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Dec 13, 2012

Deadly cyclone leaves ‘total mess’

Published: 5:48AM Friday December 14, 2012 Source: ONE News

Cyclone Evan has left a “total mess” in its wake after it battered Samoa yesterday and today, but now looks likely to avoid hitting capital Apia for a second time.

The storm slammed into Samoa yesterday, bringing torrential rains and intense winds that brought down trees and buildings. It passed over capital Apia before making a u-turn and was expected to hit Samoa with renewed force today.

However, it now appears to be veering away from the islands, sais New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

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FEMA Temp Housing for Sandy Victims Sit Empty


Tornado wreaks havoc in Indonesia: 519 houses damaged

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman said on Saturday that the tornado — which had a radius of two kilometers at a speed of 60 kilometers per hour — lasted for 10 minutes and hit 10 villages in Sleman, with the Bromonila village in the subdistrict of Purwomartani reporting the most damages.

December 11, 2012INDONESIA – More than a dozen people have been injured and hundreds of houses left damaged after a tornado swept through the Yogyakarta district of Sleman on Friday. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman said on Saturday that the tornado — which had a radius of two kilometers at a speed of 60 kilometers per hour — lasted for 10 minutes and hit 10 villages in Sleman, with the Bromonila village in the subdistrict of Purwomartani reporting the most damages. “Two people were seriously injured and have to undergo treatment now, and 12 others were lightly wounded,” BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo said in a statement published at Sutopo said 519 houses in total were damaged and dozens of cattle sheds and hundreds of trees also reportedly collapsed. The district head of Sleman has declared the area an emergency situation until Dec. 11. “The Sleman office of the BPNB has established an emergency station and a [makeshift] kitchen in Bromonila village,” said Sutopo, adding that people displaced from their houses had been evacuated to safe places. The tornado also disrupted some flights to and from the Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta. A Merpati Airlines plane from Bandung was forced to reroute to Surabaya and a Garuda Indonesia flight from Jakarta was forced to turn back.

Sandy volunteers facing same risks as 9/11 first responders
December 10, 2012

Volunteers and workers cleaning up the devastated regions flooded by Hurricane Sandy are facing dangerous mold and asbestos contamination, which could cause illness and litigation if they do not properly protect themselves.

Similar to the post-9/11 cleanup, unprotected workers may be subjecting themselves to crippling illnesses that could result in future lawsuits against those organizing the cleanup.

Greg Floyd, president of the Teamsters Local 237, said his nightmare had come true: mold is spreading rapidly through the homes and damaged buildings devastated by Hurricane Sandy, he told the Huffington Post. A month and a half after the storm struck New York City, the fungus has spread so rapidly that Floyd has held back thousands of public employees from helping in the cleanup process. His workers don’t have the training and protective equipment necessary to battle the fast-growing mold, which can cause severe respiratory health complications. Floyd fears that his organization will suffer the consequences of a legal battle if he sends untrained workers to battle the mold.

But the situation is dire and in need of assistance. Many hurricane victims whose homes are infested with the fungus do not have alternate living options and must therefore take the risk to remain in their contaminated homes. Those in the Rockaways are hardest hit by mold, but the US Health Department has no guidelines as to how severe the contamination must be before considering an evacuation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) acknowledged the problem Wednesday by publishing a fact sheet on the hazards of mold and ways workers and volunteers can protect themselves from inhaling the fungus. Since the mold risk has kept many cleanup workers from helping, volunteers have been trying to compensate for the lack of help by themselves trying to sterilize the city. Many of these volunteers have no training or protective equipment and are putting their lives at risk by entering contaminated buildings.

The New York State Department of Labor is planning to send 5,000 public workers to help with the cleanup as part of a federally funded, $27.7 million program. Floyd is concerned for the well-being of these workers. OSHA agents were recently forced to remove 6,500 workers from hazardous conditions in Sandy-affected areas, most of which were equipped with protective gear, which indicates the severity of the contamination. While mold is the most serious post-Sandy contaminant, asbestos has also emerged from the rubble, and untrained workers may not be able to stop the growth of these contaminants.

Floyd fears the similarities between the post-Sandy cleanup too closely resemble the conditions after 9/11.

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Millions of kids in path of Typhoon Bopha as it heads towards Philippines again

Millions of kids in path of Typhoon Bopha as it heads towards Philippines againQMI AGENCY

Millions of children and their families in northwest Philippines face the wrath of Typhoon Bopha for a second time in less than five days as the storm heads back to the country.

The storm killed nearly 600 people and left hundreds more missing last week when it barrelled across the east coast of the Philippines.

Canadian aid organization Save the Children is in the country and spokeswoman Anna Lindenfors said, “It has been a terrifying week for millions of children affected by the killer typhoon. Children in Luzon who have seen the extent of the destruction in Mindanao in the news will be frightened at what is headed their way and may well become fearful and anxious.”

Lindenfors says Save the Children is particularly concerned for children following a natural hazard like a typhoon.

“They are smaller and more easily swept away in floods and landslides and are at risk of being separated from their families,” Lindenfors said in a statement Sunday.

In Mindanao, Save the Children has set a target of getting relief items such as blankets, mosquito nets and toiletries to 14,000 families including 42,000 children. It is also setting up child-friendly spaces and temporary learning areas in evacuation centres so that children can play and talk about their experiences as well as prepare school-age children to resume classes when the semester starts next year.

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Report: Huge housing gap for N.J. Sandy victims

By Ken Serrano, Asbury Park (N.J.) PressShare

The state doesn’t have enough temporary homes available for people displaced by the storm.


4:27PM EST December 7. 2012 – Asbury Park — If federal authorities decide to roll out mobile homes to house New Jersey families left without shelter by Superstorm Sandy, that would still leave thousands without housing, according to a state hurricane housing task force report.

The mobile homes would house 1,000 households, according to the report, leaving another 5,500 families or individuals still scrambling to find housing.

But those trailers may not arrive.

“They told me they won’t be bringing trailers to New Jersey, that there was no need for them, and that’s unacceptable,” said Rep. Frank J. Pallone Jr., D-N.J., who lashed out at the Federal Emergency Management Agency following a conference call Thursday afternoon. “People are living in friends’ homes, in basements. They can’t do that for a year and a half.”

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NJ Transit Had $400 Million in Hurricane Sandy Damage

By Alan Levin – Dec 6, 2012 12:12 PM MT
New Jersey Transit, the second- largest U.S. public transportation system, sustained $400 million in damage from Hurricane Sandy and needs twice that amount to prevent damage from future storms, its executive director told a U.S. Senate panel today.The losses included $100 million in train cars, locomotives and equipment, James Weinstein said in written testimony to the Commerce Committee’s surface transportation subcommittee. It was the most detailed estimate provided of the system’s costs from the storm.Full Article

Freak tornado kills 3 in Auckland, New Zealand

December 6, 2012AUCKLAND – A freak tornado hit Auckland Thursday killing three people and causing “utter devastation” as wild weather ripped apart homes and caused flash flooding in New Zealand’s largest city. The storm, packing gusts of more than 110 kilometers (70 miles) per hour, struck suburban Hobsonville in the afternoon, toppling trees, ripping roofs from houses and sending debris flying. Civil Defense said three people died and seven were hospitalized, with two of the fatalities believed to have been caused by a concrete slab that landed on the cabin of a truck and the other by a falling tree. About 150 homes were badly damaged, many rendered uninhabitable, forcing residents into temporary accommodation at a nearby air force base. Resident Suzanne McFadden said the storm roared through in “five minutes of utter devastation.” Police urged people to stay indoors as flash floods blocked roads and falling trees brought down power lines, blacking out about 1,300 homes. The Met service weather agency said the tornado was created by a series of intense thunderstorms that lashed the city through the day, largely dissipating by early evening, although there were fears the winds could pick up overnight. Prime Minister John Key expressed condolences to the families of the dead and praised the efforts of emergency services, who swiftly sealed off an area of about one square kilometre (0.4 square miles) that was worst affected by the tornado.

State Demolishes Jersey Shore Home Still Intact After Storm Without Notifying The Owner

December 6, 2012 by , Federal Jack(FOX 5 NY) A man in New Jersey returned to his home after Superstorm Sandy only to find it had vanished — and not from the storm. At issue is who tore it down and why?The Jersey shore homeowner reached out to us after finding his summer home had vanished along with everything inside. So we called the state looking for answers.Nick Maria gets emotional when talking about his summer home on 5th Avenue in Ortley Beach — a home that suddenly vanished a few weeks ago.“Worse than bizarre. It’s very sad,” he said. “Very disheartening.”Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, residents were allowed to return to gather their belongings. But when Maria arrived his home — and everything in it — was gone. All that was left was a plot of land.“I never saw anything like this in my life,” Maria said. “And when I took my wife here a week later, she was crying her eyes out in the street.”Maria said he immediately started making phone calls.“The township didn’t know what happened. I called the governor’s office and asked the assistant what happened. She said to me, ‘Are you sure your house is gone? ‘I said ‘Miss, you misplace your pen or pencil. You don’t misplace your house.’”A picture taken by a neighbor just after the storm shows Maria’s home had shifted off its foundation but it was still standing.He said he was never told that his home would be demolished and all his possessions thrown away.“I just want to know where my house went, why was it removed, and why wasn’t I afforded the opportunity to get my personal belongings,” he said.Maria contacted the New Jersey Department of Transportation to find out what happened.He got a letter that states that “The DOT did not remove any structure that was not on the roadway… our objective… was to open the roadways.”But here is the problem, Maria said his home was not blocking a roadway and he said this picture proves it.“It clearly was not in the street, clearly not in the street,” Maria said. “There’s a utility pole standing there. The house would have knocked that over if it was in the street.”So Fox 5 contacted the DOT, which is now telling us the utility pole was the problem.In a statement, the department said: “The structure in question… was pushed off its foundation and jammed against another house that had come to rest in the middle of the street. The two houses had sandwiched a utility pole. Our crews did not take down any structure unless it was deemed to be unsafe…”Maria said he has hired a lawyer and he is figuring out what to do next.But one thing is clear, though his summer home is gone he already has plans to rebuild.“Beautiful town, beautiful neighborhood, location, as you can tell,” Maria said. “I was thinking of coming to retire here someday. Not right now, no.”Maria said there were many items in his home that he wishes he could have saved; everything from his golf clubs to his wife’s diamond earrings. Luckily, those items were insured so they can be replaced.

New York City Hits Sandy Victims With ‘Failure To Maintain’ Property Citation
December 5, 2012Residents in one Queens neighborhood are crying foul after they were written up for failing to clean up the city’s own mess. It is yet another new complication in life after Superstorm Sandy.Rosanne and Joe Cavaliere are still trying to clean up from the hurricane.They have branches through their roof, busted front windows, and, to add insult to injury, they recently received a citation notice from the city.