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Are disasters inherent risks?

The recent Soma mining disaster in Turkey led to the death of more than 300 miners. A number of mining executives have been detained on suspicion of negligence. The Turkish government has been criticized for not enforcing safety standards in Turkish mines. The South Korean Sewol ferry disaster caused the death of more than 300 people mainly school children. The captain and many of the crew have been arrested and face charges of manslaughter and criminal negligence. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has disbanded the coast guard and criticized the crew…

 

Clean-up begins in flood-ridden Balkans

The clean-up process in the flood-ridden Balkans has begun in earnest. In Obrenavac – the worst-hit town in Serbia – police have called on some house owners and renters to assist with clearing away debris, worried the stagnant water will encourage the spread of disease. People have not yet been allowed to return to live in their homes. “There will be no more life here in the next two months,” said one home owner. “We help each other. I’m sleeping on a hill at my friend’s place. This here is all I have… It’s all I own now.” The floods caused as many as 120 landslides and widespread damage to houses in the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the surrounding area…

 

Expert: 80L of rainfall per day would flood Skopje

skopje 2The soil in Skopje can absorb half of the rainfall that fell in the storm on Sunday afternoon, say Macedonia’s Protection and Rescue Directorate officials, and every surplus litter is a threat for flooding, daily Dnevnik reads. Additional problem is that the rainfall in the city lowers the water pressure and increases the possibility of floods. “If the soil is dry, it can absorb 50-60 litres of rainfall per square meter. But, if it is a rainy period and the soil is saturated, as it was the case in this two-month period of rainfalls in Macedonia, each water amount exceeding 30 litres becomes critical. It doesn’t necessarily mean there will be floods; it much depends on how much the riverbeds are full, which could result in overflowing. In such case, we closely monitor the situation,” said Mite Dimevski from the Protection and Rescue Directorate. Saturated soil is a condition for increase of underground water levels, and floods in basement areas…

 

Stirring up forgotten lead: Smelters across US at risk from tornadoes, floods, quakes

When a mile-wide tornado roared through Joplin, Mo., it killed 158 people and injured thousands. And it also kicked up toxic remnants from the city’s industrial past that are still haunting its residents on the third anniversary of the disaster. “Trees were uprooted, houses were leveled, everything underground was now on the surface,” said Leslie Heitkamp, Joplin’s lead inspector and remediation coordinator. Before the tornado, the southern part of this city of 50,000 had almost no lead contamination but afterward, about 40 percent of yards were contaminated. “We’re still cleaning up yards every day,” she said. Starting in the early 1800s, people flocked to Joplin to mine lead. Despite a Superfund clean-up in the 1990s, the tornado had no trouble stirring up some of the 9 million tons of toxic wastes left behind from hundreds of mines and 17 smelters…

 

Bushfire victims sue energy company for $200m over Blue Mountains blaze

200 milBushfire victims have launched a $200 million lawsuit against a NSW-owned energy company for allegedly failing to follow up a tree-trimming order. More than 200 homes were destroyed and about 200 were damaged as fires tore across Winmalee and Springwood in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, last October. Businesses and property were also destroyed. The blaze is alleged to have started after a tree at a private property on Linksview Road in Springwood fell in windy conditions on October 17 and struck a power line, sparking a fire that quickly grew out of control…

 

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