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volcano

Thousands Of Citizens Evacuate Philippines As Mount Mayon Volcano Begins Spewing Lava And Sulfuric Gas 

Nearly 13,000 Philippine residents in the southeast of the country’s main island have been evacuated as the Mount Mayon volcano began spewing lava and sulfuric gas on Sunday, according to authorities. 

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recommended that everyone within a 3.7 mile radius of the Mount Mayon volcano is in a “danger zone” and should be evacuated as they’re at risk of rockfalls, landslides, and ballistic fragments. 

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On Thursday, the alert level on the volcano reached a 3 out of 5, leading to 88% of residents living within the danger zone to be evacuated. Efforts to relocate the rest are continuous, according to the Philippine Provincial Information Office. 

Mayon is known as one of the world’s most active volcanoes, located on Luzon island about 205 miles southeast of Manila. 

Phivolcs warned that a “hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or even days after detecting a relatively high level of unrest at the volcano.”

Phivolcs has also stated that within the past 24 hours, the Mayon Volcano network recorded 21 weak volcanic earthquakes, 260 rockfalls, and lava flow activity from the crater. THe agency also detected three pyroclastic density currents, which are very hot and fast-moving flows of ash, hot gases, and debris. 

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According to CNN Philippines, on Friday the government was able to release response funds to support affected residents after Albay province was placed under a state of calamity. 

Phivolcs director Teresito Bacolcol said they were “closely monitoring the situation at the volcano, and we could raise the alert level to 4 if there is an increase in volcanic earthquakes and inflation of the volcano’s edifice.”

Bacolcol also said “there was an effusive eruption Sunday night with lava flows observed to reach 1,640 feet from the volcano’s summit.”

“Lava flows are slow moving and effusive eruptions are generally less violent and produce less ash and volcanic gases than explosive eruptions,” he stated.

10,000 farm animals that were located in areas threatened by the volcano were also evacuated to feeding camps and shelters outside of the danger zone. Rescue and repair efforts are continuous and ongoing as authorities continue to monitor the Volcanoes activity. 

hurricaine

Hurricane Ian Barrels Toward South Carolina, Leaving Destruction in Its Wake

After pummeling Florida, Hurricane Ian has its sights set on South Carolina. The death toll from Ian, which made landfall as a category four hurricane in Florida, has now risen to 21. Authorities still have to confirm that the deaths were related to the storm.

Ian downgraded to a tropical storm before strengthening into a category one hurricane on its trajectory toward South Carolina. Meteorologists expect Ian to make landfall again in South Carolina today before moving northeast toward North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia Friday night through Saturday morning. It will be the first hurricane to hit South Carolina since Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

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Florida is still assessing the damage of Hurricane Ian, mostly from flooding. Early estimates say that the damage could cost up to $40 billion. Florida’s former emergency management chief told NYTimes, “Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island look like they will need to be 80% rebuilt.” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said it would be a yearslong recovery.

President Joe Biden said it could prove to be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history. Over two and a half million residents who were in the hurricane’s path are without power. Many are left with uninhabitable homes or do not have access to water, such as in Lee County, where a water main line broke.

“My message to the people of Florida and to the country in times like this: America comes together. We’re gonna pull together as one team, as one America. First thing this morning as I talked to Gov. DeSantis and again offered the fullest federal support.”

Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said that Floridians affected by Ian need to rely on their own supplies for food and water for the next day or so. The government advises residents to save enough food and water for seven days before a significant storm. From days 3 to 5 after the storm, the National Guard and local community distribution will serve water and dry food. Hot food distribution will follow shortly after.

Governor DeSantis said 700 rescues had been conducted so far by air. Before the storm hit, the state government asked residents planning to shelter in place to fill out a survey to allow officials to have demographic information.

“Some of the damage was almost indescribable. I would say the most significant damage that I saw was on Fort Myers Beach. Some of the homes were wiped out, some of it was just concrete slabs.”

In 2013, during his time in the House of Representatives, DeSantis was against federal aid for the New York region after the damage of Hurricane Sandy. Now, he is asking for governmental assistance to help his state. He told Tucker Carlson, “when people are fighting for their lives, when their whole livelihood is at stake, when they’ve lost everything — if you can’t put politics aside for that, then you’re just not going to be able to.”

At the time, DeSantis and Ted Yoho were the only House members to oppose the assistance package for Hurricane Sandy.

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President Biden said that the government would provide uninsured people in Florida an assistance of $37,900 for home repairs and another $37,900 for property loss. In Thursday’s speech, President Biden thanked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their prompt response.

“I’ve seen you in action all across the country from the West Coast of the Northwest and the Northeast, down in Louisiana, all across this country. And just in the last two weeks, you’ve been working 24/7. No matter what, when emergencies happen, FEMA is always there. You deserve the nation’s gratitude and full support.”

South Carolina is already feeling the effects of Hurricane Ian, with 10,000 residents without power. In anticipation of Ian’s arrival, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia declared a state of emergency. The National Weather Service says Hurricane Ian will likely not strengthen beyond a category one hurricane as it approaches South Carolina, sustaining wind speeds of 85 mph.

heat wave

Record High Temperatures Hit Europe, Prompting Multiple Heat Warnings 

The UK and other parts of Europe are gearing up for one of the hottest summers to date. Multiple countries, including France and Britain, have issued extreme heat warnings and are working to combat the spreading of multiple wildfires.

British authorities have declared a national emergency and issued a “red extreme” heat warning for the first time in England’s history. Meteorological services in France have placed a majority of the country under the highest possible alert level for heat. 

Forecasters are predicting that Monday and Tuesday will see record-high temperatures in Britain, rising up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 Celsius); the current record is 101.7 degrees Fahrenheit (38.7 Celsius) which occurred in 2019. 

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Nikos Christidis, a climate attribution researcher in the UK, recently spoke to the media stating that climate change is making extreme heat events much more common, especially in the summer months. 

“The chances of seeing 40°C days in the U.K. could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence,” he said in a statement

Spain, Portugal, and France are evacuating thousands of their residents due to the threat of ongoing wildfires caused by the extreme temperatures. Authorities have also been warning of degrading air quality in these areas as well, especially in more heavily populated cities. The north of Italy is currently experiencing a state of emergency as well due to the heat and the droughts it’s causing. 

The hospitals in these countries are also becoming overwhelmed due to the additional services they need to provide to help combat the negative impacts of the heat. Additionally, rising Covid-19 cases are putting extra pressure on the hospitals and healthcare services in these nations. 

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Spain’s public Carlos III Health Institute estimate data showed that 350 people died in the country last week due to the heat. Over 800 heat-related deaths were reported by the institute in June, where temperatures reached levels between 104 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit (40-43 Celsius). 

The UK Health Security Agency has issued a level four heat alert, the highest possible level, which warns of illness and possible death even for the healthiest of individuals due to the heat. 

People throughout Europe who live in poorer areas are more likely to live in buildings without access to air conditioning or greener spaces which have trees to offer natural cooling through shade. Christian Huyghe, scientific director at France’s National Institute of Agricultural Research discussed that this is likely just the beginning of the damage the world will experience from climate change. 

“What we see now is just the very beginning of the potential impact of climate change.”

Emergency orders and evacuations will likely continue this week as temperatures remain high.

Ukraine Conflict

Ukraine Updates: Mariupol Residents Evacuating, Resolution Could Mean US Intervention 

This Monday the residents of Mariupol, Ukraine began a mass evacuation with Ukrainian authorities assisting thousands of more residents escape the city that once held almost 500,000 citizens. 

Mayoral adviser Petro Andryushchenko told the media that buses were heading toward Zaporizhzhia, which is 140 miles west of Mariupol. Individuals who own cars are being encouraged to evacuate themselves as quickly as possible. 

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“We hope that thousands of our Mariupol residents … will get to Zaporizhzhia tonight or tomorrow morning,” Andryushchenko said Monday.

The Ukraine military said “civilians are already arriving in Zaporizhzhia [a city of about 750,000 people] and are being provided hot meals, physical and psychological examinations and medicines.”

“All evacuees will receive a calm refuge. Finally, these people will be able to feel safe.”

According to some estimates from authorities, about 100,000 people might still be trapped in the port city of Mariupol, with little access to food, water, and utilities. Several hundred of them are thought to be at a sprawling steel plant that is the last major holdout in the Russian-occupied city. 

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More than 100 citizens were evacuated from the Azovstal plant on Sunday before Russian shelling forced a temporary halt to the evacuation efforts. The Russian military claims that 69 individuals chose to evacuate while 57 others asked to stay under Russian control. 

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told media stations that civilians who remain in the plant were likely afraid that the buses they boarded would be taken to Russia, but he has UN assurances that citizens would be going to Ukraine-controlled areas. 

Representative Adam Kinzinger is planning on introducing a joint resolution that would authorize President Joe Biden to use US military forces in Ukraine if Russia uses chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. 

“The legislation of the use of force would be used to protect the national security interests of the United States with respect to Ukraine and assist in defending and restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine.” 

“The authority would terminate when the territorial integrity of Ukraine has been restored,” according to the resolution.

“Putin must be stopped. Accordingly, the commander in chief of the world’s greatest military should have the authority and means to take the necessary actions to do so,” Kinzinger said.

California Wildfires Growing At Rapid Pace, National Forests Close As A Result 

Millions of acres of national forest space in Northern California are being closed due to dangerous conditions created by wildfires that have already destroyed hundreds of homes. The US Forest Service announced this week that it would be closing nine national forests stretching from Lake Tahoe to the Six Rivers National Forest. 

The Eldorado National Forest has already been closed due to the Caldor Fire which greatly damaged over 100 square miles of land. In two days the wildfires in California have grown 10 times their original size. 

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25,000 Californians are currently under evacuation orders due to the fires as well. More than 650 firefighters and 13 helicopters were recently battling a deadly blaze near Lake Tahoe.

“The hope is with the additional resources and personnel on scene, we can really start to build that box around this fire and start the containment,” said Keith Wade of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

“The fire wants us bad because it’s made every attempt it can to get out of that canyon and up this way,” Thurman said. “So they keep beating it down. And it’s just … it’s resilient, it’s stubborn, it won’t go away. That’s all we can do,” said Thurman Conroy and his wife, Michele, who stayed behind to protect their house and their business, Conroy General Store. 

Evacuees from the Caldor fire found refuge in places like the Green Valley Community Church in Placerville, where a multitude of tents and trailers have been set up. Over a dozen fires have been threatening thousands of homes, and the recent heat waves in America have forced small communities to evacuate into safer spaces away from the fire’s path. 

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More than 10,000 firefighters have been deployed throughout the state to minimize the damage. Authorities claim the Dixie Fire, which began on July 13th in the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades area, has spread over 1,060 square miles and has only been 35% contained. 

The fire completely gutted the town of Greenville two weeks ago, destroying over 1,200 buildings, including 649 homes, according to ongoing damage assessments from the state. 

So far no deaths have been reported in these fires but a handful of injuries have come up. One small but destructive fire completely burned through a mobile home park, destroying about 50 homes. 

Climate change in general has made the West coast much warmer and drier within the past couple of decades, which makes it much easier for these fires to start and spread uncontrollably. Scientists claim the weather will only continue to become more destructive as climate change continues to worsen and be ignored by our government. 

The US Forest Service has contacted Canada, Mexico, and Australia for wildfire assistance, however, all of their services are currently being occupied by their own climate disasters and wildfires.

More Than 18,000 Evacuated In Australia Due To ‘Life-Threatening’ Floods 

More than 18,000 Australian residents have been evacuated in New South Wales (NSW) due to heavy rains and major flooding in the area which is causing some areas of the nation to resemble “island seas,” according to residents. 

The heavy rains have been impacting NSW since last Thursday but the flooding got really severe over the weekend. Images began circulating online of full roads, trees, and houses, completely submerged in water. Up to 38 areas across the state are considered to be natural disaster areas currently and 19 evacuation orders have been issued so far, according to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian who spoke at a news conference this morning. 

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, “much of the flooding has hit the mid-north coast, from Hunter Valley near Sydney to Coffs Harbour, but severe weather warnings have also been extended to include districts on the state’s south coast for Tuesday as the rains are forecast to shift. Heavy rainfall is also developing inland in the north of the state Monday, while in the east, life-threatening extensive flooding and heavy rain continues.”

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A severe weather warning has also been issued for Queensland which neighbors NSW.  According to Premier Berejiklian, the homes that were devastated by the 2019/2020 wildfires now have to cope with extreme flooding conditions.

“Communities who were battered by the bushfires are now being battered by the floods and a deep drought prior to that. I don’t know anytime in our state’s history where we’ve had these extreme weather conditions in such quick succession in the middle of a pandemic. You’ve been through three or four incidents which are life changing on top of each other. It can make you feel like you are at breaking point.”

Some places have seen close to 40 inches of rain in less than a week, and increased rainfall of about 2-4 inches is expected to hit Sydney this whole week. The worst-affected areas so far have seen rainfall that has been up to five times as strong as what the nation normally expects for this time of year. 

Bureau of Meteorology’s Jane Golding said in a news conference that “the huge rainfalls have been driven by two weather systems colliding. A slow moving coastal trough and the approach of another system coming through from the west is pumping down tropical moisture into the state, which is then being whipped up by strong easterly winds.”

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“With this approach of this new system coming from the west which is approaching today, we’re expecting this heavy rain to fall in areas that haven’t seen as much rain over the last few days, and we’re expecting the flood risk to develop in those areas as well,” she explained. 

Justin Robinson is the Bureau of Meteorology’s national flood manager, who recently spoke to the press about his extensive amount of experience with flooding in Australia. 

“I’ve been a flood forecaster for 20 years and this is probably the worst flooding I’ve ever seen. We’ve got a flood watch that covers all the way from the Queensland border down to the Victoria border, along all those coastal rivers.”

The NSW emergency service networks have said many of the areas across the state “resemble an island sea,” and they’re already preparing for the massive clean up effort that will need to be done once all the rain finally subsides. Premier Berejiklian claimed she has spoken with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison about calling in the military for backup when it comes time to clean and recover.

Australia Bushfire

Deadly Bushfires Burning Out Of Control In Several Areas of Australia

Bushfires season has started with a bang in Australia with fires raging up the east coast and warnings of ‘extremely dangerous conditions’ being raised across the country in Western Australia.

This past week has seen fire crews battling over 120 fires in both New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland as well as hundreds of properties being destroyed and even loss of life in some areas.

A man who has yet to be identified was found by fire fighters in destroyed bush land around 250 miles north of Sydney which follows the earlier deaths of Julie Fletcher, 63, George Nole, age unknown, and Vivian Chaplain, 69, all of whom were found in separate locations around NSW.

And with more than a million hectares of land being consumed by the fires since September – more than three times the amount for the whole of last year’s season – fire chiefs have warned that the worst is ‘still ahead of us’.

Residents in Queensland were forced to flee their homes after over 70 fires activated emergency warnings. Although most home owners headed to safer territory some stayed to try to defend their homes, working with fire crews as and where they could.

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In Yeppoon, 400 miles north of Brisbane, Queensland, a 16 year old boy has been charged with arson after it was claimed he had deliberately started a damaging fire, resulting in the loss of 14 homes. Fortunately there were no fatalities in this scenario. Potential arson attacks in the Sydney suburb of South Turramurra have also been criticized by their shocked mayor, Jennifer Anderson, ‘As mayor it seems almost unimaginable that someone would put our community in such danger’.

While in Pechey, just north of Toowoomba (around 78 miles from Brisbane) severe winds brought down a privately owned helicopter that was dropping water onto fires, causing injuries to the 70 year old pilot. Although the pilot was taken to hospital in a stable condition the crash landed helicopter brought fresh problems to the fire fighters, with many fearing it could explode thanks to the winds moving the fires across the land.

Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers confirmed that the fight to control the fires was on-going thanks to the predicted higher temperatures coming in although even in the milder temperatures there was still plenty of ‘aggressive fire behavior simply because it’s so dry’.

And even with aerial water drops from helicopters the fires are still burning out of control thanks to the ferocious winds making the flames change directions so often it is difficult to know where to start first.

In New South Wales officials issued the greater Sydney area with its first ever ‘catastrophic’ fire warning and residents have also had to evacuate their homes and some schools have had to close.

Over the last few days fire-fighters have been drafted in from other states as well as New Zealand to help fight the fires and give the Queensland and NSW fire departments some much needed rest before they head back out again. Although there are currently more than 1000 fire-fighters at any one time in the field, it is also believed the army will be called in to carry out Australia’s largest peacetime military operation to help not only with extinguishing the fires but also the massive clear-up operation that will be required once the fires have finally burnt out.

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On the other side of the country in Western Australia two blazes have threatened homes in the port city of Geraldton, roughly 260 miles north of its capital Perth while around twelve fires continue to burn in other areas of the state.

With the bush fire season starting earlier, lasting longer and seeing a much higher amount of scrub land lost – as well as all the wildlife that are in these areas – many are asking if it has anything to do with climate change.

2017 was Australia’s fourth hottest year on record while 2018 was its third, however it was also the warmest summer on record, showing that temperatures are increasing across this great continent. Climate change has been attributed to conditions including increasing temperatures as well as a rise in natural disasters across the world such as fires, droughts, severe snow and tsunamis.

Although this is a worldwide problem, a recent UN report declared Australia was not doing enough in reducing the CO2 emissions. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to answer questions on climate change while his government ministers continue to dismiss climate change concerns completely.

Last week also saw a coalition of retired fire chiefs call out the government for ignoring their warning about the potential for increasing fire tragedies due to climate change.

Tasmanian former chief fire officer Mike Brown stated ‘Things aren’t going to get better if our elected leaders don’t face this issue head on, and deliver the emissions reductions we need.’

Wildfires

Sonoma County Wildfires Force Over 200,000 Californians To Evacuate

California is finding themselves devastated again this month, as over 200,000 individuals have been evacuated from their Northern Californian homes in an effort to protect themselves from massive wildfires that are now spreading. The Kincade Fires have now spread to parts of Sonoma Country due to an increase in powerful winds this past weekend. According to The Washington Post, California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a statewide emergency now that the fires have touched down on both ends of the state. 

The Kincade Fire has burned through 54,000 acres of land (Post), as of Sunday night (10/27/19). California Fire has announced that so far the fires are only 5% contained, and anyone evacuated should remain where they are until further notice is given. A total of 94 major structures have been destroyed, one of which being the Soda Rock Winery, a widely popular tourist destination.

“An evacuation order has been issued for the Markwest/Larkfield Wikiup area due to a fast moving fire. If still in this area, you need to evacuate immediately.Residents in the area had received evacuations before. This is a warning for those who may have not left. #KincadeFiretweeted from the official County of Sonoma account. 

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Earlier this month Pacific Gas and Electric cut off the Bay area’s power in a greater attempt to prevent wildfires such as this one from occurring. However, clearly the efforts didn’t work as effectively as hoped, and those 1.3 million individuals who had their power cut are now still left without electricity due to the wildfire itself, or in an attempt to prevent further spreading and electrical issues. In addition, Sonoma County announced that all 40 schools within its system will be closed both today and tomorrow, Tuesday the 29th, which is affecting over 70,000 students (Post). 

In addition to the 1.3 million individuals who lost power due to PG&E’s “preventative measure” initiative, the company has now also cut 23,000 Sonoma County customers power, according to Twitter

“PG&E has shut off gas to 23,000 customers in northern Sonoma County near the #Kincadefire footprint. More gas shut-offs further south, including Sebastopol and north Santa Rosa, may be in the works, depending on the fire’s motion,” – @wsreports

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Two firefighters have been injured in the process of containing these now massive wildfires, and over 3,400 personnel are out there fighting to contain these flames as much as possible. Their focus has been on the Sonoma County area, and the North Bay regions of California in general. These areas have seen a devastating period of extreme winds that not only fuel the fires to grow larger, but spread them as well. The winds have luckily calmed down this morning after a brutal 36 hours, and now first responders are focused on containing the fire in general and doing damage control. 

According to the Post, the air condition in the Northern Bay California regions have already been reaching a record high in dryness levels. This has caused a “Red Flag” warning to be distributed throughout the Bay area, which basically means the weather is in a critical condition that is dangerous, and can spread easily, making evacuation mandatory. The National Weather Service also told the Post that they’re expecting another round of heavy winds this Tuesday, and predict it will last through Wednesday afternoon. The wind threat is enough to maintain a “Red Flag” warning surrounding the Bay Area, as they are expecting wind speeds to reach up to 65 miles per hour. 

The main goal is preventative care, rescue, and most importantly containment of the already huge wildfire that’s spreading throughout the state.