Mild quakes in Maharashtra


Pune, Nov 24 (IANS) A series of mild tremors, measuring up to 4.3 on the Richter scale, were experienced in parts of Maharashtra Saturday afternoon, the Meteorological Department here said.

Koinu region in the state experienced a slight intensity earthquake at 16.28 hours (IST).
Its epicentre was located at 17.0 degrees North latitude and 74.0 degrees East longitude.
It was followed by two more tremors in the same region.

Bangladesh cyclone toll could hit 10,000


By Anis Ahmed

DHAKA (Reuters) – Grieving survivors and rescuers picked through the rubble left in the wake of a super cyclone that battered Bangladesh as the death toll reached over 2,200 on Sunday and a government official declared the disaster “a national calamity”.

Mohammad Abdur Rob, chairman of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, said the overall death toll from the cyclone could reach 10,000.

“Based on our experience in the past and reports from the scene I would guess the death toll may be as high as 10,000,” he told Reuters.

Bangladesh officials also expected the death toll to rise as the search for hundreds of people missing after Thursday night’s storm intensified.

Military ships and helicopters were trying to reach thousands of people believed stranded on islands in the Bay of Bengal and in coastal areas still cut off by the devastating storm.

The disaster ministry had recorded 2,217 deaths by Sunday evening, but local media put the figure at more than 3,000. A much improved disaster preparedness plan has been credited with saving scores of lives.

Local officials in affected areas say the death toll given by the ministry is far below the real numbers.

“Some 2,000 people have died in my area alone,” said Anwar Panchayet, chairman of Southkhali, in the district of Bagerhat.

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Cyclone lashes Bangladesh coast


Dhaka, Nov 15 (DPA) A powerful cyclone buffeted the southern Bangladesh coast Thursday after its peripheral winds touched off high waves and floods on the country’s islands, officials said.

Nearly a million people living in coastal villages were moved to safe locations as forecasters expected the storm to batter the coast with winds of more than 200 km per hour.

Disaster management officials said over 50,000 Red Cross volunteers and members of civil defence groups were put on alert ahead of the cyclone’s landfall.

A red alert was sounded as the country’s interim government closed airports, seaports and ferry stations.

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Volcano Heats Up, May Erupt in Indonesia


Irwan Firdaus, Associated Press

Indonesia’s deadly Mount Kelud spewed fresh clouds of smoke Monday, and the temperature of its crater lake soared.

Scientists said an eruption now could be much stronger than the last time the volcano blew its top in 1990.

At least two more of Indonesia’s approximately 100 active volcanoes also were emitting smoke, with one—Anak Krakatau —spitting glowing stones and lava as well, illustrating the powerful seismic forces under the archipelago.

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The Apocalypse Will Be Televised


A.K.Gupta, ZNet

The Revolution, Gil Scott-Heron prophesized, will not be televised, but at least the apocalypse will. It will be televised and googled, blogged, vlogged and 24-7 entertainment. It will be a CNN special; it will star fleeing celebrities and a cast of millions; it will be sponsored by that delightful cockney-accented gecko (and a multitude of oil companies).

Empowered by our media-rich environment, we can chronicle nonstop the minutiae and magnitude of mega environmental disasters.

How times have changed.

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‘Disaster Recovery is Directly Related to Democracy’


Rehabilitation expert Mihir Bhatt trades notes with US Senator HILLMAN FRAZIER who had a key part in the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts

Mihir Bhatt, director, All India Disaster Mitigation Institute, India’s leading action research organisation working in five states, met Mississippi State Senator Hillman Frazier, who played a key role in addressing the impact of Hurricane Katrina in the US, with a direct focus on citizens and budgets. Frazier discussed ways to improve Indo-US collaboration in reducing risks in communities.
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Tsunami funds for tourism lobby questioned


Thiruvanathapuram (KSMTF Press Release): Plans by Kerala Tourism and the Harbour Engineering Department to construct an artificial reef in Kovalam, by using funds from the Central Government assisted Tsunami Rehabilitation Project, have come under fire from the fishing community. Reports indicate that a New Zealand based marine consultancy firm ASR ‘Amalgamates Solutions and Research’ Ltd will be paid 4 crore rupees to construct a 500 metre long artificial reef adjacent to Kovalam beach. The city based Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS) is reported to be in support of the project.

Tourism department officials claim that the primary purpose of the artificial reef will be to break waves, thereby mitigating the potential impacts of another Tsunami. Therefore the Tsunami Rehabilitation money being tapped into. Tourism Department officials also claim that the reef will help promote tourism activities such as water skiing, surfing and
swimming. Another plus is that the area encircled by the reef can be used as a fish breeding ground. The reef is to be constructed with geo-textile bags which will have a length of 50 metres and 5 metres in width.

‘This is a clear cut case of Tsunami funds being diverted for the benefit of the tourism lobby in the state’, said T Peter president of the Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation (KSMTF).

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Tsunami warning system unveiled


Hyderabad (Express News Service)
India on monday unveiled its own tsunami early warning system put together by scientists, barely three years after it wreaked havoc along the country’s southern coastline. The National Early Warning System for Tsunami and Storm Surges in the Indian Ocean was inaugurated by Minister of Earth Sciences Kapil Sibal in a ceremony attended by Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, top scientists and senior government officials.

The tsunami warning centre, which took shape at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), would issue alerts for the killer waves within 30 minutes of an earthquake. “We had promised to put in place a tsunami warning system soon after the December 2004 tsunami devastated many coastal parts of the country. We deliver the system today,” Sibal said after the inauguration.

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Dozens killed in worst Vietnam floods in decades


THANH HOA, Vietnam (Reuters) – More than 50 people were killed or missing after a typhoon, floods and landslides cut power and closed roads in what officials in two Vietnam provinces on Sunday described as some of the worst flooding in decades.

The government storm prevention committee said 37 people were killed and 15 missing. State-run Vietnam Television reported 55 dead and missing in the aftermath of typhoon Lekima, which slammed into several provinces on Wednesday night.

Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces in north-central Vietnam were hit hardest by torrential rains and strong winds.

“This may be the worst flooding since 1945,” said Phan Dang Khoa, a Communist Party official in Thach Thanh district of Thanh Hoa where a dyke broke on the Buoi river, causing extensive flooding.

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