Moore Tornado

  • Monday 20th May 2013 at 15:01 was the time of touchdown of the Moore Tornado. It remained grounded for 45 minutes
  • At least 24 confirmed dead
  • The worst effected area was to the south of the city of Moore, Oklahoma, which was hit with wind speeds over 200km/h
  • About 120 people had to be hospitalised
  • President Obama ordered federal authorities to join the search for survivors in the wreckage
  • On the 21st, 24 victims had been identified and returned to their families, although 40 other deaths had occurred, and the bodies had not yet been identified. 20 of the dead were children
  • Several children were hit when Plaza Towers Elementary school took a direct hit. The school’s roof was torn off and the walls knocked down, and 7 children died there
  • Briarwood Elementary school was also damaged
  • The tornado was about a mile wide, and at some points reached about 2 miles’ wide
  • Moore had been prepared for tornadoes, but not of that magnitude. There was a warning in place, but the tornado veered on an unexpected route. It was hard to keep out of the way of it
  • More than 200 Oklahoma National Guardsmen were called in to help search and rescue
  • The path of destruction was a line heading roughly east through the city
  • Many residents did not have anywhere to shelter, due to not having secure basements. There were also insufficient public shelters
  • Scored a 4 on the Enhanced Fujita scale (enhanced Fujita being made to account for events that the Fujita scale can’t accurately showcase)
  • The storm system stretched from Texas to Minnesota
  • A lack of funds and fatalism among residents has meant that response to prevent future events has been minimal
  • Several hundred people were injured
  • Education funding was limited, so schools could not afford proper measures
  • People had been wrongly informed that tornadoes could only hit in the late afternoon and evening
  • Normal behaviour in Oklahoma, due to the presence of so many storms, is to be constantly checking the weather out
  • Many storm chasers follow similar events so that their paths and impacts can be better predicted in the future; and some follow them just to see what they look like. Average people will sell the footage they get from tornadoes to actual TV stations
  • Doppler radar improvements mean that dangerous storms, and storm systems likely to create tornadoes can be more easily identified. Supercell storms which create tornadoes have distinctive patterns of movement within them, which Doppler radar can detect.
  • The loss of recognised places and landmarks can be over-whelming for citizens, especially those who come back to check on friends and relatives, or those who work in journalism, and therefore didn’t see the event itself
  • Frequent weather warnings can create complacency- Oklahoma can receive 80 warnings in a single month
  • Some people say that if they don’t live in tornado-prone areas, their taxes shouldn’t be used to help fund tornado shelters and warnings
  • Citizens of Moore are trying to raise money to add shelters and safe rooms to all the schools in the area, to not only protect children but the whole community

Hong Kong Mudslides 1972

In the 60 years since 1947, 470 people have been killed by landslides in Hong Kong, mostly because of failures associated with slopes that people have interfered with or created. The two largest were the fatal Po Shan Road and Sau Mau Ping on 18th June 1972 (138 fatalities) and 25th August 1976 (18 fatalities).

1972

  • Multiple incidents of landslides have occurred throughout Hong Kong, especially in Wan Chai. Po Shan and Shui Fan landslips have killed 148 people
  • Landslides in 1972 led to improvements in guidelines for hillside excavation and safety and rescue procedures
  • The Po Shan Road caused the largest loss of life from a single mudslide in Hong Kong
  • On 18th June, all British Forces in Hong Kong were mobilised, all police and fire services leave was cancelled and the Civil Aid Service and Auxiliary Medical Servicees were called in to assist rescue Operations

Po Shan Road Landslides, Hong Kong, June 18th, 1972

Work on a construction site above the road, together with exceptionally heavy rainfall in early 1972 caused the landslide.

  • Approximately 40,000m^3 travelled 230 m down slope
  • 138 people killed
  • 20 injured
  • Two buildings destroyed, one of which was 40m high, and one severely damaged
  • Rain storm after the mudslide worsened conditions
  • The main mudslide was 10 seconds long, and forced itself through buildings
  • The road was blocked by falling mud at a construction site, and cracks appeared in a retaining wall
  • The slip carried away nearly all the bamboo framing and metal sheet covering
  • Several buildings underwent subsidence
  • Residents were urged to leave their homes and apartments as a precaution
  • Po Shan Road was cordoned off to the public and nearby homes were evacuated
  • After 8pm, an even larger slip occurred, and in less than 10 seconds, it cleared a section from Po Shan Road to Kotewall Road, destroying several homes and retaining walls
  • The Slip knocked Kotewall Court completely off its foundation and collapsed several flats at Robinson Road and Babington Path
  • 67 were killed and 20 injured in less than a minute
  • Because of the lack of lighting, and because of the rain, as well as the destruction of the transport network, rescue efforts were sporadic
  • Some landslips continued to occur, causing withdrawals of emergency personnel

Sau Mau Ping Landslide, June 16th 1972

  • Landslide buried a squatter village at Sau Mau Ping licensed area
  • 71 people were killed
  • The mud spilled over Tsui Ping Road and into Kwun Tong Resettlement Estate
  • Many of the dead were children

Aid in Afghanistan

Oxfam has reported that much of the aid donated internationally to Afghanistan is wasted. A large proportion of the aid is paid to foreign workers to build large of short-term projects that do not contribute to the needs of the poorest or those living in rural areas. There are examples of local officials taking from the aid money or taking bribes before any of the money reaches the poor.

Foreign aid in Afghanistan is focused on national economic need and not on the immediate needs of most of the populous. Also, some aid is tied, so that when a country gives aid to Afghanistan, the Afghani government has to do something for them in return.

The conflict and instability in the country makes it difficult to reach the poorest people in rural areas.