrain, Barry, Barton, Bates, Benton, Bollinger, Boone, Buchanan, Butler, Caldwell, Callaway, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Carroll, Carter, Cass, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Daviess, DeKalb, Dent, Douglas, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, Greene, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Hickory, Holt, Howard, Iron, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Laclede, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Madison, Maries, Marion, McDonald, Mercer, Miller, Mississippi, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, New Madrid, Newton, Nodaway, Oregon, Osage, Pemiscot, Perry, Pettis, Phelps, Pike, Platte, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Ray, Reynolds, Ripley, Saline, Schuyler, Scotland, Scott,  Shannon, Shelby, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, St. Louis, St. Louis City, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, Stone, Sullivan, Texas, Vernon, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Worth and Wright counties.

  • Arkansas: Benton, Carroll, Clay, Craighead, Greene, Mississippi, and Randolph counties.
  • Illinois: Adams, Alexander, Calhoun, Hancock, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Pike, Randolph, St. Clair and Union counties.
  • Iowa: Appanoose, Davis, Decatur, Fremont, Lee, Page, Ringgold, Taylor, Van Buren and Wayne counties.
  • Kansas: Atchison, Bourbon, Cherokee, Crawford, Doniphan, Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami and Wyandotte counties.
  • Kentucky: Ballard, Carlisle, Fulton and Hickman counties.
  • Nebraska: Nemaha, Otoe and Richardson counties.
  • Oklahoma: Delaware and Ottawa counties.
  • Tennessee: Dryer and Lake counties.

USDA Designates St. Croix County in the U.S. Virgin Islands as a Primary Natural Disaster Area

USDA has also designated St. Croix County in the U.S. Virgin Islands as crop disaster area due to damages and losses caused by drought that occurred on April 1, 2015, and continues.

All of the counties listed above were designated crop disaster areas by USDA on August 26, 2015.

U.S. Drought Monitor – Weekly Comparison: CONUS

Week None D0-D4 D1-D4 D2-D4 D3-D4 D4
2015-08-18 54.76 45.24 29.40 18.21 9.41 3.00
2015-08-11 56.13 43.87 28.92 17.87 9.18 3.00


Total U.S.

Week None D0-D4 D1-D4 D2-D4 D3-D4 D4
2015-08-18 50.51 49.49 27.92 15.26 7.88 2.51
2015-08-11 51.65 48.35 27.52 14.97 7.69 2.51

Source: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 2,240 counties, county equivalents and municipalities, across 34 States [as well as Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands]: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, Wyoming.

About 99 percent of the 2015 crop disaster designations are due to drought so far this year.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

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FIRE-EARTH Extra – VLS Formations

Posted by feww on August 26, 2015

CJ Members

 VLS Formations

  • EXTRA session tomorrow (August 27) at 05:32 UTC

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Typhoon GONI Causes Death and Destruction across Asia Pacific

Posted by feww on August 26, 2015

GONI leaves a trail of death and destruction along its path

Typhoon GONI made landfall in the Philippines on August 22 bringing torrential rains, causing floods and landslides and prompting three provinces in northern Luzon to declare states of calamity.

The typhoon left at least 26 people dead, 15 missing and dozens injured. It destroyed or damaged more than 1,000 houses, forcing thousands to flee their homes.

It left about 70 people injured in southern Japan, prompting mass evacuations.

The typhoon caused transport chaos in Shanghai, China, forcing flight cancellations.

Heavy rains associated with the powerful storm system left at least 40 people dead in Rason City, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and affected more than 11,000 others.

Flooding also destroyed or damaged at least 1,000 homes in the country, inundating farmlands and spoiling crops.

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Hunger: 16 Percent of Zimbabwe Population Projected to be Food Insecure

Posted by feww on August 26, 2015

Maize production in Zimbabwe falls by a half

About 1.5 million Zimbabweans—16 percent of the population—are projected to be food insecure this year, according to World Food Program (WFP).

The forecast follows a dramatic 50% fall in maize production and represents a 164 percent increase in food insecurity compared to the previous season.

The following are selected highlights from WFP report:

  • About a third (28 percent) of children under age five in Zimbabwe are stunted, or have heights too low for their age, due to chronic malnutrition
  • More than half (56 percent) of all children between the ages of 6 and 59 months suffer from anemia.
  • Zimbabwe has about 4.3 million hectares of arable land, but only 2.8 million hectares were cultivated during the 2014/15 cropping season due to drought, high fuel costs, climatic shocks and other factors.
  • The prevalence of food insecurity and absolute poverty are closely correlated. Poverty is most prevalent in rural areas, with 76 percent of rural households living on less than $1.25 per day, compared to 38 percent in urban areas.

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3,573 Migrants Killed in 365 Days Trying to Reach Europe by Sea

Posted by feww on August 25, 2015

10 Migrants killed each day trying to reach Europe

At least 3,573 migrants were killed while attempting to reach Italy, Greece and Spain by sea, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The 2015 death toll currently stands at 2,373 on all sea routes to Europe, which is more than 12 percent higher compared to the same period last year (2,081).

In 2014 a total of 3,281 migrants were killed, said the report.

The following statistic for the deaths at sea so far this year are as follows:

  • Central Route (North Africa to Italy and Malta): 2,267 (migrants killed)
  • Eastern Route (Turkey to Greece): 83
  • Western (Africa to Spain, including Canary Islands): 23

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Wildfires Burning 2 Million Acres across 15 U.S. States

Posted by feww on August 25, 2015

Deadly wildfire complex in Washington breaks State’s record

The so-called Okanogan Complex wildfires have burned nearly 260,000 acres (105,000 hectares) breaking a state record set last year by Carlton Complex fire.

About 100 active fires are currently burning more than 2 million acres (81,000 km²) across 15 U.S. States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Year-to-date statistics [Source: NIFC]
2015 (1/1/15 – 8/24/15) Fires: 42,519 – Acres: 7,487,737
[Caution: The stats provided by NIFC have previously proved to be incomplete, erroneous and unreliable. See related blog entries since 2007.]

The Federal government has proclaimed an additional Fire Management Assistance Declaration as follows:

  • Washington Renner Fire (FM-5108)
    Incident period: August 21, 2015
    Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on August 21, 2015

Weather Forecast by National Weather Service (NWS)

High Fire Danger Continues in the West

Hot, dry and breezy conditions will continue early this week across much of the Northwest U.S. and northern Rockies. Numerous wildfires are burning in this region, and dense smoke is causing air quality issues in several states of the Northwest. Red Flag Warnings and Air Quality Alerts are in effect.

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Ferocious Wildfires Threaten Lake Baikal, Siberia

Posted by feww on August 24, 2015

World’s biggest freshwater lake facing potential ecological catastrophe

Lake Baikal contains 20% of the unfrozen freshwater on the planet

Dozens of raging wildfires threaten Lake Baikal in Siberia, the world’s largest freshwater lake, as they burn uncontrollably along its shores, according to local media.

Major wildfires have been destroying forests surrounding “the world’s oldest and deepest lake” since July, said a report.

“Fires near the lake’s shores actually kill the water arteries, thus damaging the water balance in the lake,” said the deputy head of the Russian parliament’s committee on natural resources and ecology.

At least 36 major blazes, fueled by drought and abnormally high temperatures, have scorched about 77,000 hectares of the surrounding pristine forests.

“It feels like doomsday,” the report quoted an eyewitness as saying.

On August 15, Siberian Times reported:

“More than 100 fires are burning on an area of almost 150,000 hectares in Siberia, according to official figures, which critics say often underestimate the problem.”

Images are posted here.

Lake Baikal is a rift lake located in southern Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast (northwest) and the Buryat Republic (southeast), Russia.

The largest (volume: 23,615 km³) freshwater lake in the world, Lake Baikal contains about 20% of the planet’s unfrozen surface fresh water. Baikal is also the world’s

  • Deepest lake at 1,642m, and is one of the planet’s clearest lakes.
  • Oldest lake, with an estimated age of 25 million years.
  • The seventh-largest lake by surface area (31,722 km²).
  • It contains more water than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

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Two Major Fires Break out Near Tokyo, Japan

Posted by feww on August 24, 2015

Massive Fire Breaks Out at a Steel Plant in Kawasaki

A massive fire broke out at a steel plant in the industrial city of Kawasaki, near Haneda airport, about 25km from central Tokyo.

The fire started at a cooling tower in the plant, which is owned by Nippon Steel, a company official told AFP.

The blaze was the second large fire to break out in Japan on Monday, after a series of explosions rocked a US military base in Sagamihara, said a report.

Sagamihara [pop: 850,000,] located 40km southwest of Tokyo, is the third most populous city in Kanagawa prefecture.

Eyewitnesses described the blasts as a series of continuous explosions that lasted up to 15 minutes.

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FIRE-EARTH Q&A DAY: Combinations and Contours

Posted by feww on August 23, 2015

CJ Members

Combinations and Contours

  • FIRE-EARTH Q&A TODAY will start @ 23:32 UTC.

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Prolonged Drought Plagues Central America

Posted by feww on August 23, 2015

Drought severely affects millions in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras

A prolonged, debilitating drought is severely affecting Central America, leading to food shortages and threatening food insecurity in addition to water famine across the region.

drought-damaged maize
A farmer shows his maize crops severely damaged by the drought in Santa Cruz,  southern Honduras (Aug. 22, 2015). A  prolonged drought has affected at least 146 municipalities in Honduras. (Xinhua/Rafael Ochoa). More images…

“Since mid-July, nearly all of the Central America has experienced below-average rainfall, as the largest moisture deficits (<50 percent of normal) have been mainly observed in the Gulf of Fonseca region and in parts of northern Honduras according to satellite rainfall data. The drier than average rainfall has been preceded by both poor Primera rains season which has reportedly led to losses in maize and bean crops over the El Progreso, Zacapa, and Chiquimula departments of eastern Guatemala,” according to Climate Prediction Center.

drought central america
Climate Prediction Center’s Central America Hazards Outlook

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Explosion Destroys Chemical Plant in E China’s Shandong Province

Posted by feww on August 22, 2015

Powerful shockwave felt with 5-km radius of explosion

A large explosion has occurred at a chemical plant in eastern China’s Shandong province, reported the People’s Daily China. The site is reportedly less than a kilometer from residential areas.

The powerful blast destroyed the plant and shattered windows in nearby houses. It was felt within a five-kilometer radius of the explosion, local media reported.

Injuries have been reported. Residents in nearby communities are being evacuated.

Tianjin Blast Update

Meanwhile, death toll from north China’s Tianjin blast has risen to 121, including 67 fire crews and seven police officers, authorities said on Saturday.

A total of 54 people are still missing, including 37 fire crews and four police officers, ten days after the powerful blasts ripped through the plant in Tianjin Port on August 12, said the report

Some 640 people remain hospitalized, including 48 who were critically injured.

“Water samples from seven out of 27 locations within the [disaster] zone contained excessive levels of cyanide. The worst was up to 54.6 times higher than safe levels.”

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Federal Emergency Declared in Washington

Posted by feww on August 22, 2015

Washington Emergency Declaration

Washington Wildfires (EM-3372) – Incident period: August 13, 2015 – Emergency Declaration declared on August 21, 2015

The White House has declared an emergency exists in the State of Washington in the areas affected by wildfires beginning on August 13, 2015, and continuing.

Areas that are worst affected by the deadly blazes are the counties of Asotin, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Klickitat, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, and Yakima and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.

Washington Gov. had requested a Federal Disaster Declaration for the State of Washington as dozens of lightning-sparked wildfires raged uncontrollably killing and injuring fire crews.

“Currently 11 counties and 4 tribes are affected or threatened by fires with 39 confirmed residences and 60 other structures destroyed [and] over 235,000 acres burned,” Gov. Inslee had said in his official request. “Over 3,600 homes remain threatened, and these numbers are increasing each day as the largest fires remain uncontained.”

“Washington State had a major disaster declaration on August 11, 2014 for Washington Wildfires (DR-4188) in Okanogan County from the Carlton Complex Fire. The impacts of this current event are likely to exacerbate the ongoing housing and economic recovery efforts from the declared disaster last year.”

New Evacuation Orders Issued in Washington

The State emergency officials issued additional evacuation orders for more communities and towns threatened by deadly wildfires in Washington, including the entire population of Tonasket, and several parts of Okanogan, as dozens of large wildfires continued to scorch the drought-parched region.

Up to a 100 major fires are currently burning about 1.75 million acres in western, northwestern and southern U.S., according to FIRE-EARTH estimates.

The states reporting major wildfires are Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Washington, according to NIFC.

At least 41,525 fires have burned 7,293,666 acres so far this season, said NIFC.

Fire Management Assistance Declarations

The Federal Officials have also declared the following Fire Management Assistance Declarations:

  • Oregon Grizzly Bear Fire Complex (FM-5107)
    Incident period: August 13, 2015 – Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on August 21, 2015
  • Washington Twisp River Fire (FM-5106)
    Incident period: August 19, 2015 – Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on August 19, 2015

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Europe Plagued by ‘One of the Worst Droughts since 2003’

Posted by feww on August 21, 2015

Severe drought has severely affected Europe this summer

Parts of western, central and eastern Europe could continue to experience severe drought conditions in the foreseeable future, forecasters have warned.

Severe drought has affected much of the European continent since June 2015, one of the worst since the drought and heat wave of summer of 2003, according to the latest report by the JRC’s European Drought Observatory (EDO). “The drought, which particularly affects France, Benelux, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, northern Italy and northern Spain, is caused by a combination of prolonged rain shortages and exceptionally high temperatures,” said the report.

The prolonged rainfall shortage (since April) and the temperature anomalies in July caused a severe drought which affected soil moisture content and vegetation conditions. Furthermore, the areas with the largest rainfall deficits also recorded exceptionally high maximum daily temperatures: in some cases these reached record values.

Another characteristic of this period was the persistence of the thermal anomalies: in the entire Mediterranean region, and particularly in Spain, the heat wave was even longer than that of 2003, with maximum daily temperatures consistently above 30°C for durations of 30 to 35 days (even more than 40 days in Spain).

 

joint EU Research commission
Areas with the lowest soil moisture content since 1990 in July 2015 (in red) and in July 2003 (in blue). Source: JRC-EDEA database (EDO)

Temperature Analysis
Almost the entire European continent has been experiencing temperatures that were significantly above the seasonal norm since the beginning of June 2015. Spain, Benelux, Germany and France recorded maximum daily temperatures of up to 10°C above normal values in June., said the report. “Conditions got even worse in July, with absolute maximum daily values above 34-35°C in almost the entire EU and absolute maximum temperatures that were well above 40°C in many areas (e.g. 47.3°C in Apulia, 46.5°C in Andalucia, 46.2°C in southern Bulgaria and outhern Romania, 45.7°C in Alentejo, 44.7° in Sicily). Moreover, several areas in Germany, Benelux, France, Spain, Italy and even in Austria, the Czech Republic, the UK and Sweden recorded their highest maximum daily temperatures for July since 1975.”

Drought News August 2015 by EDO is posted at
http://edo.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/news/EDODroughtNews201508.pdf

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