Thursday, 30 October 2014

Landslide in Sri Lanka after floods

"Those who deny abrupt climate change are worse than those who deny anthropogenic climate change. The latter can be dismissed easily. The former are more difficult to understand, and their denial is equally dangerous."
Guy McPherson



My heart aches for the people of a country I love.

Just days after we covered catastrophic drought in Sri Lanka now we have terrible floods.

I also feel great anger.

To the people who profess not to see rapid climate change - the deniers - (people like Nicole Foss - and yes, I will name name) I say open your damned eyes to what is happening.

Just because it hasn't come into your petty lives  it is already a fact for millions of people around the globe.

100 dead and hundreds more missing after devastating landslide buries homes in 30 feet of mud on Sri Lankan tea plantation
  • Landslides triggered by monsoon rains swept away dozens of homes on tea estate and sections of national highway

  • One witness heard noise 'like thunder' as part of mountainside collapsed, burying homes in 30 feet of mud
  • Shopkeeper: 'Before my eyes, I could see houses crumbling and getting washed downhill. It all happened very quickly'
  • Hundreds of soldiers dug with hands and excavators in desperate hunt for survivors in mounds of mud and rubble


29 October, 2014

Around 100 people have been killed and hundreds more are missing feared dead after mudslides triggered by monsoon rains washed away their homes on a Sri Lankan tea plantation, disaster officials said.

One witness spoke of hearing a noise like thunder as part of a mountainside collapsed onto the estate, burying homes in 30 feet of mud.

Hundreds of soldiers, who initially used their hands to dig for survivors, had switched to operating excavators by evening, but hopes faded of finding anyone else live.

'What I gathered is that about 100 people have been buried alive,' Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told AFP after visiting the site in the eastern Koslanda region.

'There is no chance they could have survived,' said the minister, as other officials said 16 people were confirmed dead. 
An excavator moves mud and debris after landslides triggered by monsoon rains washed away dozens of homes on a Sri Lankan tea plantation, burying around 100 people alive and leaving hundreds more missing feared dead
An excavator moves mud and debris after landslides triggered by monsoon rains washed away dozens of homes on a Sri Lankan tea plantation, burying around 100 people alive and leaving hundreds more missing feared dead

One witness spoke of hearing a noise like thunder as part of a mountainside collapsed onto the estate, burying homes in 30 feet of mud
One witness spoke of hearing a noise like thunder as part of a mountainside collapsed onto the estate, burying homes in 30 feet of mud

Obliterated: Sri Lankan men survey the damage to their homes on the tea plantation, about 140 miles east of the capital, Colombo
Obliterated: Sri Lankan men survey the damage to their homes on the tea plantation, about 140 miles east of the capital, Colombo

Shock and awe: Crowds gather to watch the rescue operation after the mudslide at the Koslanda tea plantation in Badulla district
Shock and awe: Crowds gather to watch the rescue operation after the mudslide at the Koslanda tea plantation in Badulla distr

'Initially we estimated the missing number at 300, but most of them were at school or work,' the minister said, although other reports said more than 250 were still unaccounted for.

'We have already started relief operations to provide them with shelter and food. Even the office where records were kept had been damaged,' the minister said.

The region's top military official, Major General Mano Perera, said 302 people, including 75 schoolchildren, whose homes were destroyed in the mudslide were being looked after at two schools in the same area.
 
Search and rescue: About 500 military personnel and civilians were hunting for survivors with the help of heavy earthmoving equipment
Search and rescue: About 500 military personnel and civilians were hunting for survivors with the help of heavy earthmoving Ð‘equipment

The landslide area being excavated by a bulldozer as people watch during rescue operations at Meeriyabedda, Haldummulla in Badulla



Landslide-affected homes buried under rubble with their roofs slightly visible while people watch the ongoing rescue operations
Disaster zone: Landslide-hit homes are buried under rubble with their roofs slightly visible, while people watch the rescue operations

The mudslide hit at a time when most people were at work and children were already in school, leaving mostly the elderly and the very young at home.

The military officer said about 500 troops had been deployed in the area to carry out the search for victims.

Kumara said 16 bodies have so far been recovered from the disaster around 200 kilometres (125 miles) east of the capital, Colombo.

'We have reports of 140 houses getting washed away in the mudslides,' Kumara dded  

Officials said the mudslide struck after schools opened and tea plantation workers were supposed to be at work, but bad weather may have prompted some to stay home
Officials said the mudslide struck after schools opened and tea plantation workers were supposed to be at work, but bad weather may have prompted some to stay home

The landslide began at about 7.45 am (2.15pm GMT) and lasted about 10 minutes, an official said, adding that 'some houses have been buried in 30 feet of mud'
The landslide began at about 7.45 am (2.15pm GMT) and lasted about 10 minutes, an official said, adding that 'some houses have been buried in 30 feet of mud'

Part of a mountain appeared to have collapsed onto the cluster of homes belonging to the tea plantation workers and their families below, leaving no trace of them, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

Shopkeeper Kandasamy Prabhakaran, 34, said he heard a noise like thunder and then saw houses being washed away by tonnes of mud.

'Right before my eyes I could see houses crumbling and getting washed downhill,' Prabhakaran said. 'It all happened very quickly.'

President Mahinda Rajapakse ordered troops to deploy heavy equipment to speed up the rescue efforts, his office said.
 
Catastrophe: The mudslide struck at around 7.30am at the Meeribedda tea estate in Badulla district, 135 miles east of the capital, Colombo, wiping out homes and sections of national highway
Catastrophe: The mudslide struck at around 7.30am at the Meeribedda tea estate in Badulla district, 135 miles east of the capital, Colombo, wiping out homes and sections of national highway

Military sources said they expected more heavy machinery to reach the site, but damage to roads as well as heavy rain and mist were slowing them down.

Sections of several national highways have also been washed away by the rains and a train was stuck after a mountain slope crashed onto a railway line.

The landslide began at about 7.45 am (0215 GMT) and lasted about 10 minutes, Perera said, adding 'some houses have been buried in 30 feet of mud.'

Authorities have begun checking on the number of people who were in their homes when tragedy struck.

Kumara said the mudslide struck after schools opened and tea plantation workers were supposed to be at work, but bad weather may have prompted some to stay home.

The area is prone to mudslides and residents had been repeatedly warned to move to safer areas as monsoon rains lashed the region, the Disaster Management Center said.

Thirteen people were killed in mudslides in and around Colombo in June.

Cyclonic winds that accompanied the monsoon in June last year killed 54 people, mostly fishermen.’

Bangladesh to export 50,000 T rice to Sri Lanka

27 October, 2014

Oct 27 (Reuters) - Bangladesh will export 50,000 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka for the first time under a government-to-government deal at $450 a tonne including cost, freight and insurance, Food Minister Mohammad Karmul Islam said on Monday.

Strong output and good government stocks have prompted the Bangladesh government to initiate the plan to export rice.

"We have sufficient stock, and our production is also good. So there will be no crisis due to rice export," a Bangladesh food ministry official said.

In Sri Lanka, rice prices were up 36 percent by the end of September from a year ago as production dropped due to an 11-month drought, considered by experts to be its worst in recent history.

Sri Lankan Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeyawardene, who said in August the country would have to import rice , told Reuters on Monday that it had already imported 40,000 tonnes since August.

A team from Sri Lanka will come soon to Dhaka to settle the deal, said the Bangladesh official, who asked not to be named.

Bangladesh exports a small quantity of aromatic rice, but this government deal would be its first export of non-fragrant coarse rice.

Bangladesh aims to produce more than 34 million tonnes of rice in the current year, up from nearly 33.5 million in the previous year. Its reserves have risen to more than 1.4 million tonnes from nearly 1 million tonnes a year earlier.

The world's fourth-biggest producer of rice, Bangladesh consumes almost all its production to feed its population of 160 million. It often needs to import rice to cope with shortages caused by natural calamities such as floods or droughts.

Although it did not import rice in the last two years, Bangladesh was ranked as the fourth-largest importer of the grain by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2011, with a volume of 1.48 million tonnes.

Late in 2012, the government was considering lifting a four-year old ban on rice exports to support farmers as record crops and bulging domestic reserves pushed prices below production costs.

But prices soared in January 2013, and the government backed away from scrapping the export ban.

Sri Lanka's Finance Ministry has already reduced taxes on rice imports in April and on pulses in July to help mitigate the effects of this year's drought on the market



From June. This is no denuded landscape


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