Tag: Earthquake

Dec 26

Christmas Earthquake & Tsunami Remembered

On December 26, 2004 at 00:58:53 UTC an 9.3 earthquake deep in the Indian Ocean centered just off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggered a massive tsumani that wiped out the coast line of that island and effected 14 other nations in Southeast Asia and Africa. It is estimated to have killed over 250,000 people but the real death toll will never be truly known. It was still Christmas in New York City, when word started trickling in about the devastation.

Ten years later, much of Indonesia and the region has bounced back but for many the scars still remain and they still mourn.

People across Southeast Asia gathered along the shores of the Indian Ocean on Friday to mark the 10th anniversary of the devastating tsunami of 2004.

One of the deadliest natural disasters in modern history, it killed 230,000 people and displaced millions in 12 countries.

Services were held to remember the dead in countries including Indonesia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. Moments of silence were planned in several locations to mark the exact time the tsunami hit.

“I cannot forget the smell of the air, the water at that time … even after 10 years,” Teuku Ahmad Salman said at a prayer service attended by thousands of people in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

Sobbing, the 51-year-old said: “I cannot forget how I lost hold of my wife, my kids, my house.”

He said he refused to believe for years that his family had died, but eventually gave up looking for them.

There are some excellent before and after pictures in this article by Margaret Munro in the National Post:

Huge waves washing boats, vehicles, trees and bodies up streets and hillsides. Desperate parents and families searching for children and relatives who had been swept away. Heart-breaking images of missing tourists, last seen smiling under sunny skies and palm trees.

The Boxing Day tsunami off the Indonesian coast of Sumatra on Dec. 26, 2004 was one of the world’s worst disasters.

A magnitude 9.1 earthquake had unzipped a 1,300-kilometre subduction zone, heaving the sea floor and generating killer waves that took almost a quarter of a million lives (more than 230,000) in 14 countries.

Scientists knew the quake had occurred – it was picked up on seismographs half a world away – and suspected a tsunami was racing across the Indian Ocean. But there was no effective way to warn communities so people could head to higher ground, even though in some regions it took hours for the giant waves to arrive.

Jan 19

Haiti: Three Years Later

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

On Jan 12, 2010, a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the island nation of Haiti. The quake alone killed an over 300,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless. Ten months later a cholera epidemic broke out that has taken nearly 8,000 more lives. More than $9 billion has been donated from the public and private sectors to help rebuild. Yet three years later, there are still nearly 300,000 Haitians living in tents, the cholera epidemic is barely under control and the infrastructure is still a shambles.

‘Lack of national plan’ heightens struggle to rebuild unstable Haiti

by Mike Tran, The Guardian

Political instability, natural disasters and a cholera epidemic, plus a confused aid effort, mean there is still work for Haiti to do

For Father Kawas, who co-ordinated emergency response efforts in 2010 (video), several reasons lie behind the continued existence of tent cities where people swelter during the day and are soaked by evening rains.

But the main one is the government’s inability to acquire land from powerful families around the capital. “I think it’s difficult to rehouse these people because most of the land surrounding Port-au-Prince belongs to very powerful families and those families don’t want to give the land to the state to rehouse people. It’s a very big problem because those families are very powerful and they have many political resources so they can influence the decisions of the state.” [..]

Poverty was cited by Father Kawas as another reason why so many people remain homeless. “They don’t have enough money to rent a house, or to rebuild a house,” he says. “It is difficult for them because most of them don’t work, they have no jobs. NGOs cannot do everything. They cannot rehouse all the people in Haiti.” [..]

Haiti’s state institutions were fragile even before the earthquake and were weakened by the disaster. The Haitian government has received little in reconstruction funds as foreign governments have had little faith in its ability to handle the relief effort. That the government has yet to draw up a national reconstruction plan speaks volumes.

“The big problem for NGOs and for many actors in Haiti is the lack of a national plan for construction,” says Father Kawas. “The government speaks about that but right now, we don’t see this plan and we know that this plan is very important for the country, for the development of the country. For example, the NGOs are working separately, in isolation, and there is no co-ordination, there is no plan [from] the government, so for me it’s a real problem for the development of the country. And the international organisations do the same.”

Father Kawas acknowledges the difficulties in trying to strengthen his government, but urged aid agencies to provide training for public employees, as well as to help parliament and political parties.

“In Haiti, the public administration does not function, it’s a real problem. The government cannot put in practice its policies if the public administration does not function so it’s a real necessity for foreign governments to help the Haitian government find solutions.”

Haiti’s earthquake generated a $9bn response – where did the money go?

by Vijaya Ramachandran, The Guardian

Uncertainty about the scale and outcome of spending following Haiti tragedy highlights need for greater transparency

Saturday (Jan 12, 2010) marked the third anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Haiti that claimed between 230,000 and 300,000 lives. The grim landmark has prompted much discussion about the struggles surrounding reconstruction and also some hope about what may come next.

Most observers agree that the international response to the quake was overwhelming. Haiti received an unprecedented amount of support: more than $9bn (£5.6bn) in public and private donations. Official bilateral and multilateral donors pledged $13bn and, according to the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti, almost 50% of these pledges ($6bn) have been disbursed. Private donations are estimated at $3bn.

Where has all the money gone? Three years after the quake, we do not really know how the money was spent, how many Haitians were reached, or whether the desired outcomes were achieved. In a policy paper published in May, and in a more recent blogpost, we unpacked the numbers, many of which came from the UN Office of the Special Envoy.

Three Years After the Quake, How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster

Three years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, we’re joined by Jonathan Katz, author of “The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster.” The earthquake on January 12, 2010, ultimately resulted in the deaths of roughly 300,000 people and left more than 1.5 million homeless in what was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. A cholera epidemic, widely blamed on international U.N. troops, killed almost 8,000 people, making more than half a million sick. Today, despite pledges of billions of dollars in international aid, rebuilding has barely begun, and almost 400,000 people are still living in crowded camps. After four years of reporting in Haiti, Katz joins us to discuss where the reconstruction effort went wrong

Part 2: Jonathan Katz on How the World Came to Save Haiti After Quake and Left Behind a Disaster

There is hope for Haiti, despite what the critics say

There is still a long way to go.

Mar 11

Remembering Japan

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

A Peaceful Journey To The Other Side

Japan Finds Story of Hope in Undertaker Who Offered Calm Amid Disaster

KAMAISHI, Japan – Amid the grief of finding her mother’s body at a makeshift morgue in this tsunami-ravaged city last March, Fumie Arai took comfort in a small but surprising discovery. Unlike the rest of the muddied body, her mother’s face had been carefully wiped clean.

Mrs. Arai did not know at the time, but the act was the work of a retired undertaker well-versed in the ancient Buddhist rituals of preparing the dead for cremation and burial. The undertaker, Atsushi Chiba, a father of five who cared for almost 1,000 bodies in Kamaishi, has now become an unlikely hero in a community trying to heal its wounds a year after the massive earthquake and tsunami that ravaged much of Japan’s northeastern coast a year ago Sunday.

“I dreaded finding my mother’s body, lying alone on the cold ground among strangers,” Mrs. Arai, 36, said. “When I saw her peaceful, clean face, I knew someone had taken care of her until I arrived. That saved me.”

An small act of kindness in the midst of chaos. Blessed Be

The Wheel Turns

Mar 17

A Beautiful Day To Die

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The earthquake and the tsunami and the nuclear event have finally shut me up.  I haven’t been able to write. I don’t have anything clear or witty or insightful or clever or new to say about these events.  I am avoiding the talking heads on TV, and I’m reading as little as possible about the event on the Internet, and I’ve been absent from this blog. Why? Because I have no confidence at all that what I’d hear or read would be the truth. And I have the dreadful thought that the situation in Japan is far, far worse than what we are being told. I have no proof for the last sentence other than the plethora of contradictions I find in the news stories. And a tight feeling in my heart and chest and stomach that warns of impending, large scale disaster. I hope I’m wrong about this, but alas, I don’t think I am.

Mar 14

Meltdowns: From Bad to Nightmare

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

After an earthquake that has now been upgraded by Japanese officials to a magnitude 9.0, with a tsunami that has devastated the northeastern region of the main island of Japan, it is now becoming evident that there are two nuclear reactors that may be in meltdown which would be a nuclear disaster on an unimaginable scale. The Japanese government has ordered the evacuation of nearly a quarter of a million people from the area and state of emergency has been declared for the area because of the damage to five nuclear reactors after two of the units lost cooling ability.

Japanese Scramble to Avert Meltdowns as Nuclear Crisis Deepens After Quake

TOKYO – Japanese officials struggled on Sunday to contain a widening nuclear crisis in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake and tsunami, saying they presumed that partial meltdowns had occurred at two crippled reactors and that they were facing serious cooling problems at three more.

The emergency appeared to be the worst involving a nuclear plant since the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago. The developments at two separate nuclear plants prompted the evacuation of more than 200,000 people. Japanese officials said they had also ordered up the largest mobilization of their Self-Defense Forces since World War II to assist in the relief effort.

On Saturday, Japanese officials took the extraordinary step of flooding the crippled No. 1 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 170 miles north of Tokyo, with seawater in a last-ditch effort to avoid a nuclear meltdown.

Then on Sunday, cooling failed at a second reactor – No. 3 – and core melting was presumed at both, said the top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano. Cooling had failed at three reactors at a nuclear complex nearby, Fukushima Daini, although he said conditions there were considered less dire for now.

Japanese authorities rush to save lives, avert nuclear crisis

Sendai, Japan (CNN) — Japanese authorities are operating on the presumption that possible meltdowns are under way at two nuclear reactors, two days after a massive earthquake, a government official said Sunday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano added, however, that there have been no indications yet of hazardous emissions of radioactive material into the atmosphere.

The attempts to avert a possible nuclear crisis, centered on the Fukushima Daiichi facility in northeast Japan, came as rescuers frantically scrambled to find survivors following the country’s strongest-ever earthquake and a devastating tsunami that, minutes later, brought crushing walls of water that wiped out nearly everything in their paths.

Edano told reporters there is a “possibility” of a meltdown at the plant’s No. 1 reactor, adding, “It is inside the reactor. We can’t see.” He then said authorities are also “assuming the possibility of a meltdown” at the facility’s No. 3 reactor.

How the Japan Earthquake Shortened Days on Earth

The massive earthquake that struck northeast Japan Friday (March 11) has shortened the length Earth’s day by a fraction and shifted how the planet’s mass is distributed.

A new analysis of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan has found that the intense temblor has accelerated Earth’s spin, shortening the length of the 24-hour day by 1.8 microseconds, according to geophysicist Richard Gross at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Gross refined his estimates of the Japan quake’s impact – which previously suggested a 1.6-microsecond shortening of the day – based on new data on how much the fault that triggered the earthquake slipped to redistribute the planet’s mass. A microsecond is a millionth of a second.

“By changing the distribution of the Earth’s mass, the Japanese earthquake should have caused the Earth to rotate a bit faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds,” Gross told SPACE.com in an e-mail. More refinements are possible as new information on the earthquake comes to light, he added.  

Japan Earthquake Alters Coast Line, Changes Earth’s Axis

Geophysicist Kenneth Hudnut, who works for the U.S. Geological Survey, told CNN that the quake moved part of Japan’s land mass by nearly 2.5 meters.

Experts say that the huge shake, caused by a shift in the tectonic plates deep underwater, also threw the earth off its axis point by at least 8 centimeters.

This is may well be worse than Chernobyl by magnitudes.

Mar 11

8.9 Magnitude Earthquake in Japan

This is just coming in now that a major earthquake has struck the Northeast of Japan at 2:46 p.m. local time (0146 EST) with a tsunami. A tsunami warning has been issued for other parts of the region. Hawaii is under a tsunami watch.

Up Date: Al jazeera and other news agencies are reporting that there are 19 confirmed deaths.

The entire Pacific basin is under either a tsunami warning with some waves are expected to bee higher than some Pacific islands.

Nuclear power plants in Japan are shut down and there are no reports of leaks. Most transportation has been shut down.

Bullet train network is shut down and airports are closed.

There is a warning issued for another quake expected to hit Honshu.

State of emergency is declared at Japanese nuclear plants

Process for cooling reactor ‘not going as planned’ in wake of quake, administrator says

Japan’s top government spokesman and local administrators say emergencies have been issued at two nuclear power plants over cooling-system fears in the wake of Friday’s giant earthquake.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says the nuclear power plant in Fukushima developed a mechanical failure in the system needed to cool the reactor after it was shut down after the earthquake. He said there was no radiation leak.

Japan earthquake and tsunami: fire breaks out at nuclear plant in Onagawa

A fire broke out in the turbine building of Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, on Friday after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake triggered a huge tsunami.

It was not immediately clear if there was a risk of a radioactive leak as a result of the fire at the plant operated by Tohoku Electric Power. Miyagi prefecture was one of the areas worst hit by the tsunami.

Tokyo Narita Airport Cancels All Flights Today After Quake

Tokyo’s Narita Airport, Japan’s main international gateway, canceled all flights for the rest of the day after the country was hit by the world’s strongest earthquake in six years.

About 13,800 passengers were stranded because of the shutdown, Ryoko Yabe, a spokeswoman for the airport said by phone. There was no visible damage to runways, she said. Tokyo’s Haneda airport, Asia’s second-busiest by passengers, resumed flights, the transport ministry said.

Hawaii orders evacuations in tsunami threat

(Reuters) – Hawaii ordered evacuations from coastal areas due to the threat of a tidal wave set off by Friday’s earthquake in Japan as a tsunami warning was extended to the whole of the Pacific basin, except mainland United States and Canada.

Authorities also ordered evacuation from low-lying areas on the U.S. island territory of Guam in the western Pacific, where residents there were urged to move at least 50 feet above sea level and 100 feet inland.

Roubini Says Earthquake Is ‘Worst Thing’ at ‘Worst Time’ for Japan Economy

Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the global financial crisis, said the earthquake in Japan comes at the “worst time” as the country struggles to lower its budget deficit.

“This is certainly the worst thing that can happen in Japan at the worst time,” Roubini told Maryam Nemazee on Bloomberg Television’s “Countdown” in London today. “There will be fiscal stimulus to reconstruct but Japan already has a budget deficit of close to 10 percent of” gross domestic product and an aging population.

The Bank of Japan (8301) pledged to ensure financial stability after the magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Sendai, sparking a tsunami. Japanese stocks declined in Tokyo today. The central bank, which keeps its benchmark rate at zero, had last month said the world’s third-largest economy is set to recover from a fourth-quarter contraction.

The picture in the below news article gives clear idea of just how devastating this disaster is

Major damage in Japan after 8.9 quake

A powerful tsunami spawned by the largest earthquake in Japan’s history slammed the eastern coast Friday, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people as widespread fires burned out of control.

Japan earthquake unleashes tsunami

Up to 19 people killed as tsunami causes major damage after 8.9-magnitude quake strikes off the coast.

A 10-metre tsunami hit Sendai airport in the north-east. Television footage showed people standing on the roof of the terminal building.

The tsunami roared over embankments in Sendai city, washing cars, houses and farm equipment inland before reversing directions and carrying them out to sea. Flames shot from some of the houses, probably because of burst gas pipes.

Thirty international search and rescue teams stand ready to go to Japan to provide assistance following the quake, the United Nations said.

Military airplanes were flying over the worst-affected areas to assess the need for rescue efforts.

Many people were reported injured after a roof caved in during a school graduation ceremony at a hall in east Tokyo, the fire department in the capital said, after the quake hit.

snip

Al Jazeera’s Marga Ortigas, reporting from Manila in the Philippines, said the military there had been ordered to help evacuate areas at risk on the east coast.

Several earthquakes have hit the region in recent days, including a 7.2-magnitude quake on Wednesday.

“Japan has been on high alert since the earthquake on Wednesday,” Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, following developments from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, said.

“Japan is very well equipped to deal both with the initial tremors caused by an earthquake: buildings are systematically built with allowances for sway so that they are less likely to fall down. Also coastal cities have long had tsunami protection measures in place.”

Friday’s quake struck at a depth of 24 kilometres, about 125 kilometres off the eastern coast, the country’s meteorological agency said.

The quake was the biggest in 140 years. It surpasses the Great Kanto quake of 1923, which had a magnitude of

7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area.

Northern Japan Suffers Major Tsunami Damage

TOKYO (AP) – Japan was struck by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, unleashing a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter. There were reports of injuries in Tokyo.

In various locations along Japan’s coast, TV footage showed massive damage from the tsunami, with dozens of cars, boats and even buildings being carried along by waters. A large ship swept away by the tsunami rammed directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, according to footage on public broadcaster NHK.

Officials were trying to assess damage, injuries and deaths from the quake but had no immediate details.

The quake that struck at 2:46 p.m. was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, including a 7.4-magnitude one about 30 minutes later. The U.S. Geological Survey upgraded the strength of the first quake to a magnitude 8.9, while Japan’s meteorological agency measured it at 7.9.

Live feed from Al Jazeera

More pictures below the fold

Cross posted at The Stars Hollow Gazzette

Sep 21

The Nation of Refugees

Haiti, September 22, 2010…

With 1.3 million displaced people in 1,300 camps, homelessness is the new normal here.

Some of the residents of those 1300 tent-cities have been writing letters to humanitarian organizations through letter-boxes set up by the International Organization for Migration.

I don’t have work, my tarp is torn, the rain panics me, my house was crushed, I don’t have money to feed my family, I would really love it if you would help me,” wrote Marie Jean Jean.

M te konn renmen lapli, says a child in a tent. “I used to love the rain.” But now…

Rain means that the floor on which he sleeps turns to mud. Rain now means sometimes standing up all night long in fear of floods.

Pakistan, September 22, 2010

The outside world cannot foot the entire bill for Pakistan’s recovery from devastating floods and the Pakistani government must do more, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke said on Monday.

The day after world donors raised aid pledges to almost two billion dollars, Holbrooke said the eventual cost of the monsoon disaster could run into the “tens of billions of dollars.”

The same article mentions that now 12 million people in Pakistan need “emergency food aid.”

About 105,000 kids younger than 5 are at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition over the next six months, UNICEF estimates.

“You’re seeing children who were probably very close to the brink of being malnourished, and the emergency has just pushed them over the edge,” says Erin Boyd, a UNICEF emergency nutritionist working in southern Pakistan. “There’s just not the capacity to treat this level of severe acute malnutrition.”

So many children were already on the brink of severe malnutrition before the floods, and I guess their parents always hoped for a better tomorrow, but now what can they really hope for?

A jobless father of five who lost his house in Pakistan’s floods killed himself by setting himself on fire in front of the prime minister’s house, relatives and officials said.

Mohammad Akram, 30, doused himself before scores of people in front of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s family residence in the eastern city of Multan Sunday. Mohammad Asif, Akram’s brother, said he had been looking for a job for several months.

“We had a mud-brick house which was washed away by the floods and now we are homeless.”

Mar 09

The Week in Editorial Cartoons: Let ’em Choke On It

Crossposted at Daily Kos

THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS

This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

:: ::



Chris Britt, Comics.com, see reader comments in the State Journal-Register

Mar 02

Chile: A Call For Your Assistance

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Chile’s Earthquake

The New York Times is reporting that yesterday’s Chile’s government, having recognized the far ranging extent of the national catastrophe, was at last calling for international assistance.  The Times reports:

Feb 28

Chile’s Earthquake: How To Help

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The New York Times reports:

A strong aftershock struck Chile on Sunday, a day after a destructive 8.8-magnitude earthquake left hundreds of people dead and a long swath of the country in smoky rubble.

The death toll was expected to rise, particularly around Concepción, Chile’s second-largest metropolitan area, which is roughly 70 miles from the quake’s center. The aftershock was reported around 8:30 local time Sunday morning from the capital of Santiago, where it shook buildings, according to Reuters.

More than 1.5 million people have displaced by the quake, according to local news services that quoted the director of Chile’s emergency management office. In Concepción, which appeared to be especially hard hit, the mayor said Sunday morning that 100 people were trapped under the rubble of a building that had collapsed, according to Reuters.

Elsewhere in Concepción, cars lay mangled and upended on streets littered with telephone wires and power cables. A new 14-story apartment building fell, while an older, biochemical lab at the University of Concepción caught fire.

In other words, what Chilean President Michele Bachelet called a “catastrophe.”

Time, again, to get out the checkbook. Please remember that this is the internet.  Heroics aren’t required, all that’s needed are large amounts of people giving small amounts of money.

The Nation let’s us know how to help:

Save The Children — Save The Children is sending an emergency assessment team to Chile, and is asking for contributions to its Children’s Emergency Fund to aid these efforts.

World Vision — The international development, relief and advocacy organization has already sent its first relief flight, from Bolivia this afternoon, with supplies like tarps, blankets, plastic sheeting, and collapsible water containers for survivors. Support these efforts with earmarked gifts to families that need them.

AmeriCares — Vice President of Emergency Response, Christoph Gorder, says AmeriCares is sending medical supplies and humanitarian aid to Chile. Make a direct contribution to AmeriCares’ Chilean earthquake fund.

Habitat for Humanity — Habitat for Humanity has a continual presence in Chile, where the group has constructed more than 1,300 homes. Habitat will be essential in reconstruction efforts, especially in hard-hit rural areas.

International Medical Corps — IMC has a presence in dozens of countries around the globe, providing immediate medical care to those affected by natural disasters. Contribute to its emergency response fund.

ShelterBox — International disaster relief agency ShelterBox has mobilized a team to bring aid to Concepcion, Chile’s second largest city, which saw the worse damage.

There are other groups I like to support I have not listed here.  I will update this later to add them.  Also, I have some antipathy to some of the groups here, particularly World Vision, because of their proselytizing activities to indigenous people in the high Andes, but right now I think the primary idea is to get aid on the ground. There doesn’t seem to me to be time to apply litmus tests to the groups that can help right now.

Update: 2/28/10, 1:15 pm ET:  Please add to groups that can help the following:

Oxfam America and

Doctors Without Borders

Update: 2/28/10, 1:30 pm ET: You can also donate via text message as follows:

   * Text CHILE to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross

   * Text CHILE to 23583 to donate $10 to Habitat for Humanity

   * Text CHILE to 20222 to donate $10 to World Vision

   * Text CHILE to 50555 to donate $10 to the Friends of World Food Program

   * Text CHILE to 52000 to donate $10 to the Salvation Army

   * Text REBUILD to 50555 to donate $10 to Operation USA

   * Text 4CHILE to 50555 to donate $10 to Convoy of Hope

Update: 2/28/10, 1:35 pm ET: google is supporting donations to UNICEF and Direct Relief International.


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simulposted at dailyKos and The Dream Antilles.  Feel free to copy and post elsewhere.

Feb 27

Chile’s Earthquake: Open Thread

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Church In Santiago, Chile

This will be quick and linky.

CNN reports:

A massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake rocked Chile early Saturday, killing at least 122 people and triggering tsunami warnings for the entire Pacific basin.

Numerous tsunami waves have been reported in the Pacific, with one reaching as high as 7.7 feet in the central Chile coastal town of Talcahuano, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Sirens sounded at 6 a.m. Friday across Hawaii, warning people of a possible tsunami and telling people in coastal areas to evacuate.

“They’re going to sound the sirens to air on the side of caution and make sure there’s enough time to get people out of the evacuation zones, which are the coastal areas that may be affected,” Brian Shiro of the Pacific Tsuanmi Warning Center said.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said she expected the death toll in her country to rise.

You can get streaming Chile TV here.  News and pictures, updates.  Death toll now more than 120 people.

Live coverage from Hawaii via MSNBC is here.  Threat of tsunami has caused evacuation of beach fronts.

The planet is doing what it is capable of doing.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all in Chile and the Pacific.

——————

Updates (2/27/10, 12:45 pm ET): New photos from WaPo.

Large FP diary by Darksyde at GOS.  Also, first person recc’d diary.

Jan 30

Limited “humanitarian parole” for earthquaked Haitians.

The concept of “humanitarian parole” strikes me as emblematically American, albeit excessively witty.   Does it mean that a person is emancipated and discharged of being Human or Haitian?  Parole certainly suggests, if not exactly prior guilt, e.g., Original sin, at least some form of previous incarceration or imprisonment.  Most likely, it means that Haitians are provisionally granted the status of humans on the grounds that their captors have humanitarian sentiments towards the beasts.  Who knows.  Like I said, excessively witty.

In any case, it seems few Haitians are granted this esteemed status.

MIAMI – The United States has suspended its medical evacuations of critically injured Haitian earthquake victims until a dispute over who will pay for their care is settled, military officials said Friday…

Only 34 people have been given humanitarian parole for medical reasons, said Matthew Chandler, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. The National Disaster Medical System, if activated, would cover the costs of caring for patients regardless of their legal status.

I hope they at least have ankle bracelets.

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