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Thousands of people were removed from villages in the central Philippines on Thursday before one of the year’s strongest typhoons strikes the region, including a province devastated by an earthquake last month.
Typhoon Haiyan has sustained winds of 215 kilometres per hour and ferocious gusts of 250 km/h and could strengthen over the Pacific Ocean before slamming the eastern province of Samar early Friday, government forecasters said.
The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii said it was the strongest tropical cyclone in the world this year, although Cyclone Phailin, which hit eastern India on Oct. 12, packed winds of up to 222 km/h and stronger gusts.
Facing another possible disaster, President Benigno Aquino III warned people to leave high-risk areas, including 100 coastal communities where forecasters said the storm surge could reach up to seven metres. He urged seafarers to stay away from choppy seas.
Aquino urged people to stay calm and avoid panic-buying of basic goods and assured the public of war-like preparations: Three C-130 air force cargo planes and 32 military helicopters and planes were on standby, along with 20 navy ships.
“No typhoon can bring Filipinos to their knees if we’ll be united,” he said in a nationally televised address.
Governors and mayors were supervising the evacuation of landslide- and flood-prone communities in several provinces where the typhoon is expected to pass, said Eduardo del Rosario, head of the government’s main disaster-response agency.
Even in southern Misamis Oriental province located farther from the typhoon’s expected track, more than 12,000 people abandoned their homes in six coastal towns and a mountain municipality that have been hit by past landslides, said Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano, who also suspended school classes.
Aquino ordered officials to aim for zero casualties, a goal often not met in an archipelago lashed by about 20 storms each year, most of them deadly and destructive. Haiyan is the 24th such storm to hit the Philippines this year.
Edgardo Chatto, the governor of Bohol island province in the central Philippines, where an earthquake in October killed more than 200 people, said that soldiers, police and rescue units were helping displaced residents, including thousands still in small tents, move to shelters.
Rescue helicopters on standby
Bohol is not forecast to get a direct hit but is expected to be battered by strong wind and rain, government forecaster Jori Loiz said.
Army troops were helping transport food packs and other relief goods in hard-to-reach communities and rescue helicopters are on stand-by, the military said.
“My worst fear is that the eye of this typhoon will hit us. I hope we will be spared,” Chatto told The Associated Press by telephone.
Haiyan was forecast to barrel through the country’s central region Friday and Saturday before it blows toward the South China Sea over the weekend, heading toward Vietnam.
It was not expected to directly hit the densely populated capital of Manila farther north, but residents in the flood-prone city were jittery, with one suburb suspending classes and authorities ordering giant tarpaulin billboard ads to be removed along the main highway.
While it took Japan over two years to admit the Fukushima situation on the ground is “out of control“, a development many had predicted for years, a just as important topic is what are the implications of this uncontrolled radioactive disaster on not only the local environment and society but also globally, particularly Japan’s neighbor across the Pacific – the US.
To be sure, there has been much speculation, much of it unjustified, in the past two years debating when, how substantial and how acute any potential debris from Fukushima would be on the US. Which is why it was somewhat surprising to see the NOAA come out with its own modeling effort, which shows that not only “some buoyant items first reached the Pacific Northwest coast during winter 2011-2012” but to openly confirm that a debris field weighing over 1 million tons, and larger than Texas is now on the verge of hitting the American coastline, just west off the state of California.
Obviously, the NOAA in releasing such a stunner could well be hammered by the administration for “inciting panic” which is why it caveated its disclosure carefully:
Many variables affect where the debris will go and when. Items will sink, disperse, and break up along the way, and winds and ocean currents constantly change, making it very difficult to predict an exact date and location for the debris’ arrival on our shores.
The model gives NOAA an understanding of where debris from the tsunami may be located today, because it incorporates how winds and ocean currents since the event may have moved items through the Pacific Ocean. This model is a snapshot of where debris may be now, but it does not predict when debris will reach U.S. shores in the future. It’s a “hindcast,” rather than a “forecast.” The model also takes into account the fact that winds can move different types of debris at different speeds. For example, wind may push an upright boat (large portion above water) faster than a piece of lumber (floating mostly at and below the surface).
Still despite this “indemnity” the NOAA does come stunningly close with an estimate of both the location and size of the debris field. One look at the map below shows clearly why, while the Fed may have the economy and markets grasped firmly in its central-planning fist, when it comes to the environment it may be time to panic:
Some of the disclosures surrounding the map:
- Japan Ministry of the Environment estimates that 5 million tons of debris washed into the ocean.
- They further estimated that 70% of that debris sank near the coast of Japan soon after the event.
- Model Results: High windage items may have reached the Pacific Northwest coast as early as winter 2011-2012.
- Majority of modeled particles are still dispersed north and east of the Hawaiian Archipelago.
- NOAA expects widely scattered debris may show up intermittently along shorelines for a long period of time, over the next year, or longer.
In light of these “revelations” which come not from some tinfoil website but the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it becomes clear why there has been virtually zero mention of any of these debris traffic patterns on the mainstream media in recent history, or ever.
Appropriately enough, since the US media will not breach this topic with a radioactive 10 foot pole, one has to go to theRussian RT.com website to learn some more:
Over a million tons of Fukushima debris could be just 1,700 miles off the American coast, floating between Hawaii and California, according to research by a US government agency.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently updated its report on the movement of the Japanese debris, generated by the March 2011 tsunami, which killed 16,000 people and led to the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown.
Seventy percent of an estimated 5 million tons of debris sank near the coast of Japan, according to the Ministry of Environment. The rest presumably floated out into the Pacific.
While there are no accurate estimates as to where the post-tsunami junk has traveled so far, the NOAA has come up with a computer model of the debris movement, which gives an idea of where its highest concentration could be found.
Having released the radioactive genie from the bottle, the NOAA is now doing all it can to avoid the inevitable social response. RT has more:
The agency was forced to alleviate the concerns in an article saying there was “no solid mass of debris from Japan heading to the United States.”
“At this point, nearly three years after the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, whatever debris remains floating is very spread out. It is spread out so much that you could fly a plane over the Pacific Ocean and not see any debris since it is spread over a huge area, and most of the debris is small, hard-to-see objects,” NOAA explains on its official webpage.
The agency has stressed its research is just computer simulation, adding that “observations of the area with satellites have not shown any debris.”
Scientists are particularly interested in the organisms that could be living on objects from Japan reaching the west coast.
“At first we were only thinking about objects like the floating docks, but now we’re finding that all kinds of Japanese organisms are growing on the debris,” John Chapman of the Marine Science Center at Oregon State University told Fox News.
“We’ve found over 165 non-native species so far,” he continued. “One type of insect, and almost all the others are marine organisms … we found the European blue mussel, which was introduced to Asia long ago, and then it grew on a lot of these things that are coming across the Pacific … we’d never seen it here, and we don’t particularly want it here.”
What is the worst-case scenario:
The worst-case scenario would be that the trash is housing invasive organisms that could disrupt the local environment’s current balance of life. Such was the case in Guam, where earlier this year it was announced that the US government intended to parachute dead mice laced with sedatives on to the island in order to deal with an invasive species of brown tree snake that was believed to have been brought to the American territory on a military ship over 60 years ago. In a little over half a century, a few snakes spawned what became an estimated 2 million animals, the likes of which ravaged the island’s native bird population and warranted government intervention.
Other concerns such as radiation, meanwhile, have been downplayed. On its website, the NOAA says, “Radiation experts agree that it is highly unlikely that any tsunami-generated marine debris will hold harmful levels of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear emergency.”
Independent groups like the 5 Gyres Institute, which tracks pollution at sea, have echoed the NOAA’s findings, saying that radiation readings have been “inconsequential.” Even the release of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear reactor shouldn’t be a grave concern, since scientists say it will be diluted to the point of being harmless by the time it reaches American shores in 2014.
Which is great news: since even the worst case scenario is inconsequential, we expect the broader media will promptly report on the NOAA’s findings: after all, the general public surely has nothing to fear.
An earthquake of magnitude 7.3 struck early Saturday morning off Japan’s east coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Japan’s emergency agencies declared a tsunami warning for the region that includes the crippled Fukushima nuclear site.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a 1-meter (3-foot) tsunami warning for a long stretch of Japan’s northeastern coast. It put the magnitude of the quake at 7.1. The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not post warnings for the rest of the Pacific.
There were no immediate reports of damage on land. Japanese television images of harbors showed calm waters.
The quake hit at 2:10 a.m. Saturday Tokyo time (1710 GMT) about 290 kilometers (170 miles) off Fukushima. Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima plant, ordered workers near the coast to move to higher ground. Japanese news service Kyodo said there were no signs of trouble at the plant.
The tremor was felt in Tokyo, some 300 miles (480 kilometers) away.
All but two of Japan’s 50 reactors have been offline since the March 2011 magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami triggered multiple meltdowns and massive radiation leaks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, about 250 kilometers (160 miles) northeast of Tokyo. About 19,000 people were killed.
- 7.3 Quake Strikes Off Japan; Tsunami Advisory Issued (ktla.com)
- Magnitude 7.3 Quake Strikes off Japanese Coast (fox40.com)
- 7.3 Earthquake Hits Near Fukushima Off Honshu Coast, Tsunami Advisory Issued (republicbroadcasting.org)
While the broader public’s attention continues to be distracted by the circus that America’s legislative and executive branches have become (an expected development at a time when the monetary branch reigns supreme), the real, non-scripted and truly devastating catastrophe continue to unfold in Japan, and specifically in Fukushima, where both TEPCO and the government have long since lost control of the worst nuclear disaster in history. However, in addition to the now usual daily spills of hundreds of tons of radioactive coolant into the environment, a potentially far more dangerous situation which may lead to an even greater loss of containment is taking place right now as both the destroyed nuclear plant and soon Tokyo are about to be buffeted by Typhoon Wipha – a “once in a decade storm.”
The storm had weakened as it headed north over the sea but was still packing sustained winds of about 140 kph (87 mph) with gusts as high as 194 kph (120 mph), the agency said. The agency issued warnings for Tokyo of heavy rain, flooding and gales, and advised people to be prepared to leave their homes quickly and to avoid unnecessary travel.
A spokesman for the meteorological agency said the storm was a “once in a decade event”….
- Strong typhoon Wipha heads for Japan and crippled Fukushima nuclear plant (sott.net)
- Typhoon Wipha heading toward Tokyo (globalnews.ca)
- Typhoon Wipha Battering Tokyo, Eastern Japan (thesurvivalplaceblog.com)
- Japan’s storm of the decade: Typhoon Wipha lashing Tokyo, Fukushima (washingtonpost.com)
Just wanted to post a copy of an opinion piece I have sent to the Toronto Star for consideration. I do not expect it to be accepted, but one never knows…
This word should be on everyone’s lips, yet when I raised the issue with a couple of very well-educated colleagues recently both were unaware of how serious the situation is. There may be a number of reasons for this lack of awareness of what some are referring to as “the greatest short-term threat to all of humanity.”
Forget global warming (anthropogenic or not), forget geopolitical tensions in the Middle East over finite fossil fuels, and forget the global economic depression. The events unfolding at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant may well overshadow all other crises.
There is a very real possibility that the situation is beyond the capability of humans to mitigate. The radioactive water leaking into the Pacific Ocean may be the least of our worries. No one knows where the nuclear cores are; containment of the radioactive fuel has been lost.
I don’t know which frustrates me more.
That our mainstream media outlets have been underplaying the issue—in fact, Project Censored referred to this as one of the top three underreported items in 2012; that Tokyo was awarded the Olympics given the radiation pouring out of Fukushima; that our ‘global leadership’ is not discussing the seriousness of the situation publicly; or, that most people are totally ignorant (perhaps purposely so) of the situation and its dangers.
When you know you can’t avoid the iceberg ahead in the water, is it better to wait until you actually have the collision before reacting or is it better to prepare to your best ability prior to the impact? I would think the latter but our ignorance may force us towards the former. I guess the answer, as to whether you believe this crisis to be ‘under control’ or not, depends on whether you trust the world’s leaders.
- Fukushima ‘not under control’ – TEPCO official refutes PM’s assurances (EndtheLie.com)
- Fukushima: Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over (naturalblaze.com)
- Fukushima: entire core of nuclear reactor 4 remains perched in a damaged fuel pool 100 feet in the air, (nuclear-news.net)
- Fukushima – The Ongoing Disaster (theallegiant.com)
- Algae Bloom in Chesapeake Bay (wvec.com)
- Plastic junk from polluted oceans is in our bodies (mirror.co.uk)
- CRS Report: Clean Water Act and Pollutant Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) (aquadoc.typepad.com)
- The Ocean Cleanup Project (lightmsgs.wordpress.com)
- Microplastics are a growing concern for the Great Lakes (earthsky.org)
- UPDATE1: Possible drone flies near Senkaku Islands (english.kyodonews.jp)
- Japan scrambles jets for drone near disputed islands (channelnewsasia.com)
- Japanese fighter jets scramble in response to drone near Senkakus, China claims no knowledge (japandailypress.com)
- From leaking radiation to contaminated fish: Don’t forget about Fukushima! (ecochildsplay.com)
- Fukushima radiation leaks spike, officials baffled as to why (polizeros.com)
- Fukushima Spiking (dissidentvoice.org)
- “Hot Spots” in #Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Locations Where Radiation Levels Exceed 1,000 mSv (or 1 Sv)/Hour (ex-skf.blogspot.com)
- US West Coast to be hard-hit by Fukushima radiation (voiceofrussia.com)
- Fukushima Radiation: Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over, Or Worse… (whydontyoutrythis.com)
Is Fukushima Radiation Contaminating Tuna, Salmon and Herring On the West Coast of North America? | Zero Hedge
- USA West Coast Tuna, Salmon and Herring contaminated by radiation? (nuclear-news.net)
- REPORT West Coast of North America to Be Hit Hard by Fukushima Radiation (economicpolicyjournal.com)