Environment

Danger warning issued for Bangkok as extreme heat bites

BANGKOK, April 24, 2024 (AFP) – Thai authorities issued an extreme heat warning for Bangkok on Wednesday, urging people to stay indoors for their own safety as temperatures soared. The mercury was forecast to hit 39 C in the sprawling Thai capital, while the heat index rose above 52 C, classed as “extremely dangerous” by city authorities. The heat index is a measure of what the temperature feels like, taking humidity, wind speed and other […]

‘Staggering’ number of workers facing climate change-induced health hazards: UN

GENEVA, April 22, 2024 (AFP) – A large majority of workers worldwide are facing a cocktail of health hazards linked to climate change, the UN said Monday, warning that existing regulations were not equipped to offer adequate protection. “A staggering number of workers are already being exposed to climate change-related hazards in the workplace, and these figures are only likely to get worse,” the United Nations’ International Labour Organization said in a report. Agricultural workers […]

In Ecuadoran Amazon, butterflies provide a gauge of climate change

By Paola LÓPEZ CUYABENO, Ecuador, April 22, 2024 (AFP) – Biologists on a trail in the Ecuadoran Amazon hold their breath as they distribute a foul-smelling delicacy to lure butterflies, critical pollinators increasingly threatened by climate change. A team has hung 32 traps made of green nets, each baited with rotting fish and fermented bananas. They are meant to blend in with the forest canopy. Their pungent odor clearly does not. Since last August, a […]

Europe suffered record number of ‘extreme heat stress’ days in 2023: monitors

By Nick Perry PARIS, April 22, 2024 (AFP) – Europe endured a record number of “extreme heat stress” days in 2023, two leading climate monitors said Monday, underscoring the threat of increasingly deadly summers across the continent. In a year of contrasting extremes, Europe witnessed scorching heatwaves but also catastrophic flooding, withering droughts, violent storms and its largest wildfire. These disasters inflicted billions of dollars in damages and impacted more than two million people, the […]

Slow recovery as Dubai airport, roads still deluged

By Amanda MOUAWAD Dubai airport, one of the world’s busiest, witnessed major disruption for a third straight day Thursday after the heaviest rains on record drenched the desert United Arab Emirates. Emirates, Dubai’s state-owned flagship airline, and sister carrier flydubai resumed check-ins after telling passengers to stay away on Wednesday, when thousands of delayed passengers clogged the airport. The airport, which handles more international passengers than any other, hopes to resume “something approaching normality” within […]

‘Human-induced’ climate change behind deadly Sahel heatwave: study

DAKAR, April 18, 2024 (AFP) – The deadly heatwave that hit Africa’s Sahel region in early April would not have occurred without “human-induced” climate change, according to a study by the World Weather Attribution (WWA) group published Thursday. The West African nations of Mali and Burkina Faso experienced an exceptional heatwave from April 1 until April 5, with soaring temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius triggering a large number of deaths. Observations and climate models used […]

Thousands evacuated as Indonesia volcano erupts, causes tsunami threat

MANADO, Indonesia, April 18, 2024 (AFP) – Indonesian rescuers raced to evacuate thousands of people Thursday after a volcano erupted five times, forcing authorities to close a nearby airport and issue a warning about falling debris that could cause a tsunami. The crater of Mount Ruang flamed with lava against a backdrop of lightning bolts overnight after erupting four times on Wednesday, forcing authorities to raise its alert level to the highest of a four-tiered […]

Eight reported injured after Japan quake

TOKYO, April 18, 2024 (AFP) – Eight people were reported injured Thursday after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck off southwestern Japan, but there appeared to be no major damage or tsunami. The epicentre of the quake, which hit at 11:14 pm (1414 GMT) Wednesday, was located between the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku, the US Geological Survey said. Japan experiences around 1,500 quakes every year. The vast majority are mild and even larger quakes usually cause […]

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 […]