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January Review: Natural disasters around the world

The year had just begun and extreme weather events had begun to show its havoc around the globe.

By Chandrapratap Tiwari
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In January of 2024, extreme weather events have wreaked havoc around the globe. Let us know the extent of damage and destruction in different countries due to these tragic events in the month of January. This report is an indication why we have to take actions now against climate change, and push our policy-makers to not talk, but walk the talk.

Colombian City Experienced the Second Strongest Earthquake in a Year

The biggest city in Colombia was shaken by a 5.6-magnitude earthquake on 19th January. The epicentre of the earthquake, located in the Huila department approximately 185 miles (300 kilo metres) southwest of the city, was felt just after 8 a.m. local time. 

U.S. Geological Survey data revealed that its depth was 23 miles (37 kilometers). Since a 5.9-magnitude earthquake in September of last year, this one was the strongest to strike Colombia.

Double Storm Isha & Jocelyn Batter UK & Ireland, Leaving Many Dead

The UK and Ireland experienced devastating storms one after the other in January. On 18 and 19 January, the storm Isha wreaked havoc in the area, resulting in 4 deaths and several injuries. Within 3 days this storm Jocelyn caused devastation in UK and Ireland. This resulted in 2 deaths and a huge amount of destruction.

Source: X/ Earth42morrow

It was the 10th storm throughout the time of the storm season in late September, coming after storms Agnes, Babet, Ciarán, Debi, Elin, Fergus, Gerrit, Henk, and Isha respectively.

Roi-Namur Army Base Inundated by Waves

On January 20, an army base on the South Pacific island of Roi-Namur was struck by one or more likely rogue or sneaker waves, which resulted in substantial harm and numerous feet of water rising up into the buildings.

According to a U.S. Army statement, which is 80 of the island's 120 residents were evacuated to other locations, and the statement indicates that "flooding from the waves damaged much of the unaccompanied personnel housing."

Two Days of Torrential Rain Devastated Dar es Salaam

Over two days of intense rains that battered Tanzania's coastal metropolis of Dar es Salaam, buildings collapsed and bridges and roadways were devastated.

The neighborhoods constructed alongside rivers that drain into the Indian Ocean suffered the worst damage. Numerous families have been trying to retrieve their possessions while evaluating the harm done to their houses.

Torrential Rain Devastated Dar es Salaam
Source: X/Earth42morrow

The localities of Kinondoni and Ilala were most severely damaged by the torrential downpours that fell on the city on the 21st and 22nd of January. Due to floods, a bridge that serves as an entrance to the city center and President Samia Suluhu Hassan's official house wasn't able to be crossed.

Magnitude 7.1 Earthquake Struck Remote Xinjiang Region in China

At least three persons were killed and five injured were reported as a result of a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that occurred on 23rd January near the border between Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang.

The China Earthquake Administration reports that the epicenter of the earthquake hit at 2:09 a.m. (1809 GMT) at a depth of 22 km (13 miles) in the hilly borderline region of Wushi County in the Xinjiang province of northern China.

U.S. The Geological Survey said about the cause of the earthquake that it originated from the Tian Shan mountain range and said that "a seismically active region, though earthquakes of this size occur somewhat infrequently."

Monsoon Rains Caused Flooding, Hamperd Mobility in San Antonio

On January 21 and 22, a disastrous situation occurred in San Antonio due to the monsoon rains. Bexar County of San Antonio recorded heavy rainfall of 3 to 5 cm. And the situation has worsened a bit on Tuesday because of another round of rain.

Monsoon Rains Caused Flooding, Hamperd Mobility in San Antonio
Source: Earth42morrow

The water level in the water sources of the area is 640 to 660 feet for a few days. Because of this roads were jammed and mobility was hampered.

Active volcano Mount Merapi erupts, sending ash clouds kilometers high

Following the eruption of the Indonesian Mount Merapi volcano on 22nd January, which sent streams of lava spilling down its slopes for almost a mile and sent columns of gas clouds towards the sky, thousands of people were forced to flee. Up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of molten rock and ash clouds were released from Merapi.

Active volcano Mount Merapi erupts, sending ash clouds kilometers high
Source: X/@InfoFPMKI

As ash covered numerous communities, a column of heated clouds shot 100 meters (109 yards) into the air. Out of the 120 volcanoes that are located throughout Indonesia, Merapi is the most active.

San Diego Devastated by Record-Breaking Rainfall

Southeast San Diego turned into a disaster site on January 23rd. Such a storm happened due to stormy rains, local people said that they had seen such a terrible scenes for the first time in their lives.

In many circles, Sandiego had recorded more than 4 c.m. rainfall. Many houses, vehicles, and huge amounts of property were damaged in this disaster. According to the meteorologist in San Diego, it was the rainiest day of the whole year.

Bogota on Edge as Raging Wildfire Continues to Burn

Although numerous fires were already  Colombia experienced this month, but the fire of 25th January continued to burn. White columns of smoke rose from the hills encircling Bogota.

A raging fire has consumed the mountains to Bogota's west, and wildlife has sought cover in populated areas. According to authorities, these species included frogs, porcupines, birds, and coatis, which are raccoon-like species.

Uurvlakte inferno splits, wreaking havoc

On January 26th, in the Cape Winelands District Municipality's Suurvlakte region, a single fire broke into two fire lines on either side of Obiqua Mount. The flame on the Wolseley side of the mountain in the Kluitjieskraal area was reported to have damaged at least one house, a motor vehicle, and farm facilities.

Uurvlakte inferno splits, wreaking havoc
Source: X/ @wo_fire

Inhabitants in the Tygerberg Hills, in the eastern suburbs of Cape Town, were evacuated once more as a result of an outbreak that persisted and became out of control for the fire brigade.

161 Active Fires Raging in Chile as Wildfires Claim Over 120 Lives

Over 120 people have died as a result of the devastating wildfires that are ravaging large areas of Chile from 2nd February. Additionally, according to officials, 40 autopsies have been completed, 32 bodies have been identified, and 10 bodies are prepared for delivery to family members.

According to the Chilean National Disaster Prevention and Response Service (SENAPRED), 161 active fires are raging nationwide right now.

A terrible variety of natural calamities struck different parts of the world in the first month of this year, underscoring the pressing need for balance with the environment. The human and environmental costs were enormous, ranging from earthquakes in China and Colombia to wildfires in Chile and South Africa, storms in Europe, and floods in Tanzania. These incidents serve as a sobering reminder of how susceptible we are to the forces of nature and how crucial it is to develop resilience and sustainable habits.

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