Archive | Environment

heatwave

Heat waves to affect Caribbean during Atlantic Hurricane season

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Jun.1, CMC  – Caribbean islands especially those in the south have been urged to prepare for heat waves as they will be a feature of the 2017 rainy season.

That is the warning issued by Dr. Simon Mason of the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology in his presentation  – “Caribbean Heat outlooks: Research and product development” to the participants attending the Caribbean Regional Climate Outlook Forum which opened here on Wednesday.

heatwaveDr. Simon said in the past, not a lot of emphasis was placed on heat waves but data gathered from islands over the years, has shown that this  is a growing challenge. “It’s time to investigate the problems of heat waves and the best way to deal with it in this region,” said Simon who pointed out that in the United States of America heat waves kills more people than tornadoes while in 2003 heatwaves killed 30,000 in France.

A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity, especially in oceanic climate countries.

While definitions vary, a heat wave  is measured relative to the usual weather in the area and relative to normal temperatures for the season.

Despite the region commencing the Hurricane season on Thursday, (Jun 1)t he CIMH is projecting that islands in the South of Caribbean will receive less rain and hotter days.

“The projection is for as much as one third of the total days for the rainy season will be warmer than normal so the advice is for people to be ready for the heat,” he said.

Simon said that with the elderly being particular vulnerable, steps must be taken in advance to assist them to cope with the effects.

“Most parts of the Caribbean are having growing elderly, the heat waves can kill them, so understanding how to deal with this weather will be very critical in order to reduce the impact,” he said.

Besides impacting on the elderly, a heatwave could affect productivity.

However, he noted that the CIMH is not projecting drought conditions for the region because the overall outlook is for above average rain for the entire rainy or hurricane season which officially ends on November 30.

Posted in Environment, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

View image on Twitter

World leaders warn Trump: ‘Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated’

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/336008-world-leaders-warn-trump-paris-agreement-cannot-be-renegotiated

 The Hill

Inform Raw

Foreign officials and many of America’s overseas allies slammed President Trump’s Thursday announcement that he’ll pull the United States out of the Paris climate deal.

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy, three key supporters of the climate deal in Europe, responded quickly to Trump’s suggestion that the agreement could be renegotiated with better terms for the U.S. 

The deal, they said in a statement, is “a cornerstone in the cooperation between our countries, for effectively and timely tackling climate change.”

 

It is “irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated,” they added in response to Trump saying he’d “begin negotiations to re-enter — whether the Paris accord, or really, an entirely new transaction — on terms that are fairer to the United States.”German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said the chancellor regrets America’s departure from the deal and added that Germany will continue to try to “save our planet,” while French President Emmanuel Macron responded in a video statement posted on Twitter. 

Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, called Trump’s decision a “brutal act,” and the Swedish prime minister tweeted, “We urge you to show global leadership, we need the USA on the team. Your Nordic Friends,” to Trump.

I condemn this brutal act against @realDonaldTrump Leadership means fighting climate change together. Not forsaking commitment.

.@realdonaldtrump We urge you to show global leadership, we need the USA on the team. Your Nordic Friends

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who worked closely with former President Obama on climate and energy issues, tweeted that “Canada is unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change and support clean economic growth.” 

“We are deeply disappointed that the United States federal government has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” he added.

In a statement, the United Nations said it “regrets the announcement” and said the deal “cannot be renegotiated based on the request of a single party.”

“We are committed to continue working with all governments and partners in their efforts to fast forward climate action at global and national levels,” Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, said.  

Trump spoke by phone Thursday with Merkel, Macron, Trudeau and Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom, according to the White House.

He “personally explained his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord,” a readout of the calls said, and “thanked all four leaders for holding frank, substantive discussions on this issue during his first months in office.”

Trump also “reassured the leaders that America remains committed to the Transatlantic alliance and to robust efforts to protect the environment.” 

“He noted America’s strong record in reducing emissions and leading the development of clean energy technology, and he reiterated that the United States under the Trump Administration, will be the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on Earth,” the readout continued.

Trump announced Thursday his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris deal, aiming to end the U.S.’s involvement in a landmark 2015 pact in which nearly every country in the world agreed to begin tackling climate change. 

He said the voluntary terms included in the deal by the Obama administration are unfair to the United States and will hurt its energy and business sectors.  

Trump vowed to renegotiate the deal, though a White House official said what a renegotiated deal would look like is “up to the president” and provided no details.  

The United States now joins Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries that do not support the deal.

The front page of a German tabloid marked the occasion with a simple message on Thursday: “Earth to Trump: F**k you!” 

Jordan Fabian contributed

https://twitter.com/paul__johnson/status/870377567752212482/photo/1

https://www.pscp.tv/EmmanuelMacron/1jMKgoodLyqKL?t=1m49s

 Statement by France,Germany + Italy: Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, it is a vitalinstrument for our planet,
 

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Environment, International, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Guyana Flooding

Government to assist hundreds affected by flood waters

 
 GEORGETOWN, Guyana, May 18, CMC – Over 1,000 people have been affected by flood waters reported to be at least 15 feet high.

This was disclosed by Minister of State Joseph Harmon who has responsibility of the Civil Defense Commission (CDC) and the coordination of disaster response.

Harmon told reporters at a post-Cabinet press briefing on Thursday that a team from the CDC was dispatched to the flood affected communities on the outskirts of the capital.

Guyana Flooding He said the team dispatched will have, “a firsthand look and do a proper assessment as to what the true situation is,” adding that “they have already started taking steps to get relief to those persons who are there.”

According to Harmon, residents are receiving support from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) which has a presence in the community, assessing the situation to provide relief. However, the Minister explained that, “it is important to note that some of these communities are in valleys, and therefore, when the rains come down heavily, the waters come down from the mountain and they flood these villages.”

He added that “some of these flood waters you have just to wait until they recede, there is very little that you can do except to provide for the comfort of the residents who are affected by it and that is what we are doing.”

Meanwhile, President David Granger has given certain directions to the CDC, and to the regional administration for actions to be taken, and the support which the government is going to give to the residents who are affected by the flooding.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Environment, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Climate Change

Stark warning issued to Caribbean concerning climate change

 

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, May 18, CMC  – A warning has been issued to governments across the Caribbean to do more to make countries resilient to climate change as there is a price to pay if nothing is done.

According to a report commissioned by the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme, the Caribbean is “in the front line” and at greater risk from more severe impacts than many other parts of the world because of its geographic location because most regional states are smaller islands where people live close to and depend on the sea.

Climate ChangeThe Caribbean Marine Climate Change Report Card 2017, which was conducted by scientists and researchers said more intense storms, floods, droughts, rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and ocean acidification are major threats to all regional economies and pose a danger to lives as well, both directly and indirectly.

“As the seas, reefs and coasts on which all Caribbean people depend are under threat, much more needs to be done to protect these resources and the authors recommend building more resilient environments to prepare for, and protect against, climate change,” the report noted.

It has recommended developing a regional network of marine protected areas designed to future-proof marine biodiversity against climate change and stabilise shorelines to preserve natural barriers such as mangroves, salt marshes, and coral reefs.

The scientists warn that while the overall frequency of Atlantic storms may decrease, the strongest hurricanes are likely to increase. Global average sea level is projected to rise by a further 10-32 inches over the coming century — a devastating amount for a country as low-lying as Cayman, where it could be even worse.

“In the northern Caribbean, sea level rise could be 25 per cent higher than the global average due to other physical factors affecting land elevation,” the report states. “This projected rise in sea level and severe storms is likely to increase the risk of storm surge events for Caribbean states, which will further exacerbate risks to biodiversity, settlements and infrastructure.”

The report also zeroed in on some countries in the region including Jamaica, Belize, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana and St. Lucia.

Where fishing is concerned, the researchers noted that if there is no action – permanent  fishing camps on low lying offshore cays may be completely submerged by future sea level rise and these are particularly vulnerable during extreme-weather events.

“Examples of these occur in Jamaica (Morant and Pedro Cays), Belize, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

In Dominica, the report said the road network and the airports are particularly vulnerable adding that ports and port lands are also under threat and at risk of inundation under scenarios of  a one metre sea-level rise.

For Grenada and St. Lucia  – “Climate-induced sea surface temperature changes are being linked to the increased occurrence of the micro-algal toxins that accumulate up the food chain to cause ciguatera  fish poisoning (CFP) in humans. Although CFP is well known in the northern states of the Caribbean, it could become more frequent in the southern Lesser Antilles.”

In the case of Guyana the researchers said frequent flooding “ linked to climate change could destroy  landing sites and cooperative buildings along the coast. Mangrove forests may become damaged or displaced causing valuable resources to be lost. Salt water intrusions are also a risk, as salinisation is likely to affect freshwater aquaculture, as well as large areas of agriculture near the coast.”

On the matter of tourism, the report said “the attractiveness of water-based tourism in the region is being negatively affected by the increased frequency and magnitude of coral bleaching and disease.”

“Coastal tourist resorts could potentially be two-to-three times more exposed to climate change impacts such as extreme events and saltwater intrusion than inland tourist resorts,” the report stated, which will clearly have a serious impact on investment decisions about the type of tourism development that the local government is keen to attract.

“During this century, it is expected that the dry season will be longer in some areas, as rainfall will decrease in the early part of the wet season. This would put more pressure on water supplies for people, given the high level of water consumption of visitors and demands from cruise ships for water,” the report stated.

Although the researchers offer these very stark warnings, they also point to action that can help mitigate the impact of climate change. The report stresses the importance of better data and assessments of the marine and coastal environment’s economic value.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Environment, International, Local, Regional0 Comments

el ninos

Caribbean warned of possible return of El Niño

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Mar 22, CMC – Several Caribbean countries, particularly in the eastern Caribbean, experienced a drier than normal February, and in some cases both February and January were relatively dry, the Barbados-based Caribbean Drought & Precipitation Monitoring Network (CDPMN) has reported.

el ninosIt said that though there is some uncertainty over rainfall during the March to May period in some parts of the Caribbean, concerns remain for the western Caribbean/Greater Antilles for both short and long term drought, and in the southern portion of the eastern Caribbean for long term drought.

“Some models also suggest the possibility for the return of El Niño, and drier than normal conditions late in 2017,” the CDPMN said, adding that it will monitor this situation.

CDPMN said apart from portions of Barbados and Dominica that were slightly wet, the islands of the eastern Caribbean were normal to below normal regarding rainfall for the month.

It said Trinidad and Tobago were normal to slightly dry; Grenada, Guadeloupe, Anguilla, St. Maarten, St. Thomas normal while Barbados was normal to slightly wet with St. Vincent extremely dry and St. Lucia moderate to extremely dry.

The French island of Martinique was reported to be moderate to severely dry, while Dominica was slightly wet in the southwest to severely dry in the northeast.

Antigua was exceptionally dry and St. Kitts moderately dry. The CDPMN said that the Guianas ranged from normal to very wet, with greatest relative wetness in interior areas.

Posted in Environment, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

If this low develops into a named storm it will be called Colin

Caribbean disturbance not likely to become a hurricane

It has come to the time where monitoring the weather daily, is part of our daily business. Stay tuned…we try to stay up to date!

Posted in Environment, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Bethel Methodist Church - demolished by the June 25 pyroclastic flow

Bringing 20 year volcanic crisis perspective – Recapturing: VOLCANO THIS WEEK

 

Bethel Methodist Church - demolished by the June 25 pyroclastic flow

Bethel Methodist Church – demolished by the June 25 pyroclastic flow

July 4, 1997

MVO reports

This week has seen the most devastating episodes produced by the volcano up to the present. In recent times pyroclastic flows have no longer been limited to the Tar River side of the volcano, but have been traveling in Mosquito and Tuitt’s Ghaut and over Gages into Fort Ghaut.

The seismicity during the early part of the week was dominated by hybrid swarms, which would intensify in both number and magnitude, culminating in continuous tremor, which would gradually subside into background noise. These swarms would last from three to as many as eight hours. There were few Long-Period events, almost no Volcano-Tectonic events while rock fall signals continued to be relatively abundant.

Dome views revealed a blocky surface with a number of spines. At night, glowing was sometimes observed. Material near the top was identified to be its source. At times there was strong steaming coming from the dome.

Pyroclastic flows continued to occur down Tar River, some of which reached to within 1 km of the delta. After an absence of just over a week, a flow occurred in Mosquito Ghaut on the 23rd.

The tiltmeter on Chances Peak, which was installed on May 23, and which had been showing a long period, low amplitude cyclic behaviour, superimposed on a relatively steady level background, moved to a higher frequency cycle, superimposed on a background that was moving down.

SO2 levels were found to range from 438-1170 tonnes/day. Background levels range from 200300 tonnes/day.

On the morning of the 25th seismicity continued at a high level with large hybrid swarms. There were several small pyroclastic flows in Mosquito Ghaut. At about 10:00 am an intense hybrid swarm started and merged into continuous tremor by 12:15 p.m. At about 1:00 p.m. major pyroclastic flow activity began in Mosquito Ghaut. The ash cloud quickly reached 30,000 feet. The flow traveled into the Farms River affecting Dyers, Streatham, Farrell’s, Harris’ and Bethel. Down river of Bramble, it fanned out between Trants and Spanish Point stopping just short of the sea. Windy Hill was affected by the surge. Material extended to within 1.5 km of Belham Bridge. A total of about 4 km2 was covered by pyroclastic flow and surge. The scar left by the collapse was spoon-shaped with a steep, back wall situated on the lower flanks of the dome above Mosquito Ghaut. The tilt had just about reached its lowest point and was on the down turn of a short cycle when the episode occurred. Unfortunately, given the presence of persons in the evacuated zone, it was clear that there was not only property damage but, also loss of life.

Windy Hill and Streathams have been dessimatedAbove and below – Windy Hill and Streathams have been dessimated

Windy Hill and Streathams have been dessimatedaThe following day the hybrid swarms continued but were reduced in duration and magnitude. The tilt dipped to its lowest position since installation and then began to rise. The frequency of the small cycles continued to be high and the amplitude also increased.

The following two days were each punctuated by significant events. On the 27th, there were two steam explosions around mid-morning. The second was larger and generated a 20,000 ft. ash cloud. Small rock fragments up to 8 mm in length were showered on Lover’s Lane, Dagenham, Richmond Hill and Foxes Bay. Because of the increased risk from pyroclastic surges Cork Hill, Weeks, St. George’s Hill, Delvins, Foxes Bay and Richmond Hill

On the 28th, there was a strong seismic signal at 03 :51 a.m. inferred to have been associated with a pyroclastic flow over Gages. Around 11:30 a.m., a hybrid swarm began and consisted of events larger than those seen in the recent swarms. This escalated into eruptive activity lasting over 11/2 hrs, producing a large volume of ash and several small pyroclastic flows in Mosquito Ghaut and a moderate flow in Fort Ghaut. This latter flow was later determined to have traveled as far as the vicinity of the hospital. The mass of this flow was confined to the ghaut but the surge clouds of hot ash covered the immediate areas adjacent to the channel resulting in the ignition of dried wood and rubbish close to the street.

ppPlymouth under siege – pyro flows are now beginning to affect the deserted capitol

Continuous pyroclastic flow activity resulted in deposition of a large amount of material in the ghauts mentioned earlier resulting in them becoming shallower with each new activity. This situation is likely to contribute to possible over-spilling of larger pyroclastic flows into some areas which hitherto had not been affected by the flows. In the past, a significant episode such as that of the 25th was followed by weeks, even months, of relative inactivity. So far this has not been the case with this latest episode. Under the circumstances, it is advisable that continued vigilance be maintained given the high state of instability, which is being demonstrated at the mountain.

Posted in Environment, Featured, Local, News5 Comments

Bringing 20 year volcanic crisis perspectives – Recapturing: UNDER DEATH THREAT

The Montserrat News

The Crisis – How it began!

On Friday July 21, 1995, reported the beginning of activities at Soufriere Hills – Threats that a volcano might erupt and spew a red hot death out of the mountain side unto Southern coastal villages; while it covered the rest of the Island in volcanic ash has kept Montserrat residents on edge since Tuesday. Local and international telephone lines were jammed Tuesday night as people gave to friends, relatives and well-wishers here and abroad panicky accounts of the infolding events on the island.

Signs of volcanic activity not seen on Montserrat in living memory caused residents of Kinsale and other parts of South of Plymouth to abandon their homes and seek shelter overnight at friends and public shelters in Plymouth, Cork Hill, Salem and the North.

Underground rumblings were reported from about 2:00 Tuesday afternoon, later the odor of sulphur, typically found around the mouths of volcanoes, could be detected from Gingoes to Wapping. Cars, homes and people in Trials, Kingsale and the surrounding areas were covered with a fine volcanic dust that left clothing smelling of sulphur and cars covered with dark gray pin-head sized spots.

The Police, Defence Force and the Disaster Preparedness Committee were out assessing the danger and making their own emergency preparations. They were reportedly being advised by seismic units in Barbados and Trinidad.

Governor Frank Savage and Chief Minister Reuben Meade gave regular reports on Radio Montserrat. One announcement advised residents in those areas south of Plymouth to prepare them-selves to evacuate their villages.

By night dozens of people with overnight bags had gathered at Moose’s restaurant at Kingsale as well as at the wall along the bay front in Plymouth.

Later announcements said that although the Schools at Cork Hill and Salem would remain open to anyone who wanted the security of sleeping outside the volcano zone, but there was no immediate danger to anyone and people could safely remain in their homes.

Radio Montserrat was on the air all night to get out information about developments and to carry official reports.

In the Gages area the volcano rumblings could be heard on an almost continuous basis. A group of volcano watchers around Roach’s Shop at Gages said that they had seen fire in the night sky and that the fire had not come from Gages Mountain which some reports had indicated to be the location of the volcanic activity but had come instead from a point somewhere in between Gages Soufriere and Galways Soufriere.

On Wednesday morning Mr. Lloyd Lynch arrived in Montserrat from the Seismic Research Unit in Trinidad. The first press release after his arrival said that an “explosion earthquake” had taken place at 9:24 a.m. not at Gages Mountain but near to Chances Peak. Because of the height from which the material was being emitted, it was predicted that there would be ash fall blowing unto Plymouth. This proved to be true as people in Plymouth soon experienced the same odors and volcanic dust that had bothered Southerners since the night before.

Wednesday Meade and Savage had a press briefing and said that after talking to Lynch who was the expert, they were reassured that there was no reason for panic and in any event there would be at least a 24-hour warning before any serious volcanic eruption. Savage admitted that certain steps had been taken to respond to a situation in which there was an eruption, but he said this in no way meant that he believed there would be a major eruption.

Contingency plans included moving Glendon Hospital patients and equipment to St. John’s School.

On Wednesday evening there was a jolt as the whole island shook. The general tension magnified the intensity of the quick quake.

On Thursday volcano experts Dr. William Ambeh, Head of the Trinidad Unit and Dr. Joe Devine a consultant arrived here to conduct further studies on volcanic activity. They held an unsatisfactory press conference for which many blamed the press. The West Indies Guard Ship H.M.S Southampton arrived to provide relief services if necessary.

The Governor and the Chief Minister held a guess conference Thursday night.

Posted in Environment, Local, News1 Comment

pp

Bringing 20 year volcanic crisis perspectives – Recapturing: THE VOLCANO and DEATH

ppIn this week’s issue we mostly feature articles and reports from first issues after July 18, 1995 and from immediately after June 25, 1997. This, especially in light of discussions that have taken place as a committee set up to plan 20-year anniversary of the beginning of what is still referred to as the eruption of Soufriere Hills volcano; “where we came from, where we ought to be, and where we want to go.

The Debate & Panel Discussion on a Proposition: The Diaspora Has No Say in Montserrat’s Post Volcano Development due to take place tonight seems prominent on the list of activities which came to hand at just this last minute.

These articles have been available at www.montserratreporter.org, but we still hope our readers may now, following, hearing or having heard or followed the debate and discussions, make their own determination as to where we are and know where we are going.

Really, as is said it is time for action. “Everyone”, they say, “has their part to play.”

By Bennette Roach

Devastation in the village of Harris’ Below is the same area two weeke before

Devastation in the village of Harris’
Below is the same area two weeks before

One of the conditions the British Governor of Montserrat and the local Government never wanted to exist, is that they would ever have to report that lives were lost as a direct result of volcanic activity in Montserrat.

On the night of July 18, 1995, residents not far away from Soufriere Hills could hear what they later described as roaring sounds like those that come from jet planes, and it was soon realized by all that a volcano that lay in waiting at English Crater in Soufriere Hills had come alive.

Soon after from several and continuous radio broadcasts, and interviews from scientists, the Governor and the Chief Minister, his office and the offices of the Emergency Operating Centre (EOC), we were to learn that there has always been this volcano, that there have been activities at approximately 30 – 35 year intervals since the turn of this century; that there has been studies, one as recent as the mid 80s, which suggested that there will be serious activities around this time.

No attention whatever was paid to these facts and so here we were in July, less than a month under two years ago, with an erupting volcano and every resident as ignorant as ever to the dangers that this could pose for Montserrat. Since that time it has been a down hill battle, which may has not yet culminated, but which has now directly claimed the lives of at least 10 people with more almost certain to be confirmed, when the ash becomes cool enough to be cleared in some way.

1997 6 24 pics

Home demolished by the power and volume of the flow

June 25, 1997 will be long remembered as the worst day of the volcano (I hope), because lives were lost. And the question that is being asked, “Could this have been avoided?” Amazingly, the homes in Long Ground are still standing untouched but for the September 17 last year’s eruption. It may well be that the Tar River valley is their protection or perhaps it is early yet.

MVO Reports

The Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) report for that morning read as follows: The latest earthquake swarm has just reached a peak, with 4 or 5 earthquakes occurring every minute. At the time of highest activity, the hybrid earthquakes could more accurately be described as continuous tremor. There have been several small pyroclastic flows in Mosquito Ghaut in the last hour. Observations of the dome last night showed that the top of Mosquito Ghaut is the only active area of the dome at the moment, as the focus of activity has switched from the eastern side to the north in the last few days.

Further pyroclastic flow activity is expected, and the high level of activity means that these flows could happen at any time and be larger than before. The current area of activity makes Mosquito Ghaut the most likely pathway, but further flows in Gages, Tuitt’s or Tar River are probable as well.”

The following recently became a standard part of the report: Bramble Airport remains operational, but the public are reminded that it is open only for essential travel purposes. The sirens will be tested as usual this afternoon.”

Now following is the evening report following the disaster: “An intense swarm of hybrid earthquakes began at 11 am, and rapidly escalated to repetitive events which merged into continuous tremor after 12:15 p.m. At about 1 p.m. major pyroclastic flow activity began in Mosquito Ghaut, which generated an ash cloud to over 30,000 ft within minutes. The flow traveled into Farms River to Trants Bridge. Down river of Bramble the flows fanned out into Bethel and Spanish Point almost to the sea. On the northern side Farms and Trants villages were affected, and the surge reached to Trants bridge. A total of at least 2 square kilometers of land was covered by the pyroclastic flow and surge.

The lower half of Harris village was also impacted, and an ash surge traveled from the Farrell’s area down to the west at least as far as Dyers, and into the upper reaches of Dyer’s Ghaut. There was no activity in the Gages valley during the afternoon.

During the time of the reported activities above, there were people tending their animals and gardens in the Farrell’s and surrounding areas, some of whom perished; there were people in Harris’ and areas way down to Trants, Bethel and Spanish Pointe, Bramble village etc. who were either visiting their properties or living there. Except for those properties on the perimeter of Mosquito Ghaut in Harris’, individuals were able to avoid the fury of the ash surge from the flow by moving to even higher grounds, but not those in the other areas which were all on lower ground and not far from the ghaut which became more shallow as it nears the sea.

So that just as the report above described, confirmed by the eye witness account of Roy ‘Slim’ Daley from Bramble village who was in Harris’ at the time. He said: “I saw the surges coming back up the hill from the pyroclastic flows, which moved at incredible speed down towards Farms and Trants, breaking over the walls at Brambles and rushing down towards Spanish Pointe through Bethel.”

Fatalities

Soon we were to hear the calls of the authorities for persons to advise them of persons who were known to have been in the areas for one reason another. Both the Governor and the Chief Minister appeared on radio to tell the nation about the rescue efforts that were underway, never admitting then that there might be fatalities following the activities.

But having seen the results of the forerunning pyroclastic flows, I was certain that the persons who I discovered were in their homes or in the area, had met an unfortunate end.

Other than the sketchy and well monitored reports that came from Government Information Unit (GIU) and ZJB, the rest of the local media was reduced to press conferences which were cut short and severely limited by interviewees who gave much too long answers, having been denied views from the helicopter or access to the area other than the rest of the general public was entitled to.

By the end of the following day, the admission of fatalities was announced and the count grew each day from four to ten by Monday. It was on Saturday when the CM came close to saying that there may be more dead who are still difficult to get to because of the still searing hot ash that lay deposited on the ground.

THE DISASTER

1997 6 24 pics a

Helicopters involved in the search and rescue missions

I was finally afforded a trip to look at the damage done on Wednesday by EMAD, on a helicopter which is one of four helicopters brought in from different sources to aid the ‘search and rescue’ effort.

The trip was not like any I’ve had and did not afford me the opportunity for detail as I rode with David Brandt and 2 others, plus Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) camera man and video cameras. with another from Trinidad. It was only a 20-minute trip, far too short.

However, the devastation is much greater than I imagined. The lands (forest) between Tuitts and Mosquito Ghauts is no more. Although not filled with material the pyroclastic was extremely powerful as it left the volcano and that’s when the surge immediately went over Farrells and down Streatham and accross Windy Hill. The Farrells estate house is completely gone and so is Mandy’s garage on the corner below the grave yard. It went through the bottom of Windy Hill and well across and into the ghaut beyond.

Escapee

One eye witness woman who escaped and who eventually went back to collect money she left in a vehicle, found it, but had walked through Water Works, retracing her steps to get to it. She said she had to go reap the carrots, because she was under so much pressure from government to supply vegetables to shelters.

She got the money but the vehicle she had to leave. She described the flow that she saw as like “sweet oil” running down the hill, noting how the flow backed up when the heat.

Looking down on the Harris’ road Mosquito ghaut is next to it. The surge reached across the road to the Police Station and burnt all those houses including the Church. These were not completely demolished but nevertheless destroyed, from the Morgan’s house down the hill towards farm, then there is one mass of destruction down through Farms, Bethel, Spanish Pointe, Trants.

Since that of course more flows and reports have stated that more damage was done in Harris’. I could see the walls of some of the houses in Farms, Bramble village and Spanish Pointe, but it is obvious that truly there may be about 10 feet of material lying on the lands.

Trants village was completely demolished, hardly recognised any walls standing and it did seem such a vast area.

I saw how the flow over Farrells ran down and into the top of Belham.

I can now report that for Plymouth, we can expect worse to come along, it already looks a disaster. The flows that have been going down Gages and Fort Ghaut seemed to have damaged houses high up on the Gages corner and down the fringes of the ghaut. The Catholic convent and infant school and even the Church are now like the rest of the property in that vicinity are now in line for certain disaster as long as flows continue. At the foot of Gages mountain, the ghauts as I can remember are somewhat shallow, so that serious flows are likely to spread early over to Amersham as it has reportedly done.

I hardly had time for any detail or even good photographs as I was shooting through the helicopter sealed windows. Looking at the photographs, I do not remember where the various scenes are, and I was unable to make notes.

The helicopters are being operated from Geralds and joining them is that from the British navy ship.

Posted in Environment, Featured, Local, News1 Comment

Puerto Rico Drought

Caribbean officials are bracing for a bone-dry summer, as the worst drought in five years sweeps through the region.

Puerto Rico Drought

Puerto Rico Drought

While in Montserrat sprinkling showers wet the grass for more than brief moments and mostly on the southern part of the habited Montserrat, the drought is withering crops, drying reservoirs and killing cattle from Puerto Rico to St. Lucia, and officials are worried the situation is only going to get worse.

A quieter than normal hurricane season due to El Nino, warming of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, was forecasted, which means shorter periods of rains. With less rain, Puerto Rico’s Carraizo and La Plata reservoirs, as well as Naranjito’s La Plata river will struggle to refill. Puerto Rican officials expected a tropical disturbance, which hit the region Monday, to fix the situation, but their hopes were quickly dashed.

As a report report says, “The Caribbean’s last severe drought was in 2010. The current one could grow worse if the hurricane season ending in November produces scant rainfall and the region enters the dry season with parched reservoirs, said Cedric Van Meerbeeck, a climatologist with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology.

Report from Montserrat says water levels remain high, while others in the Caribbean report: “We might have serious water shortages … for irrigation of crops, firefighting, domestic consumption or consumption by the hotel sector,” Cedric Van Meerbeeck said.

The report goes on to say that the Caribbean isn’t the only area in the Western Hemisphere dealing with extreme water shortages. Brazil has been struggling with its own severe drought that has drained reservoirs serving the metropolis of Sao Paulo.

In the Caribbean, the farm sector has lost more than $1 million in crops as well as tens of thousands of dollars in livestock, said Norman Gibson, scientific officer at the Trinidad-based Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute.

On St. Lucia, which has been especially hard hit, farmers say crops, including coconuts, cashews and oranges, are withering.

“The outlook is very, very bad,” said Anthony Herman, who oversees a local farm cooperative. “The trees are dying, the plants are dying … It’s stripping the very life of rivers.”

Officials in Cuba say 75 percent of the island is enduring a drought that has killed cattle and destroyed thousands of hectares (acres) of crops including plantains, citrus, rice and beans. Recent heavy rains in some areas have alleviated the problem some, but all 200 government-run reservoirs are far below capacity.

In the nearby Dominican Republic, water shortages have been reported in hundreds of communities, said Martin Melendez, a civil engineer and hydrology expert who has worked as a government consultant. “We were 30 days away from the entire water system collapsing,” he said.

The tourism sector has also been affected.

Puerto Rico is among the Caribbean islands worst hit by the water shortage, with more than 1.5 million people affected by the drought so far, the U.S. National Drought Mitigation Center says. The amount of water flowing into 12 of at least 22 rivers that supply the island’s reservoirs is at an all-time historic low, the Department of Natural Resources reported Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of people receive water only every third day under strict rationing recently imposed by the island government. Puerto Rico last week also activated National Guard troops to help distribute water and approved a resolution to impose fines on people and businesses for improper water use.

Most large hotels in Puerto Rico have big water tanks and some recycle wastewater to irrigate green areas, but many have curtailed water use, said Frank Comito, CEO of the Florida-based Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association.

Other hotels have cut back on sprinkler time by up to 50 percent, said Carlos Martinez of Puerto Rico’s Association of Hotels. “Everybody here is worried,” he said. “They are selling water tanks like hot cakes … and begging God for rain.”

Guests at Puerto Rico’s El Canario by the Lagoon hotel get a note with their room keys asking them to keep their showers short amid the water shortage. “We need your cooperation to avoid waste,” says the message distributed at the front desk of the hotel in the popular Condado district.

At the Casa del Vega guesthouse in St. Lucia, tourists sometimes find the water in their rooms turned off for the day, preventing them from taking a shower. “Even though we have a drought guests are not sympathetic to that,” hotel manager Merlyn Compton said.

Posted in Environment, Local, Regional1 Comment

Newsletter

Archives