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One year later, Chief Minister pleased with progress after Hurricane Irma

One year later, Chief Minister pleased with progress after Hurricane Irma

By Kenton X. Chance

THE VALLEY, Anguilla, Sept 24, CMC — Chief Minister Victor Banks says he is pleased with the progress this British Overseas Territory has made in the year since it was impacted by Hurricane Irma that also  devastated a number of other Caribbean countries.

“I am extremely satisfied. I think we have done extremely well in Anguilla with the recovery process, as opposed to a number of other places that are still suffering as a result of it,” Banks told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

Chief Minister Victor Banks (CMC Photo)

Irma was the strongest storm on record to exist in the open Atlantic region and claimed at least 130 lives as it made its way through the Lesser Antilles last September. The storm left USS64.76 billion in damage, making it the fifth-costliest tropical cyclone on record.

But one year later, Banks was happy to report that the electricity grid in Anguilla and the island’s telecommunications services were operating again.

“… the schools, have plans in place for reconstruction and rehabilitation, the port facilities at Blowing Point are being restored, the building has not started yet but we have put in place some temporary arrangements that we are improving on, as we speak, for the tourism season — a much more permanent temporary arrangement than the ones we have now in preparation for the construction of a state of the art terminal building in that area,” he told CMC.

The airport, an important piece of infrastructure in this tourism-dependent nation, is functional and is preparing to accept night flights.

“So, generally, I think that we have come a long way, restored ourselves to a level of normalcy,” Banks said, adding “the community is getting it together.

“Homes are being rebuilt, repaired and there are still a small group of persons, especially persons who had challenges with their homes even before hurricane Irma that we still have to provide assistance for,” he said, adding that Hurricane Irma was the most severe weather event of recorded history to make landfall.

“It was a Category 5 and being a part of the experience myself, I know the winds were gusting. It has been recorded way over 185 miles per hour (mph). Some persons have reported somewhere in the region of 210 mph.”

Banks said he was grateful that the storm was a fast-moving one, passing over the 91 km square island, which is approximately 16 miles long by three miles wide, in six to seven hours.

The 70-year-old politician said that other storms have taken up to 12 and as much as 18 hours to pass over the island.

“The impact of it in Anguilla was mainly in terms of the destruction of homes and destruction of the utility distribution system. Twenty-five per cent of the electricity poles were down, but, in addition to that, there was damage to the electricity distribution network, the wiring and so on, in various areas of the island, to the extent that we were without electricity for many, many months.”

Electricity was restored to the entire island in December 2017, just three months after the hurricane.

Anguilla relies heavily on tourism and, for the most part, the hotel plants were severely damaged.

“As a consequence, many of the properties were not able to open before the first quarter of this year. Obviously, with the hotel plants down, being the main provider of employment, some two to three thousand persons were directly affected in that sector, not to mention the businesses that provide services and support for that sector as well.

“So customs revenue being our main source of income and accommodation tax being the other, you would imagine how this would have impacted our economy.”

As regards housing, Banks told CMC that Anguilla was fortunate in that construction is informed by the experience of major hurricanes such as Hurricane Donna in 1960 and Hurricane Louise in 1995.

“The kind destruction that came as a result encouraged persons to build more study homes, so, I would say 75 per cent of the homes in Anguilla have concrete roofing. As a consequence, most of the damage was to windows and doors, and in those cases where there were other forms of roofing, maybe 30 to 40 per cent of those homes were damaged again.”

The road infrastructure was not severely damaged but there are areas where there is need for support, he said, noting that the community and extended families came together and made sure that persons did not remain in emergency shelters for extended periods of time.

Banks, however, said there are a number of persons who still have severe damage to their homes, which they are in the process of rebuilding.

And while, in some cases, the insurance companies, “came out very well and people were able to respond to the damage within a short period of time” there are still instances where the insurers were not as ready in providing support as expected.

“… but there is a definite move to correct that issue and try to find as much support as possible,” Banks said, noting that some persons were not insured and would need assistance from several agencies, including the government, persons in the community, and philanthropic organisations.

“The hotel sector came together and formed a relief fund that supported a number of persons across the island and the government put in place a small programme of assistance for person who would have lost doors, windows and certain other issues impacting their homes, as well as the need for persons who are out of work.”

The Chief Minister said that his administration provided a compensation programme for persons who lost jobs in the hotel sector as a result of Hurricane Irma.

They were provided with support over the last six months after the storm to get them back on track, meet some of their obligations and prepare themselves for the workplace, he said, noting that while the population was generally prepared, he observed that too many persons waited until the last minute to do so.

“The level of preparedness took place over a shorter period than is advisable. I think that we need to put programme for readiness is in place much earlier,” he told CMC.

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TS Kirk 2018-09-27 at 6.37.00 PM

Region urged to track progress of Tropical Storm Kirk

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Sept 27, CMC (Adapted) – A tropical storm warning has been issued for Barbados and St. Lucia after the depression Kirk regenerated into a tropical storm over the Western Tropical Atlantic on Wednesday.

At four o’clock today, Thursday, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Matinique and even Dominica are experiencing effects from the storm, with winds up to 50 miles per hour. Montserrat seemed to be outside the band of expected effects, but it could experience rain and even some winds, depending on the structure of the storm.

Yesterday, the report was that a tropical storm watch has been into effect for St. Vincent and the Grenadines as Kirk, with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour, is located 470 miles east of Barbados and 595 miles east south east of the French island of Martinique.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in its 5.00 am (local time) bulletin, said the center of the storm was located near latitude 11.8 North, longitude 52.7 West and is moving toward the west near 18 mph.

The NHC said that a westward to west-northwestward motion is expected through Friday night and that on the forecast track, Kirk is expected to approach Barbados and the northern Windward Islands Thursday afternoon and move into the eastern Caribbean Sea by Friday morning.

It said that the winds could strengthen as Kirk moves through the central Lesser Antilles Thursday afternoon and evening. Rapid weakening is expected on Friday after Kirk emerges over theCaribbean Sea.

The NHC said that tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the warning area by Thursday afternoon, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

“Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area by Thursday afternoon or evening,” it said, adding that Kirk is expected to produce total rainfall totals of four to six inches with maximum totals of 10 across the northern Windward and southern Leeward Islands from Barbados and St. Lucia northward across Martinique, Dominica, and Guadeloupe.

“These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

September is usually the peak month for Atlantic hurricanes, recording more hurricanes in that basin than any other month on record. The hurricane season ends on November 30.

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eathquale Jamaica

Earthquake rocks Jamaica’sCorporate Area and neighbouring parish

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sep. 16, CMC –  Sections of the Corporate Area and the neighbouring parish of St. Catherine were rocked by an earthquake on Sunday afternoon.

According to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) , it had not received reports of damage.

“We are aware of the earthquake…however the ODPEM and the Earthquake Unit will continue to monitor the situation and provide on update once it becomes available,” the agency said in a post on its twitter page.

The Gleaner reported meanwhile, the tremor was felt mainly in Old Harbour, Portmore and Spanish Town in St Catherine, as well as Kingston and St Andrew, according to the Earthquake Unit.

However, callers to our newsroom from as far away as Clarendon and St Mary reported feeling the tremors.

The United States Geological Survey in its report said the earthquake with a magnitude of 3.3, had a  depth of 10 kilometres and was centered in Riversdale, St. Catherine.

Later reports from the Jamiaca Observer headlines the shake as a  Light 4.6 magnitude earthquake with a magnitude of 4.6, felt in the Corporate Area and St Catherine at 1:47 this afternoon.

The tremor had a focal depth of 23.1 kilometres, the unit reported.

Meanwhile, The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, says it has, so far, not received reports of damage.

Many social media users across the Corporate Area, St Catherine and Clarendon have confirmed feeling the tremor, while others as far away as Falmouth in Trelawny, and some in St Ann, have reported the earthquake.

Posted in Earthquake, Local, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

RFA Mounts Bay was helped out in the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma. This year its regular civilian crew will be joined by 87 specialists

UK deploys experts to help with storm threats

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Sep. 13, CMC  (Adapted) – The United Kingdom has deployed a team of specialists to the Caribbean to help mitigate the impact of impending storms threatening British Overseas territories.

According to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, 87 engineers, medics, maritime experts and other specialists have joined the regular crew of RFA Mounts Bay, which is the mobile hub of the British relief effort.

RFA Mounts Bay

He added that approximately 1,000 personnel are deployed or being held at high-readiness for if further storms head towards the region.

“I want to assure everyone in our Overseas Territories that our Armed Forces have been pre-positioned in the region and are absolutely prepared to help,” Williamson said. “We will be there to support during this hurricane season while still helping those whose lives were devastated by Irma and Maria to rebuild their lives and homes.”

Last September, several homes were  destroyed and infrastructure decimated when Hurricane Irma and Maria, two of the most powerful hurricanes for decades, hit the region back-to-back .

As well as being able to carry vital aid and equipment, RFA Mounts Bay will use the Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter on board to provide aerial support. RFA Mounts Bay is one of three Landing Ship Docks in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary

The Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) troop, consisting of Royal Engineers from the British Army and Royal Marines, have been training with their French counterparts in Martinique to ensure they are fully prepared.

This training is part of a six-month deployment to the region for hurricane season, while RFA Mounts Bay also carried out a significant HADR exercise in July.

Some islands are expected to be impacted by Tropical Storm Issac on Thursday, raising concerns about the physical damage it could wreak.

RFA Mounts Bay was helped out in the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma. This year its regular civilian crew will be joined by 87 specialists
 
The RFA Mounts Bay visted Montserrat on Friday after the passage of Tropical Storm Isaac from 12 p.m. on Friday September 14. A release from the Governor’s office had advised: “The officials from the ship will be meeting with local stakeholders and members of the MOD who are currently on island a part of the UK’s Hurricane response efforts to the region. The media are ‘united’ (invited) to a huddle with officials at Little Bay playing field before the departure of Mounts Bay. This is scheduled from 14.30 to 15.00 pm. 
 
From RFA Mounts Bay Retweets, following the visit
 

BrigJohnRidge

BrigJohnRidge
 
@BrigJohnRidge
 
Mounts Bay tweeted: The Montserrat JFHQ team carrying out a last minute check on the turtles at the sanctuary and the full Operational Liaison and Reconnaissance Team back in the UK ready for whatever we are asked to do next. It was great to see the people of#Montserrat again today. A fleeting visit whilst MNTS is in the area on standby during this Core Hurricane Season. MNTS has now resumed our previous tasking however will remain in striking distance the OTs until November.
Below are some images of the visit
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DnEmxJdWwAIL7AH.jpghttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/DnEmxJoX4AEYsB0.jpg

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DnEmxJYXsAAOJ7L.jpg

BrigJohnRidge
BrigJohnRidge
 
@BrigJohnRidge
 

Captain and

@CommandoCaribb1

from

@RFAMountsBay

visiting

@UKinMontserrat

Deputy Premier, Director of Disaster Management and other representatives of #Montserrat Goverment

 

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TS Isaac - Image 2018-09-13 at 12.37.52 PM

Tropical Storm Isaac closes down Montserrat?

NOTICE

Cabinet has taken a decision to close all schools and government offices at 12 noon today for the passage of Tropical Storm Isaac. The private sector is also encouraged to close their businesses at 12 noon today as well, especially those with parents who have school-aged children.

According to Major Alvin Ryan, Interim Director at the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA), although, tropical storm conditions on Montserrat are not expected to get significantly worst, they are not anticipated to improve before 3 pm today and significant rainfall activity is forecast for this afternoon. Therefore, Mr Ryan says to err on the side of caution, all schools, government offices be closed at mid-day and the private sector is encouraged to do likewise.

By B. Roach

As The Montserrat Reporter is not obliged to carry ‘notices’ provided to us merely as information with no request for ‘paid’ publication which then obliges us, we cannot help but editorialise on what we consider to be poor decisions made without due regard for the economic status of the country. We of course regard this merely as a Notice to us, not otherwise, but find it aggravating. Oh for several reasons, not all mentioned here!

The very nature of the NDPRAC statement outlining the status of TS (Tropical Storm) Isaac suggests “to err on the side of caution’ is very questionable as to the understanding of the information available from all sorts of sources.

Along with what they are saying, for those concerned a constant look at the www.themontserratreporter.com does provide simple guide and information to the weather status affecting Montserrat from www.AccuWeather.com. We use also additional sources. There you will find hourly weather situations. E.g. Today, unlike earlier in the forecasts which promised possible thunderstorms etc. it shows showers and cloudy conditions from time to time into the evening. Tomorrow a national day of mourning , the passing of former CM Bertrand Osborne – is a holiday.

The question when all other circumstances, including ‘official’ forecasts should this encourage our government to take a decision to close down the country for the rest of the day, when the possible worst would have past. (See diagrams here).

current information:

Center location already west of the most affected islands, Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe

TS Isaac – Image 2018-09-13 at 12.37.52 PM – (See Montserrat outside the ball of activity!

These decisions are so symptomatic of the miserable state Montserrat has evolved into the over the past several years. Unfortunately, we see this situation as continuing for some time, throughout this decade, already too long especially as one listens to the ongoing discussions regarding an inquiry invoked by the UK Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) into the UK’s future relationship with the OT’s. We will later inform of some 11-year-olds opinion on the matter.

And also the ill-advised and misguided, unprepared and bad futuristic calls being made these days.

l8r…

 

 

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Isaac forecast 2015-09-13 (THURSDAY) at 2.00 PM

Tropical Storm Isaac (Update)

by Bennette Roach

TS Isaac Image 2018-09-12

Isaac forecast 2015-09-13 (THURSDAY) at 2.00 PM

The National Disaster Preparedness Response Advisory Committee (NDPRAC) met today, Tuesday September 11th, 2018 to review Montserrat’s preparedness for Tropical Storm Isaac, which is expected to approach the Lesser Antilles late on Wednesday night, (chain of Islands from Grenada north to the BVI).

In a release from the NDPRAC it says: “The Antigua Meteorological Service (with responsibility for Montserrat) has placed Montserrat on a Tropical Storm Watch and expects the island to be affected by tropical storm force winds.”

“NDPRAC notes that there will be no air and sea access to and from Montserrat on Thursday, September 13th, 2018. Air access is expected to resume on Friday September 14th, 2018, weather permitting, whilst ferry operations are expected to resume on Saturday September 15th, 2018.”

Meanwhile, NDPRAC NDPRAC continues to advise that all residents and visitors secure their properties, businesses and livestock in preparation for the impending storm.

A further update is expected later today when from sources, it is expected they will advise a further downgrading of the storm, but no doubt plans except for schools, government buildings etc. will be firmly determined.

Funeral services for Bertrand Osborne

Meanwhile, funeral and burial plans for Hon. Bertrand Osborne former Chief Minister have been postponed to Saturday.

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IsaacDowngraded

IsaacDowngraded

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Sept 11, CMC – Hurricane Isaac was inching its way towards the Lesser Antilles on Tuesday after losing steam and downgraded to a strong tropical storm over the Central tropical Atlantic.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that the storm, located near latitude 14.6 North, longitude 48.1 West, has sustained maximum winds of 70 miles per hour (mph) and was about 880 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.

“Isaac is moving towards the west near 14 mph.  This general motion is expected to continue through the end of the week. On the forecast track, Isaac should move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea on Thursday,” the NHC said.

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WhatsApp Image 2018-09-10 at 8.53.01 PM

Hurricane Isaac 2018 update: Still a Category 1 on path for Caribbean

A toss up – as to which way a curve away from the Islands or a weakening by time it gets to the Islands. Either way the authorities are cautioning “Be Prepared’.
 
Hurricane Isaac remained a minimal Category 1 hurricane on Monday afternoon but is forecast to strengthen in the next day or two. It could begin to weaken later this week as it approaches the Caribbean. (National Hurricane Center)
Hurricane Isaac remained a minimal Category 1 hurricane on Monday afternoon but is forecast to strengthen in the next day or two. It could begin to weaken later this week as it approaches the Caribbean. (National Hurricane Center)

Hurricane Isaac remained a minimal hurricane on Monday afternoon and continued to track westward on a path that could bring it across the Lesser Antilles by Thursday.

And if that wasn’t enough the National Hurricane Center is also watching a disturbance already in the Caribbean that could become a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico later this week.

But first Isaac. As of 4 p.m. CDT Monday, Hurricane Isaac was located about 1,090 miles east of the Winward Islands and was moving west at 14 mph.

Isaac maintained winds of 75 mph, making it a minimal Category 1 hurricane.

While Isaac hasn’t gained any strength today that could change over the next day or two. Forecasters said Monday afternoon that they weren’t sure why Isaac hasn’t intensified yet.

The hurricane center said weakening should begin by the middle of the week as Isaac nears the Lesser Antilles.

The hurricane center thinks, however, that Isaac will be near or at hurricane strength when it reaches the islands.

Isaac is forecast to continue moving west and pick up a bit of speed through the end of the week.

On that path it will move across the Lesser Antilles on Thursday. The hurricane center said watches may be needed for the islands on Tuesday.

However, the hurricane center noted that confidence in Isaac’s track forecast is on the low side.

That’s because forecast models are split into two factions on its path.

One set of models suggests Isaac could recurve near or east of the Lesser Antilles and miss the islands all together.

However some of the more reliable models show a consistent westward motion across the islands and into the eastern Caribbean.

The hurricane center is sticking with the westward path for now but added a disclaimer: “Given the spread in the guidance, the confidence in the details of the track forecast beyond the first couple of days is larger than usual.”

Isaac is a small storm, and its strongest winds extend out from the center only about 10 miles.

The hurricane center said the intensity forecast is also difficult.

Storms that small are notoriously challenging to predict because they are more susceptible to environmental changes around them.

Models are also disagree on how how strong — or weak — Isaac will be.

Some models suggest Isaac will steadily weaken as it encounters wind shear in a few days. But yet another one shows Isaac becoming a major hurricane.

Isaac is one of three hurricanes in the Atlantic on Monday.

There’s also Florence, which is a Category 4 as of Monday afternoon and forecast to strike the U.S. as a major hurricane this week, and Category 2 Helene, which is in the far eastern Atlantic and not forecast to affect land.

The hurricane center is also watching a disturbance in the northwest Caribbean that could move into the Gulf of Mexico in a few days.

The hurricane center raised the odds of development to 50 percent on Monday afternoon and said a tropical depression could form Thursday or Friday in the western Gulf.

It was forecast to stay on a west-northwest to northwest path.

The hurricane center warned those along the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to northeastern Mexico to keep an eye on the system.

In addition to Hurricanes Florence, Helene and Isaac there are two tropical disturbances being monitored by the hurricane center. The one in the northwest Caribbean could become a tropical depression by Thursday or Friday. (NHC)

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WhatsApp Image 2018-09-09 at 7.52.14 PM

Tropical storm Isaac now a hurricane as it heads towards the Caribbean

So now a Hurricane Isaac demanding some attention…Montserrat!
Update: Now a Cat 1 hurricane out there East of Montserrat and the chain (Grenada – BVI) – no change and it will smack us Thursday-Friday. Meanwhile Florence well north of the chain roars on to the US eastern mainland also by Friday at Cat 3

0

By Caribbean News Now contributor

MIAMI, USA — At 5:00 pm EDT on Sunday, the centre of Tropical Storm Isaac was located about 1,390 miles (2,240 km) east of the Windward Islands, moving toward the west near 12 mph (19 km/h) and is expected to become a hurricane by Sunday night.

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, the westward motion is forecast to continue through the end of the week and accelerate during the next 36 hours, with Isaac expected to move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea on Wednesday night or Thursday.

 

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 mph (110 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast, but weakening is anticipated to begin by the middle of the week as Isaac approaches the Lesser Antilles.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the centre.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Florence, which is about 720 miles (1,160 km) southeast of Bermuda and about 580 miles (935 km) northeast of the northern Leeward Islands, is forecast to become a major hurricane on Monday.

However, on the forecast track, the centre of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and The Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Aircraft and satellite data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 85 mph (140 km/h) with higher gusts. Florence is forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday, and is expected to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km). Florence is forecast to become larger over the next few days.

Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Tropical Storm Helene also became a hurricane on Sunday but is expected to remain over open water in the Atlantic as it continues to move away from the Cabo Verde Islands.

Finally, a combination of an upper-level trough and a tropical wave over the northwestern Caribbean Sea is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms between Cuba and Honduras.

Upper-level winds could become somewhat more conducive for some development in a couple of days while the system moves slowly west-northwestward or northwestward.

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Police officers and rescue workers search for survivors from a building damaged by a landslide caused by a powerful earthquake in Atsuma town in Japan

Powerful quake paralyses Hokkaido in latest disaster to hit Japan

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By Kaori Kaneko and Chang-Ran Kim
Reuters
People look at an area damaged by an earthquake in Sapporo in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 6, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

By Kaori Kaneko and Chang-Ran Kim

TOKYO (Reuters) – A powerful earthquake paralyzed Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, killing at least seven people, triggering landslides and knocking out power to its 5.3 million residents.

The death toll from the 6.7-magnitude, pre-dawn quake was likely to rise as rescuers searched houses buried by landslides.

About 33 people were missing and 300 were injured, public broadcaster NHK said. Four people were in cardiopulmonary arrest, a term used before death is officially confirmed.

(graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2oJz6zd)

The quake was the latest in a string of natural disasters to batter Japan after typhoons, flooding and a record-breaking heat wave within the past two months.

Aerial footage showed dozens of landslides exposing barren hillsides near the town of Atsuma in southern Hokkaido, with mounds of red earth and toppled trees piled at the edge of green fields.

The collapsed remains of what appeared to be houses or barns were strewn about.

“It came in four big jerks – boom! boom! boom! boom!” one unidentified woman told NHK. “Before we knew it our house was bent and we couldn’t open the door.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said 25,000 Self-Defense Force troops would be deployed for rescue operations.

The island, a tourist destination about the size of Austria known for its mountains, lakes and seafood, lost its power when Hokkaido Electric Power Co <9509.T> shut down of all its fossil fuel-fired power plants after the quake as a precaution.

It was the first time since the utility was established in 1951 that had happened.

Almost 12 hours later, power was restored to parts of Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital, and Asahikawa, its second-biggest city.

The government said there was damage to Hokkaido Electric’s Tomato-Atsuma plant, which supplies half the island’s 2.95 million households. It could take a week to restore power fully to all residents, Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said.

All trains across the island were halted.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party begins a leadership contest on Friday but said there would be no campaigning through to Sunday. Abe and rival Shigeru Ishiba both canceled campaign media appearances slated for Friday.

‘NOTHING I CAN DO’

Television footage from Sapporo showed crumbled roads and mud covering a main street. Police directed traffic because signal lights were out while drink-vending machines, ubiquitous in Japan, and most ATMs were not working.

“Without electricity, there’s nothing I can do except to write prescriptions,” a doctor in Abira, the town next to Atsuma, told NHK.

Media reported a baby girl at a Sapporo hospital was in critical condition after the power was cut to her respirator. It wasn’t clear if the hospital had a generator.

The quake hit at 3:08 a.m. (1808 GMT Wednesday) at a depth of 40 km (25 miles), with its epicenter about 65 km (40 miles) southeast of Sapporo, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. In Atsuma, it registered a 7 on Japan’s 7-point quake intensity scale, the agency said, revising an earlier measurement.

Hokkaido’s main airport was closed, at least for the day. Debris and water could be seen on the terminal floors.

Kyodo news agency said more than 200 flights and 40,000 passengers would be affected on Thursday alone.

The closure comes just days after Kansai Airport, another major regional hub, in western Japan, was shut by Typhoon Jebi, which killed 11 people and injured hundreds.

The storm, the most powerful to hit Japan in 25 years, stranded thousands of passengers and workers at the airport, whose operator said it would resume some domestic flights on Friday.

In July, torrential rain in west Japan caused flooding that killed more than 200 people and widespread destruction. That was followed by a heat wave that reached a record 41.1 Celsius and led to the deaths of at least 80 people.

FACTORIES HALTED

Farming, tourism and other services are big economic drivers on Hokkaido, which accounts for just 3.6 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product, but there is some industry. Kirin Brewery and Sapporo Breweries both said factories were shut by the power outage.

A series of smaller shocks followed the initial quake, the JMA said. Residents were warned to take precautions.

 

By the afternoon, backhoes and other earth-moving equipment in Atsuma had begun clearing debris.

Japan is situated on the “Ring of Fire” arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that partly encircles the Pacific Basin.

Northeast Japan was hit by a 9 magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011, that triggered a tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people and led to meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Hokkaido’s Tomari nuclear power station, which has been shut since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, suffered a power outage but officials said it was cooling its spent nuclear fuel safely.

Saturday marked the 95th anniversary of the Great Kanto earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area. Seismologists have said another such quake could strike the capital at any time.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Chang-Ran Kim; Additional reporting by William Mallard, Osamu Tsukimori, Aaron Sheldrick, Elaine Lies and Takaya Yamaguchi; Writing by Malcolm Foster; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel)

Posted in Earthquake, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

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