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Disaster

‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Michael nears Florida

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Hurricane Michael

Washington, Oct 10 : Hurricane Michael was upgraded to an “extremely dangerous” category 4 storm on Wednesday, hours before it is due to make landfall in the US state of Florida, where it could blow ashore as the strongest storm to hit the country this year.

“This is the worst storm that our Florida Panhandle has seen in a century. Hurricane Michael is upon us, and now is the time to seek refuge,” Governor Rick Scott said.

The hurricane was expected to make landfall in the afternoon, causing “potentially catastrophic” damage to the region, CNN reported.

Michael, packing winds of 230 kph (145 mph), was moving north at 20 kph (13 mph) towards the Florida Panhandle, the National Hurricane Centre said in public advisory.

More than 370,000 people in the state were ordered to evacuate and move to higher ground. Florida, Alabama and Georgia declared a state of emergency.

Forecasters said the storm’s torrential rains were likely to cause widespread flooding, cutting off low-lying areas on the coast.

At least 13 people reportedly died in Central America over the weekend as a result of storm rains and floods.

The Florida Governor called Michael a “monstrous storm” and urged residents to listen to officials. Schools and state offices in the area will be shut this week.

State officials issued mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders in at least 22 counties on the Florida Gulf Coast.
Scott extended a state of emergency to 35 counties and activated 2,500 National Guardsmen.

President Donald Trump approved a pre-landfall emergency declaration to provide federal money and help in Florida.

Heavy rains were forecast for the Carolinas, which were drenched by Hurricane Florence in September.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told residents: “I know people are fatigued from Florence, but don’t let this storm catch you with your guard down.”

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared an emergency for 92 counties, while Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency, saying on Twitter it was “in anticipation of wide-spread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael”.

IANS

Disaster

CWC monitoring Brahmaputra, Siang rivers

Meanwhile, the Inland Water Transport (IWT) department in Assam has suspended the ferry service in Dibrugarh district following the inputs and advisory from the Chinese government.

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Yarlung zangbo

Guwahati, Oct 20 (IANS) Central Water Commission (CWC) officials are closely monitoring the water levels in the Brahmaputra and Siang following fears about sudden bursting of an artificial lake formed by a landslide on the Tibetan side a few days ago.

China has informed India that the landslide has blocked the Milin Section of the mainstream of the Yarlung Zangbo river in Tibet. The river is known as Siang and Brahmaputra in India.

The blocking of the main stream of the Yarlung Zangbo triggered apprehension that the downstream areas of the river in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh might see a sudden spurt in water levels.

Although the water level of the Siang showed an increase at Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday night, the water level showed a decreasing trend on Saturday.

“There is no substantial increase in the water level of Siang and Brahmaputra rivers in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. However, we are closely monitoring the situation as flow of water might take some more time to reach Tuting,” said a senior official of the CWC based in Dibrugarh district of Assam.

Dibrugarh houses the Upper Brahmaputra division of the CWC, which monitors the developments that takes place in Arunachal Pradesh and further upstream.

“Last night we recorded the water level at 418.65 meters at Tuting. Today it has decreased to 406.50 meters there, which is normal. The Brahmaputra level is normal so far,” said a senior CWC official.

Meanwhile, the Inland Water Transport (IWT) department in Assam has suspended the ferry service in Dibrugarh district following the inputs and advisory from the Chinese government.

“We have suspended the ferry service in Dibrugarh as Dibrugarh is the first point for the waters to enter Brahmaputra river. There is no report of any significant increase in the water level. However, as a precautionary measure, we have suspended the ferry service in the district,” said Bharat Bhushan Choudhury, Director of the IWT, Assam.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday night said NDRF companies have already reached the state and are being deployed in sensitive districts. He has also asked the disaster management authorities in Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur and Tinsukia districts to remain alert for flash flood-like situation.

The Arunachal Pradesh government had also instructed and alerted all the districts located near Siang which might be affected due to the water flow of the river in the near future.

The government has asked the people not to venture out in the Siang for the next 48 hours time.

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Big mistake from railway authorities: Navjot Kaur Sidhu

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Navjot Kaur Sidhu

Amritsar, Oct 19 : After a train tragedy here on Friday, Former MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu blamed the railway authorities for not issuing directions regarding movement of trains near the tracks, where about over 50 people were feared crushed by a speeding train while they were watching the ‘Ravan Dahan’.

“We burnt the Ravan effigies at six places today. Most of them were near the railway track. They (railway authorities) should have at least issued directions to slow down the speed of the train. Such a big mistake,” Sidhu told a media channel from a hospital where the injured were taken.

“Everything was well organised and there was so much police. I could not understand how this happened. Now we are being told that railway authorities did not even slow down the train and that people were standing on the tracks,” she said.

She was present at the function where effigy burning took place. She left, she said, just before the incident and got a call about the tragedy only 15 minutes after her leaving the place.

The wife of cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu also cautioned people against politicising the issue saying those who are doing it “should be ashamed”.

— IANS

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Disaster

NDRF teams sent to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh after warning by China

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Yarlung zangbo

Guwahati, Oct 20 : The Centre has sent eight companies of National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF) to Arunahal Pradesh followed by six others to Assam after intimation from the Chinese government that landslide has blocked the Milin section of the main stream of Yarlung Zangbo or Brahmaputra river recently and that it might impact the lower reaches of the river.

The Arunahal Pradesh government as well as the Assam government has instructed and alerted all the districts located near Siang and Brahmaputra river which might be affected due to the water flow of the river in near future.

It is believed that the sudden blockade caused by the landslides might burst anytime and cause flash floods in downstream areas in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

While the Arunachal Pradesh government has alerted the people living in periphery of Siang river not to venture out in the river for collection of firewood or for fishing.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday said that six NDRF companies are on the way to Assam from Kolkata, which will be stationed in Sensitive districts.

Sonowal has also asked the disaster management authorities in Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur and Tinsukia districts to remain alert for any probable flash flood-like situation and any kind of eventuality.

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