Environment

Lightning, downpours kill 65 in Pakistan, as April rain doubles historical average

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, April 17, 2024 (AFP) – At least 65 people have died in storm-related incidents including lightning in Pakistan, officials said, with rain so far in April falling at nearly twice the historical average rate. Heavy downpours between Friday and Monday unleashed flash floods and caused houses to collapse, while lightning killed at least 28 people. The largest death toll was in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where 32 people have died, including 15 children, and […]

Volcano erupts in Indonesia’s outermost region, hundreds evacuated

JAKARTA, April 17, 2024 (AFP) – A volcano erupted several times in Indonesia’s outermost region overnight Wednesday, forcing hundreds of people to be evacuated after it spewed lava and a column of smoke more than a mile into the sky. Mount Ruang, a stratovolcano in North Sulawesi Province, first erupted at 9:45 pm on Tuesday (1345 GMT) and twice again in the early hours of Wednesday, the country’s volcanology and geological agencies said. There were […]

Japan’s Sapporo sees earliest 25C day since records began

TOKYO, April 15, 2024 (AFP) – Temperatures in Japan’s northern city of Sapporo — famous for winter sports — passed 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) on Monday, the earliest point of the year on record, a weather agency official said. Sapporo, the main city on the country’s northern island of Hokkaido, hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972 and each winter holds a snow festival where massive ice sculptures draw tens of thousands of visitors. “The […]

Thousands flee flooding in Russian Urals region of Orenburg

ORENBURG, Russia, April 13, 2024 (AFP) – Russian emergency services on Saturday said they had evacuated thousands of people from the Orenburg region in the south of the Urals as flood water continued to rise. Fast-rising temperatures have melted snow and ice, and along with heavy rain have caused a number of major rivers that cross Russia and Kazakhstan to overflow this month. In the city of Orenburg, one of the worst affected areas in […]

Scientists at Spain meeting sound alarm over ocean warming

By Rosa SULLEIRO BARCELONA, April 12, 2024 (AFP) – Scientists at a United Nations conference in Spain called Friday for more research into the sharp rise in ocean temperatures which they warn could have devastating consequences. “The changes are happening so fast that we are not able to keep pace with the impact,” the executive secretary of UNESCO’s intergovernmental oceanographic commission, Vidar Helgesen, told AFP on the sidelines of the three-day “Ocean Decade” conference in […]

Vietnam province declares state of emergency over drought

HANOI, April 6, 2024 (AFP) – Thousands of people in Vietnam are suffering a “severe” shortage of fresh water because of drought and salinisation, prompting authorities to declare a state of emergency on Saturday. A weeks-long heatwave has brought drought and saline intrusion to an area of Tien Giang province, 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of business hub Ho Chi Minh City. The province’s Tan Phu Dong area — with 12 kilometers of coastline along […]

Sweden sees earliest ‘summer’ on record

STOCKHOLM, April 11, 2024 (AFP) – Sweden has posted its earliest ever start to what it considers to be “summer”, with three southern towns posting average temperatures above 10 degrees C (50F) for five straight days, the country’s meteorological service said Thursday. “A Swedish weather record was broken on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Each day from April 6th to 10th, the average daily temperature was at least 10 degrees at SMHI’s stations in Malmo, Kristianstad […]

Heatwaves put millions of children in Asia at risk: UN

BANGKOK, April 11, 2024 (AFP) – Massive heatwaves across East Asia and the Pacific could place millions of children at risk, the UN warned Thursday, calling for action to protect vulnerable people from the soaring temperatures. Global monitors have warned that 2024 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, marked by climate extremes and rising greenhouse gas emissions. The UNICEF data showed over 243 million children across the Pacific and East Asia […]

UN calls for more investment to protect oceans

A United Nations agency on Wednesday urged the international community to invest in scientific research to protect the world’s oceans which are increasingly threatened by pollution and global warming, “We have key objectives to achieve. Much has been done for the oceans, but much remains to be done and can be done.” Audrey Azoulay, director general of the United Nation’s educational, scientific and cultural organisation UNESCO told the opening of a three-day conference in Barcelona […]

Kremlin warns floods may worsen as Kazakhstan, Russia evacuate 100,000

Water levels on rivers in Russia and Kazakhstan continued to rise and flood whole villages and cities on Wednesday, with more than 100,000 people evacuated and the Kremlin warning a “very, very tense” situation was expected to worsen. Fast-melting snow and ice has caused rivers in Russia’s southern Urals, western Siberia as well as northern Kazakhstan to reach unprecedented heights, threatening major cities. Moscow and Astana have been battling the rising rivers for more than […]

Tokyo’s cherry blossoms in full bloom draw crowds

TOKYO, April 4, 2024 (AFP) – Tourists and residents packed Tokyo’s top cherry blossom spots on Thursday to enjoy the full bloom that has arrived in the Japanese capital later than usual this year because of cold weather. The elegant dark branches bursting with pink and white flowers — known as sakura in Japanese — spilled over the moat of the Imperial Palace, where people gathered to snap photos or simply take in the view. […]

Climate change is slowing heat waves, prolonging misery

Climate change is causing heat waves to slow to a crawl, exposing humans to extreme temperatures for longer than ever before, a study published in Science Advances said Friday. While previous research has found climate change is causing heat waves to become longer, more frequent and more intense, the new paper differed by treating heat waves as distinct weather patterns that move along air currents, just as storms do. For every decade between 1979 to […]