#269 volcanic ash disrupt air traffic

The ash spewed from a volcanic eruption, which began as early as April 8th, from the southwestern part of the Iceland’s Eyjafjallajoekull glacier has disrupted air traffic according to news received yesterday.

Experts have warned that the tiny particles of rock, glass and sand contained in the ash cloud could be sufficient to jam aircraft engines

“The meteorological situation is such that the volcanic ash is progressing very slowly eastwards but there is not a lot of wind… so it is very slow and very dense,” he (Mr Flynn) told the Reuters news agency

The move silenced Heathrow airport, the world’s second busiest, and stranded tens of thousands of passengers around the world.

The Republic of Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Finland all later shut down their airspace entirely, while there was also major disruption in France, Germany, Poland and Spain. (quoted from BBC)

According to a resident who had planned to travel from Oslo to London told the BBC, he had to stay home and he could actually smell sulfur in the air.

#264 possible quake predicted 2 years ago

No one expected an earthquake to break out in Haiti even though she was warned 2 years ago by scientists a quake was possible. No one believed this could happen as there was no quake for the last 200 years in its natural history. No one was prepared for this tumultuous magnitude.

The 7.1 magnitude Richter scale earthquake literally wiped away the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince — its infrastructures and all government buildings; presidential palace, justice palace and the churches and cathedrals and the 5-star hotels…many, many others. These buildings were supposed to withstand the quake but… Naturally the loss of human lives outweighs all — the nationals (an estimate of 150,000 or more dead in a city of 3-4 million people without mentioning those homeless and missing), foreigners and peacekeepers.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the West, if not in the world. This is the result of greed and corruption of governing leaders who thought of themselves rather than the people. Is this one ugly face of democracy?!

The aerial view of the island is made up of Dominican Republic and Haiti. On the Dominican Republic, it’s green but on the Haiti side, it’s brown, little vegetation. Were the people in Haiti so poor that they exhausted that they could find in order to survive? Interestingly, the quake whose epicenter struck close to the Haitian capital did not affect the Dominican Republic.

However the Haitians are resilient. One witnesses those surviving are grateful they are alive.

Children as young as a few years old were rescued from the rubble after several days without nourishment or liquid; a few elderly in 70s and 80s; and the one in his 20s after 11 days! One cannot underestimate the will and  inner strength of man…

Looting was evident in all places of tragedy when aid was slow in coming after several days fled by.

Though the promised aid was forthcoming but food and water was slow…so very, very, very slow in reaching the people in need…naturally a hungry man is an angry man.

How do you survive and keep sane and good when your loved ones are missing or dead? Dead bodies strewed everywhere. The stench in the air. People are in state of shock. Rubbles strewed all around. Buildings collapsed. No home to return to. Literally nothing!

My impression of Haiti was Haitians practised voodoo which is one black magic or dark forces which even seeped into the churches – the Catholic cathedral and the Episcopalian cathedral! Can this quake wipe out this voodoo practice?!

Can Haiti start from ground zero? I know the people have the ability but… Will the necessary aid and billions of funds raised get to the people there?  (I hope NOT those American contractors assigned to build Haiti though!) Are there good and able leaders who are willing to sacrifice themselves for nation-building?

On Russia Today Spotlight tv program, I heard an interview where this young Haitian student working on his postgraduate in Russia is very articulate in his understanding of his own country and insight into the devastation.

Those Haitians studying overseas will not be able to receive funds from home any more…

I pray for God to raise good, upright and able leaders who are willing to sacrifice for the new breed of Haitians.

#114 a 3-day national mourning

image from xinhua

Wenchuan earthquake claimed 40,000 to date… The air was filled with ammonia and lime powder to prevent epidemic resulting from the decayed under the inaccessible rubbles.

On 19th May at 2.28pm, China called for a national 3 minutes silence with sounds of air-raids, honks of cars and ships to observe those who died at the 8.0 richter scale earthquake in Sichuan; and a 3-day national mourning for the victims — all entertainment events canceled and the Torch Relay delayed and the television personnels to wear black.

The photos above showed kindergarten and school students taking the 3-min silence as many schools around Wenchuan and those closest to the epicenter of the quake collapsed or buried under the rubbles. Many students died — a new generation disappeared under the China’s one-child policy.


#111 earthquake 3

I continue to follow the earthquake at Sichuan with great heaviness. Like BBC’s James Reynolds shared — one cannot fully understand the scale of disaster or even describe fully that seen on sight.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jamesreynolds/ — on 16th & 18th May posts.

Yesterday at 2.28pm — that was when the 7.9 richter scale earthquake struck on 12th May, China observed 3 minutes of silence with sounds of air-raid and car and ship honked in respect of those who died; its national flag flown half-mast for 3 days of mourning. It was moving to watch on Phoenix channel (SCV) the nation of billions stood together in paying their last respect, many choked with tears and displayed their grief.

Though tens of thousands died, yet there was glimmer of hope and joy when survivors were found alive after being buried in the rubbles a hundred or more hours passed.

It’s amazing at the number of pictures and video clips available on websites…yet…

#110 earthquake 2

Living in a virtually no natural disaster island except the sea level might be rising, I cannot really enter the pains of survivors of natural disasters. However, today’s modern technological advancements and accessible to video clips and blogs, I only get a glimpse of the truth. It takes great maturity to read and watch these to assess a situation or a disaster.

It was ironic that President Hu Jintao had just returned from Japan after the massive quake.

Japan sits on the faultlines (continental & oceanic tectonic plates) — the cause of frequent earthquakes (if its epicenter is under the seas, tsunami occurs; the proximity to the density of population in a location and time of quakes could claim lives even when preventive measures were set in place); volcanoes; and hotsprings (an attraction for tourists).

I admire the Japanese for living in these challenging situations. I recall those younger days watching  documentaries on the Japanese expending huge resources and energies to building tremor-resistance skyscrapers.

During the 1995 Kobe earthquake, the government did not realise the scale of the disaster hesitated foreign aid. I read criticisms made that trained rescue dogs from around the world waited at airports while these could be searching for human lives in the rubble. US medical doctors were only able to give treatment after 3 days on arrival due to medical-licensing regulations.

The recent quake in China caused me to reflect…especially when I see video clips of school turned into rubbles or town reduced to heaps (I’ve seen pictures of towns in the US been mowed down by tornadoes). When was the school built? It was unfortunate the quake struck when students gathered for lessons. It must be most heart-breaking for parents to find their child and especially a teenager lost in the quake. They struggled and slogged to bring their child thus far only to lose one to natural disaster!

According to sources, nature did forewarn man…some elderly felt bad omen when toads flood the area and animals behaved irratically. Was the siesmic equipments not able to reveal unusual activities taking place?

Today almost a million(?) are without housing…how do survivors start living again? Natural disasters are deemed in law as Act of God, so survivors are not compensated for their losses, especially human lives.  

Actually, predicting an earthquake that will take place is still NOT possible!