Welcome to Sott.net
Wed, 04 Oct 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes


Nearly 3,000 dead after powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Morocco - UPDATES

A damaged vehicle is pictured in the historic city of Marrakech
A damaged vehicle is pictured in the historic city of Marrakech
At least 632 people were killed in Morocco after a powerful earthquake struck late Friday night near Marrakech, according to state-run television.

The death toll has surged from the earlier 296 dead and 153 injured figures that were given by the country's interior ministry. Most deaths were reported from Morocco's hard-to-reach mountainous areas, according to Reuters.

The epicentre of the quake was reported to be at the High Atlas mountains in the Ighil area, about 70km south of Marrakech.

It was said to be about 18km below the Earth's surface by the US Geological Survey (USGS), while Morocco's own National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network, estimated it to be 11km below. Shallow quakes such as this are said to be more dangerous.

The tremors, measured at a 7.2 magnitude by Morocco's own seismic agency, toppled several buildings across cities and sent people running from their homes late at night.

Comment: Update

The BBC reports:
A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.8 has struck central Morocco, killing at least 1,000 people and causing severe damage in several areas.

Residents rushed into the streets when the quake struck at 23:11 local time on Friday.

"Violent" tremors were felt in several areas of the country from Casablanca to Marrakesh, where many buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged.

Many of the victims are believed to be in hard-to-reach mountain areas.

The epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh.

Many people are still believed to be under the rubble and rescue efforts are under way. Several bodies have already been recovered.

Hospitals in Marrakesh have seen an influx of injured people, and the authorities have called on residents to donate blood.

Morocco's interior ministry said the earthquake killed people in the provinces and municipalities of al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant, adding that more than 1,200 had been injured.

In Marrakesh some buildings have collapsed and the damage is particularly severe in parts of the Medina, a Unesco World Heritage site.

Dust could be seen surrounding the minaret of the historic Kutubiyya mosque, a major tourist attraction near the old city's main square, while the historic Jemaa el Fnaa mosque partly collapsed.

The Jemaa el Fnaa mosque in Marrakesh suffered damages, especially to its tower
The Jemaa el Fnaa mosque in Marrakesh suffered damages, especially to its tower
Resident Rashid Ben Arabi rushed to his car in Marrakesh minutes after the earthquake struck the city last night.

He quickly headed with his wife and one-year-old daughter to the town of Amizmiz - about 56km (35 miles) from Marrakesh - to make sure his father and mother were still alive.

He said the roads were full as everyone fled the city amid complete darkness and a power outage.

"As soon as I entered my town, I saw people in a hysterical state, crying and screaming, and everyone was looking for their families," he said.

"I saw a man lying on the ground by the rubble of his house; he could hear the screams of his two children trapped under the destroyed building, but he couldn't do anything to help them; rescue teams hadn't yet arrived at the scene."

Rashid eventually found his parents who were safe and sound but wrapped in blankets and sleeping in the street.

They were among the many people who spent the night out in the open as the Moroccan government had warned everyone not to go back into their homes in case of severe aftershocks.

A 4.9 aftershock was recorder 19 minutes after the earthquake.

The extent of the damage in mountain villages is instead unknown, but it is believed to be widespread.
Update September 10

The Sunday World reports:
Over 2,000 people have been confirmed dead in an earthquake in Morocco and the toll is expected to rise as rescuers struggled Saturday to reach hard-hit remote areas.

A rare, powerful quake struck Morocco, sending people racing from their beds into the streets and toppling buildings in mountainous villages and ancient cities not built to withstand such force.

The magnitude 6.8 quake, the biggest to hit the North African country in 120 years, sent people fleeing their homes in terror and disbelief late Friday. One man said dishes and wall hangings began raining down, and people were knocked off their feet. The quake brought down walls made from stone and masonry, covering whole communities with rubble.
Update September 14

AP reports:
The building where Naima Ait Brahim Ouali lived in a third-story apartment with her five children was one of many that were destroyed by the earthquake that killed nearly 3,000 people in Morocco last week.

A house cleaner, she and her daughter fell down the stairs as the quake tore off the building's top floor and laid waste to much of the rest of their neighborhood in the town of Amizmiz, near the epicenter.

Like children in many parts of the world, Ait Brahim Quali's youngest had just started their school year. Now, relocated with the rest of the Sourejdid neighborhood to a tent city in the town center, fear sets in at around 11 p.m. each night — the time the earthquake happened last Friday.

"They saw death," she said of her children, who range in age from 10 to 25. One of her daughters now has nightmares.

The displaced family is one of many in Morocco wondering what their future holds, particularly as autumn approaches and the nights get colder. Though many villagers are being provided with food and water, officials said it could take five or six years to rebuild Atlas Mountain communities like Amizmiz, which is more than an hour's drive from the closest big city, Marrakech.

The death toll from the 6.8 magnitude quake stood at 2,946 on Wednesday, with several thousand injuries. The government doesn't release the number of deaths by community, but in Amizmiz, everyone seems to know at least someone who was killed.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strikes kill 7 in Yemen

Lightning strikes have killed seven people in Yemen's northwestern province of Hodeidah in the past 24 hours, local health authorities said on Saturday.

The victims are six women and a man in the Al-Luhayyah and Az-Zuhrah districts in the northern part of the province.

This is the latest in a series of similar reported accidents across the country during this rainy season.

Yemen's National Center of Meteorology issued a warning to citizens in several provinces, including Hodeidah, about thunderstorms, heavy rains, and floods.

Cloud Precipitation

Storm Daniel hit Libya with torrential rain - 11,300 dead after 2 dams breached, further 10,100 missing -16 inches of rain in 24 hours (UPDATES)

The Daniel cyclonic system made landfall in Libya during the night with sub-tropical characteristics, and near Benghazi. Daniel is part of the depression structure which in recent days has caused historic rainfall in Greece, with accumulations exceeding 800mm, but also involving Turkey and Bulgaria.

There is a weather alert in Libya for the passage of Daniel where the government has ordered the suspension of work activities until Monday. Tripoli was also indirectly involved on Saturday and was flooded by strong storms, up to 48mm in Misurata.

Comment: Update September 11

Gulf News reports:
2,000 feared dead in Libya floods caused by Mediterranean storm Daniel, PM says

A man being swept away by flood waters and submerged cars in Al Bayda.

A man being swept away by flood waters and submerged cars in Al Bayda.
The head of one of Libya's rival governments said on Monday that 2,000 people are feared dead in flooding that swept through the eastern parts of the north African nation.

In a phone interview with Al Masar television station Monday, Prime Minister Ossama Hamad said that 2,000 were feared dead in the eastern city of Derna, and thousands of others are reported missing.

He said the floods have swept away entire neighbourhoods in Derna, which has been declared a disaster zone, after the country was hit by Mediterranean storm Daniel.

"This is besides the massive material damage that struck public and private properties," a source told AFP.

The confirmed death toll from the weekend flooding stood at 38, according to health authorities. But the tally did not include Derna, the worst hit city, which had become inaccessible.

Video by Derna residents posted online showed major devastation. Entire residential blocks areas were erased along Wadi Derna, a river that runs down from the mountains through the city centre. Multi-story apartment buildings once well back from the river were partially collapsed into the mud.

Hundreds of residents were still believed to be trapped in difficult-to-reach areas as rescuers, backed by the army, were trying to come to their aid.

East Libyan authorities had "lost contact with nine soldiers during rescue operations", Mohamed Massoud, a spokesman for the Benghazi-based administration in Libya said.

Footage on social media showed people stranded on the roofs of their vehicles while trying get help in heavy floods as Storm Daniel hit the cities of Benghazi, Sousse, Al Bayda, Al Marj and Derna.

"We were asleep, and when we woke up, we found water besieging the house. We are inside and trying to get out," Derna resident Ahmad Mohammad told Reuters by phone on Monday.

Search and rescue operations were ongoing, witnesses said.

Essam Abu Zeriba, the interior minister of the east Libya government, said more than 5,000 people were expected to be missing in Derna. He said many of the victims were swept away towards the Mediterranean.

In a telephone interview on the Saudi-owned satellite news channel Al-Arabiya, he urged local and international agencies to rush to help the city.

State of emergency

Authorities declared a state of extreme emergency, closing schools and stores and imposing a curfew.

Four major oil ports in Libya, Ras Lanuf, Zueitina, Brega and Es Sidra, were closed from Saturday evening for three days, two oil engineers told Reuters.

The prime minister of the interim government in Tripoli, Abdul Hamid Dbeiba, said on Sunday he had directed all state agencies to immediately deal with the damage and floods in eastern cities.

The United Nations in Libya said it was following the storm closely and would "provide urgent relief assistance in support of response efforts at local and national levels".

The Libyan Red Crescent said it lost contact with one of its workers as he attempted to help a stuck family in Bayda.

Dozens of others were reported missing, and authorities fear they could have died in the floods that destroyed homes and other properties in several towns in eastern Libya, according to local media.

Update September 13

The Financial Times reports:
More than 5,000 bodies recovered in Libya flood disaster

Death toll expected to rise after Storm Daniel devastates eastern city

More than 5,300 bodies have been recovered from the eastern Libyan city devastated by floods that swept away buildings, roads and bridges, according to a Libyan official.

Hichem Abu Chkiouat, civil aviation minister in the administration that runs eastern Libya, told Reuters the death toll was expected to rise as the "sea is constantly dumping dozens of bodies" in Derna, on Libya's Mediterranean coast.

The city of 100,000 people was the worst hit after Storm Daniel struck the north African country at the weekend. The floods in Derna had been exacerbated by the collapse of two dams, officials said, with torrents of water flowing through the city and destroying entire districts.

Officials in Libya, a dysfunctional state with rival governments in the east and west, have given varying numbers for the death toll as they seek to recover bodies hidden beneath rubble and mud. But thousands of people are believed to have perished. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Tuesday that 10,000 people were thought to be missing.

Officials have said rescue workers have struggled to reach parts of Derna because main roads had been washed away and turned into rivers. Electricity and communications within the city were also cut.

Videos and images posted on social media showed huge destruction, with buildings reduced to rubble and vehicles overturned. Corpses in plastic body bags were lined up on the ground.

The International Organization for Migration said on Wednesday that more than 30,000 people had been displaced by the flooding.

Update September 15

Al Jazeera reports:
Flooding death toll soars to 11,300 in Libya's coastal city of Derna

A further 10,100 people are reported missing in Libya's Mediterranean city after a storm caused devastating flooding.

The death toll in Libya's coastal city of Derna has soared to 11,300 as search efforts continue following a massive flood fed by the breaching of two dams in heavy rains, the Libyan Red Crescent said.

Marie el-Drese, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Libya secretary-general, told The Associated Press news agency another 10,100 people are reported missing in the Mediterranean city. Health authorities previously put the death toll in Derna at 5,500. The storm also killed about 170 people elsewhere in the country.

The mayor of Derna, Abdel-Moneim al-Ghaithi, said the tally could climb to 20,000 given the number of neighbourhoods that were washed out.

The flooding swept away entire families in Derna on Sunday night and exposed vulnerabilities in the oil-rich country that has been mired in conflict since a 2011 uprising that toppled long-ruling dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

"Within seconds the water level suddenly rose," recounted one injured survivor who said he was swept away with his mother in the late-night ordeal before they both managed to scramble into an empty building downstream.

"The water was rising with us until we got to the fourth floor," the unidentified man said from his hospital bed, in testimony published by the Benghazi Medical Center.

"We could hear screams. From the window, I saw cars and bodies being carried away by the water. It lasted an hour or an hour and a half - but for us, it felt like a year."

Tariq al-Kharaz, an interior ministry spokesman, put the number of deaths in Derna far lower at more than 3,000.

"The catastrophe is massive and as a result access to many areas is not possible. Many areas suffered total damage. Many dead bodies are still under the debris, others washed away into the sea," al-Kharaz told Al Jazeera.

The storm also killed about 170 people in other parts of eastern Libya, including the towns of Bayda, Susa, Um Razaz and Marj, Health Minister Othman Abduljalil said.

Emergency workers sifting through the mud and rubble are still hopeful of finding survivors, IFRC said on Friday.

"The hope is there, is always there, to find people alive," said Tamer Ramadan, head of the group's rescue effort in the North African country.

Bodies buried as search mission continues

Derna has begun burying its dead, mostly in mass graves, said Abduljalil.

More than 3,000 bodies were buried by Thursday morning while another 2,000 were still being processed. Most of the dead were buried in mass graves outside Derna, while others were transferred to nearby towns and cities.

Abduljalil said rescue teams are still searching wrecked buildings in the city centre, and divers are combing the sea off Derna.

Untold numbers could be buried under drifts of mud and debris, including overturned cars and chunks of concrete that rise up to 4 metres (13 feet) high. Rescuers have struggled to bring in heavy equipment as the floods washed out or blocked roads leading to the area.

"This disaster was violent and brutal," said Yann Fridez, head of the Libya delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which had a team in Derna when the floodwaters hit.

"A wave 7 metres [23 feet] high wiped out buildings and washed infrastructure into the sea. Now family members are missing, dead bodies are washing back up on shore, and homes are destroyed."

ICRC is distributing 6,000 body bags to help authorities and the Libyan Red Crescent Society "ensure dignified treatment of the dead".

The World Health Organization and other aid groups on Friday called on authorities in Libya to stop burying flood victims in mass graves.

"We urge authorities in communities touched by tragedy to not rush forward with mass burials or mass cremations," said Dr Kazunobu Kojima, medical officer for biosafety and biosecurity.


Woman, 83, dies after apparent bear attack in Iwate Prefecture, Japan

An 83-year-old woman died after apparently being attacked by a bear on Aug. 9.

A local mushroom hunter found the bleeding woman around 4:50 p.m., lying by a dirt road near a forest.

The woman had suffered head injuries but was still conscious enough to say the word "bear," police said.

The mushroom hunter contacted the woman's son, who called an ambulance. The woman was rushed to a hospital, where she was confirmed dead.

Comment: Bear attacks in Japan hit record high


Bear attacks in Japan hit record high

Two bears walk down the street in Shari town in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido.
© Shari Town Local Government
Two bears walk down the street in Shari town in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido.
A record number of bear attacks occurred across Japan from April to July this year, local media reported, according to The Xinhua News Agency reports.

Fifty-three cases of injuries were reported across the country, including 15 in Iwate Prefecture, nine in Akita Prefecture, and seven in Fukushima Prefecture, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing Japan's environment ministry, a record high since records began in fiscal 2007.

A man died in a bear attack in Horokanai Town in Hokkaido in May, it added.

More bears are likely to appear in residential areas in the Tohoku region this autumn in search of food as acorns that make up the bears' diet are scarce in their natural habitat in the region, the report said.

Ministry officials called on people to stay calm and walk away quietly if they encounter a bear at a distance while advising people to keep looking at the bear as they slowly walk away and not to run when they notice a bear nearby.

Comment: The following month after the April to July time period mentioned above: Woman, 83, dies after apparent bear attack in Iwate Prefecture, Japan


Monster waterspout churns thru Lake Michigan in Wisconsin on September 13

It happens more than you think, but it's not captured on video very often. A massive waterspout dropped from the sky over Lake Michigan near Milwaukee, Wisconsin and churned its way across the water.

According to the video description of this just-shared moment on YouTube, this happened Wednesday, September 13 near Milwaukee. Here's what the person who captured the video said about it:
I was downtown Milwaukee working on the Couture's 12th floor. Around 9 a.m., I looked out the window over the lake and saw what I thought was a strange cloud until I looked closer and realized what it was.
You wouldn't want to run into this spinning vortex if you were boating on Lake Michigan.

Arrow Down

Giant 70-meter sinkhole halts access in Gianyar, Indonesia

Giant sinkhole appeared on Sep. 11, 2023, in Gianyar, halting access to the famous Tampaksiring tourist destination.

Giant sinkhole appeared on Sep. 11, 2023, in Gianyar, halting access to the famous Tampaksiring tourist destination.
The road that served as the gateway to tourism in Gianyar has plunged to a depth of 70 meters, leaving a hole spanning over 30 meters wide, which has caused a major disruption to access routes leading to Tampaksiring.

The famous Tegallalang rice fields are now in the spotlight as a giant sinkhole has appeared at this destination.

Local news outlets reported on Wednesday that this cataclysmic event unfolded in the heart of Kedisan Village. Beyond its role in tourism, this route is a lifeline for the local community, linking them to essential markets and educational institutions.


Firefighters battle peatland fires on Indonesia's Sumatra island

Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire that razes through a peatland field in Ogan Ilir South Sumatra, Indonesia, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023.
© AP
Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire that razes through a peatland field in Ogan Ilir South Sumatra, Indonesia, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023.
Firefighters in Indonesia were battling several peatland fires in several locations on Sumatra island on Wednesday, officials said.

The fires started Tuesday afternoon near residential areas and along a highway in three villages. The firefighters were hampered because water sources were far away and several reservoirs were dry.

Forest and peat fires are an annual problem in Indonesia that strains relations with neighboring countries. Smoke from the fires has blanketed parts of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and southern Thailand with a noxious haze.


Man dies after being mauled by two 'dangerously out-of-control' dogs in Staffordshire, UK

The man was brutally mauled by two dogs outside a primary school in Stonnall, Staffordshire (emergency services are pictured after the attack)

The man was brutally mauled by two dogs outside a primary school in Stonnall, Staffordshire (emergency services are pictured after the attack)
A man has died after being savagely mauled by two 'dangerously out-of-control' dogs in outside a nearby primary school.

The horror attack took place in the village of Stonnall, near Walsall, Staffordshire, yesterday afternoon as children were leaving St Peter's Primary Academy.

An air ambulance, paramedics and officers, including armed police, were called to Main Street shortly before 3.15pm on Thursday.

St Peter's was placed into lockdown 'for safety reasons', with officers stopping pupils from leaving while they dealt with the incident.

Courageous Good Samaritans tried to help the man as he was savaged by the two animals, managing to contain one of the hounds, with the second dragged to its owner's flat where it was restrained.

Comment: Also from the Daily Mail details of another dog attack a day earlier in nearby Walsall:
Shocking moment out-of-control dog mauls 10-year-old boy as he plays football outside his home

This is the shocking moment a 10-year-old boy is attacked by an out-of-control dog as he innocently plays football outside his house.

The incident, on Bentley Drive in Walsall, saw the youngster, dressed in a red top and white shorts, mauled as he kicked the ball around on Wednesday.

A brown-coloured dog runs past in the street before turning and pouncing on him, locking its jaw around the boy's arm as he struggles to free himself from its razor-sharp grip.

For an agonising 30 seconds, the boy struggles alone before anguished family members come running from inside the house to help - but the dog still refuses to let go.

It's only after more than a minute of being struck with a toy by relatives, and with the help of a passing taxi driver, that the vicious animal eventually relents, and the boy is taken to safety before he is rushed to hospital.

Terrifyingly, another small boy walked out of the house clutching what appears to be a toy water gun - before he was told to go back inside as the dog's vicious assault continued.

West Midlands Police said the dog is to be 'humanely destroyed'. A 60-year-old woman was arrested and released with a caution.

Gohar Siddique, the boy's father, shared the awful clip because he wants to raise awareness. While the breed of the dog in the video is unknown, he urged owners to keep their pets locked up.

The 36-year-old factory worker told BlackCountryLive: 'I just want to make sure this doesn't happen to other people. This should not be happening to young children.'

Mr Siddique - who was at work when he was told what had happened - said his son was recovering in hospital and would require surgery.

A grievous close-up of the boy's injuries shows horrific gouge marks in his right forearm, as he lies on a hospital bed wrapped in blood-covered sheets.

Cloud Precipitation

Several rescued after storm triggers flash floods in Pennsylvania

Flash floods left multiple vehicles stranded on highways in Pennsylvania, USA, after 4 inches / 100 mm of rain fell on 09 September 2023.

The worst affected areas were in Lackawanna County, where several motorists were rescued from vehicles stranded in flood waters along Highway 11 in Clarks Summit during the evening of 09 September. Flooding also stranded vehicles in nearby South Abington township and also in Scranton. Houses were also damaged by flooding.

Authorities later reported a woman did from injuries sustained after she was swept away by flood waters in Clarks Summit.