United States – California wildfires deadliest in history as toll climbs to 31 and 228 reported missing

There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!

Abandoned cars, scorched by the wildfire, line Pearson Rd in Paradise. Photo / AP

What we know so far:

  • At least 31 people have been killed
  • More than 6,700 structures destroyed
  • 3,000 firefighters are battling the blazes
  • 228 people are reported  missing
  • Among casualties are 6 firefighters

READ RELATED: What we know about California wildfires: 31 deaths, more than 6,700 structures destroyed

As relatives desperately searched shelters for missing loved ones today, crews searching the smoking ruins of Paradise and outlying areas found six more bodies, raising the death toll to 29, matching the deadliest wildfire in state history.

The burned remains of a vehicle and home are seen during the Camp fire in Paradise
The burned remains of a vehicle and home are seen during the Camp fire in Paradise Photo: AFP

Wildfires continued to rage on both ends of the state, with gusty winds expected overnight which will challenge firefighters.

The statewide death toll stood at 31 and appeared certain to rise.

Massive out-of-control wildfires are ripping through California, causing insurmountable destruction and the evacuation of thousands on both ends of the state.

On Saturday, firefighters hoped that a brief lull in howling winds would give them a chance to block, or at least slow, one of two massive wildfires that have killed at least 23 people and caused the evacuations of hundreds of thousands.

Here is how people can help;

California Volunteers: The state-run office manages programs and initiatives helping to increase public service in California. The group has activated for the disasters and has ways for you to help out, whether it be financially, volunteering or with donated goods,  in each of the fires.

American Red CrossThe American Red Cross is helping those in northern and southern California with finding shelter and providing assistance. The organization has listed ways for you to help. If you would like to make a $10 donation, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999.

CCF Wildfire Relief FundThe organization helps provide intermediate and long-term recovery efforts for major California wildfires and has local initiatives to help out those affected by the blaze.

CLIMATE CHANGE – The BIGGEST Global Story The Media Struggles To Tell 

World media is struggling to tell the biggest global story  – ‘Climate Change’ 

Faced with a major UN report that warns of floods, drought, extreme heat and increased poverty should the world not take radical action to address climate change, Donald Trump has been uncharacteristically reluctant to speak out. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

|PETE VERNON, CJR|AIWA! NO!|The projections are dire: Widespread drought, food shortages, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040. That is the future we’re facing, according to a new report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The story received prominent coverage on the homepages of the The New York Times and The Washington Post on Monday, and was discussed on cable news. But with a daily news cycle that churns out a constant stream of stories with sensational angles or immediate implications, can the press find a way to focus on a slow-moving crisis that affects everyone on the planet?

If history is a guide, then the answer is largely “no.” Writing in 2015, then-Guardian Editor in Chief Alan Rusbridger argued that “the problem with this story is…it’s so big, and it doesn’t change much from day to day. Journalism is brilliant at capturing momentum, or changes, or things that are unusual. If it’s basically the same every day, every week, every year, I think journalists lose heart.

On Monday, Rusbridger surveyed the covers of UK papers and lamented the absence of articles on the UN report. “If voters are kept in the dark about global warming by newspapers then urgent action by democratic politicians becomes a hundred times harder,” he wrote. Climate change has long been held up as an example of the sort of story that news outlets know is important, but struggle to cover. This new report, which warns that world governments have only a dozen years to take meaningful action, could be a wake-up call, but only if journalists find a way to realign their priorities.

The Post’s Margaret Sullivan argues that the press must find a way to keep attention on this threat, even while dealing with the demands of the daily news cycle. “There is a lot happening in the nation and the world, a constant rush of news. Much of it deserves our attention as journalists and news consumers. But we need to figure out how to make the main thing matter,” Sullivan writes. “In short, when it comes to climate change, we—the media, the public, the world—need radical transformation, and we need it now.

In America, that transformation requires an acknowledgement that President Trump, who has questioned the very idea of climate change, heads a Republican party that is one of the few major political organizations in the world that rejects the basic scientific consensus. The Times’s Mark Landler and Coral Davenport note that Trump spent part of Monday in Florida, “a state that lies directly in the path of this coming calamity—and said nothing about [the new UN report].”

With the immediate implications of climate change being more dire that previously thought, heading off disaster will require a massive effort from governments around the world. The sort of political will required to make necessary changes could be driven by public pressure, but that pressure depends on an informed citizenry, which is where the press comes in. As Sullivan writes, it’s past time for fresh thinking: “Just as the smartest minds in earth science have issued their warning, the best minds in media should be giving sustained attention to how to tell this most important story in a way that will create change.”

Below, more on the coverage of a global emergency.

  • What’s different?: Previous studies had focused on the global damage caused by a rise in average temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius. The UN report released Sunday calculated the effect of a 1.5 degree increase, and found that the effects would include “inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty,” reports the Times’s Davenport.
  • Plain writing: The BBC’s headline on its story about the UN report lays out the stakes: “Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe.’
  • Other priorities: One anecdotal measure of how hard it is for this issue to gain traction in Washington: On Tuesday, neither Politico Playbook nor Axios AM, two influential DC morning tipsheets, contains the phrase “climate change.”
  • Not just Trump: Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, who finished first in the initial round of the country’s presidential election on Sunday, has said he plans to follow Trump in withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement if he is elected. Brazil is the world’s seventh-largest producer of greenhouse gases.
  • Climate change on the ballot: The topic may have been completely ignored during the 2016 presidential debates, but Lyndsey Gilpin writes for CJR that climate change has emerged as an increasingly important topic in the heart of coal country. As part of our series on midterm races, Gilpin checks in from Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District.

Scientists Just Laid Out Paths to Solve Climate Change. We Aren’t on Track to Do Any of Them

By JUSTIN WORLAND, TIME|AIWA! NO!|Climate scientists have understood for decades that unchecked, man-made global warming will wreak havoc on human civilization. The challenge has only grown more urgent as the scientific understanding expands and the world begins to feel the impacts.
Now, a landmark U.N. report offers both a glimmer of hope and a giant warning. Scientists and policymakers have the knowhow to address climate change and stave off some of the worst effects of the phenomenon, but political leaders are nowhere close to fully undertaking any of these steps, the report shows.

Scientists on the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) point to a global temperature rise of 1.5°C as a threshold the planet cannot cross without seeing the worst effects of climate change. Yet according to the U.N. organization’s latest report, temperatures have already risen 1°C as a result of human activity, and the planet could pass the 1.5°C threshold as early as 2030 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate.

“We need a plan to save us,” Mary Robinson, a former U.N. Special Envoy on Climate Change and a previous president of Ireland, tells TIME. “We have a short window of time and a huge responsibility.”

To keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5°C, humans need to shift the trajectory of carbon dioxide emissions so that we either stop emitting by around 2050, or pull more carbon out of the atmosphere than we release. That’s a tall order given the extent to which we rely on fossil fuels to power our vehicles, homes and factories.

As daunting as the task may sound, the IPCC report hints at good news: scientists already have the technical wherewithal to limit temperature rise to the target 1.5°C.

“Limiting warming to 1.5° is not impossible, but will require unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society,” Hoesung Lee, chair of the IPCC, said at a press conference in Seoul Monday. “Every bit of warming matters.”

Among other things, the list of solutions includes energy efficiency, electrifying transport and pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by reforesting regions and using carbon capture technology. The rapid deployment of renewable energy will also play a key role. To keep temperatures at the target, renewable energy will need to provide at least 70% of global electricity in 2050, while coal use will essentially need to disappear.

Some of these changes are already in motion. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar power have expanded rapidly in recent years largely as a result of market forces. That growth is expected to continue in the coming decades as the price of renewable energy technologies continues to fall.

But the change isn’t coming fast enough. Reaching the target will require government action, including support for research and development, and modification of the way markets work to account for the negative effects of burning fossil fuels.

“The energy transition we need now for climate purposes needs to move much faster,” says Adnan Amin, who heads the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). “We need policy mechanisms.”

The IPCC report is intended to help spur those policies. Negotiators brokering the 2015 Paris Agreement included the 1.5°C marker as an “ideal target” following a push from developing countries that feared their nations may be lost if temperature rise exceeds that level. The IPCC was asked to study the feasibility of the 1.5°C threshold and how it might be achieved.

Read More: World Approves Historic ‘Paris Agreement’ to Address Climate Change

The new report, released Monday in Seoul, shows we are nowhere close, and the government commitments made in 2015 by some 190 countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions would still allow temperatures to rise more than 3°C.

It has not helped that in the wake of the historic Paris Agreement, which at the time seemed to herald a new era of cooperation on climate change, many countries have taken a step back from implementing measures to slash emissions. President Donald Trump has promised to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement entirely, while climate change plans in other countries, including Germany, Australia and Canada, have faced unexpected challenges.

“The world is not achieving the goals under Paris,” California Governor Jerry Brown told TIME last month. “It’s stalled.”

Brown and others have tried to restart those efforts with a series of summits, policy announcements and corporate commitments all designed to put pressure on national governments ahead of the upcoming U.N. climate conference in Poland this December. But with political disruptions across the globe the challenge remains steep.

“The main difference between possibility and impossibility is just political will,” says Chris Weber, WWF‘s global climate and energy lead scientist.

The consequences of failure would be immense and affect countries and their citizens in every corner of the globe. But the most worst toll would be inflicted on developing countries that lack the resources to adapt and communities located in vulnerable regions like coastlines, small islands and particularly dry regions.

“We need a ‘climate just’ pathway,” says Robinson. “The risks posed by global warming in excess of 1.5°C are large and unpredictable and in some cases irreversible.”

NHS Clinical Waste Including Human Body Parts Among Waste Piled Up By Disposal Firm

|AIWA! NO!|Clinical waste from the NHS including human body parts has been piled up by a waste disposal company.

Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) has said it is working to “reduce the volume” of waste after reports that a huge backlog of medical and other kinds of matter had been allowed to build up.

The Environment Agency has launched a criminal investigation, and confirmed the company breached its permits at five waste disposal sites in England.

A report by Health Service Journal (HSJ) said one HES site held excess waste five times its capacity, equalling 350 tonnes including infectious fluids, amputated limbs and substances from cancer treatments.

HSJ reported that a COBRA meeting was called over the stockpiling last month, and contingency plans are understood to have been put in place for NHS trusts and other public services.

In a statement, HES said it had highlighted a “reduction in the UK’s high-temperature incineration capacity” – a problem it blamed on ageing infrastructure, prolonged breakdowns and zero waste-to-landfill policies.

The reduced capacity had been “evident across all of the industry” during the last year, it said.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: A photocall attempting to highlight NHS stockpiling in the event of a 'no-deal Brexit, by youth campaign group 'Our Future, Our Choice', (OFOC), takes place outside the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on August 22, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
© Getty LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 22: A photocall attempting to highlight NHS stockpiling in the event of a ‘no-deal Brexit, by youth campaign group ‘Our Future, Our Choice’, (OFOC), takes place outside the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on August 22, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The company’s website says it provides services to more than 25,000 clients, which the HSJ article says includes up to 50 NHS trusts.

Health services are not believed to be experiencing disruption to waste collection, however.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) insisted that waste was being stored safely and said there was “absolutely” no danger to patients or the public.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and have made sure that public services – including NHS trusts – have contingency plans in place,” a government spokesperson said.

“Our priority is to prevent disruption to the NHS and other vital public services and work is underway to ensure organisations can continue to dispose of their waste safely and efficiently.”

The government has said it is reviewing how contracts for waste disposal will be awarded in the future.

Previous problems between HES and the government were revealed in a letter, seen by Sky News and sent last month to NHS trusts, that said the action against the company was a “witch hunt” based on “complete lies”.

The letter, signed by the company’s managing director Garry Pettigrew, claimed there had been problems with Britain’s high temperature incineration infrastructure for years and that the Environment Agency had failed to adequately respond.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks with members of staff during a visit to the Royal Hospital for Children, to mark the 70th Anniversary of the NHS, in Glasgow, Britain, July 5, 2018. Andy Buchanan/Pool via REUTERS
© Getty Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks with members of staff during a visit to the Royal Hospital for Children, to mark the 70th Anniversary of the NHS, in Glasgow, Britain, July 5, 2018. Andy Buchanan/Pool via REUTERS

A spokesman for the Environment Agency, however, rejected the accusations. It said there was broad agreement that incinerator capacity in the UK was sufficient.

“The Environment Agency has found Healthcare Environmental Services to be in breach of its environmental permits at five sites which deal with clinical waste,” a spokesperson said.

“We are taking enforcement action against the operator, which includes clearance of the excess waste, and have launched a criminal investigation.”

John Ashworth, shadow secretary for health and social care, said the revelations were “staggering”.

“We need a statement in the Commons next week from ministers detailing when the government was first informed of this stockpiling, what support is now available to trusts and what contingency plans are in place for the future,” he said.

©Skynews

INDONESIA’Tragedy Everywhere’; Aid Groups Scramble Against Time After Indonesian Tsunami

Up to 1.6 million people may have been affected by the 7.5-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction said.

Men walk on a damaged road in the Petobo subdistrict on Tuesday, days after an earthquake and tsunami hit Palu in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Muhammad Adimaja /Antara Foto Agency / Reuters

|AIWA! NO!|A massive relief effort is underway in Indonesia, where more than a thousand people are dead and tens of thousands more are displaced on the island of Sulawesi, after an earthquake and tsunami destroyed houses and other buildings last week.

 

It has taken days for the scale of the devastation to emerge, because the twin disasters crippled communications and damaged roads and airports. Those problems are also complicating efforts to bring aid to the city of Palu and other affected areas.

Nearly a week after an earthquake struck Sulawesi, spawning a massive tsunami that overwhelmed the Indonesian island’s central coast, aid groups are finally getting a foothold in the badly battered region — though challenges remain immense for relief and recovery efforts.

“Some people are now receiving basic food items like rice, noodles and canned food, but this remains a small minority. The food situation in Palu remains dire, and with the market closed we’re even struggling to feed ourselves,” said Genadi Aryawan, a Mercy Corps team member stationed in the city.

The tsunami that swept Sulawesi hammered Palu the hardest of the cities in its path. Of the more than 1,500 people who were killed in the catastrophe, the vast majority hailed from the city of nearly 300,000. And days later, fuel, sanitation and reliable information are still in short supply.

“Rumors are flying around the camps that another earthquake is imminent, one that will ‘sink’ Sulawesi,” Aryawan added. “The situation is incredibly tense, and people are becoming increasingly panicked as misinformation compounds an already desperate situation.”

Also compounding Indonesia’s woes was the eruption of a volcano on the Sulawesi’s northern peninsula. Mount Soputan sent a plume of ash towering nearly 20,000 feet into the sky Wednesday, hundreds of miles from where the quake and tsunami struck. Since then, it has continued to spew lava.

No evacuations have been ordered because of the eruption so far, but people have been warned to stay as far as 4 miles away, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for BNPB, Indonesia’s disaster response agency.

©NPR

‘There are still hundreds of victims buried’: Aid groups struggle to deliver supplies after Indonesia tsunami

Authorities and aid agencies feared the death toll of 844 would rise once they assessed the damage in those hard-to-reach places.A man walks on a street after an earthquake and tsunami hit the area in Wani, Donggala, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia October 1, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja/ via REUTERS

|PBS|AIWA! NO!|Rescuers are still searching for survivors four days after an earthquake and tsunami killed hundreds of people and destroyed thousands of homes in Palu, an island of fishermen and farmers in central Indonesia.

Aid workers continued to struggle Monday to send supplies to the worst-hit areas by truck, since the central airport was unusable. Authorities and aid agencies feared the death toll of 844 would rise once they assessed the damage in those hard-to-reach places.

Here’s what we know.

A ship is seen stranded on the shore in Wani, Donggala, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia on Oct. 1. Photo by Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja/ via Reuters
A ship is seen stranded on the shore in Wani, Donggala, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia on Oct. 1. Photo by Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja/ via Reuters
The earthquake and tsunami crushed thousands of homes in Indonesia's Sulawesi region. Photo by Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja/ via Reuters
The earthquake and tsunami crushed thousands of homes in Indonesia’s Sulawesi region. Photo by Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja/ via Reuters

What happened?

On Sept. 28, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck the coastline of Palu, a city of about 380,000 people. A tsunami followed. In addition to destroying homes, the quake and tsunami leveled power lines and cell phone towers, hindering communication to affected areas.

Indonesia has a tsunami warning system made up of a network of buoys and sensors, donated by the U.S., Germany and Malaysia after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami killed an estimated 228,000 people. However, some buoys have been damaged by vandals or stolen, which may have limited how effective the system can be.

When last week’s earthquake struck, the government did issue a tsunami warning, but it lasted only a half-hour, and text messages might not have reached residents because of the damaged power lines and cell phone towers.

Many of the victims were buried by mud because of “liquefaction,” which occurs when the shaking from an earthquake causes water-logged sediment to temporarily lose strength and act as a fluid.

People injured or affected by the earthquake and tsunami wait to be evacuated on an air force plane in Palu, Indonesia, on Sept. 30. Photo by Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja via Reuters
People injured or affected by the earthquake and tsunami wait to be evacuated on an air force plane in Palu, Indonesia, on Sept. 30. Photo by Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja via Reuters
Search and rescue crews were looking for survivors several days after the earthquake and tsunami. Photo by Antara Foto/Hafidz Mubarak A/ via Reuters
Search and rescue crews were looking for survivors several days after the earthquake and tsunami. Photo by Antara Foto/Hafidz Mubarak A/ via Reuters

“There are still hundreds of victims buried in mud,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s National Agency for Disaster Management, according to the Associated Press.

Authorities said they have started to bury the dead in mass graves to prevent the spread of diseases. Volunteers were told to prepare for as many as 1,300 victims, Al Jazeera reported.

What are the major challenges?

Access to survivors is the biggest challenge, said Fajar Jasmin, senior communications manager at Save the Children in Indonesia. The seaports are destroyed and the airports are crammed with people trying to leave, he said.

The solution, then, is to drive supplies from the southern part of the island, but that could take at least 20 hours, said Margarettha Siregar, emergency response director for World Vision in Indonesia in Jakarta.

About 16,000 people lost their homes and are seeking help in about two dozen aid camps outside the city, Jasmin said.

Residents carry their belongings on Oct. 1 after an earthquake Palu, Sulawesi Island, Indonesia on Friday. Photo by Beawiharta/Reuters
Residents carry their belongings on Oct. 1 after an earthquake Palu, Sulawesi Island, Indonesia on Friday. Photo by Beawiharta/Reuters

People are “very afraid” to return to their homes because they fear aftershocks, Siregar said.

Since the first few initial days of search and rescue have passed, aid agencies are now coordinating with the government to provide residents with food and hygiene kits, along with tarpaulins, blankets and mats for temporary shelters. Relief groups also plan to designate child-friendly places so children can continue their education and play.

“We want these activities to have as little disruption as possible,” Jasmin said. “It’s important that they see their life still go on.”

Who is helping?

Several aid agencies are responding to the disaster, including:

Trump Takes U.S. Case To Isolate Iran Before UN Security Council

Trump speech isolates Iran Before UN Security Council; denigrates globalism while promoting isolationism2018-09-26

CRIMSON TAZVINZWA (AFP, AP,AIWA! NO!) U.S. President Donald Trump goes before the United Nations Security Council on September 26 to make his case against Iran, one day after urging all nations at the UN to work with him to isolate Tehran’s leaders.

But with key Iranian allies Russia and China sitting on the 15-member council, and Washington’s European allies at odds with Trump over his decision to walk away from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, the meeting may do little more than highlight the significant divisions over Iran among the world’s powers.

Trump will be wielding the gavel because the United States this month holds the presidency of the Security Council, the top UN body dealing with pressing global security issues.

During his address to the General Assembly on September 25, Trump assailed Iran’s leaders, accusing them of sowing “chaos, death, and destruction” throughout the Middle East and calling on world governments to join him in isolating Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani shot back in a speech hours later, denouncing what he called Washington’s policy of disregarding international agreements and pursuing “might makes right” around the world. He also slammed the planned council meeting as a “preposterous and abnormal act.”

The meeting will show a rift between the United States and its European allies over the Iran nuclear deal that Trump abandoned in May, claiming it would not prevent Iran from eventually developing nuclear weapons.

READ MORE: Rohani Calls U.S. Sanctions ‘Economic Terrorism’

The United States has moved to reimpose sanctions that had been lifted under the landmark deal and has vowed to punish foreign firms that do business with Iran.

On September 24, the five remaining parties to the agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia — announced that they would set up a special payment system to continue trade and business ties with Iran.

The United States initially said the council meeting chaired by Trump would focus on Iran but later broadened the agenda to include nuclear nonproliferation and weapons of mass destruction.

That opens the door to addressing allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria and Britain this year, as well as Trump’s and the council’s efforts to curb North Korea’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

The usual practice is for the chair to speak last at council meetings, but in this instance Trump will be the first to address the chamber, followed by other heads of state.

French President Emmanuel Macron will address the council, as will British Prime Minister Theresa May. Russia and China will be represented by their foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Wang Yi.

Iran has not requested to speak at the council meeting, diplomats said, although Rohani will hold a press conference soon after it is due to end.

It will be only the third time in UN history that a U.S. president will chair a Security Council meeting. Barack Obama presided over two meetings in 2009 and 2014.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said she expects Trump’s appearance “to be the most watched Security Council meeting ever.”

Trump is one of around 130 world leaders attending the UN General Assembly in New York, which formally began on September 25.

With reporting by AP and AFP
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