Deadly California fire spreads as Trump declares a state of emergency | WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs Deadly California fire spreads as Trump declares a state of emergency – WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs
Connect with us

Disaster

Deadly California fire spreads as Trump declares a state of emergency

Published

on

californiafire-

Washington, July 29 :The death count from a rapidly growing Northern California wildfire rose to five after two young children and their great-grandmother, who had been unaccounted for, were confirmed dead.

US President Donald Trump on Saturday declared a state of emergency in California and ordered the federal government to provide additional assistance due to the wildfires that since July 23 have devastated the region and forced authorities to evacuate close to 38,000 people.

“Trump authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts,” White House statement stated.

“This action will help alleviate the hardship and suffering that the emergency may inflict on the local population, and provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura,” the White House said.

Firefighters have been unable to halt the spread of a northern California wildfire that has already destroyed 32,700 hectares (some 82,000 acres) and has killed at least two people.

According to figures provided Saturday by CalFire, the state’s forestry and forest fire protection department, the Carr fire has only been brought 5 per cent under control.

The fire began last Monday in Shasta County, whose main city, Redding, lies some 350 km north of San Francisco.

Authorities said that about 38,000 people have had to be evacuated from the region as a precaution.

The flames have destroyed 500 buildings and damaged another 75.

In addition, at least two people – one firefighter and a bulldozer operator – have died in the area battling the blaze.

More than 3,400 emergency services workers are currently trying to put out the Carr fire.

It is expected that high temperatures will continue in the coming days in the area, where dry conditions and high winds have fostered the rapid spread of several blazes.

Given the seriousness of the situation, California Governor Jerry Brown last Thursday declared a state of emergency in Shasta County.

Meanwhile, the Ferguson Fire, which broke out two weeks ago and forced the closure of parts of Yosemite National Park, is 29 per cent controlled, CalFire said on Friday.

More than 3,800 personnel are involved in the battle against the Ferguson Fire, with aerial support from 16 helicopters.

Authorities in southeastern California’s Riverside County announced on Friday the arrest of a man accused of starting the Cranston Fire, which has destroyed 4,700 hectares.

Brandon McGlover, 32, faces 15 criminal charges and is being held on $1 million bail, the county prosecutor’s office said.

Disaster

Covid-19 presages crises to come, warns UN Secretary General

In his centerpiece address to the historic and unprecedented 75th session of the UN General Assembly, Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday appealed for global solidarity to overcome the COVID-19, and again call for a global ceasefire during the pandemic, by the end of the year.

Published

on

Antonio Guterres

United Nations, Sep 22 : Addressing the largely empty General Assembly Hall in New York, Mr. Guterres characterized the pandemic from the podium as “not only a wake-up call” but “a dress rehearsal” for challenges to come. 

“In an interconnected world, it is high time to recognize a simple truth: solidarity is self-interest.  If we fail to grasp that fact, everyone loses”, he said, delivering his annual report on the work of the Organization.   

The Secretary-General underscored the need for solidarity at this moment, particularly as countries least capable to address COVID-19 have received far too little assistance. He urged the UN’s 193 Member States to move forward in humility and unity in the face of the disease. 

“And we must be guided by science and tethered to reality”, he added. “Populism and nationalism have failed. Those approaches to contain the virus have often made things manifestly worse.”   

A world turned upside-down 

Due to COVID-19, most world leaders will not attend the annual gathering at UN Headquarters, known as the General Debate.  Instead, many have pre-recorded their speeches on video, although they have the right to deliver them in person – from their seat in the Hall, not from the podium.  

“In a world turned upside down, this General Assembly Hall is among the strangest sights of all”, Mr. Guterres remarked at the outset. “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our annual meeting beyond recognition.  But it has made it more important than ever.”   

He said the pandemic has exposed fragilities and inequalities across the globe.  It has generated “an epochal health crisis”, the biggest economic and job losses since the Great Depression, and dangerous new threats to human rights, among other challenges.   As of Tuesday, there were more than 31 million cases of the coronavirus disease worldwide, with over 962,000 deaths. 

Clock ticking on global ceasefire 

Mr. Guterres also used the occasion to repeat his call for a global ceasefire during the pandemic. The Secretary-General had initially issued the appeal back in March, when he urged warring parties to “end the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world”.  

Some 180 Member States have endorsed the appeal, as have religious leaders, regional partners and civil society networks. Several armed movements also responded, some of whom announced ceasefires, though they were not sustained.  

Mr. Guterres saw several reasons to be hopeful now, with the peace agreement in Sudan, and peace talks in Afghanistan, as just two examples. However, he feared terrorist and violent extremist groups will exploit the pandemic. 

“Now is the time for a collective new push for peace and reconciliation”, he charged. “I appeal for a stepped-up international effort – led by the Security Council – to achieve a global ceasefire by the end of this year. We have 100 days.  The clock is ticking.” 

Threats to peace, gender equality 

The ceasefire is not only critical to stop “hot” conflicts, he stressed, pointing to the need to avert a new Cold War. 

 “We are moving in a very dangerous direction.  Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a Great Fracture — each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities”, the Secretary-General warned. 

“A technological and economic divide risks inevitably turning into a geo-strategic and military divide.  We must avoid this at all costs.” 

COVID-19 could also see progress on gender equality pushed back by decades, he continued, as women and girls are overwhelmingly affected by the social and economic fallout, including in areas such as employment and education. 

“We must also stamp out the horrifying increase in violence against women and girls during the pandemic, from domestic violence to sexual abuse, online harassment and femicide”, said Mr. Guterres. 

“This is a hidden war on women. Preventing and ending it requires the same commitment and resources that we devote to other forms of warfare.” 

UN Photo/Eskinder DebebeSecretary-General António Guterres presents his annual report on the UN’s work ahead of the opening of the General Assembly’s 75th General Debate.

New Social Contract  

For the Secretary-General, recovering from COVID-19 must lead to a better future for all, anchored by inclusive, sustainable and resilient societies.    

He emphasized the need for what he labelled a New Social Contract, at the national level, and a New Global Deal, applicable internationally. 

Mr. Guterres explained that the New Social Contract has several components, such as ending exclusion, discrimination and racism, and establishing Universal Health Coverage and even a possible Universal Basic Income.  

It also entails having fairer tax systems, providing education for all, harnessing digital technology, and ensuring human rights as well as opportunities for women and girls. 

Take climate action, address historical injustice 

Speaking in French, Mr. Guterres said a sustainable New Social Contract means transitioning towards renewable energy to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, highlighting a longstanding message of his tenure. 

As part of their COVID-19 recovery, the Secretary-General encouraged countries to consider six climate-positive actions, ranging from green jobs and ending fossil fuel subsidies, to aligning any industry bailouts with international goals to limit global warming. 

The New Global Deal seeks to make sure power, wealth and opportunities are fairly shared. He said it must be rooted in fair globalization, while sustainable development principles should be integrated into all decision-making. 

The pact also must address historical injustices in global power structures. 

21st century multilateralism 

The Secretary-General believes that after more than seven decades, multilateral institutions need an upgrade to more equitably represent all the world’s people, rather than giving disproportionate power to some, and limiting the voice of others. 

He laid out a blueprint for this “21st century multilateralism”, saying it must be “networked” — that is, linking global institutions, such as development banks, regional organizations and trade alliances, across sector and geographies. 

Additionally, it, too, must be inclusive, and should draw on the capacities of civil society, academia, businesses and others. 

No going back 

Mr. Guterres made the case for more international cooperation in the face of COVID-19, stressing that there is no “going back to what was or withdrawing into national shells.” 

While the crisis has upended the world, it has also created the space for something new, he said.   

For this anniversary year, the General Assembly has asked the Secretary-General to report on a common agenda for the future, which he will do next year.  

“The pandemic has taught us our choices matter”, said Mr. Guterres.  “As we look to the future, let us make sure we choose wisely.”  

UN response to COVID-19 

Earlier in his speech, the Secretary-General spoke of the UN’s comprehensive response throughout the pandemic.   

The UN system, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), has assisted governments, particularly in the developing world, including through providing personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to more than 130 countries.  

The Organization also launched the ‘Verified’ campaign to fight the “toxic virus” of misinformation surrounding COVID-19. It is also supporting efforts to develop a fair and equitable vaccine against the actual coronavirus, as well as treatments and therapies. 

‘Vaccinationalism’  

However, Mr. Guterres warned against what he called “vaccinationalism”, as countries are reportedly making “side deals” for their own populations.  He underlined that “None of us is safe, until all of us are safe.” 

The UN has also pushed for a “massive” rescue package, equivalent to roughly 10 per cent of global economic output, to get economies back up and running.  Developed countries can afford it, he said. 

“But we need to ensure that the developing world does not fall into financial ruin, escalating poverty and debt crises,” he stated. “We need a collective commitment to avoid a downward spiral.” 

To this end, the Secretary-General will convene world leaders for a meeting next Tuesday to find solutions to finance development in the COVID-19 era and beyond. 

Continue Reading

Disaster

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh orders strict enforcement of Covid-19 protocols

Nobody knows how long the crisis will continue or what the disease’s side effects really are, pointed out the Chief Minister, directing the departments concerned to step up their efforts to spread public awareness about the problem.

Published

on

By

Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh, Sep 22 : Even as he expressed satisfaction at increased testing in rural areas with many panchayats passing resolutions in support of the government efforts, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ordered strict enforcement of Covid safety protocols and strengthening of public awareness campaigns across the state.

The Chief Minister expressed concern over the continuing violation by the people of the rules and protocols on safety.

The state government had no option but to open up but people have to realise their responsibility, he said during a Covid review meet, held through video conference, stressing the need to bring down the case fatality rate (CFR), which remains higher than the national average in Punjab.

Taking serious note of people continuing to not wear masks and not giving up spitting on the roads despite the critical situation in the state, Amarinder Singh directed DGP Dinkar Gupta to ensure punishment for those found violating the rules.

Nobody knows how long the crisis will continue or what the disease’s side effects really are, pointed out the Chief Minister, directing the departments concerned to step up their efforts to spread public awareness about the problem.

Earlier, the DGP said that 5,300 (40 per cent) of the state’s panchayats had passed formal resolutions backing Covid testing, as a result of which the initial resistance showed by public due to widespread disinformation campaigns had eased off.

Giving details of the number of police personnel impacted by the disease, Gupta said of the 86 cops who had died due to the infection, 18 had been reported in September, with eight currently on ventilators.

A total of 1,233 cops had tested Covid positive so far, he added.

The DGP said the Police Department was appointing a nodal officer to expedite disbursement of Rs 50 lakh compensation, as announced earlier by the Chief Minister, to the families of police personnel who had lost their lives in the fight against Covid.

Continue Reading

Cities

Stubble Burning: 332 villages identified as red zones in Haryana

Additional chief secretary (ACS), agriculture, Sanjeev Kaushal said the Haryana government has also decided to provide financial assistance to 11,311 individual farmers who have applied for agricultural implements under the crop residue management scheme.

Published

on

stubble burning

In anticipation of stubble burning incidents across the state, the Haryana agriculture department has identified red, yellow/orange and green zones in every district on the basis of incidences of crop residue burning last year. An official spokesperson said 332 villages fall under the red zone and 675 in yellow zone.

Additional chief secretary (ACS), agriculture, Sanjeev Kaushal said the Haryana government has also decided to provide financial assistance to 11,311 individual farmers who have applied for agricultural implements under the crop residue management scheme ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop’, in the current growing season. The total assistance of about ₹155 crore at the rate of 50 % will be given.

The department will also provide 454 balers, 5,820 super seeders, 5,418 zero till seed drills, 2,918 choppers/mulchers, 260 happy seeders, 389 straw management systems, 64 rotary slashers/shrub masters, 454 reversible mould ploughs and 288 reapers to the beneficiaries.

Online applications for agricultural implements were invited from individual farmers and societies till August 21. As many as 11,311 farmers applied for 16,647 implements, against a target of 2,741, in the individual category, he said.

The state government has also decided to give preference to small and marginal farmers in hiring of machinery from Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs), and in providing equipment to individual beneficiaries under the scheme. A comprehensive plan has been approved for crop residue management to prevent stubble burning. It included fusion of in-situ and ex-situ crop residue management techniques, apart from monitoring activities through a dedicated control room, and registration of FIRs against violators.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular

Corona Virus (COVID-19) Live Data

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.