350 Dead as Cyclone Nagris hits Myanmar

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma  was hit by Cyclone Nargis on Saturday as it ripped through the Irrawaddy Delta and the commercial capital Yangon. Five regions have been declared disaster zone and tens of thousands have been left homeless with over 350 deaths already reported.

With many communication networks down including roads and bridges and many remote villages having been affected it is difficult to get a full overview of the damage caused. UN International agencies are working to co-ordinate their response, however the movement of foreign aid workers is restricted in military ruled Myanmar. Travel permits and official escorts are required and the transport of supplies and materials has restrictions on it.

Current aid priorities include water purfication tables and mosquito nets and with many thousands now left homeless in the current rainy season, waterproof sheeting is required to provide some shelter.

For more details on the cyclone, follow up some of the news links below

Video clips on the cyclone:

Chaiten Volcano – Eruption threatens parts of Southern Chile

Over a 1000 people have already been evacuated from the area around Chaiten in Southern Chile as Chaiten volcano contains to spew ash and other volcanic materials since it began erupting in the early hours of May 2nd.

The video clip below gives a brief overview of the status of the eruption so far:

Find out more about the eruption and the rescue / evacuation attempts which are under way by following some of the links below. Also think about the nature of the volcanic hazards involved.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

A key issue if we are going to protect our environment for future generations. A short YouTube video with a very important message! You will be quite amazed by some of the facts in here!

(Thanks to S Sumner for pointing out this link)

Terrifying Twisters!

A tornado in the US has claimed 9 lives as it ripped through Greensburg, Kansas on Friday (4th May 2007). Around 90% of the small rural town of Greensburg has been destroyed. Greensburg, is in Tornado Alley, the central part of the US which is frequently hit by tornadoes. Stunning video footage of the tornado (courtesey of Sky News http://news.sky.com) can be seen here.

9 people were killed just under two weeks ago when a strong tornado struck a small Texan community on the US border before passing into Mexico.

Find out more about these deadly natural phenomenum in this Tornadoes special from CNN with quizzes, photos and tornado facts and figures.

Stunning images of tornadoes can be found in the NOAA Tornadoes Photo library.

Southern England struck by Earthquake

 An earthquake measuring 4.7 on the richter scale struck Southern England at 8.18am this morning (Saturday 28th April 2007). The map to the left shows the location of the quake (source credit: U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior) – further maps of the quake (including seismicity) can be found here. It is also worth looking at the location on the Worldwide Earthquake locator (try altering the map to add on fault lines, plate names etc.)  

News Articles:
Earthquake shakes part of Kent (BBC News)
Eyewitness accounts of the earthquake (BBC News)
Homes evacuated after earthquake hits Kent (Times Online)
Photographs of the earthquake damage (Sky News)
Earthquake shakes Southern England (SKy News)
The House shook “Its chaos down here” (Sky News)
Homes crumble as earthquake rocks Kent (This London.co.uk)
In pictures: Kent Earthquake (BBC News)

Q&A – Kent earthquake (BBC News)

Video Links:
Interview with BGS on initial thoughts on Earthquake (Sky News Video link)
The View from above (Sky News video link)
Chimneys and Roofs damaged by quake (Sky News Video link)
Eyewitness Interview (Sky News video link)
It is also worth looking at the location of the quake in the Worldwide Earthquake locator (you can alter the map to display fault lines, plate boundaries etc.)

To find out more about earthquakes in the UK – have a look at some of the links on the Advanced Extension Blog.

Map Source: Credit U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Interior

Australia is suffering from its worst drought ever!

Australia is currently suffering from its worst drought on record. In the Murray Darling Basin (the main irrigation area of Australia) it is reported that unless sufficient rain falls in the next 6-8 weeks there will not be any water allocations for irrigation until May 2008. The two main rivers supplying the area are at such low levels there will soon only be enough water to meet supplies of drinking water. The drought has already had a massive impact on farmers with milk yields already down and many farms are facing ruin unless there is significant rainfall soon, a threat that is becoming increasingly real with this weeks warning that irrigation to prime farmland will have to be cut unless the rains come soon. Already many rivers have been reduced to a trickle and water restrictions have been put in place in many urban areas.

You can read more about this in this excellent article from the Independent “Australia’s epic drought: the situation is grim

Also have a look at these amazing (and very worrying!) photographs of the drought situation from the Guardian which give a real sense of what the current problem is!

For more detailed information sources on this see the Advanced Extension Blog.