Saturday 20th of April 2024

disaster inc...

disaster inc...

From Bob Ellis
Fewer deaths occurred in Hiroshima in August 1945 than in Port-au-Prince last week and more people will die there soon than in Rwanda in 1994. Yet the modern global world was unprepared for it, so busy were they with Terrorism, which has killed fewer people in the last thirty years than quarrelsome Americans with handguns in the last eight months.

When are we going to get the arithmetic right, and distinguish what threatens us mightily from what threatens us barely at all?

Cuba, a socialist state, is well-prepared for natural disaster and few die there in the hurricane season, and rebuilding happens quickly. The United States, a capitalist nation, was ill-prepared for Hurricane Katrina though experts had warned for years of broken dykes, inundation, chaos, disease and looting, and its response was an international joke.


poor, sick and injured may go to the back of the queue...

Troops, doctors and aid workers are flowing into Haiti, while nations pledge millions of dollars in aid. But how do you handle a crisis of this magnitude? Richard Gordon and Mike Evans of the Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre, outline the planning and potential pitfalls of such an operation.

A fundamental principle of disaster management and international assistance is that it is the stricken country's responsibility to take the lead in inviting in international assistance (via the UN resident representative), and then co-ordinating that assistance to best effect.

In most cases, however, the host government to a greater or lesser extent, will have been incapacitated by the natural disaster, so the UN sends in Disaster and Assessment Coordination teams (UNDACS) to provide initial coordination of international assistance. UNDAC teams tend to deploy for no more than three weeks and then like to hand over once again to the host government. But this may not be long enough for the Haitian government to resume control of its own affairs.

The request for international assistance for Haiti will have been speeded up by the presence of UN troops and other agencies already on the ground.

The US has offered its assistance, in addition to the UN's in-country co-ordination teams. This will provide a significant logistical and command and control element. However, there are likely to be incidents of disagreement between US military and international governments and aid agencies on the ground, as priorities and objectives are set and implemented on Haiti's behalf.


see toon at top...

lack of leadership...

A senior Italian official has strongly criticised the Haiti earthquake relief operation, saying it could have been managed much better.

Guido Bertolaso, the head of Italy's civil protection service, said there was a lack of leadership in the international aid operation.

He also criticised US forces in Haiti, saying troops had no training in running a civilian relief operation.

It is believed the quake on 12 January killed as many as 200,000 people.

An estimated 1.5 million people have been left homeless.

Mr Bertolaso, who arrived in Haiti on Friday, described it as "a terrible situation that could have been managed much better".

"When there is an emergency, it triggers a vanity parade. Lots of people go there anxious to show that their country is big and important, showing solidarity," he said.

He told Italian TV channel RAI he hoped it was "the last time the world acts in this way".


see toon at top...

scientologist voodoo

Before the January 12 earthquake devastated Haiti, numerous faith-based humanitarian organisations operated in the predominantly Catholic island.

And now groups like the Church of Scientology International, Operation Blessing and the American Jewish World Service, have expanded their presence by sending in teams of volunteers, donating food, medicines and equipment.

However, some Haitians, including Haiti's head Voodoo priest, question the true motive behind these humanitarian acts.

Al Jazeera's Sebastian Walker reports from Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.

see toon at top.

care about money...

Cost Dispute Halts Airlift of Injured Haiti Quake Victims


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.

The military flights, usually C-130s carrying Haitians with spinal cord injuries, burns and other serious wounds, ended on Wednesday after Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida formally asked the federal government to shoulder some of the cost of the care.

Hospitals in Florida have treated more than 500 earthquake victims so far, the military said, including an infant who was pulled out of the rubble with a fractured skull and ribs. Other states have taken patients, too, and those flights have been suspended as well, the officials said.

The suspension could be catastrophic for patients, said Dr. Barth A. Green, the co-founder of Project Medishare for Haiti, a nonprofit group affiliated with the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine that had been evacuating about two dozen patients a day.

“People are dying in Haiti because they can’t get out,” Dr. Green said.

It was not clear on Friday who exactly was responsible for the interruption of flights, or the chain of events that led to the decision. Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for Mr. Crist, said the governor’s request for federal help might have caused “confusion.”

“Florida stands ready to assist our neighbors in Haiti, but we need a plan of action and reimbursement for the care we are providing,” Mr. Ivey said.


Is this for real?

price of human life...

US doctors in Haiti have voiced concern about the suspension of evacuation flights to America for critically injured Haitian earthquake victims.

A senior US medic told the BBC that scores of patients could die if they did not get treatment in the US soon.

The US military stopped the flights to Florida on Wednesday.

A White House spokesman told the BBC the move was due to "logistical issues", not over medical costs as had been reported earlier.

In a separate development, Haitian officials have detained at least nine US nationals on suspicion that they tried to take more than 30 children out of the country without authorisation.


see toon at top.

value of life revisited

from the NYT

WASHINGTON — The White House said Sunday that it would resume a United States military airlift of Haitians seriously injured in the Jan. 12 earthquake, reversing a five-day suspension that doctors worried would strand patients with devastating burns, head and spinal cord trauma, amputations and other wounds.

holy moses and little green men...

From the NYT

In Carrefour, a bustling suburb of Port-au-Prince, the capital, the Church of the Seventh-day Adventists, which has worked in Haiti since 1904, runs a hospital, a wastewater purification plant, a bakery, a radio station and a bookbinder. Even before the earthquake, the church was considered to have far more of a presence in Haiti than the government.

But other religious workers are operating in a far more bare-bones manner, with whatever they managed to carry in their luggage.

“You had missionary doctors parachuting in here doing amputations rather than setting or treating wounds because they knew their charter jet was leaving in two days and they would not be able to oversee follow-up,” said Dr. Scott Nelson, an American orthopedic surgeon and Adventist missionary, as he lifted a moaning man onto a soiled stretcher.

“The community trusts us, but when other groups make shortsighted decisions it undermines everyone’s credibility,” he added.

Dr. Nelson and other veteran missionaries faulted the new arrivals for frequently acting on their own instead of collaborating with more established missionary groups that plan on staying in Haiti for the long haul. It is tension, some experts say, that can arise from the differing reasons that missions have for being here.

“The new or short-term groups see themselves as being there to save souls first and lives second,” said Jonathan J. Bonk, director of the Overseas Ministries Study Center in New Haven. “The older, less conservative missions often see it the other way around.”


The Voodoo belief thingster seems to be tame compared to the dispensators of eternal salvation via moses, jesus or the green men... see toon at top.

big earthquake in Irian Jaya....

30-SEP-2010 05:39:16 -4.85 133.84 4.7 10.0 IRIAN JAYA REGION, INDONESIA 30-SEP-2010 05:31:22 45.52 26.25 4.5 133.2 ROMANIA 30-SEP-2010 04:53:43 72.84 -151.93 4.7 16.5 BEAUFORT SEA 30-SEP-2010 04:30:57 34.30 26.17 4.4 46.0 CRETE 30-SEP-2010 03:45:04 -0.26 133.44 5.8 23.2 IRIAN JAYA REGION, INDONESIA 30-SEP-2010 02:11:03 -4.98 133.85 5.6 10.0 IRIAN JAYA REGION, INDONESIA 30-SEP-2010 01:07:39 -5.17 133.87 5.4 10.0 ARU ISLANDS REGION, INDONESIA 30-SEP-2010 01:02:53 -37.75 -70.67 4.6 23.1 SOUTHERN ARGENTINA 30-SEP-2010 00:26:19 -36.53 -73.11 5.8 9.9 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE 30-SEP-2010 00:24:12 24.70 141.20 5.3 222.1 VOLCANO ISLANDS REGION 29-SEP-2010 22:36:39 2.38 126.77 5.0 50.8 NORTHERN MOLUCCA SEA 29-SEP-2010 21:03:26 -4.86 133.68 5.2 17.6 IRIAN JAYA REGION, INDONESIA 29-SEP-2010 18:49:36 -15.49 -172.28 5.4 35.0 SAMOA ISLANDS REGION 29-SEP-2010 17:11:24 -4.92 133.78 7.2 12.3 IRIAN JAYA REGION, INDONESIA 29-SEP-2010 17:10:52 -4.93 133.75 6.2 21.2

sue god instead...

The trial of six Italian scientists and a former government official for manslaughter over the 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila has opened in the city.

The 6.3 magnitude quake devastated the city and killed 309 people.

Prosecutors allege the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake after studying hundreds of tremors that had shaken the city.

The defence argues that there is no way to predict major earthquakes even in a seismically active area.

The prosecutors accuse the seven of "negligence and imprudence... of having provided an approximate, generic and ineffective assessment of seismic activity risks as well as incomplete, imprecise and contradictory information".

As the trial opened, L'Aquila prosecutor Alfredo Rossini told reporters: "We simply want justice."

The defendants face up to 15 years in jail. Lawyers for civil plaintiffs - who include the local council - are seeking damages of 50m euros (£45m). The civil portion of the case will be heard alongside the criminal case.

Only one of the seven defendants - who include some of Italy's most distinguished geophysicists and members of the country's civil protection agency - was present on the opening day of the trial, which has now been adjourned until 1 October.

"I thought it was important to be here because this is my land, and I also wanted to underline the professionalism and the quality of the other public officials," said Bernardo De Bernardinis, former vice-president of the Civil Protection Agency's technical department.



Gus: anyone who study earthquakes seriously — lay person or scientist — knows that while observing a series of small "shocks", one cannot be sure of their meaning. There is a greater chance that these represent small release of tectonic energy that actually remove the possibility of stronger "future" shocks. Thus a series of small shocks usually does not predict a stronger quake, while a strong earthquake is often followed by a series of "after-shocks"...

After the Aquila earthquake, many people thought they were punished by god, including the pope... Why don't they sue god instead of scientists who do their best to study the unpredictable. But do I smell the sulphur of some clever lawyers working for insurance companies which, as usual, don't want to pay for the damage?


But should the people of Aquila be observant of the behaviour of their domestic animals and cattle, they might have been warned by about a couple of hours ahead of the quake.

Pressures from below the surface — before an earthquake — can create piezoelectricity that has magnetic disturbance as well as small "lighting" effect at night time... The compression of rocks such as quartz that produces piezoelectricity (a phenomenom to light stoves) is well known. Animals are said to detect the minute change in the ambient electric and magnetic field BEFORE THE QUAKE (up to two hours before). To some extend, should we be less distracted by our entertainment and pay specific attention, I believe we also could pick up the change... It could be a life saver for example to include finely tuned sensors that could pick such minute change, but with electricity cables and wiring, radios, telephone towers and the like, we do muddle the ability to take meaningful measurements of such kind.. As well one has to consider the position of an epicentre in relation to where the damage is done.

See story at top...

the church said god punished the villagers for their sins...


Six scientists and a former government official have been jailed for multiple manslaughter for giving the wrong advice about an earthquake which struck the Italian city of L'Aquila in 2009, killing over 300 people.

The seven, all members of a body called the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks, were accused of negligence and malpractice in evaluating the danger and keeping the central city informed of the risks.

L'Aquila was reduced to rubble by the 6.3 magnitude quake on April 6, 2009, with 309 people killed and over 1,000 injured.

The case has drawn condemnation from international bodies including the American Geophysical Union, which said the risk of litigation may deter scientists from advising governments or even working in seismology and seismic risk assessments.

"The issue here is about miscommunication of science, and we should not be putting responsible scientists who gave measured, scientifically accurate information in prison," Richard Walters of Oxford University's Department of Earth Sciences said.

"This sets a very dangerous precedent and I fear it will discourage other scientists from offering their advice on natural hazards and trying to help society in this way."

The scientists - Franco Barberi, Enzo Boschi, Giulio Selvaggi, Gian Michele Calvi, Claudio Eva and Mauro Dolce as well as Bernardo De Bernardis - a senior official in the Civil Protection Authority - were convicted of criminal manslaughter and causing criminal injury.

At the heart of the case was the question of whether the government-appointed experts gave an overly reassuring picture of the risk facing the town, which contained many ancient and fragile buildings and which had already been partially destroyed three times by earthquakes over the centuries.


LUDICROUS!... And weather forecasters will be next in line when they get it wrong and that's about half the time in unsettled conditions... Then we will sue scientists for telling us that global warming is on but get it wrong by a couple of inches... Meanwhile, priests popes and imams are getting out scot-free while peddling idiotic beliefs... 


and no-one predicted that one...

28-OCT-2012   03:04:10         52.77   -131.93   7.7         17.5        QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS REGION


Tsunami warning after Canada quakeUpdated: 15:30, Sunday October 28, 2012

A magnitude-7.7 earthquake has struck off the coast of western Canada and a tsunami warning has been issued.

There are no immediate reports of damage.

The US Geological Survey says the quake hit at 11.14pm (1414 AEDT today) and was centred 155 kilometres south of Masset in British Columbia.

The tsunami warning is in effect for the coastal areas of British Columbia and Alaska from the northern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to Cape Decision, Alaska.

at last, no case to answer...


A group of Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for failing to predict a deadly earthquake have had the verdict quashed.

The seven men had been given six-year jail sentences after an earthquake devastated the medieval town of L'Aquila in 2009, killing 309 people.

The verdict triggered alarm, with some saying that science itself had been put on trial.

On Monday an appeals court cleared the group of the manslaughter charges.

Judge Fabrizia Ida Francabandera ruled that there was no case to answer.

"The credibility of Italy's entire scientific community has been restored," said Stefano Gresta, the president of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.

The seven men - all leading scientists or disaster experts - had been members of a committee convened in L'Aquila in March 2009 following a series of tremors in the region.

Days after they met, a 6.3 magnitude quake struck the town in the middle of the night.

read more:

see also:  the church said god punished the villagers for their sins...