Connect with us

International

‘Climate change affects everyone’: Europe battles wildfires in intense heat

Published

on

Authorities across southern Europe battled on Sunday to control huge wildfires in countries including Spain, Greece and France, with hundreds of deaths blamed on soaring temperatures that scientists say are consistent with climate change.

In Spain, helicopters dropped water on the flames as heat above 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and often mountainous terrain made the job harder for firefighters.

Shocked residents watching thick plumes of smoke rising above the central western Jerte valley said the heat was making their previously green and cool home more like Spain’s semi-arid south.

“Climate change affects everyone,” said resident Miguel Angel Tamayo.

A study published in June in the journal ‘Environmental Research: Climate’ concluded it was highly probable that climate change was making heatwaves worse. 

More than 1,000 deaths have been attributed to the nearly week-long heatwave in Portugal and Spain so far. Temperatures in Spain have reached as high as 45.7C (114F).

Spain’s weather agency issued temperature warnings for Sunday, with highs of 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) forecast in Aragon, Navarra and La Rioja, in the north. It said the heatwave would end on Monday, but warned temperatures would remain “abnormally high”.

Fires were raging in several other regions including Castille and Leon in central Spain and Galicia in the north on Sunday afternoon. Firefighters stabilised a blaze in Mijas, in Malaga province, and said evacuated people could return home.

A general view of a wildfire at the Garganta de los Infiernos natural reserve, next to the town of Jerte, as the country experiences its second heatwave of the year, Spain, July 17, 2022. Photo: Reuters

A general view of a wildfire at the Garganta de los Infiernos natural reserve, next to the town of Jerte, as the country experiences its second heatwave of the year, Spain, July 17, 2022. Photo: Reuters

British pensioners William and Ellen McCurdy had fled for safety with other evacuees in a local sport centre from their home on Saturday as the fire approached.

“It was very fast …. I didn’t take it too seriously. I thought they had it under control and I was quite surprised when it seemed to be moving in our direction,” William, 68, told Reuters.

In France, wildfires have now spread over 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) in the southwestern region of Gironde, and more than 14,000 people have been evacuated, regional authorities said on Sunday afternoon.

View shows cracked and dry earth in a field as a heatwave hits Europe, in Mitry-Mory, France, July 17, 2022. Photo: Reuters

View shows cracked and dry earth in a field as a heatwave hits Europe, in Mitry-Mory, France, July 17, 2022. Photo: Reuters

More than 1,200 firefighters were trying to control the blazes, the authorities said in a statement.

France issued red alerts, the highest possible, for several regions, with residents urged “to be extremely vigilant”.

In Italy, where smaller fires have blazed in recent days, forecasters expect temperatures above 40C in several regions in coming days.

Similar temperatures were recorded in Portugal on Sunday and are forecast in Britain on Monday and Tuesday, in what would top its previous official record of 38.7C (102F) set in Cambridge in 2019.

Britain’s national weather forecaster issued its first red “extreme heat” warning for parts of England. Rail passengers were advised to only travel if absolutely necessary and to expect widespread delays and cancellations.

People sit by The Serpentine in Hyde Park in the early evening during a heatwave in London, Britain, July 17, 2022. Photo: Reuters

People sit by The Serpentine in Hyde Park in the early evening during a heatwave in London, Britain, July 17, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Drought in Portugal

Around 1,000 firefighters tried to control 13 forest and rural fires in the centre and north of Portugal, the largest being near the northern city of Chaves.

Portugal’s Health Ministry said late on Saturday that in the last seven days 659 people died due to the heatwave, most of them elderly. It said the weekly peak of 440 deaths was on Thursday, when temperatures exceeded 40C (104F) in several regions and 47C (117F) at a meteorological station in the district of Vizeu in the centre of the country.

By Saturday, there were 360 heat-related deaths in Spain, according to figures from the Carlos III Health Institute.

Portugal was grappling with extreme drought even before the recent heatwave, according to data from the national meteorological institute. Some 96% of the mainland was already suffering severe or extreme drought at the end of June.

Emergency and Civil Protection Authority Commander Andre Fernandes urged people to take care not to ignite new fires in such bone-dry conditions.

In Greece the fire brigade said on Saturday 71 blazes had broken out within a 24-hour period.

People walk on the ledge of a bathing pool in the sea in Margate, Britain, July 17, 2022. Photo: Reuters

People walk on the ledge of a bathing pool in the sea in Margate, Britain, July 17, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20220718/climate-change-affects-everyone-europe-battles-wildfires-in-intense-heat/68155.html

International

New Zealand roiled by flash floods, landslides for third day

Published

on

Heavy rainfall hit New Zealand’s north island again on Sunday, causing landslides, flash floods and knocking out roads, with the death toll rising to four after a person who had been missing was confirmed dead.

Battered by rain since Friday, Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city of 1.6 million people, remained under a state of emergency. The nation’s weather forecaster, MetService, warned of more severe weather on Sunday and Monday for the north island. Intense rainfall could also cause surface and flash flooding, it said.

The focus of the emergency has since moved south, with Waitomo District – located about 220 kms (137 miles) from Auckland – declaring a state of emergency late on Saturday.

Police confirmed that a man missing after being swept away on Friday in Onewhero, a rural village about 70 kms (43 miles) south of Auckland, had died.

“The most horrific part of it is that we’ve lost lives,” Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni told reporters in Auckland.

Climate change is causing episodes of heavy rainfall to become more common and more intense in New Zealand, though the impact varies by region. Climate Change Minister James Shaw noted the link to climate change on Saturday when he tweeted his support for those affected by flooding.

On Sunday, police said they were assisting with traffic management and road closures in that region after heavy rainfall “caused numerous slips, flooding and damage to roads”.

In nearby Bay of Plenty there was also “widespread flooding”, police said, as well as a landslide that had knocked down a house and was threatening neighbouring properties.

Thousands of properties remained without power, while hundreds were without water, authorities said on Sunday.

But Air New Zealand said the airline’s international flights in and out of Auckland would resume from noon on Sunday (2300 GMT on Saturday).

On Saturday, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, less than a week in office, flew by helicopter over Auckland before touring flood-hit homes. He described the flood impact in the city as “unprecedented” in recent memory.

People made more than 2,000 calls for assistance and 70 evacuations around Auckland – the nation’s largest city – due to the inundation, the New Zealand Herald reported Saturday.

Heavy rainfall hit New Zealand’s north island again on Sunday, causing landslides, flash floods and knocking out roads, with the death toll rising to four after a person who had been missing was confirmed dead.

Battered by rain since Friday, Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city of 1.6 million people, remained under a state of emergency. The nation’s weather forecaster, MetService, warned of more severe weather on Sunday and Monday for the north island. Intense rainfall could also cause surface and flash flooding, it said.

The focus of the emergency has since moved south, with Waitomo District – located about 220 kms (137 miles) from Auckland – declaring a state of emergency late on Saturday.

Police confirmed that a man missing after being swept away on Friday in Onewhero, a rural village about 70 kms (43 miles) south of Auckland, had died.

“The most horrific part of it is that we’ve lost lives,” Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni told reporters in Auckland.

Climate change is causing episodes of heavy rainfall to become more common and more intense in New Zealand, though the impact varies by region. Climate Change Minister James Shaw noted the link to climate change on Saturday when he tweeted his support for those affected by flooding.

On Sunday, police said they were assisting with traffic management and road closures in that region after heavy rainfall “caused numerous slips, flooding and damage to roads”.

In nearby Bay of Plenty there was also “widespread flooding”, police said, as well as a landslide that had knocked down a house and was threatening neighbouring properties.

Thousands of properties remained without power, while hundreds were without water, authorities said on Sunday.

But Air New Zealand said the airline’s international flights in and out of Auckland would resume from noon on Sunday (2300 GMT on Saturday).

On Saturday, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, less than a week in office, flew by helicopter over Auckland before touring flood-hit homes. He described the flood impact in the city as “unprecedented” in recent memory.

People made more than 2,000 calls for assistance and 70 evacuations around Auckland – the nation’s largest city – due to the inundation, the New Zealand Herald reported Saturday.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20230129/new-zealand-roiled-by-flash-floods-landslides-for-third-day/71176.html

Continue Reading

International

Strong quake in northwest Iran kills at least three people

Published

on

DUBAI — An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 struck northwest Iran near the border with Turkey on Saturday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 300, state media reported.

The official news agency IRNA reported the toll citing the head of emergency services at the university in the city of Khoy, near the quake’s epicentre.

An emergency official told state TV that it was snowing in some of the affected areas, with freezing temperatures and some power cuts reported.

Major geological faultlines crisscross Iran, which has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years.

DUBAI — An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 struck northwest Iran near the border with Turkey on Saturday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 300, state media reported.

The official news agency IRNA reported the toll citing the head of emergency services at the university in the city of Khoy, near the quake’s epicentre.

An emergency official told state TV that it was snowing in some of the affected areas, with freezing temperatures and some power cuts reported.

Major geological faultlines crisscross Iran, which has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20230129/strong-quake-in-northwest-iran-kills-at-least-three-people/71174.html

Continue Reading

International

Colombia cocaine seizures break record in 2022

Published

on

BOGOTA — Colombia seized more cocaine in 2022 than any other year on record, the South American country’s defense ministry reported Saturday.

Security forces seized 671 tonnes of the drug last year, surpassing the 2021 total by about 1.7 tonnes.

“It is necessary to combat the illicit income that comes from drug trafficking, which generates evil in our country,” said Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez, quoted in the ministry’s statement. He credited authorities for the “great results.”

The data showed that Narino, Bolivar and Valle del Cauca provinces were the site of the most seizures last year.

Cocaine production and trafficking are considered the main driver of an almost six-decade armed conflict in Colombia that has left more than 450,000 dead and millions displaced.

The guerilla group National Liberation Army, dissidents from the FARC rebel group and criminal gangs made up of former right-wing paramilitaries have all been implicated in drug trafficking.

Cocaine seizures were 505 tonnes in 2020 and 428 tonnes in 2019.

BOGOTA — Colombia seized more cocaine in 2022 than any other year on record, the South American country’s defense ministry reported Saturday.

Security forces seized 671 tonnes of the drug last year, surpassing the 2021 total by about 1.7 tonnes.

“It is necessary to combat the illicit income that comes from drug trafficking, which generates evil in our country,” said Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez, quoted in the ministry’s statement. He credited authorities for the “great results.”

The data showed that Narino, Bolivar and Valle del Cauca provinces were the site of the most seizures last year.

Cocaine production and trafficking are considered the main driver of an almost six-decade armed conflict in Colombia that has left more than 450,000 dead and millions displaced.

The guerilla group National Liberation Army, dissidents from the FARC rebel group and criminal gangs made up of former right-wing paramilitaries have all been implicated in drug trafficking.

Cocaine seizures were 505 tonnes in 2020 and 428 tonnes in 2019.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20230129/colombia-cocaine-seizures-break-record-in-2022/71173.html

Continue Reading

Trending