Fundamental Human Rights

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Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

Indian PM: Floods ‘a national calamity’

Posted by terres on August 29, 2008

The River of Sorrow, Kosi River, Breaches its Banks

About 55 people have died and at least two million others have fled their homes after massive floods inundated India’s eastern state of Bihar, said local officials.


Flood affected villagers board boats to move to relief camps in Madhepura District in Bihar state, India, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008. The death toll from this year’s monsoon has already climbed past 800, and now some 1.2 million people have been marooned, and about 2 million more affected in the impoverished state of Bihar, where the Kosi river has burst its banks, breached safety embankments and submerged all roads leading to the region. (AP Photo/Aftab Alam Siddiqui). Image may be subject to copyright.


An aerial view shows the Kosi river flooding the villages in east Nepal August 23, 2008. Indian army troops helped evacuate more than 120,000 people from floods in eastern India, but more bad weather raised fears that rivers would to continue to overflow, officials said on Thursday. The flooding, which officials say are the worst in 50 years, was caused after the Kosi river broke a dam in Nepal where it originates, unleashing huge waves of water that smashed mud embankments downstream in Bihar state. Photo taken August 23, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer (NEPAL). Image may be subject to copyright.

An aerial view of a flood affected Madhepura town is seen, in north Bihar state, India, Wednesday, Aug.27, 2008. Indian officials rushed soldiers and air force helicopters Wednesday to flood-ravaged parts of northern India to provide aid to the more than 1 million people stranded by a surging river. The death toll from this year’s monsoon has already climbed past 800, and now some 1.2 million people have been marooned, and about 2 million more affected in the impoverished state of Bihar, where the Kosi river has burst its banks, breached safety embankments and submerged all roads leading to the region.
(AP Photo/Aftab Alam Siddiqui). Image may be subject to copyright.


An aerial view shows a damaged and submerged railway track in the flood-affected area of Kusaha in the eastern Indian state of Bihar August 27, 2008. The Kosi river in Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, smashed through mud embankments and changed course last week, unleashing huge walls of water that inundated hundreds of villages and towns. Food riots also erupted on Wednesday in eastern India, where more than two million people have been forced from their homes and about 250,000 houses destroyed in what officials say are the worst floods in 50 years. Photo: BBC/AFP. Caption: Reuters. Image may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in climate change, environment, GENOCIDE, Global Warming, human rights, monsoon, politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Right to Pollution-Free Air

Posted by terres on August 11, 2008

The Right to Clean Air IS a fundamental Human Right!

Original Entry:

Stop Polluting Our Air!


I need clean air! Why are you arresting me? (Photo AFP). Image may be subject to copyright.


[I’ll give you clean air, you basta*d!] Police restrain a protester in front of the gates of Kingsnorth Power Station near Rochester in Kent, southeast England August 9, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor. Image may be subject to copyright.

See Fair Use Notice!

Posted in air pollution, clean air, climate change, CO2, coal-fired power plants, corporate agenda, corporate crimes, corporate racketeering, Corporatocracy, Energy waste, environment, politics, UK | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Land degradation threatens 1.5 billion people

Posted by terres on July 2, 2008

Accelerated land degradation threatens food security of a quarter of the world’s population: FAO

“An estimated 1.5 billion people, or a quarter of the world’s population, depend directly on land that is being degraded,” FAO said.

Land degradation affects

  • More than 20 percent of all cultivated areas.
  • About 30 percent of forests.
  • At least 10 percent of grasslands.

Land erosion leads to

  • Desertification
  • Reduced productivity
  • Mass migration
  • Food insecurity
  • Irreversible damage to natural resources
  • Collapse of ecosystems
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Increase in emission of GHG

“The loss of biomass and soil organic matter releases carbon into the atmosphere and affects the quality of soil and its ability to hold water and nutrients,” said director of FAO’s Land and Water Division.

[Note: for more accurate land statistics see: Topsoil]


Severe soil erosion in a wheat field near Washington State University, USA.

Natural Resources Conservation Service on Desertification:

Desertification is land degradation occurring in the arid, semiarid and dry subhumid areas of the world. These susceptible drylands cover 40 percent of the earth’s surface and puts at risk more than 1 billion people who are dependent on these lands for survival.


Landsat image of sand dunes advancing on Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania.

  • The Major Causes:
    • Land clearing and deforestation
    • Agricultural mining of soil nutrients
    • Urban conversion
    • Irrigation
    • Pollution
  • The Major Stresses:
    • accelerated erosion by wind and water
    • removal of nutrients
    • acidity increase
    • salination
    • alkalinization
    • destruction of soil structure
    • loss of organic matter

Severe land degradation decreases the wealth and economic development of nations and is directly liked to poverty. When the land resource base becomes less productive, food security is compromised and competition for dwindling resources increases, the seeds of potential conflict are sown.

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Posted in agriculture, bush, climate change, corn, environment, human rights, politics, soybean, wheat | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

The Cost of Midwest Flooding Rises

Posted by terres on July 2, 2008

Midwest Floodwaters Falling, Costs Rising

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Levees on the cresting Mississippi River held Sunday as the worst US Midwest flooding in 15 years began to ebb, but multibillion-dollar crop losses may boost world food prices for years.


Grain from a silo floats in floodwaters after the Meyer levee broke near Canton, Missouri, June 19, 2008. REUTERS/Frank Polich. Image may be subject to copyright. See RTSF Fair Use Notice!

Water levels on the river receded for the second straight day as mostly clear weather gave saturated areas a chance to start draining. Forecasts for similar dry weather in coming days gave further encouragement.

The swollen river was expected to crest Monday in St. Louis at 38.9 feet, 11 feet below the record set in 1993 and a level considered “manageable,” said US Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District spokesman Alan Dooley.

“The crest in the areas up the Mississippi River in the district has passed,” Dooley said. “The water is still up very high and it is up against levees.”

There were no fresh levee breaks reported Sunday. At least three dozen levees, berms and other flood barriers have been overtopped along the Mississippi in the last two weeks as the runoff from torrential rains this month pushed south along the main US inland waterway.

Several flood warnings remained in effect for communities in Missouri and Illinois, but officials said they expected the worst was over, with the focus now shifting to clean-up.

“We’re just mentally and physically exhausted,” said Winfield, Missouri, resident Carol Broseman, who fled her home for a shelter Saturday after flood waters engulfed her neighborhood. “I’ve cried all I can cry.”

The National Weather Service on Sunday forecast windy but mostly dry weather in the western and central Midwest states for the next several days, which will help waters recede further. Many Iowa rivers, which saw record flooding two weeks ago, were back near or below flood stage Sunday.

The Corps of Engineers at Rock Island, Illinois, reopened two locks on the Mississippi River but said four in the district remained closed with water still 3-5 feet above lock walls.

At one point 388 miles of the Mississippi River were closed to commercial traffic, from Clinton, Iowa, to the Jefferson Barracks Bridge, just south of St. Louis. The blockages have cost barge companies and other shippers millions of dollars.

COSTS, RELIEF REQUESTS RISING

The Midwest storms and torrential rains have killed at least 24 people since late May. More than 38,000 people have been driven from their homes, mostly in Iowa where 83 of 99 counties have been declared disaster areas.

Fears that as many as 5 million acres of corn and soybeans have been lost to flooding in the world’s largest grain and food exporter pushed corn and livestock prices to record highs in the last week.

The ripple inflation effect on global food prices as US prices soar has alarmed everyone from central bankers to food aid groups. Fears that livestock herds will be culled because of soaring corn feed prices may push meat prices up for years.

Flood aid and relief issues also poured into the political arena.

Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama said Saturday that Midwest levee breaks and flood damage were reasons to back his US$60 billion spending proposal to modernize US roads, bridges and waterways. Much of that would be financed by downsizing US commitments in Iraq, he said.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver has estimated 45,000 square miles of his state had been hit by tornadoes or flooding, including 340 towns, with extensive damage to road and rail lines at a cost of “tens of billions of dollars.”

Chemicals from farm fields and other toxic substances left behind as waters recede have created a potential health threat. Damaged municipal sewage systems in places like Cedar Rapids, Iowa, were releasing raw sewage into rivers. But drinking water supplies remain unpolluted in most areas, officials said.

In Cedar Rapids, where officials have said 4,000 homes were damaged by this month’s flooding, government buyout plans estimated at US$80 million or more were under discussion.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has 43 disaster recovery centers open across the flooded areas of Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

In Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin, 56,096 registrations for assistance have been received from disaster victims and more than US$115 million approved for housing assistance and other disaster-related needs. More than 5,600 households have filed flood insurance claims. (Writing by Peter Bohan; editing by Vicki Allen)

Story by Carey Gillam – REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

Posted in bush, climate change, Corporatocracy, corruption, ecosystems, environment, farmers, food, food prices, food riots, GHG Pollution, Global Warming, health, human rights, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Snapshot of Disasters

Posted by terres on June 4, 2008

Sri Lanka

Floods triggered by torrential rains have killed at least 20 people and affected about a quarter of million people [1.25 percent of the population] in Sri Lanka.

“We have requested specially canned food such as canned fish and water, clothes for the flood affected people as an urgent need,” said the coordinator for the National Disaster Management Centre.

The forecast is for more rain in the coming days in the islaned lashed by southwest monsoon season, which runs from May to September.

Ravaged by a 25-year war between the government forces and Tamil Tigers, which has killed at least 70,000 people, much of the country’s infrastructure has been severely neglected. Sri Lanka has a population of 20 million.

Southern Germany

In the Killertal valley [“killer valley”] in southern Germany three people drowned in heavy floods unleashed by severe storms. The floods damaged buildings and swept cars away.

Eastern Ethiopia

In eastern Ethiopia flash floods killed 25 people, a government spokesman said. In the eastern city of Jijiga the Wabe Shebelle River burst its banks and floods swept away several houses. Most of Ethiopia is affected by a drought that has causes severe crops failure.

Chile


A couple leave a flooded house in San Carlos town, south of Santiago May 22, 2008. REUTERS/Sergio Pereira/La discusion de Chillan/Handout

In Chile heavy rains unleashed severe flooding killed nine people, forced 15,000 out of their homes, damaged 8,000 homes, collapsed roads and bridges and closed the world’s largest underground copper mine.

Colombia


A soldier stands in an area that was affected by a landslide in Medellin June 1, 2008. REUTERS/Fredy Amariles. image may be subject to copyright. See RTSF Fair Use Notice!

Landslide buried about 20 homes in a poor hillside neighborhood in the northern Colombian city of Medellin killing 19 people, with at least eight more were missing, authorities said.

Heave rain triggered flooding which collapsed bridges, blocked roads and damaged crops across the Andean country, forcing at least 100,000 people to abandon their homes.

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China Quake: Why Was the Girl Removed from Family?

Posted by feww on May 23, 2008

Why was the Wenchuan girl photographed below separated from her parents? Where is she now?


[Why is this girl being taken away?] “A girl waves goodbye to her parents as she is airlifted out of the earthquake-hit city of Wenchuan, Sichuan province May 22, 2008. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause (CHINA)” (Image may be subject to copyright. See RTSF Fair Use Notice!)

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Bigger China Disaster Unfolds

Posted by terres on May 22, 2008

We all know that earthquakes are natural disasters. But what happened to our children also has human causes, and they’re even more frightening. —A grieved parent who lost his son.

Zhao Deqin Lost Her 15-year-old Twins, Yajia and Yaqi

JUYUAN, China (Reuters) – Zhao Deqin keeps a kerbside memorial to her twin daughters killed when their school collapsed in China’s earthquake, and a petition-signing site alongside that has become a focus of protest by grieving parents.

The most lamented victims of the quake that shattered parts of Sichuan province in southwest China eight days ago have been the thousands of children killed when school buildings collapsed.

Earthquake survivor, Zhao Deqian, the mother of twins Zhao Yajia and Zhao Yaqi, 15, who were killed when their school building collapsed in the earthquake, cries at their memorial altar in the town of Juyuan in the quake-hit area of Dujiangyan, Sichuan province, May 20, 2008. REUTERS/Nicky Loh (Image may be subject to copyright. See RTSF Fair Use Notice!)

As the ruling Communist Party seeks to maintain a staunch front of unity and stability after the quake, the incipient protests by parents could be troublesome, for many of them blame official graft and laxity, more than nature, for the deaths.

“How come all the houses didn’t fall down, but the school did? And how come that happened in so many places?” Asked Zhao.

“This was a tofu dregs project and the government should assume responsibility,” said Pu Changxue, whose son Pu Tong died in a classroom.

“To think that I lived and they died,” said an old woman living opposite Zhao’s shrine. “That is just too unfair.” (Source)

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