April 2012

Mangrove mapping to be taken up soon

PANAJI: Though the area of mangrove cover in the state is estimated to be around 5 sq km, thestate level steering committee on mangroves will soon carry out mapping to check for encroachments and new growth.

The ten-member body headed by the forest secretary has been reconstituted and its terms of reference are ground 'truthing' of satellite imagery available with national institute of oceanography (NIO), collection of data on mangrove areas from revenue authorities and mapping of mangroves areas.

"The true picture about the mangrove cover will emerge after mapping is done," former NIOscientist and committee member A G Untawale said.

Killing them softly

 A G Untawale, TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 01.44AM IST

Wind farms affect local weather

 By Richard Black

Wind farms can affect weather in their immediate locality, raising night-time temperatures on the ground, researchers working in Texas have shown.

They used satellite data to show that land around newly constructed wind farms warmed more than next-door areas.

The result - published in the journal Nature Climate Change - confirms an earlier, smaller study from 2010.

The scientists believe the effect is caused by turbines bringing relatively warm air down to ground level.

Mangroves ruined root and branch

 The Forest Department has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife to protect the mangrove cover and include the local population in promotion of mangroves in Puducherry. The move has come following extensive damage to the mangroves in the region.

With the new proposal, the Forest Department will attempt to re-plant the mangroves and with the cooperation of the locals, they can ensure that the mangroves will thrive, Conservator of Forests A. Anil Kumar told The Hindu.

While one of the main reasons for mangrove damage and destruction is untreated sewage water being released into the mangroves, there are several other problems. When the boats were being cleared after the cyclone Thane backhoe loaders were used and an entire stretch of mangroves was pulled out from the roots, he said.

Much of the destruction of the mangroves is in the Ariyankuppam and the Thengathittu areas, he said.

Tsunami Scare Shows Gaps as Thousands Miss Quake Warnings

 Khairil Razali thought a tire had blown out as his white Mitsubishi Strada pickup shuddered on the road as he drove to Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Indonesia’s Sumatra.

GIS-based system to assess disaster damage

 The Union Territory of Puducherry is the first in the country to incorporate a GIS-based Decision Support System to help simulate the damage that could occur during a natural disaster, according to Special Secretary P. Mathew Samuel, who is holding charge as District Collector.

The online decision making system also has the capability to estimate the quantum of damage that a natural disaster would produce, he told a stakeholders' meeting for the State Disaster Management Plan here on Friday.

Joint Secretary (Education) L. Mohammed Mansoor said one of the main enhancements the new plan had brought in was engaging villagers.

MP for interest-free loans to cyclone-hit

 Cuddalore MP K.S. Alagiri has appealed to the nationalised banks to sanction interest free loan to the extent of Rs.1 lakh to each of the cyclone affected farmers.

In a representation addressed to E. Sundararajan, Zonal Manager of Indian Bank (which is the lead bank in Cuddalore district) Mr. Alagiri stated that since Cuddalore was a predominantly agriculture based economy the ‘Thane' cyclone that struck on December 30, 2011 blighted the prospects of a good harvest.

Even if the farmers, particularly those owning cashew and coconut groves, started re-plantation right earnest it would not be before seven to ten years they would reap the benefit.

Therefore, to help the farmers who were economically in a bad shape the banks should come forward to extend interest free loans.

Tsunami simulations scare Japan

 Japan’s government is heeding a key message from last year’s Tohoku earthquake and tsunami: the underwater faults that encircle the country can unleash much greater devastation than previously anticipated. Last week, the cabinet’s disaster-management division briefed local officials on simulations that raise the spectre of waves even larger and more destructive than those last March, sending the officials scrambling to rethink their tsunami defence plans.

Freak phenomenon along the southern coast of India


U.N. recognises terminology borrowed from Kerala fishermen 

T. Peter vividly recalls the panic that gripped the coast for five days from May 17 in 2005. “The sea came surging in, inundating vast areas… It was an unprecedented phenomenon, occurring as it did in perfectly fair weather.”

With memories of the 2004 tsunami still fresh in the minds of people, the event sparked alarm all along the coast. As many as 12,000 people were affected as the tidal swell slammed the coastal belt, from Adimalathura to Pozhiyoor.

'Wednesday's tsunami alert allowed us to assess our capabilities'


M Shashidhar Reddy, Vice Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority explains to Sanjay Jog how his organisation responded to the potential catastrophe
Sanjay Jog / Apr 13, 2012, 12:41 IST

Withdrawal of Wednesday's tsunami alert gave a major relief to the people especially from coastal areas. In an interview with Sanjay Jog, National Disaster Management Authority vice chairman M Shashidhar Reddy explains preparedness to handle earthquake and tsunami.

How was the preparedness of various authorities after the initial alert was issued by NDMA on Wednesday ?
India has established the state-of-the-art Tsunami Early Warning Centre in 2007 at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad. This has been done in the wake of 2004 Tsunami where the country was totally unprepared without any kind of early warning capability at that time. The initial bulletin contains preliminary information giving the magnitude, epicenter, depth at which the earthquake has occurred and give information if it could trigger a Tsunami. The same thing was done on Wednesday. The first bulletin was put out at 2.16 pm after the earthquake occurred at 2.08 pm.