Saturday, March 14, 2015

Vanuatu: Cyclone Pam One Of Worst In Pacific History

UPDATE: 3-18-15 Vanuatu Island Residents Forced To Drink Salt Water

In pictures: Cyclone Pam hits Vanuatu (At link)

"People living on a remote island in the north-west of Vanuatu are having to drink harmful saltwater following last week's cyclone, the BBC has discovered. Residents of Moso say they are still waiting for outside help to arrive. Aid agencies have begun trying to access the country's small outer islands, but flooding has stopped their planes from landing in some areas. One pilot said the lush landscape had been transformed and now looked as if it had been destroyed by a bush fire. In addition to drinking water shortages, officials say there is also a desperate need for food and shelter, with tens of thousands of people now homeless.

Drinking saltwater is damaging as the more a person drinks, the more water already present in the body is rerouted to help dilute the excess of salt. It can lead to dehydration and death. The United Nations has revised the official number of people killed by the cyclone, bringing it down to 11 from an earlier figure of 24.The relatively low number of casualties has been attributed to the advance warnings that were issued.

Four days after the cyclone struck, aid agencies say that outlying areas of Vanuatu hit by Cyclone Pam suffered "significantly worse" damage than the island nation's capital, Port Vila. Prime Minister Joe Natuman told the BBC that the full extent of the damage across the islands was still not clear. He said that the more heavily populated islands of Tanna and Efate received most of the damage. "The other islands should be okay," he said, "except maybe one group." Local people and aid agencies say that the rebuilding effort will be immense.

Four days after Cyclone Pam ripped through Vanuatu the full extent of the damage is still not known. Many of the more than 60 inhabited islands remain cut off. We travelled by boat to Moso, the first people to visit since the cyclone struck. Villagers in the community of Taseriki told us they had received no help whatsoever since the storm. Many houses are completely flattened. There are no shops, people grow their own food, and their crops have been destroyed. One man told us his children were going hungry, having to scavenge what they could find. Villagers have been having to drink saltwater for two days. You cannot survive like that for long. The death toll across Vanuatu remains thankfully low. But the suffering is immense."

End of excerpt


So when anyone dares to tell you that the human race has PROGRESSED and EVOLVED, just look at them and laugh. In this the 21st Century we can send rockets to the moon, orbit satellites in space, create more and more destructive and technologically savvy weapons of death- but when it comes to getting water to people to save their lives WE FAIL. And of course, the usuals are now licking their lips to go in and make sure GM seeds are introduced along with the IMF and World Bank "guaranteeing" loans that will make them richer while the residents already suffering will continue to be in servitude to the elitist banks and corporations looking to profit off of their misery. Is this why climate change has been summarily ignored by the international community save for their platitudes and photo ops at UN COP Conferences and the fake marches by their NGO enablers? Global warming is a cash cow for the very entities claiming to want to address it!... so don't wonder why it has been allowed to get to this point- the point of no return. We humans need to take back out humanity or we are done.


UPDATE:3-15-15 A Cyclone Destroys A Nation

Pam, a Category 5 storm, has left most of Vanuatu's population homeless.

By Matt Schiavenza

Cyclone Pam bears down on Vanuatu in this NASA satellite image.

Torrential rains and winds up to 185 miles per hour lashed the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Saturday, downing power lines and flattening buildings throughout the country. The official death toll of the storm, called Tropical Cyclone Pam, is eight, but the final figure is likely to be considerably higher: Rescuers have been unable to communicate with residents living in the archipelago's outlying islands.

Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale said that Cyclone Pam destroyed schools and hospitals and rendered thousands homeless. "I stand to appeal on behalf of the government and the people to give a helping hand in this disaster," he said, his voice heavy with emotion. The governments of Australia and New Zealand flew military planes loaded with supplies to Vanuatu, a cluster of 65 islands located some 2,000 miles east of Australia, and have pledged millions of dollars in aid.

"Local residents say they have never experienced anything like this."

As a tropical nation, Vanuatu is no stranger to major storms. "Vanuatu has a cyclone season," the Oxfam country director in Port Vila, Colin Collet van Rooyen, told the New York Times. "But local residents say they have never experienced anything like this."

Alas, devastating cyclones may become more commonplace in Vanuatu, a low-lying nation considered extremely vulnerable to climate change. Roughly three quarters of the population of 267,000 work in fishing and agriculture, two industries sensitive to rising sea levels and warmer temperatures. Prolonged dry spells have begun to threaten the country's water supply, while intense rainstorms have damaged staple crops like cabbage.


Vanuatu is well aware of the risks of climate change—in 2013, the country established a ministry devoted to mitigating the risks of rising sea temperatures, drought, and other environmental disasters. But for now, the country must recover from a cyclone whose damage may not be fully realized for years.

End of excerpt

Tropical Cyclone Pam: Death toll may rise after worst natural disaster in 'living memory'

This is the world we have made by our rapacious consumption. Shameful that after all of the disasters we have seen just in the last five years that on the whole we as a species still have not connected that dot. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cyclone Pam Brings Catastrophic Death and Destruction

Chloe Morrison, a World Vision emergency communications officer in Port Vila, said Sunday that officials from Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office confirmed to her agency that eight people in and around the capital had died during the cyclone.

She says officials haven’t been able to assess the damage in many of the hard-hit outer islands where communications remain down.

Many residents were forced to hunker a second night in emergency shelters after venturing out on Saturday only to find their homes damaged or blown away, according to aid workers.

Power remains out across the tiny Pacific archipelago and people on many of the outer islands have no access to running water or outside communications, said Chloe Morrison, a World Vision emergency communications officer in the capital of Port Vila.

Now, residents in New Zealand’s north are being urged to brace for the impact from the cyclone.

The UN had unconfirmed reports of 44 people killed in one province.

“A disaster of this magnitude has not been experienced by Vanuatu in recent history — particularly in terms of the reach of the potential damage and the ferocity of the storm,” said Sune Gudnitz, who heads the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Pacific.

The full extent of the damage is unknown, with limited communications in place after Super Cyclone Pam, a maximum category five storm, slammed directly into the island country late Friday with gusts up to 320 kilometres (200 miles) an hour.

The storm crossed the main Vanuatu island, home to more than 65,000 people, and a group of islands further south where 33,000 live after affecting the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, where there were no reports of fatalities.

Heavy rain, gales and high seas are expected to hit New Zealand from Sunday night and could cause widespread flooding, power cuts and damage.


Reports are that this could be one of the worst cyclones in Pacific history on the same scale as Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines in November 2013. Once again a huge storm hitting a poor area of the world where people were not prepared. Countries that attend UN COP Conferences always talk about aid to countries that are victims of climate destruction. Time to now step up to the plate- and if you don't think anthropogenic amplification has any part in these stronger storms you are extremely naïve.

NOAA Image of Cyclone Pam

Pacific Aid:Vanuatu Cyclone Appeal

California Running Out Of Water

Addition 3-21-15: California Targets Wrong Water Wasters

NASA scientists contemplate that California may have only one year of water left before the point of no return as snowpack becomes less and less and El Nino makes itself known off the warming Pacific Coast now breaking heat records in California and Canada. Yet, big ag is still allowed to grow non-essential crops in the desert to export without rationing while people are penalized for watering their lawns. Sure hope that almond butter you bought was worth sacrificing an entire ecosystem. Unbelievable.

California Has About One Year Of Water Left: Will You Ration Now?

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The sunrise illuminates the receding waters of Pine Flat Reservoir, one of California's most severely depleted dams.

By Jay Famiglietti

We're not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we're losing the creek too

Authorize mandatory water rationing across the state

March 12, 2015,

Given the historic low temperatures and snowfalls that pummeled the eastern U.S. this winter, it might be easy to overlook how devastating California's winter was as well.

As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We're not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we're losing the creek too.

Data from NASA satellites show that the total amount of water stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins — that is, all of the snow, river and reservoir water, water in soils and groundwater combined — was 34 million acre-feet below normal in 2014. That loss is nearly 1.5 times the capacity of Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir.

Statewide, we've been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011. Roughly two-thirds of these losses are attributable to groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley. Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80% to 100%. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable. Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.

As difficult as it may be to face, the simple fact is that California is running out of water — and the problem started before our current drought. NASA data reveal that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002, when satellite-based monitoring began, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century.

Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.

In short, we have no paddle to navigate this crisis.

End of excerpt


It absolutely boggles my mind that California has been watching this unfold for over a decade and still people are more concerned with keeping their pools filled and growing almonds than taking this for the profoundly serious crisis this is. However, it is not surprising to me because in the last eight years I have been writing about this here I have been warning people that moral will has to take precedence in order for us to save our water and ourselves. That this comes down to the false worth we give to green paper and our own selfish lifestyles over what really matters. That this comes down to political convenience and profit taking precedence over principle.

That this is happening in California is to me so ironic. The state purported to have so many "liberal" celebrities who care about the environment is now running out of water. Imagine in one year's time with usage continuing as is and people not getting the message that rationing and conservation must now be employed... California is the fifth largest economy in the world and agriculture is it's heart. The economic fall out of this alone not just for California but a large part of the world will be devastating. The entire way farmers farm in California is going to have to change if they are to continue having farms. People continuing to fight over water for almonds, or fracking or other profit making schemes when people need water to live and crops that are necessary is not a solution and is now causing wells to be dug so deep to now use up ancient water with scientists predicting California may not be far off from the "big one".

I have always stated that people truly do not appreciate the importance of water until the well runs dry. Well, that well is now running dry and if the people of California do not now wake up out of their stupor they will wake up one morning to see no water running out of their golden faucets. Will they care then? What does it take to spark the moral will necessary to save ourselves? Do people really think they can use all the groundwater up and then move to the oceans? If so, it only illustrates how weak and selfish we humans really are.

Also see:

Excessive Drought-Floods In California/Abrupt Climate Change

Central California Residents Rely on Bottled Water As Wells Run Dry

California Drought Getting Worse-Linked To Global Warming

California Drought: San Joaquin Valley Sinking As Farmers Race To Tap Aquifer

California Drought: 17 Communities Could Run Out of Water Within 60 To 120 days/Updates

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Fighting For Water In Brazil

A Sea Of People Fighting For Water In Sao Paulo

The people know that governments are now using these droughts to facilitate their own prejudice against the poor to benefit the rich. Such is the case in Sao Paulo where 15 thousand protesters took to the streets at the meeting point in Largo da Batata to the arrival at Bandeirantes Palace, in Morumbi neighborhood which is the official residence of the governor Geraldo Alckmin .

Sabesp (Sao Paulo’s water management company) has been turning off the supply every day between 1pm and 7 am recently, leaving many in poorer areas without water. São Paulo and Sabesp are now being held responsible for the crisis and are being asked to reduce the impact of the crisis on the poorest population in lieu of increasing water rates scheduled to take effect this April (with no rain being forecast.) These rates further strap the poor while benefitting the wealthy.

This is the same scenario we always see where the wealthy are provided with what they need at the expense of the poor. Residents of the Eastern part of Sao Paulo usually have to worry about flooding- but now that Southeastern Brazil has been hit with the worst drought in eighty years, this is now becoming the nightmare they dreaded.

This protest ended with no violence, but that may not be the case should this drought/water crisis continue:

"I pay ... but I shouldn’t... Because water is not a commodity" was one of the slogans yelled by the marching crowd, which also included a water truck as a “parade float”, carefully escorted by heavily armed military police officers. "That's what will happen with the deepening crisis. Police will “guard” the water for those who can pay for it, while we die of thirst. We are here to show that we will not accept it", said protester Reginaldo Silva, a resident of the MTST occupation People's Cup (An occupation started at the onset of the Soccer World Cup in Sao Paulo in 2014."

This world we have made where money is the sole barometer of your worth as a human being can no longer be sustained, especially in the wake of climate change. If the international community and the UN care so much for climate solutions, where are they now? Climate change is not something that will happen, it is happening now and it is already effecting the poor of our world.

Also see:

Quirky Winds Fuel Brazil's Devastating Drought, Amazon's Flooding

Sao Paulo Running Out Of Water As Rain Making Amazon Vanishes

Brazil Drought Crisis Leads To Rationing And Tensions

Bolivia/Britain-A Tale Of Two Floods

Effects Of Arctic Amplification Being Ignored

(Citations for photos used at link to article.)

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