Category Archives: disaster

On the Korean Peninsula

More than 1,500 residents in the southeastern port city of Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, have been displaced by Wednesday’s 5.4 magnitude earthquake and a series of aftershocks following the initial tremor.

 

It gets worse:

The Pohang earthquake on Wednesday that has rekindled national anxiety over the safety of nuclear power plants — mostly located in the southeastern part of the Korean Peninsula — is likely to add momentum to the Moon Jae-in government’s nuclear-free energy road map.

Anti-nuclear groups here anticipate the agenda may even rethink the recent decision to continue with the construction of new reactors.

 

In other news:

Presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday that South Korea has no authority to change the rules of engagement applied to the Joint Security Area amid controversy over its soldiers’ decision not to return fire at North Korean soldiers who were chasing a defecting soldier.

A Cheong Wa Dae official said the authority to change the rules falls under the United Nations Command. The UNC assumes operational control of the JSA, where the North Korean soldier had crossed toward the UNC-controlled area under about 40 rounds of heavy fire from his former comrades.

And that is part of the problem. Who runs South Korea – the UN, China or North Korea?

 

Also:

The North Korean soldier who dashed across the border to defect is a 20-something noncommissioned officer who had served at the Joint Security Area in the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone, South Korea’s spy agency said Thursday.

Four of the soldier’s former comrades chased him toward the Demilitarized Zone, the de facto border between the two Koreas. They shot at him about 40 times. It is unclear whether they continued to shoot after the solider crossed the Military Demarcation Line and entered the territory controlled by the United Nations Command.

When he was found under a pile of leaves south of the MDL, he was unarmed and wearing a Korean People’s Army Uniform. He was also bloodied from gunshots to his shoulder, elbow and abdomen. He was rescued by South Korean soldiers and transported to a local hospital.

“His rank amounts to staff sergeant,” the National Intelligence Service was quoted as saying by Rep. Kim Byung-kee, who attended the closed-door meeting. “Regarding his personal belongings, we didn’t find anything special.”

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Earthquake in South Korea

 

The government on Wednesday rolled out emergency response measures following the 5.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the southeastern industrial city of Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province.

The quake occurred at around 2:29 p.m. some 9 kilometers north of Pohang and a series of aftershocks followed, the Korea Meteorological Administration said. A quake that struck South Korea last year at magnitude 5.8 in the nearby city of Gyeongju is the only stronger one on record.

The initial quake, the second largest on record in South Korea, was followed by a 4.6-magnitude quake at about 4:49 p.m.

According to the Ministry of Interior and Safety, no fatalities were immediately reported to the authorities. As of 5 p.m., 10 light injuries were reported in Daegu and the North Gyeongsang Province area.

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Earthquake in Greece

Terrible:

At least two people have been killed and more than 120 injured on the Greek island of Kos after a strong earthquake hit the region.

The 6.5 magnitude quake struck on Thursday night with an epicentre approximately 6.4 miles (10.3km) south of Bodrum, Turkey, and 10 miles (16.2km) east of Kos.

Two male tourists from Turkey and Sweden died after the walls of a bar in Kos broke apart and crashed down on revellers.

Dozens of aftershocks have been reported, while the quake also caused small tsunamis in Kos and Gumbet, a Turkish coastal town.

In the Turkish resort of Bodrum, around 70 people were taken to hospital, having been injured as they tried to escape the quake.

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Extended State of Emergency in BC

British Columbia’s government took the unprecedented step on Wednesday of extending a state of emergency by two weeks as it battled 140 wildfires that have forced about 45,000 people from their homes.

The province’s Premier John Horgan said evacuated households would receive C$600 ($476.53) from the government to cover basic needs for every 14 days they cannot return home. The government announced the first such payment earlier this month after establishing a C$100 million fund.

“Traditionally when an emergency is declared people are usually back in their homes within the two week period. That may not be the case for many individuals,” Horgan told reporters, in his first major announcement since taking office on Tuesday.

On July 7, the Canadian province declared its first state of emergency since 2003 as gusty winds fanned fires that were caused by lightning and humans in the tinder-dry central and southern regions.

The fires have shut mines and timber operations and damaged homes and electrical infrastructure.

Canadian military aircraft have joined thousands of firefighters from as far away as Australia to battle the fires.

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Smoke From BC Now in Alberta and Saskatchewan

Wildfires burning in British Columbia are causing smoky conditions in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Alberta Health Services has issued air-quality advisories in its north and Calgary zones.

It says even healthy people may feel irritation in their eyes and throat, as well as possible shortness of breath.

The health agency is advising people to minimize outdoor physical activity and keep windows and doors closed.

Environment Canada has also issued special air-quality statements for much of southwestern Saskatchewan.

It says children, seniors, and people with cardiovascular or lung diseases are especially at risk.

More than a dozen of the more than 160 wildfires in central and southern B.C. are threatening communities.

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Flood in Colombia Kills Over 200 People

Terrible:

Families and rescuers searched desperately on Sunday through mud-plastered rubble for victims of flooding and landslides in Colombia that have killed at least 210 people, injured hundreds and devastated entire neighborhoods.

Several rivers burst their banks near the southwestern city of Mocoa in the early hours of Saturday, sending water, mud and debris crashing down streets and into houses as people slept.

 

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An Audit Finds Major Problems With the Government Crisis Response Centre

Oh, goody gum-drops:

The federal government’s crisis response centre is outdated, understaffed and “inadequate” for co-ordinating emergency situations such as national security threats or natural disasters, a new audit warns.

In 2015, the Government Operations Centre (GOC) was called on to triage more then 5,000 incidents. Of those, more than 500 were deemed to be of national interest, requiring a risk assessment, planning and co-ordinated response, making it a vital nerve centre.

But a Public Safety Canada audit found persistent problems — even after a 2010 review revealed “widespread confusion and uncertainty” about the operation centre’s mandate and its ability to fulfil its role.

The latest audit assessed the policies, processes, controls and protocols the GOC uses to respond to and manage emergency events ranging from flooding and industrial accidents to acts of terrorism and cyber events. It was completed in October 2016 and recently published online.

People interviewed for the audit identified challenges with communications, outdated technology and the ability to staff up quickly, the so-called “surge capacity” required to respond to emergencies.

But the interviewees cited the current physical infrastructure — the building, its fixtures, equipment and utilities systems — as posing the greatest risk.

 

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At least 120 reported dead after strong earthquake rocks central Italy

italy earthquake survivor

A powerful earthquake killed at least 120 people and destroyed a cluster of small mountain villages in Central Italy Wednesday,as rescue workers were digging frantically through the rubble of historic buildings for any survivors.

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi announced the updated death toll. Among the hardest hit towns was Amatrice, a village of 2,700 in the province of Rieti. Survivors painted a grim picture of devastation following the magnitude-6.2 quake, which struck at 3:36 a.m. and was felt as far away as Rome.

“The town isn’t here anymore,” said Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor of Amatrice. “We came out to the piazza, and it looked like Dante’s Inferno,” said Agostino Severo, a Rome resident visiting Illica. “People crying for help, help. Rescue workers arrived after one hour… one and a half hours.”


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Shocking before and after pictures show how Italian towns have been completely destroyed by the devastating earthquake

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Devastating Earthquake in Italy

A strong earthquake in central Italy reduced three towns to rubble as people slept early Wednesday, killing at least 73 people and injuring hundreds more as rescue crews raced to dig out survivors with bulldozers and their bare hands.

The toll was likely to rise as crews reached homes in more remote hamlets where the scenes were apocalyptic “like Dante’s Inferno,” according to one witness. Complicating matters was that the area is a popular vacation spot in summer, with populations swelling, making the number of people in the area at the time difficult to estimate.

“The town isn’t here anymore,” said Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor of Amatrice. “I believe the toll will rise.”

The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome, where residents woke to a long swaying followed by aftershocks. The temblor shook the Lazio region and Umbria and Le Marche on the Adriatic coast.

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