A foreseen environmental disaster in Colombia?

first_imgDisasters, Environment, Flooding, Rivers On the morning of April 1, more than 60,000 people were hit by a massive landslide that dragged large amounts of water, dirt and mud downhill and buried 17 neighborhoods of Mocoa in the process.For risk management expert Gustavo Wilches-Chaux, the lack of land use planning is one of the factors that determined the impact of this natural disaster.Wilches-Chaux notes that some Colombian populations have settled along the tributaries of the main rivers of the country — areas highly vulnerable to floods, landslides and avalanches. Mocoa, Colombia – The recent landslide disaster in Mocoa, the capital city of Colombia’s southwestern Putumayo region, left 254 people dead and 203 hospitalized, according to the latest report issued by the National System for Disaster Risk Management (SNGRD). The Corporation for the Sustainable Development of the Southern Amazon (Corpoamazonia) warned about such a possible disaster back in 2015.On the morning of April 1, more than 60,000 people were caught by surprise when a landslide dragged massive amounts of water, dirt and mud downhill, and buried 17 neighborhoods of Mocoa. It also completely wiped out the neighborhood of San Miguel and devastated portions of the Laureles, San Fernando and Progreso neighborhoods, according to regional authorities. On Sunday, April 2 more than 1,300 SNGRD operatives, made up of personnel from the military, police, civil defense, fire department and the Red Cross were dispatched. The government sent 10 helicopters, six airplanes, seven boats and 63 other vehicles to support the specialized rescue personnel.Aerial shot of the effects of the landslide in the Independencia neighborhood, Mocoa. Photo courtesy of CorpoamazoniaThe landslide proved tragically what is already well-known: Putumayo and its capital city have a critical environmental situation. The geography, soil, steep slopes and nearby streams were all factors that contributed to the landslide. Located on the slope of a mountain, the city is at risk when the Mocoa, Sangoyaco and Mulato Rivers overflow.Although the federal government has denied the possibility of another landslide in Mocoa in a press release issued by the SNGRD, Corpoamazonia disagrees. Corpoamazonia says that the difficulty of cleaning the riverbeds, due to big fallen rocks and trees, could generate new obstructions in the streams and rivers, and therefore cause more flooding. The organization’s experts believe that the alert for the Mulato and Sangoyaco rivers and the streams of Taruca, Conejo and Almorzadero —which were the ones responsible for the disaster in Mocoa— are still in force.Corpoamazonia believes that an obstruction of the Mocoa River’s main channel generated the violent landslide, which wiped out hundreds of homes located north of the municipality of Mocoa.Landslide areas located in the middle and upper part of the Taruca micro-watershed. Photo courtesy of CorpoamazoniaFor Luís Alexander Mejía Bustos, director of Corpoamazonia, there is still a red alert, as he stated in an interview granted to Semana Sostenible. According to the director, an overflight showed that the slopes of the streams are fractured, there is river erosion and a lot of debris on the riverbeds and banks.“In fact, there is so much debris that if it rained again like it did on Saturday morning, a replica of the tragedy would happen again,” Mejía said. “The rivers still need to reach their base level and that will take a considerable time.”Other experts agree that the situation is still dangerous. The early warnings issued in the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies’ (IDEAM) daily bulletins remain on high or red alert because rainfall will continue, high volumes of precipitation will fall in the upper basins of the Putumayo rivers and in the Amazonian foothills. IDEAM has also issued an orange alert, which warns of potential landslides throughout the Amazon region.Although deforestation is considered one of the main causes of the Mocoa disaster, IDEAM and Corpoamazonia experts agree that a number of factors, including rainfall volume and geological instability in the area, are also to blame.Mocoa Mayor José Castro, told Mongabay what happened the night of the disaster. “We got out of the house when we heard a tremendous noise, the land roared, but we did not know what it was, and we watched the river take away what was in front of us, entire houses,” he said. “People were caught in the mudslides, but we were able to get out of there.”A foreseen disasterIn 2015, Corpoamazonia and the government of Putumayo carried out modeling studies to accurately assess the area’s risk of flooding. The technical data obtained confirmed that natural phenomena of great proportions, such as the one that occurred in April, could happen, according to Luís Alexander Mejía Bustos, director of Corpoamazonia.In an interview with Semana Sostenible, Mejía said that they warned authorities that disasters such as the recent one could happen due to the “inadequate use of the land” during a workshop with the Colombian Geological Service. They also noted that several Amazonian municipalities such as Mocoa “had not updated their Land Management Plan.”In addition to the Corpoamazonia-Putumayo study, several reports by IDEAM issued the same day of the tragedy in statements sent to all the authorities of the country. Omar Franco, director general of IDEAM, told Mongabay that they also issued an alert for heavy rain and possible landslides in the Municipality of Putumayo in addition to statements given to the central government by Mocoa’s mayor.An alert for heavy rains in the Putumayo region were sent the day before the landslide, warning that March 30 had been the second rainiest day of the month and heavy rains were predicted in the Amazonian foothills and the slopes of the Putumayo region. The night before the disaster, according to IDEAM, 129.3 millimeters (5 inches) of rain fell in the municipality of Mocoa, equivalent to the volume of water that would normally fall over ten days in this part of the Amazon foothills.According to Franco, the concentration of rain was so intense during the night that it increased the magnitude of the disaster and made the tragedy worse. He also said that in the last 25 years, rainfall higher than that has been recorded, but the difference lies in the volume of rain. This time, it was distributed over 24 hours and in Mocoa specifically, and only within three hours.Panoramic view of San Miguel (in Mocoa) and San Antonio (Junín electrical substation). Photo courtesy of CorpoamazoniaAccording to IDEAM’s Franco, the phenomena caused by heavy rains is something that cannot be avoided. “The level of vulnerability of the population, the loss of vegetation cover and the lack of monitoring of those areas, is what makes these heavy rains have a greater impact,” he said. He added that to prevent recurring disasters, it is necessary to have better control of these variables and work on deeper concepts such as land use management.Logs, rocks and mud dragged by the torrential mudslides in San Miguel. Photo courtesy of CorpoamazoniaPossible factors of the tragedyOn the day of the disaster, environmental authorities flew over the affected areas and saw proof of what scientific studies had already established.Iván Darío Melo, deputy director of the environmental management sector of Corpoamazonia, said his organization found conditions of vulnerability in the affected area, how changes in land use and the occurrence of pastures have displaced the forest which previously helped in the regulation of water, and protection and containment of the rivers located in the upper basin.With less forest area, the biological material of the soil is more susceptible to erosion, Melo explained, and if steep slopes are taken into account — with slopes between 50 and 100 degrees — the scenario for the natural disaster was evident. Melo said heavy rain that began around 10 p.m. the night before was the final ingredient for a landslide. “Hours later I was talking with a friend through social media and the last thing she said to me was: ‘the stream is roaring,’” Melo said. Her name now appears on the list of missing people, next to dozens who are missing.IDEAM alerts had also reported deforestation and land use change in the municipality.Human presence in river basins is another factor that Melo says should not be overlooked. According to him, “Many settlements exist on river banks and only when these things happen do we understand that rivers are dynamic and they need space to move.”Rocks accumulated in San Miguel. Photo courtesy of CorpoamazoniaIs deforestation the cause of the tragedy?In the last 25 years, the region of Putumayo has been leading the deforestation figures in Colombia, with the loss of 380,000 hectares (939,000 acres), according to IDEAM. Putumayo has the fifth-highest regional deforestation of Colombia.Edersón Cabrera, coordinator of IDEAM’s forest monitoring system, said that while the Mocoa situation is not the most worrying in the region, deforestation in the 1990s and 2000s — especially in the upper parts of the Mocoa River basin — did cause landslides.“More than 10,000 hectares have been deforested over the last 25 years in the Mocoa River basin, with the highest peaks occurring from 2000 to 2005 and 2005 to 2010, averaging 700 hectares deforested annually in that part of the municipality,” Cabrera explained.The effects of the landslides in Mocoa. Photo courtesy of CorpoamazoniaWhen high-intensity precipitation occurs over short periods, soil becomes saturated and then tends to slide. In this scenario, trees and vegetation typically help to counteract the problem, a role that pastures and crops can not fulfill because they don’t have the type of roots that can contain or mitigate landslides.According to Cabrera, IDEAM analysis has found that deforestation over time has made certain areas more susceptible to landslides. “In the case of the Mocoa River basin, because river banks are so steep, the sediments that go to the riverbeds cause blockages (obstructions) resulting in these phenomena,” Cabrera said.Land use management: a fundamental problem According to the IDEAM director Franco, there are more than 500 municipalities in Colombia that are at differing risk levels, 185 of them are on orange or red alerts, warning that they could be affected by landslides.For risk management expert Gustavo Wilches-Chaux, the lack of land use planning is one of the factors that determined the huge impact of the Mocoa landslide.Wilches-Chaux said some Colombian populations have settled in the tributaries of the main rivers of the country, putting their lives at risk. The areas are highly vulnerable to floods, landslides and avalanches. He said it is not a question of imposing human priorities on the dynamics of nature, but of ordering social needs in such a way that they don’t clash with the dynamics of ecosystems. He said that in order to avoid future disasters, early warnings should be heeded and there should be greater collaboration with communities on land use planning.View of the neighborhood Progreso, Mocoa. Photo courtesy of Corpoamazonia“Climate change and extreme climate variability are forcing us to address the management of territories from a non-anthropocentric ethic, instead based on the recognition of the rights of nature and respect for all human beings and non-humans who share the earth,” Wilches-Chaux said.Cover photo courtesy of CorpoamazoniaThis story was reported by Mongabay’s Latin America (Latam) team and was first published in Spanish on our Latam site on April 3, 2017. Article published by Romina Castagninocenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Physiotherapist Gets 14 Years in Jail for Illegal Supply of Firearms in UK

first_imgA physiotherapist from Birmingham has been imprisoned for 14 years for supplying ammunition and guns to gangs. He supplied weapons that were used in three murders, and several other crimes.Mohinder Surdhar, 58, from Grove Lane in Handsworth had admitted earlier at a hearing to a single count of conspiracy to transfer prohibited weapons and ammunition. Surdhar would use his authentic firearms certificate to procure weapons that were said to have been sold by co-conspirators for up to £3,000, Mail Online reported.Surdhar and the arms supplier, Paul Edmunds, 65, were together supplying guns and ammunition linked to more than 100 crimes in the United Kingdom. A UK court sentenced Edmunds to 30 years in jail in December last year.While sentencing the physiotherapist, Judge Richard Bond at Birmingham Crown Court told Surdhar that he had broken the trust that was vested in him as a licensed owner of firearms, that included a sniper rifle with a range of up to two miles.“You were a physiotherapist with a PhD, well-educated and well-respected in your field. In short, over a period of several years you acted as the fulcrum in the supply of prohibited weapons and ammunition to criminal gangs,” the judge told Surdhar.Trials of other defendants involved in the conspiracy heard that police across the country started to recover antique handguns and specially made ammunition from crime scenes from 2014, according to the statement from National Ballistics Intelligence Service. During the previous hearings, which led to the conviction of more than a dozen men, including Gloucestershire-based gun dealer Paul Edmunds, it was said that Surdhar acted as a middleman.“During his trial, the court heard Edmunds was arrested at his home in 2015, where he had three armories and used to make ammunition to fit antique weapons,” said the statement.The judge also told Surdhar that it is impossible to say how many weapons he had supplied over the years, but it appears that he supplied hundreds of guns to the gang. “Even to this day, weapons sold by you are still being seized from crime scenes,” he said.Law officers said that Edmunds was a registered firearms dealer from Gloucester. He knew how to source, purchase, import and later supply these guns and ammunition that were prohibited to Surdhar. The physiotherapist would then sell these to the criminals.“The weapons and ammunition have been directly linked to crimes across nine police forces, including murders, attempted murders and the 2011 Birmingham riots when shots were fired at the West Midlands Police helicopter,” said the crown prosecution service (CPS), the Hindustan Times reported. Related ItemsBirminghamBritainUnited Kingdomlast_img read more

FirstTime Jobless Claims Up Again After Sharp Drop

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Labor Statistics Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Payrolls Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2012-12-20 Mark Lieberman First-time claims for unemployment insurance increased 17,000 to 361,000 for the week ending December 15, the “”Labor Department””:http://www.ows.doleta.gov/press/2012/122012.asp reported Thursday. Economists expected claims to increase to 359,000. [IMAGE]The previous week’s report was revised upward to 344,000 from the originally reported 343,000.Continuing claims–reported on a one-week lag–also increased, rising 12,000 to 3,225,000 for the week ending December 8. The previous week’s initial report of 3,198,000 continuing claims was revised upward to 3,213,000. The continuing claims data series tracks the number of longer-term unemployed who qualify for regular state jobless benefits. This week’s report covered the reference week used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to develop the monthly employment situation report. Month-over-month comparisons of jobless claims–both new and continuing–are complicated, though, by superstorm Sandy, which caused a spike in both data series. The BLS report will be released on January 4.That said, both the number of first-time claims and the smoothing four-week moving average showed improvement from mid-month to mid-month, suggesting that the surge in storm-related layoffs has passed.Cutting through the exogenous events and the seasonal adjustments, the report was consistent with trends showing a stronger labor market with fewer layoffs. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending December 1 was 5,402,429, a decrease of 238,637 from the previous week. There were 7,152,130 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2011. Extended benefits were only available in New York during the week ending December 1. According to the BLS, unemployment was 12,029,000 in November, which means that of those individuals counted as unemployed, 6.81 million were not receiving any form of government unemployment insurance, up from 6.39 million one week earlier.States have been borrowing from the federal government to cover shortfalls in those funds which will eventually have to be repaid–unless Congress intervenes–with higher assessments on employers. Since those assessments are a percentage of payrolls, they discourage employers from adding new workers. As of December 18, 20 states have an aggregate $26.7 billion in outstanding loans to cover shortfalls, up from $26.5 billion one week earlier. California accounted for 37.7 percent of the borrowing.The Labor Department said states reported 2,096,545 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending December 1, a decrease of 97,708 from the prior week. There were 2,941,157 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2011.According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag, the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending December 8 were in California (+5,952), Florida (+749), Ohio (+743), Rhode Island (+197), and Colorado (+161), while the largest decreases were in New York (-11,295), Pennsylvania (-11,247), North Carolina (-8,564), Wisconsin (-5,726) and Georgia (-5,317)._Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:40 am and again at 9:40 eastern time._ in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Sharecenter_img First-Time Jobless Claims Up Again After Sharp Drop December 20, 2012 395 Views last_img read more