Building a Disaster Free India

www.nidm.net Issue No.1078
TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTS “World Environment Day”
This year the World Environment Day slogan for 2008 is Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy.

Date: 05.6.08

National World Environment Day- Kick the habit
The Hindu, Thursday, Jun 05, 2008 World Environment Day, commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles which spreads the awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. This year the World Environment Day slogan for 2008 is Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy. Recognising that climate change is becoming the defining issue of our era, focus on green house gas emission, highlight to the resources and initiatives that promote low carbon economies and life-styles, such as improved energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, forest conservation and eco-friendly consumption. The agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership, which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future. World Environment Day can be celebrated in many ways, including street rallies, bicycles parades, green concerts, essay and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, recycling efforts, clean-up campaigns and much more. In many countries, this annual event is used to enhance political attention and action. On this World Environment Day, let us examine the state of our environment, Let us consider carefully the actions which each of us must take, and then address ourselves to our common task of preserving all life on earth in a mood of sober resolution and quiet confidence.

Science & Technology Ministry launches new meteorological service for farmers
Special Correspondent, The Hindu, Thursday, Jun 05, 2008 District-wise advisories to be disseminated through media

— Photo: Anu Pushkarna

Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Kapil Sibal addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. NEW DELHI: The agriculture productivity in the country could be in for some significant improvement, with the Union Science and Technology Ministry on Wednesday launching a new agro-meteorological advisory service, which promises to offer more precise advice to farmers. So far, the agro-met advisory service was operating at the level of agro-climatic zones. Now, it will operate at a smaller scale. From now on, it will offer district-wise advisories. Considerable variations The change-over is significant considering that within the agro-climatic zones, there are not only considerable variations in the weather condition, but also variations in terms of cropping system, farm operations and soil conditions. Launching the new system, Science and Technology Minister, Kapil Sibal, said that while the headquarters of the India Meteorological Department here would generate the necessary weather forecast up to five days using the weather models of Indian and foreign agencies, the agro met field units located in State agriculture universities, institutes of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research and other such centres would prepare the advisories. The advisories would be disseminated to the farmers through various media, including private television channels, FM radios and NGOs at the grassroots level, apart from All India Radio, Doordarshan, newspapers, District Agriculture Offices and the web sites of IMD and SAUs. The scope, accuracy and the outreach of the system, Mr. Sibal said, would be continuously enhanced as and when newer products, technologies and scientific inputs were available. Boost expected The launch of a new satellite, INSAT-3D, next year, is expected to give it a major boost.


IMD, he noted, is also in the process of setting up more automatic rain gauges, automatic weather stations and Doppler weather radars. Once they become operational, there will be further improvement in the capability for weather forecast and consequently better advisories.

Lightning kills three
The Hindu, Thursday, Jun 05, 2008 NALGONDA: Three persons were killed while six others were injured when lightning struck them in the fields on the outskirts of Pittalagudam village of Gurrampode mandal on Wednesday. The deceased were identified as Katta Yadagiri, 38, Katta Saidulu, 18, and Sayam Suresh, 17. Of the six injured, three were battling for their life in hospital. Staff Reporter

Heavy rain claims 5 lives in Gujarat
Jun 5, 2008, News on AIR In Gujarat, five persons lost their lives and six others injured in heavy rains in Saurashtra region due to the lightening last night. AIR correspondent, reports that three persons died in Rajkot city only, where three inches of rain was recorded within two hours with high wind velocity. The early rain of this monsoon season lashed parts of Saurashtra region last evening. Low lying areas were submerged and electricity supply was disrupted.

International Cyclone relief for 1.3 million people in Myanmar
Thursday, June 5, 2008 : 0300 Hrs New York (PTI): About 1.3 million people affected by the deadly cyclone Nargis that battered Myanmar a month ago have so far received assistance, the humanitarian arm of the United Nations said on Wednesday. In addition, the percentage of those reached in the Ayeyarwady Delta region had increased from 23 per cent to 49 per cent, Elisabeth Byrs of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. At the same time, she noted that assistance has not been consistent. "There remains a serious lack of sufficient and sustained humanitarian assistance. That's why the priority now is a clear analysis of needs against assistance available and planned for." UN humanitarian officials estimate that more than 77,000 people have been killed and 55,000 others are missing since Cyclone Nargis struck on May 2. As many as 500,000 to 600,000 people, mainly in the delta, have had to be relocated.


Meanwhile, many children in the delta region returned to school yesterday after the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry of Education have repaired damaged schools and distributed school materials. UNICEF's Veronique Taveau said the agency had distributed sheet iron for roofing, as well as "school-in-a-box" kits and recreational materials. She added that the return to school had been delayed a further month for children in some of the hardest hit areas. The Government estimates that 4,100 primary, elementary and secondary schools had been affected by the cyclone, among which 1,255 had been completely destroyed. UNICEF teams are currently assessing the full damage, taking account of just how many children had returned to school or had not been able to as yet, so that they could adjust their assistance plans accordingly, Taveau said.

Flood threat to Iraq Shia shrines
BBC News, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 18:08 UK Officials in the Iraqi city of Karbala say the mausoleum of Shia Islam' most s revered leader is threatened with structural damage from flooding.

The Karbala shrines are a centre of pilgrimage for Shia Muslims Engineers say water from leaking pipes has already reached the mausoleums of Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas. The shrines lie about two and a half metres below the surrounding streets. Research in 2000 revealed damage to the drinking water and sewerage systems inflicted in 1991 when Karbala was bombed during a Shia uprising. Iraqi government engineers initially tried injecting 1,000 tonnes of cement around the two shrines to protect them from the water, says BBC religious affairs reporter Frances Harrison. However, cavities in the soil meant the cement flowed in the wrong direction. In 2003 a project was proposed to replace the old water and sewerage system near the shrines and build a huge underground wall around the shrines. Officials from the Shia endowment department, which runs the shrines, refused government funds to finance the project saying they would pay for it themselves. Asked why the work has not gone ahead yet the Director of Finance for the Imam Hussein shrine said he was still waiting for a complete design for the project.

More than 30,000 in China' SW quake zone still without water s
CHENGDU, June 4 (Xinhua) -- About 30,500 people in the mountainous regions of


China's southwestern Sichuan Province are still without a water supply following the May 12 earthquake. According to Hou Xiongfei, director of the information office of the Sichuan provincial government, relief forces had helped more than 5.7 million people get a water supply. By Wednesday noon, power supply in the eight worst-hit villages and townships was still out, Hou added. In the neighboring Gansu Province where more than 360 people were killed in the massive quake, water supply had been restored for 597,000 of the 647,400 affected. The death toll from the earthquake increased by 15 to 69,122 as of Wednesday noon, the Information Office of the State Council said.

Facts and figures about China quake and relief 04 Jun 2008
BEIJING, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Following are the latest facts and figures about the massive 8.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked southwest China's Sichuan Province on May 12: -- The death toll from the quake rose to 69,122 nationwide as of Wednesday noon, while 373,606 people were injured and 17,991 people were missing. -- Rescuers saved and evacuated 1,078,488 people to safe places as of Tuesday midnight. -- Hospitals took in a total of 96,020 injured people, 72,353 of whom have been discharged as of Wednesday noon. -- Domestic and foreign donations had reached 43.68 billion yuan (6.33 billion U.S. dollars) as of Wednesday noon, up 1.316 billion yuan overnight. And 12.67 billion yuan had been forwarded to the earthquake-affected areas. -- A total of 794,200 tents, one of the most urgently needed relief supplies, had been delivered to quake regions. -- A total of 4,560,600 quilts and 11,814,100 garments had been sent to these regions. -- A total of 19,900 temporary houses had been built in the quake zone, with 12,800 in construction as of Tuesday. -- The government has allocated 23.143 billion yuan (3.354 billion U.S. dollars) as of Wednesday noon for quake relief efforts. The fund included 18.68 billion yuan from the central budget and 4.463 billion yuan from local budgets as of Wednesday noon. -- Between 12 p.m. Tuesday and 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, 184 aftershocks measuring 3.9 and below on the Richter scale were monitored.

China quake lake ' extremely dangerous'
4 Jun 2008, 1716 hrs IST, AFP DUJIANGYAN, CHINA: A massive quake-induced lake was approaching hazardous levels in China Wednesday, as a ranking official said the situation there was "extremely dangerous," state media reported. Multiple threats loomed at the Tangjiashan "quake lake," the China News Service reported, even though soldiers had been working for days to control the lake, now with a volume of more than 80,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Liu Ning, chief engineer at the Ministry of Water Resources, warned at a briefing late Tuesday that one of the risks was aftershocks, which could breach the lake any time, inundating lower-lying areas.


"The area still receives constant aftershocks, and especially aftershocks of a strength over six on the Richter scale could have an impact," said Liu, according to the news service. "After several measures undertaken at the lake, the situation remains extremely dangerous," the news service said, citing Liu. The lake was created when the May 12 magnitude-8.0 earthquake rattled southwest China's Sichuan province, triggering a massive landslide that blocked a river cutting through the mountainous area. Since then, officials have been watching anxiously as the lake has built up, warning it could endanger more than a million people if it were to break through the barrier. Last week hundreds of soldiers dug a channel, hoping it would help drain the lake or at least contain its growth once it reached a certain level. As of late Tuesday, the surface of the lake was edging closer to the top of the dam, reaching just 2.37 metres (eight feet) below the lowest point of the blockage, according to the China Daily website. It remained to be seen whether the water could be directed successfully into the newly dug channel, according to the paper. The death toll from China's earthquake rose on Wednesday to 69,122, with another 17,991 missing, a government spokesman said. The new toll marked an increase of 15 from the day before. As of Wednesday afternoon there was still no news on a missing rescue helicopter that crashed in mountainous terrain Saturday with 19 on board. Reporters, both foreign and domestic, had been allowed rare freedom to report in the immediate aftermath of the quake, but security measures have been noticeably more stringent in recent days. Two Chinese news reporters said they had been ordered to tone down coverage of the protests over shoddy school construction. "They said we must be more careful about what we report on," a journalist said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Chinese police and soldiers blocked access to schools in the quake region Wednesday after residents reported angry disturbances by parents of dead children.

UN report: Coastal communities face disaster
By Paul Eccleston Last Updated: 6:01pm BST 04/06/2008, The telegraph


Entire marine ecosystems are threatened because of human mismanagement, according to the UN academic study. New Zealand plan to save rarest dolphin Third of North Sea should be marine reserve Man' effect on world' oceans revealed s s It warns of a looming, potentially "terminal" disaster in several coastal areas unless they are given better care. The UN University's Canadian-based International Network on Water, Environment and Health claims current management methods are a recipe for disaster for the 40 per cent of all people who live within 50 km of fast-growing coastal areas, In the past 50 years bays and estuaries, sea grasses, and mangroves and wetlands have all By 2050 90 per cent of the world' coastlines will have s suffered dramatically been affected by development because of human activity, the report states. Shorelines have hardened, channels and harbours have been dredged, soil dumped, submerged and emergent land moved, and patterns of water flow changed. The problem was being compounded by climate change which had led to some scientists predicting the total disappearance of coral reefs in some parts of the world. By 2050, the report claims, more than 90 per cent of the world's coastlines will have been affected by development, much of it poorly planned, with a resulting knock-on effect on the ocean. The report identified the biggest threats as coming from: Large scale agriculture and the overuse of nitrates leading to offshore 'dead-zones'. Pollution and the arrival of destructive invasive species as a result of shipping and commerce. Ill-planned tourism in ecologically sensitive areas that caused irreversible damage. Development that disrupts marine environments and ecosystems. Over-fishing of coastal and pelagic stocks which had far reaching consequences for economies and ecosystems.


The report's lead author Peter Sale, said: "Important ecological processes that sustain coastal ecosystems are impeded by our careless alterations of coastal habitats fisheries decline, water quality deteriorates and so does human health and quality of life." The report acknowledged the efforts being made by some countries and environmental groups to halt the destruction but they were often too short to have a lasting effect and were hampered by poor co-ordination. It described a great majority of the world's 4,600 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) covering 1.4 per cent of the global coastal shelf area, as "paper parks" - legal creations that weren't based on scientific understanding of ecosystem protection and with little regulatory enforcement. The report called for a "transparent and holistic approach" to coastal management which would help improve the acceptance of difficult decisions, such as the need to cut the number of fish caught. The authors concluded: "We believe that use of scientific and traditional knowledge, together with better understanding of the economic value of healthy coastal ecosystems, can help change the political discourse that eventually determines societal pressures. "Although the situation is dire, there is reason for hope. Our understanding of the ecological functioning of the coastal ocean is quite good, and we have a basic kit of useful management tools at our disposal. "Good examples of well-managed coastal environments, and sustainably harvested coastal fisheries occur around the world. The reversal of negative trends and the improvement of water quality in some areas indicate that decline of coastal ecosystems is neither inevitable nor always irreversible." "None of these steps are impossible, but taking them will require a major commitment to change."

Compiled by AD Kaushik


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