Department of Defense - An aerial view from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter shows flooding around Cedar Rapids,

US – IOWA farmers face devastation from historic flooding

Missouri River Flooding 
Aerial photos of the Missouri river flooding in Sioux City, Iowa, South Sioux City, Nebraska, and Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, on June 8, 2011. Levees were built near homes to prevent the Missouri river from flooding properties.

Air Force Photo by: Tech. Sgt. Oscar Sanchez
Missouri River Flooding
Aerial photos of the Missouri river flooding in Sioux City, Iowa, South Sioux City, Nebraska, and Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, on June 8, 2011. Levees were built near homes to prevent the Missouri river from flooding properties.
Air Force Photo by: Tech. Sgt. Oscar Sanchez

Historic Midwest Flooding Has Devastating Consequences for Farmers – AIWA! NO!

The record flooding in the Midwest that has now been blamed for four deaths could also have lasting consequences for the region’s many farmers.

Flooding has swamped fields and stockpiles and drowned or harmed livestock in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and other states. In Nebraska alone, the loss of crops and livestock is estimated to total nearly $1 billion, Reuters reported Tuesday.

© Planet Labs Inc.
Satellite images show just how high the water has risen along the Platte and Missouri Rivers, including a large portion of a US Air Force Base under water.
© Planet Labs Inc.Satellite images show just how high the water has risen along the Platte and Missouri Rivers, including a large portion of a US Air Force Base under water.

“The economy in agriculture is not very good right now. It will end some of these folks farming, family legacies, family farms,” Iowa farmer Farmer Jeff Jorgenson told The Associated Press. “There will be farmers that will be dealing with so much of a negative they won’t be able to tolerate it.”

One of those farmers might be Anthony Ruzicka of Verdigre, Nebraska. His family has been farming the same plot for five generations, since the 1800s. But the floods have destroyed their farmhouse, littered their alfalfa and corn fields with chunks of ice and killed at least 15 of their cattle.

“There’s not many farms left like this, and it’s probably over for us too, now,” Ruzicka The New York Times. “Financially, how do you recover from something like this?”

Not only crops were lost. The floods have damaged roads, bridges and railways farmers rely on to move their products to processing plants and shipping centers, Reuters reported. Such a major blow to U.S. farmers is likely to have national consequences.

“This will impact the food on your table,” Chair of Nebraska’s Democratic Party Jane Fleming Kleeb tweeted, as The New Food Economy reported.

Bad Timing

The floods come at a bad time for farmers for a variety of reasons. Seasonally, the floods have come just as farmers usually start their spring planting and need dry weather in order to get seeds in the ground.

At the same time, farmers in the region are generally suffering. The number of farms that filed for bankruptcy last year rose by 19 percent, the highest level in more than ten years. Further, incomes from farming have fallen by more than 50 percent because of a global glut of grain, Reuters reported. To make matters worse, a trade war with China has meant the country has stopped importing U.S. soybeans. Many farmers had stored last years’ crops of grain and soy in hopes of better prices, and now some of those stores have been destroyed.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” Winslow, Nebraska farmer Tom Geisler, who lost two storage bins full of corn, told Reuters. “We had been depending on the income from our livestock, but now all of our feed is gone, so that is going to be even more difficult. We haven’t been making any money from our grain farming because of trade issues and low prices.”

Animal Losses

Human lives weren’t the only ones impacted by the floods. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters that the governors of Nebraska and Iowa had told him that up to one million calves may have been killed, Reuters reported in another article. Hog farms in Iowa were also flooded, according to The Associated Press.

Pets have also been caught up in the flooding. Rescue Lieutenant Jami Mitchell of Waterloo Fire/Rescue told Reuters that the number of animals rescued from homes in Waterloo, Nebraska included 87 dogs, eight cats, one rabbit, two birds, two hamsters and 26 horses.

But even animals who survived may have health problems because of the ordeal.

“Standing in the cold water and being cold certainly isn’t good for the health of the animal,” Nebraska Cattlemen spokeswoman Talia Goes told Reuters.

Ethiopian Airlines Had a Max 8 Simulator, but Pilot on Doomed Flight Didn’t Receive Training

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX crash: Local reporter flagged Boeing safety issues days before the fateful disaster

Daily Express flights ethiopian airlines 737 max air crash plane safe news latest
Daily Express flights ethiopian airlines 737 max air crash plane safe news latest

Ethiopian Airlines Had a Max 8 Simulator, but Pilot on Doomed Flight Didn’t Receive Training – AIWA! NO!

On 10 March 2019, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft which operated the flight crashed six minutes after takeoff, near the town of Bishoftu, killing all 157 people aboard. It is also the deadliest aircraft accident to occur in Ethiopia, surpassing the crash of an Ethiopian Air Force Antonov An-26 in 1982, which killed 73.

On October 29 last year, a Boeing 737 MAX airplane operated by Lion Air crashed shortly after takeoff in Indonesia, killing 189 passengers and crew. In the days after the incident, Dominic Gates, an aerospace reporter at The Seattle Timeslearned from a source that Boeing, which has a huge presence around Seattle, was preparing to warn airlines of a possible instrument failure that could tip 737 MAXs into dangerous dives. Gates continued to report on potential problems with the model. What he found out was extraordinary. Managers at the Federal Aviation Administration let Boeing safety-test features of the 737 MAX itself. And current and former Boeing engineers familiar with the checks told Gates they had major flaws.

A Boeing flight, via Getty Images
A Boeing flight, via Getty Images

On March 6, Gates sent requests for comment to Boeing and the FAA outlining his findings about a flawed safety assessment. Boeing said it would work on providing answers. Then, on March 10, another 737 MAX, this time operated by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed six minutes after lifting off from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Boeing quickly found itself at the center of a global media storm. Countries around the world grounded the planes; last Wednesday, the US, belatedly followed suit. Around the same time, Gates finished writing his piece about the flawed safety check—but Boeing and the FAA had still not commented, and the links between the Lion Air and Ethiopian crashes remained murky. On Thursday, Gates and three colleagues learned about, then reported, a potential similarity between the incidents based on evidence found at the Ethiopian crash site and relayed by an expert. On Friday, Gates finalized the safety-test story he’d been working on since last year, and it was published on Sunday.
Like many local news reporters in the US, Gates—a former math teacher who is now in his 16th year with The Seattle Times—works a beat dedicated to a dominant local company or industry. “To survive as a regional paper, The Seattle Times has to offer readers news it cannot get elsewhere,” Gates tells me in an email. “Since this is the home of Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks, it strives to own coverage of those mega corporations. Coverage of Boeing has historically been huge for The Seattle Times.”
There’s no shortage of national coverage of those companies—Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and others have broken important stories on the Boeing beat. But Gates feels his local base offers him a distinct advantage. “I have sources aerospace reporters elsewhere can only dream about,” he says. “Not just inside Boeing but also its suppliers and its unions. And the FAA office responsible for certifying Boeing planes. And our readers include a very large, knowledgeable aerospace base.”
In a dire economic climate for local news, specialized beats and the reporters on them, are, logically, under threat. Reporters like Gates are reminders that America’s local newspapers can be crucial repositories of public-interest journalism. When they falter, national titles are sometimes able to pick up the slack. But we shouldn’t rely on that. The logical endpoint of America’s local-news crisis isn’t just less reporting on local courthouses and councils—it’s less scrutiny for major companies and arms of the federal government, too.
Below, more on local news:

  • Gitmo: In early February, The Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg, the only US reporter covering Guantanamo Bay on a full-time basis, was one of 450 employees to be offered a buyout by McClatchy, the Herald’s owner. Rosenberg, whose position at the Herald was being supported by the Pulitzer Center, subsequently left the paper for The New York Times.
  • Et tu, Facebook: A Facebook service aiming to serve local news to users has been hamstrung by a lack of available local news, the company said on Monday. Facebook found that 40 percent of Americans live in areas where the service cannot be supported; it pledged to share its data with academics researching the “news desert” phenomenon. As many observers were quick to point out, the local news crisis has been greatly exacerbated by Facebook’s ad monopoly and content policies.
  • Alt-alt-weeklies: Local alt-weeklies have been hit particularly hard by the dire local-news climate: last month, for example, the Seattle Weekly, for whom Gates used to write, announced it was going out of print. For CJR, Allison Braden looks at “alt-alt-weeklies”—publications that have grown from the ashes of shuttered alt-weeklies.

Ethiopian Airlines Had a Max 8 Simulator, but Pilot on Doomed Flight Didn’t Receive Training

The New York Times
Over a 100 dead in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique floods as Cyclone Idai approaches south-eastern Africa

100 dead in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique floods as Cyclone Idai approaches south-eastern Africa, death toll poised to rise

More than 100 dead in Malawi and Mozambique floods as Cyclone Idai approaches south-eastern Africa
More than 100 dead in Malawi and Mozambique floods as Cyclone Idai approaches south-eastern Africa

The storm which brought floodwater and widespread destruction to Mozambique and Malawi has reached Zimbabwe – AIWA! NO!

More than 100 people have been killed and 843,000 affected by torrential rains in MalawiMozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa, the UN and officials said, as tropical cyclone Idai is expected to hit the continent’s south-eastern countries. 

Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people in the three southern African countries, according to the United Nations and government officials.

Cyclone Idai hits Zimbabwe..Civil Protection Unit issues floods warning

At least 66 people in Mozambique, and four in South Africa were killed, after heavy rains caused flash flooding.

In neighbouring Malawi, the death toll rose to 56, an official said on Wednesday, with the country on high alert for cyclone Idai, which is expected to make landfall on Thursday or Friday. 

Almost 83,000 people have been displaced in the country since storms began more than a week ago, causing rivers to break their banks, leaving villages underwater, and knocking out power and water supplies in some areas.

At least 31 people have been killed and dozens are missing in parts of eastern Zimbabwe after the country was hit by tropical cyclone Idai which lashed neighbouring Mozambique and Malawi, the government said. 

Homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and police stations have been destroyed. Roads have been washed away and thousands are stranded by heavy flooding.

Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Information said on Saturday that the deaths were mainly from Chimanimani East, including two students, while at least 40 other people have been injured.

Zimbabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa sent a comforting message to all those affected

It added that the Zimbabwean national army was leading rescue efforts to airlift students from a damaged school and others trapped by the storm. READ MORE

Mozambique’s Beira takes a direct hit from cyclone Idai

A group of people, who fled their homes, was “marooned” on top of a mountain waiting to be rescued, but strong winds were hampering helicopter flights, the ministry said.

Joshua Sacco, a member of parliament in Chimanimani district, said at least 25 houses were swept away following a mudslide at Ngangu township.

“There were people inside,” he told AFP news agency. “The information we have so far is that over 100 people are missing.”

In a Twitter post, Jacob Mafume, spokesman for Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, warned that there was a “serious humanitarian crisis” unfolding in eastern Zimbabwe districts.

Serious humanitarian crisis unfolding in chimanimani chipinge most of our structures comms are down.We need state intervention on a massive scale to avoid biblical disaster ,homes bridges being washed away lives in danger— MDC spokesperson (@JMafume) March 16, 2019

In Mozambique, where Idai made landfall on Thursday, at least 19 people died and about 70 were severely injured. The storm hit with wind gusts of about 160 kilometres per hour, causing ocean waves of up to nine metres high.

Luis Fonseca, a journalist at Lusa News Agency, said that the cyclone was expected to dissipate on Saturday in Mozambique, but it would continue to create trouble.READ MORE

Malawi’s struggling flood victims brace for impending cyclone

“The problem now is that the rivers are likely to flood all the areas around, and this will cause even more damage to all these families which have [already] lost their houses.”

“Now they risk losing their harvest and food insecurity is the next big risk in all over this area,” Fonseca explains.

Local officials in Mozambique said that heavy rains earlier in the week, before the cyclone struck, had already claimed another 66 lives, injured scores and displaced 17,000 people.

When the cyclone hit Mozambique, authorities were forced to close the international airport in the port city of Beira after the air traffic control tower, the navigation systems and the runways were damaged by the storm.

An official at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) of Mozambique told AFP on Friday “there is extreme havoc”.

“Some runway lights were damaged, the navigation system is damaged, the control tower antennas and the control tower itself are all damaged.”

“The runway is full of obstacles and parked aircraft are damaged.”

Heavy downpours in neighbouring Malawi this week have also affected almost a million people and claimed 56 lives there, according to the latest government toll.

South Africa‘s military has sent in aircraft and 10 medical personnel to help in Mozambique and Malawi, it said in a statement on Saturday.

Indonesia’s latest tsunami raises global questions over world disaster preparedness

Indonesia tsunami raises questions over governments’ disaster readiness and preparedness.

Debris are seen after the tsunami damage at Sunda strait at Kunjir village in South Lampung, Indonesia, December 28, 2018. Antara Foto/Ardia
Debris are seen after the tsunami damage at Sunda strait at Kunjir village in South Lampung, Indonesia, December 28, 2018. Antara Foto/Ardia

By Fergus Jensen and Fanny PotkinCIGONDONG/JAKARTA, Indonesia REUTERS|AIWA! NO!| – As Indonesia reels from the carnage of yet another natural disaster, authorities around the globe are working on how they can prepare for the kind of freak tsunami that battered coasts west of Jakarta this month.

The Dec. 23 tsunami killed around 430 people along the coastlines of the Sunda Strait, capping a year of earthquakes and tsunamis in the vast archipelago, which straddles the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire.

No sirens were heard in those towns and beaches to alert people before the deadly series of waves hit shore.

Seismologists and authorities say a perfect storm of factors caused the tsunami and made early detection near impossible given the equipment in place.

But the disaster should be a wake-up call to step up research on tsunami triggers and preparedness, said several of the experts, some of whom have traveled to the Southeast Asian nation to investigate what happened.

“Indonesia has demonstrated to the rest of the world the huge variety of sources that have the potential to cause tsunamis. More research is needed to understand those less-expected events,” said Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton.

Most tsunamis on record have been triggered by earthquakes. But this time it was an eruption of Anak Krakatau volcano that caused its crater to partially collapse into the sea at high tide, sending waves up to 5 metres (16 feet) high smashing into densely populated coastal areas on Java and Sumatra islands.

During the eruption, an estimated 180 million cubic metres, or around two-thirds of the less-than-100-year-old volcanic island, collapsed into the sea.

But the eruption didn’t rattle seismic monitors significantly, and the absence of seismic signals normally associated with tsunamis led Indonesia’s geophysics agency (BMKG) initially to tweet there was no tsunami.

Muhamad Sadly, head of geophysics at BMKG, later told Reuters its tidal monitors were not set up to trigger tsunami warnings from non-seismic events.

The head of Japan’s International Research Institute of Disaster, Fumihiko Imamura, told Reuters he did not believe Japan’s current warning system would have detected a tsunami like the one in the Sunda Strait.

“We still have some risks of this in Japan…because there’s 111 active volcanoes and low capacity to monitor eruptions generating a tsunami,” he said in Jakarta.

Scientists have long flagged the collapse of Anak Krakatau, around 155 km (100 miles) west of the capital, as a concern. A 2012 study published by the Geological Society of London deemed it a “tsunami hazard.”

Anak Krakatau has emerged from the Krakatoa volcano, which in 1883 erupted in one of the biggest explosions in recorded history, killing more than 36,000 people in a series of tsunamis and lowering the global surface temperature by one degree Celsius with its ash.


Some experts believe there was enough time for at least a partial detection of last week’s tsunami in the 24 minutes it took waves to hit land after the landslide on Anak Krakatau.

But a country-wide tsunami warning system of buoys connected to seabed sensors has been out of order since 2012 due to vandalism, neglect and a lack of public funds, authorities say.

“The lack of an early warning system is why Saturday’s tsunami was not detected,” said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho, adding that of 1,000 tsunami sirens needed across Indonesia, only 56 are in place.

“Signs that a tsunami was coming weren’t detected and so people did not have time to evacuate.”

President Joko Widodo this week ordered BMKG to purchase new early warning systems, and the agency later said it planned to install three tsunami buoys on the islands surrounding Anak Krakatau.

The cost of covering the country is estimated at 7 trillion rupiah ($481.10 million). That is roughly equivalent to Indonesia’s total disaster response budget of 7.19 trillion rupiah for 2018, according to Nugroho.

But other experts say even if this network had been working, averting disaster would have been difficult.

“The tsunami was very much a worst-case scenario for any hope of a clear tsunami warning: a lack of an obvious earthquake to trigger a warning, shallow water, rough seabed, and the close proximity to nearby coastlines,” said seismologist Hicks.

In the Philippines, Renato Solidum, undersecretary for disaster risk reduction, said eruptions from the country’s Taal volcano had caused tsunami waves before in the surrounding Taal Lake.

He told Reuters that what happened in Indonesia showed the need to “re-emphasize awareness and preparedness” regarding volcanic activity and its potential to trigger tsunamis in the Philippines.

The United States has also suffered several tsunamis caused by volcanic activity, including in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington, according to the national weather service.


In Indonesia earlier this year, a double quake-and-tsunami disaster killed over 2,000 people on Sulawesi island, while at least 500 died when an earthquake flattened much of the northern coastline of the holiday island of Lombok.

In a country where, according to government data, 62.4 percent of the population is at risk of being struck by earthquakes and 1.6 percent by tsunamis, attention is now focused on a continued lack of preparedness.

“Given the potential for disasters in the country, it’s time to have disaster education be part of the national curriculum,” Widodo told reporters after the latest tsunami.

For Ramdi Tualfredi, a high school teacher who survived last week’s waves, these improvements cannot come soon enough.

He told Reuters that people in his village of Cigondong on the west coast of Java and close to Krakatau had never received any safety drills or evacuation training.

“I’ve never received education on safety steps,” he said.

“The system…totally failed.”

($1 = 14,550 rupiah)

(Additional reporting by Wilda Asmarini, Tabita Diela, Bernadette Christina Munthe in Jakarta, Linda Sieg and Tanaka Kiyoshi in Tokyo, and Neil Jerome Morales in Manila.; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

INDONESIA: SOMBER Christmas As Tsunami Death Tops 420

|CBS/AP|AIWA! NO!|Christmas celebrations traditionally filled with laughter and uplifting music were replaced by somber prayers for tsunami victims in an area slammed by waves that hit without warning, killing more than 420 people and leaving thousands homeless in disaster-prone Indonesia.

READ RELATED: Post-tsunami Christmas: “Our celebration is full of grief”

Pastor Markus Taekz said Tuesday his Rahmat Pentecostal Church in the hard-hit area of Carita didn’t celebrate with joyous songs. Instead, he said, only about 100 people showed up for the Christmas Eve service, usually attended by double that number. Many congregation members had already left the area for the capital, Jakarta, or other locations away from the disaster zone.

“This is an unusual situation because we have a very bad disaster that killed hundreds of our sisters and brothers in Banten,” he said, referring to the Javanese province. “So our celebration is full of grief.”

Church leaders called on Christians across Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, to pray for victims of the tsunami.

The death toll climbed to 429 on Tuesday with more than 1,400 people injured and at least 154 missing after the tsunami slammed into parts of western Java and southern Sumatra islands, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Tsunami slams Indonesia
Tsunami slams Indonesia30 PHOTOS

He said more than 16,000 people were displaced. The Reuters news agency reported that thousands of residents had to move to higher ground, and a high-tide warning was extended to Wednesday.

Nugroho said there was an urgent need for heavy equipment in the remote Sumur subdistrict, a hard-to-reach area near Ujung Kulon National Park that experienced heavy damage.

Some villages there have been cut off due to damaged roads and bridges, making it difficult to supply aid and help people who may be injured or trapped.