Messiah of this age, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani had a revelation:
“A Warner came into the world and the world did not accept him; but God will accept him and will establish his truth through powerful assaults.” [Majmu‘ah Ishtiharat, vol. 3, p. 518]
According to the Muslim understanding, all the prophets before the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, had only local mission, in keeping with the facility of communications in those times. The message of Prophet Muhammad had global significance and his message was to be fully demonstrated according to the traditions in latter days at the time of second coming of Messiah. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, is the Messiah of the latter days promised by the Prophet Muhammad. The mission of Promised Messiah, may peace be on him, is to demonstrate the elegance and beauty of Islam to the whole world. He has come with a universal message to establish the Universal Brotherhood of mankind in all the continents of the planet earth.
Ahmad’s mission is universal and God’s help and succor and plan to demonstrate Islam’s elegance in the latter days has a global scope. Allah has said in the Holy Quran:
“He (Allah) it is Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religions, even if those who associate partners with God hate it.” (Al Quran 61:10 & 9:33)
God’s plan is not punishment for punishment’s sake but to lead mankind to greater truth as is apparent from numerous verses quoted in the knol from the holy scripture.
In order to distinguish between ‘natural disaster’ or ‘Divine punishment’ read a comment below with the title ‘Natural Disasters or Divine Punishment?’
To set the stage for further discussion, let us review a short verse from the Holy Quran:
Never did We send a Prophet to any town but We seized the people thereof with adversity and suffering, that they might become humble. (Al Quran 7:95)
In the first four months of 2010 alone the world has seen four major earthquakes. As I review this in 2011 the first four months this year are not any different, with calamities in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and Japan. Allah intends reformation and wants to make mankind receptive to His message, which in the final analysis will offer them greater prosperity. This Knol aims at giving a global and a long term perspective to the human condition rather than the myopic view created by 5-7 day news cycle in the Western news media.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has a nuance position about these calamities. We are always at the forefront of showing compassion to the victims and providing humanitarian aid to them. ‘The scope of this knol is not fear – gloom and doom – but hope and God’s mercy, how He guides mankind to the truth through these powerful signs.
Never did We (Allah) send a Prophet to any town but We seized the people thereof with adversity and suffering, that they might become humble. (Al Quran 7:95)
Then mankind shall be sorely distressed and wonder what is going to happen. Many shall escape and many shall perish. The days are near, in fact. I can see them close at hand, when the world shall witness a terrible sight: not only earthquakes but also many fearsome calamities shall overtake man, some from the skies and some from the earth. This will happen because mankind have stopped worshipping their true God and have become lost in the affairs of the world with all their heart and their effort and intent. If I had not come, these afflictions would perhaps have been delayed a little. But with my coming the secret purposes of an affronted God which were hidden so far, became manifest. Says God: ‘We never punish unless We send a Messenger.’ Those who repent shall find security and those who fear before calamity overtakes them shall be shown mercy. Do you think you will be immune from these calamities? Or can you save yourselves through artifice or design? Indeed not. That day all human schemes shall fail. Think not that earthquakes visited America and other continents but that your own country shall remain secure. Indeed, you may experience a greater hardship. O Europe, you are not safe and O Asia, you too, are not immune. And O dwellers of Islands, no false gods shall come to your rescue. I see cities fall and settlements laid waste. The One and the Only God kept silent for long. Heinous deeds were done before His eyes and He said nothing. But now He shall reveal His face in majesty and awe. Let him who has ears hear that the time is not far. I have done my best to bring all under the protection of God, but it was destined that what was written should come to pass. Truly do I say that the turn of this land, too is approaching fast. The times of Noah shall reappear before your eyes, and your own eyes will be witnesses to the calamity that overtook the cities of Lot. But God is slow in His wrath. Repent that you may be shown mercy! He who does not fear Him is dead, not alive.” 
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has a nuance position about these calamities. We are always at the forefront of showing compassion to the victims and providing humanitarian aid to them. ‘The scope of this knol is not fear – gloom and doom – but hope and God’s mercy, how He guides mankind to the truth through these powerful signs.
The town of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, March 12, 2011, a day after it was flattened by massive tsunami following Japan’s strongest recorded earthquake with a magnitude of 8.9
If Allah had imposed upon people the evil consequences of their conduct as quickly as they desire the acquisition of worldly goods, the end of their term of life would already have been reached. But We leave those who believe not in meeting Us to wander distractedly their transgression. When trouble befalls a person he calls on Us all the time, lying on his side, sitting and standing; but when We relieve him or remove his trouble, he goes his way unconcernedly as if he had never called on Us for the removal of his trouble. Thus it is that the doings of the transgressors are made to look fair to them. We destroyed generation after generation before you when they did wrong. Their Messengers came to them with clear Signs, but they would not believe. Thus do We requite the guilty people. Then, after them We made you their successors in the earth, that We might see how you would behave.” (Al Quran 10:12-15)
Why was there no other people, save the people of Jonah or Yunus, which believed, so that their belief should have profited them? When they believed, We removed from them the punishment of disgrace in the present life, and We gave them provision for a while. (Al Quran 10:99)
Allah has decreed: ‘Most surely I will prevail, I and My Messengers.’ Indeed, Allah is Powerful, Mighty. (Al Quran 58:22)
HADHRAT MIRZA MASROOR AHMAD
Explaining this, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that it is the way of God that when all limits are exceeded in accusing truthful people of God of falsehood and they are persecuted, all kinds of calamities occur in the world. All Books of God state this as does the Holy Qur’an. Just as at the time when Moses (on whom be peace) was accused of falsehood all kinds of calamities befell Egypt. Although the far-afield people of Egypt had not even heard of Moses (on whom be peace) and therefore had not sinned. While the Pharaoh was saved, the unaware were killed. Again, in the time of Jesus (on whom be peace) those who wanted to kill him through crucifixion remained unharmed. However, forty years later thousand of Jews were killed and there was an outbreak of plague. The Qur’an proves that this was due to Jesus (on whom be peace). Similarly in the times of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) a seven year famine took place and most of the poor died whereas the great big evil-doers were saved for a long period. In short it is the way of God that when someone comes from Him and is accused of falsehood, all kinds of calamities come to pass. However, people who have nothing to do with the accusation of falsehood are caught up in the calamities. Gradually the false Imams are seized and the time of the wickedest comes in the end. The natural calamities that follow accusation of falsehood on God’s appointed people are general and not specific.
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said a few days ago a huge earthquake struck Chile. Two months ago an earthquake had struck Haiti. The Chilean earthquake was 64–times stronger than the Haitian quake. Hudhur said these are signs in support of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Hundreds of thousands of homes have been damaged. It is being said that the Chilean earthquake is the seventh most dreadful earthquake since records began. The earthquake has taken off 1.26 milliseconds from Earth day, which is now this much shorter. Scientists have also recorded that the powerful quake shifted the Earth’s figure axis by three inches. Hudhur explained this is the axis about which the Earth’s mass is balanced. Thus a situation is arisen to ‘reduce earth on its outlying borders’.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) indeed foretold earthquakes as one of his signs. A quake struck Chile in 1906 which the Promised Messiah had called as a sign in his support. From 1570 to 1835 five earthquakes struck Chile. The next one struck in 1868 and then the 1906 one. Since then Chile has been struck with eighteen powerful earthquakes. The Promised Messiah wrote at the time of the Chilean earthquake of 1906 that he had had his prophecies about strong earthquakes striking the world published many times so much so that the earth would disintegrate. He wrote that the earthquakes of San Francisco and Formosa that came in accordance to his prophecy were known to all, but recently, on 16 August 1906 an earthquake had struck Chile which was no less powerful. It destroyed fifteen towns, thousands lost their lives and hundreds of thousands were made homeless. Some could ask how could this be a sign, as these earthquakes did not strike Punjab. They did not realise that God is the God of the entire world not just of the Punjab and He had informed the Promised Messiah about the whole world. It was unfortunate that accusations of falsehood were levied in the Punjab. The Promised Messiah warned that just as earthquakes had struck according to prophecies in America and Europe, they would strike in Asia, some of which would be a picture of Day of Judgement, obliterating life en masse. So much so that those with wisdom will find this extraordinary and no worldly knowledge will be able to explain the phenomenon. This is when mankind will get anxious and many will be given salvation while many will be destroyed. This will come to pass in the not too distant future and many other dreadful calamities will take place. Some occurring from the skies, others on the earth. This will be because mankind has stopped worshipping God and all attention is focussed on the world. The Promised Messiah said had he not come, these calamities may have been slightly delayed, but with his coming the hidden will of God had been made evident, just as God has declared: ‘…We never punish until We have sent a Messenger.’ (Al Quran 17:16). Those who repent will be granted refuge.
President Hu Jintao declared a national state of emergency 90 minutes after the quake. All highways into Wenchuan were damaged by the quake, delaying the arrival of relief troops. Half of the wireless communications were lost in the entire Sichuan Province. The earthquake occurred three months prior to the opening of the 2008 Summer Olympics hosted in China for the first time. None of the Olympic venues were damaged and as a result, the torch relay route was changed and a minute’s silence was observed. The Chinese government announced RMB 1 trillion ($146.5 billion USD) to be spent on rebuilding the area over a period of three years.
Thereupon he said, ‘This is a mercy from my Lord. But when the promise of my Lord shall come to pass, He will break it into pieces. And the promise of my Lord is certainly true.’ And on that day We shall leave some of them to surge against others, and the trumpet will be blown. Then shall We gather them all together. And on that day We shall present Hell, face to face, to the disbelievers — Whose eyes were under a veil so as not to heed My warning, and they could not even hear. Do the disbelievers think that they can take My servants as protectors instead of Me? Surely, We have prepared Hell as an entertainment for the disbelievers. (Al Quran 18:93-103)
time, which can be described as between two barriers or mountains. This means that he will find a time when
people on either side will be in fear, and the powers of darkness, in collaboration with the powers of state, will
present an awe-striking spectacle. Under both these powers he will find a people who will find it difficult to
understand him, i.e., they will be the victims of false beliefs on account of which they will find it difficult to
understand the guidance which he will present to them. But in the end they will understand him. These are the
third kind of people who will benefit from the guidance of the Promised Messiah. They will say to him:
‘Dhulqarnain, Gog and Magog have filled the land with disorder. If you so please, let us collect a fund for you so that you may erect a barrier between them and us.’ He will say in reply: ‘The power God has given me is better than your funds, but if you be so inclined, you can help me according to your means so that I may erect a wall between you and your opponents (i.e., he would put forth such conclusive proofs and arguments that their enemies will not be left with any ground for criticism or objection against their religion.) He will say to them: ‘Bring me slabs of iron so that their movement can be stopped, (i.e., hold fast to my teachings and my arguments, be steadfast, and block the enemy’s onslaught like a wall of iron.) Then blow fire into the iron until it appears to be fire itself (i.e., feed the flames of love for God until you yourselves assume the Divine complexion) …
melt easily. Copper, on the other hand, melts very quickly; and it is necessary for a seeker to melt in the
path of God. This means that the Promised Messiah will need such eager hearts and mild dispositions as would melt under the influence of Divine signs. These signs have no effect on the hard-hearted. A person can only become immune to Satanic attacks when he becomes steadfast like iron and that iron becomes like fire when touched by the fire of Divine love, and then the melted heart should melt and cover the iron to secure it against disintegration and decay. These are the three conditions which, when combined, form a wall which cannot be scaled or bored through by the spirit of Satan. Then God says that all this will come about by His grace. It is His hands which will accomplish everything and human design will have no part in it. When the Day of Judgement approaches, mischief will reign supreme once again. This is the promise of God.
religion and will attack each other like the waves of the sea. Then the trumpet will be blown in heaven, i.e., God will raise the Promised Messiah and create a third people for whom He will show great signs until all good people gather under the banner of Islam. They will respond to the call of the Promised Messiah and will run towards him; then there will be only one shepherd and one flock. Those days will be hard and God will reveal His countenance with awe-striking signs. Those who persist in disbelief will experience hell in this very world in the shape of calamities. God says: These are the people whose eyes were veiled against My Words, and their ears heeded not My commandments. Did the disbelievers imagine that they could take humble men to be God and that I should stand dismissed? We shall reveal hell in this very world as entertainment for the disbelievers, i.e., great and terrible signs will appear.
bestowed all these favours on this humble one, who is labelled a disbeliever and Dajjal by his opponents!
The location of the quake is relatively remote, meaning that although the death toll is high, it could have been much higher had the quake been in a more populated region.
The exact location is the county of Yushu, which is located in the Qinghai province on the Tibetan plateau.
The Chinese earthquake is only the latests of the natural disasters. Starting with Haiti and going to Chile, Mexico, Japan, United Statees, Solomon Islands, Turkey, and other countries earthquakes have been everywhere.
Scientists don’t seem too concerned, although the Chilean quake was strong enough to move the earth off its axis.
Chinese President Hu Jintao has visited survivors of last week’s earthquake on a remote Tibetan plateau, as the death toll rose to more than 1,700 people.
A few people are being found alive four days after the quake, including a 68-year-man trapped beneath the rubble.
The Dalai Lama has appealed to China to allow him to make a similar visit.
Officials say people now have basic shelter, food and water, but it is not easy to get supplies to the quake-zone 4,000m (13,000ft) above sea-level.
Also on Sunday, the death toll from Wednesday’s 6.9-magnitude earthquake in Qinghai province was raised to 1,706 and 256 missing, the official Xinhua news agency said.
VOLCANIC ERRUPTION IN ICELAND IN APRIL 2010
The eruption of a volcano beneath Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull has resulted in dangerous amounts of volcanic ash in the sky, huge headaches for travelers.
The eruption caused a 3.7 mile high plume of ash, which has wrecked havoc on flights across the Europe and around the world. The ash has the ability to knock out jet engines, an inconvenient fact that has grounded tens of thousands of passengers. Additionally, there is no telling when the ash will disperse. It could take days before the sky clears up. Much of the airspace across northern and western Europe has been closed and air control officials said some 17,000 flights would be cancelled on Friday, April 16, 2010.
(CNN) — One person — believed to be a 10-year-old boy — survived a passenger plane crash in Libya that was feared to have killed more than 100 people, an official said Wednesday.
The boy was undergoing surgery at a hospital in the Libyan capital of Tripoli after the Afriqiyah Airways plane that left Johannesburg crashed as it neared the end of its flight.
The Dutch Foreign ministry said it had a representative at the hospital waiting to identify the boy, believed to be a Dutch national. He apparently suffered bone injuries.
The plane was carrying 93 passengers and 11 crew members when it crashed while trying to land at the Tripoli International Airport.
DRAGUIGNAN, France (AFP) – Rescuers airlifted survivors and searched for missing people in southern France Wednesday after heavy storms triggered flash floods that killed at least 19 people, officials said.
Nearly 2,000 rescue workers rushed in to help hundreds trapped in their vehicles, houses or on rooftops in the Draguignan area near the Mediterranean coast, while helicopters were sent in to airlift residents to safety.
Emergency teams also moved 436 inmates from a flooded prison in Draguignan where the water covered the first two floors and they were taken to nearby jails.
The death toll has climbed since early morning as rescuers found the bodies of more victims. State authorities in the Var department said earlier that 15 people had died and 12 were missing.
“I fear the (death) toll will go higher,” said Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux, who visited the area to see for himself the extent of the damage by the floods that meteorologists said were the worst there since 1827.
FLOODS IN CHINA IN JUNE, 2010
BEIJING – China’s disaster relief departments raised the emergency response to level-three from level-four Saturday morning for the floods that have hit southern China, as authorities forecast more rain to fall over coming days.
The Civil Affairs Ministry and the State Disaster Relief Commission made the decision.
As of 10:00 am Saturday, downpours that began pounding southern China Sunday had left 88 people dead, 48 missing, and forced the evacuation of 757,000 residents from their homes, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a statement.
About 9.27 million people in Fujian, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Guizhou and Sichuan were affected by the heavy rains, the ministry said.
Floods in southern China caused by torrential rain have killed 46 people since Sunday, officials say.
Fifty people are missing, and about 238,000 people have been evacuated from their homes because of heavy rains that have pounded six provinces.
Hundreds of flights in and out of Beijing have been cancelled or delayed because of severe thunderstorms.
More than 33,000 homes have collapsed or been damaged. And forecasters say more rain is on the way.
FLOOD IN BRAZIL IN JUNE OF 2010
Floods have engulfed two states in north-east Brazil, leaving about 1,000 people missing and forcing at least 100,000 to flee their homes.
At least 38 people are known to have died so far in Alagoas and Pernambuco.
Correspondents say the floods, brought on by nearly a week of rain, have washed away entire villages.
The governor of Alagoas, Teotonio Vilela Filho, said bodies were being washed up on beaches and riverbanks.
FLOODS IN PAKISTAN AUGUST 2010
PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Pakistan dispatched medical teams Monday to the deluged northwest amid fears that cholera could spread after the worst floods in the country’s history that have already killed up to 1,200 people, an official said.
The disaster has forced around 2 million to flee their homes. Residents have railed against the government for failing to provide enough emergency assistance nearly a week after extremely heavy monsoon rains triggered raging floodwaters in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province.
Floodwaters ravaged hundreds of villages in Pakistan’s main province of Punjab Wednesday, destroying homes, soaking crops, and threatening more lives. Aid workers warned that bloated rivers would soon surge into the country’s south, prompting more evacuations.
This year’s monsoon season has prompted the worst flooding in Pakistan in living memory and already killed more than 1,500 people. The U.N. scrambled to provide food and other assistance to some 3.2 million affected people in a nation already struggling with an Islamist militancy and a poor economy.
The rains are falling about 25 to 30 percent above normal rates, Hanif said. The northwest, which has been hit the hardest, experienced “once-in-a-century” rains, and can expect more wet weather in coming days, though at normal levels that should allow some recovery. The vast majority of deaths have been reported in that region.
FLASH FLOODS IN CHINA IN AUGUST 2010
ZHOUQU, China – Rescuers dug through mud and wreckage Monday searching for 1,300 people missing after flash floods and landslides struck northwestern China, just one of a series of floods across Asia that have killed hundreds and spread misery to millions more.
In Pakistan, frustrated victims railed against the government’s anemic relief effort for the estimated 15 million displaced by the country’s worst-ever floods, while rescuers in mountainous Indian-controlled Kashmir raced to rescue dozens of stranded foreign trekkers and find 500 people still missing in flash floods that have killed 140.
Sunday’s disaster in China’s Gansu province killed at least 127 people and covered entire villages in water, mud, and rocks.
FLOODING IN NORTHERN CHINA IN AUGUST 2010
BEIJING – Flooding has forced the evacuation of more than a quarter-million people in northern China along its border with North Korea, state media said Monday.
Heavy rains over the last several days caused the Yalu river, which marks the border, to breach its banks, although the water level had started to fall late Sunday, the official Xinhua News Agency state media said Monday.
It said four people died, including a couple in their 70s and a mother and son, after their homes in Dandong were swept away by flash floods. Xinhua said 253,500 residents have been evacuated after the Yalu rose to its highest level in a decade.
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AFP) – New Zealand prepared for further destruction on Sunday as aftershocks and an approaching storm threatened an area hit by the most devastating earthquake in decades.
Prime Minister John Key said it was “a miracle” no one had died when the major 7.0 magnitude quake wreaked more than a billion dollars of damage on the nation’s second-biggest city of Christchurch.
Civil defence officials warned that ongoing aftershocks with magnitudes of up to 5.4, coupled with a ferocious storm blowing in, could threaten already-weakened buildings.
Despite widespread damage, none of the city’s 340,000-strong population died when the quake struck before dawn Saturday.
“The only conclusion you can draw is that it’s a miracle nobody was killed,” Key said as he surveyed the devastation.
“Parts of the city look like they’ve been put in the tumble dryer and been given a darn good shake.”
Engineers praised New Zealand’s stringent building standards in the earthquake prone country for the limited damage.
Almost two-thirds of the 160,000 homes in and around Christchurch have been damaged by Saturday’s earthquake, New Zealand’s prime minister has said.
John Key said many had been damaged beyond repair, and that it might take some time to discover the damage to the region’s underground infrastructure.
I was awe-struck by the power of the earthquake and the damage it has caused in the city”
John Key New Zealand Prime Minister
A state of emergency in Christchurch has been extended until Wednesday, and the city centre remains cordoned off.
Experts have warned a major aftershock could rock the area in the near future.
More than 80 aftershocks have been recorded since Saturday’s 7.0-magnitude tremor, the strongest of which had a magnitude of 5.1.
Indonesia tsunami deaths increase after Sumatra quake, October 2010
Rescue workers are preparing to evacuate victims from quake-hit areas More than 100 people have been killed and many are missing after a tsunami triggered by an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.
Scores of houses were destroyed by waves after the 7.7 magnitude quake, which struck 20km (13 miles) under the ocean floor near the Mentawai islands.
Ten villages on the islands were swept away by the tsunami, a disaster official told the AFP news agency.
Damage and rough weather are delaying efforts to reach the affected area.
Hendri Dori Satoko, a lawmaker in the Mentawai islands, told Metro TV: “Our latest data from crisis centre showed that 108 people have been killed and 502 are still missing.”
More than 1,000 people were killed by an earthquake off Sumatra in September 2009.
In December 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake off the coast of Aceh triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed a quarter of a million people in 13 countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.
BANGKOK (AFP) – Severe flooding in Thailand has left 181 people dead over the past month, the authorities said Tuesday.
The government estimates that 7.8 million people have been affected, mainly in the northeast and south, with homes submerged and farmland damaged in what Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has described as “a huge natural calamity”.
Fifty-one of Thailand’s 76 provinces have been hit but the waters have now subsided in many areas, officials said.
In southern Songkhla province, where waters several metres high in places swept through the major city of Hat Yai last week,
State of emergency in flooded Colombia in November 2010
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has declared a state of emergency in 28 of the nation’s 32 departments because of heavy rains and flooding that have affected some 1.2 million people.
He called on the international community to help and said the capacity of the Colombian government is overwhelmed.
Flooding and mudslides have killed at least 136 people, injured 205 and left 20 missing, the nation’s Interior and Justice Ministry reported.
Emergency officials say the heavy rain has led to problems in 561 municipalities in the South American nation.
“Many have lost everything they had and the capacity of the government [to help them] has been overwhelmed. We’re trying to find ways to get more resources and that’s why we’re calling on the business sector, the public in general, and the international community to help us because, unfortunately, the situation is getting worse,” said Santos.
Australia floods: Fears worsen for Brisbane, the third largest city of Australia
Up to 20,000 homes are now at risk in Brisbane, the Queensland state premier has said, as deadly floodwater surge towards Australia’s third-largest city.
Central Brisbane is a ghost town, with electricity cut and thousands urged to either evacuate or stay at home.
West of Brisbane, the city of Ipswich is being swamped by flood waters in a situation described as “total chaos”.
The death toll from the flash floods in Queensland is 12 so far, with many others reported missing.
Australian broadcaster ABC reports that the Brisbane river is now forecast to peak at 5.2m (17ft) in the early hours of Thursday, down from a prediction of 5.5m.
Sri Lanka floods
More than 30,000 army, navy, police and air force personnel are battling to provide urgent aid to people hit by heavy flooding in Sri Lanka.
A government spokesman said more than 325,000 people had been displaced by flooding. At least 23 people have died and more than a million are affected.
The priority since the rains abated on Thursday has been to deliver emergency food and medical supplies.
In the centre and east, farmland has been flooded and rice fields destroyed.
Thousands of people who fled the flooding are now living in camps on higher ground, a spokesman from the disaster management centre told the BBC.
Brazil floods: More than 500 dead
More than 500 people are now known to have died in floods in south-eastern Brazil, the country’s worst natural disaster for several decades.
Heavy rain has led to massive mudslides hitting several towns, resulting in thousands being made homeless.
Police say the number of dead is likely to rise further.
The death toll has now surpassed the devastating 1967 mudslides in Caraguatatuba, Sao Paulo state, in which up to 430 people perished.
Rescue workers will resume searching for survivors in the mountainous Serrana region, north of Rio de Janeiro, later on Friday.
Many spent Thursday scrabbling with their bare hands through debris.
On her visit to the area, President Dilma Rousseff promised a shipment of seven tonnes of medicines.
In the Campo Grande area of Teresopolis, which was earlier cut off, rescuers found people pulling bodies from the mud.
In the neighbouring town of Petropolis, local resident Nelson Toledo told the BBC that some areas “had been completely devastated” by the floods and mudslides.
He said “thousands” of people remained trapped in their homes.
A hurricane heading towards Australia: Twice the size of Katrina
The first winds began howling throughout Cairns as night fell Wednesday, with the storm expected to make landfall sometime around midnight.
Dozens of guests at a Cairns waterfront hotel took cover in the central ballroom as lights throughout the building flickered. Staff members pinned curtains shut over windows that were in danger of shattering and handed out flashlights to everyone.
Barbara Maskei, a 49-year-old tourist from Germany, lay on the ballroom floor under a sheet reading a book, as her 20-year-old daughter Annette and husband Peter dozed beside her. For her, there will be no sleep tonight. “I like to keep my eyes open,” she said as the wind roared outside.
Winds at the center of the storm were gusting up to 186 mph (300 kph), and the front was about 300 miles (500 kilometers) across. The worst of the winds were expected to last up to four hours on the coast, though blustery conditions and heavy rain could last for 24 hours.
In Innisfail, a town about 55 miles (90 kilometers) south of Cairns that is nearly in the direct path of the storm, Mayor Bill Shannon said he saw the roof torn off a building near the local government building where some 500 people are sheltering.
“We ‘re just hoping and praying we can all get through the night,” Shannon said.
Invariably, at the time of any disaster the masses and the leaders are all praying, but still some fundamentalist atheists like Richard Dawkins, continue to deny this powerful human need to be consoled.
WELLINGTON—New Zealand’s second-largest city, Christchurch, was rocked Tuesday by an earthquake that destroyed part of its cathedral and killed at least 65 people, with the death toll expected to climb as offices and buildings collapsed.
“We may well be witnessing New Zealand’s darkest day,” said Prime Minister John Key from Christchurch. “What was a vibrant city a few hours ago has been brought to its knees.”
Key said that the 6.3 magnitude earthquake, which hit 10 kilometers south-east of the city, and its following tremors have so far claimed 65 lives and he expects this figure to climb as rescue workers begin sifting through wrecked buildings.
The first quake was followed by aftershocks, including one measured at 5.6 magnitude. Tremors from the earthquake were felt as far away as the city of Dunedin, about 320 kilometers south of Christchurch.
Sky News television footage earlier showed the collapsed spire of Christchurch Cathedral, a major landmark in the city, cracked roads and a number of badly damaged buildings. The city’s international airport was closed indefinitely following the quake, and the entire center of town is being evacuated. Police had warned of multiple fatalities in several parts of the city, including two buses crushed by falling masonry.
There was a spike in suicides and stress-related conditions after the first quake, and David Meates, the region’s health director, said Tuesday’s disaster “has certainly got most people very, very fragile, very anxious”.
“In these sorts of situations there are enormous pressures and strains on families, relationships, people’s livelihoods are now at stake,” Meates told AFP.
“Sometimes the way that it’s expressed, people are a lot (closer to) their breaking point and sometimes some of the reactions can be quite out of character. Certainly domestic violence is something that becomes more obvious.”
Already a major problem in New Zealand, with tens of thousands of incidents reported each year, one local study showed the incidence of domestic abuse could triple during natural disasters.
The strongest earthquake in 140 years hits Japan in March 2011
In 2011 alone it was first Australia, the New Zealand and Brazil and now Japen has been stuck with a massive natural disaster.
A massive earthquake has hit the north-east of Japan, triggering a tsunami that has caused extensive damage.
Japanese television showed cars, ships and even buildings being swept away by a vast wall of water after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake.
The quake has sparked fires in several areas including Tokyo. At least 32 people were killed, officials said.
It struck about 250 miles (400km) from the capital at a depth of 20 miles. There have been powerful aftershocks.
The tremor, measured at 8.9 by the US Geological Survey, hit at 1446 local time (0546 GMT). Seismologists say it is one of the largest earthquakes to hit Japan for many years.
When the earthquake hit, buildings in Tokyo swayed. Walking was like crossing the deck of a ship at sea.
People poured down from their offices and stood in the street staring up.
A large fire seemed to have broken out in one part of the city and, in another place, injured people were being brought out of a station.
The authorities immediately issued a tsunami warning.
In Tokyo, public transport has been suspended, elevators are switched off in many buildings and thousands of people have gathered in squares and around train stations.
A tsunami warning was extended across the Pacific to New Zealand in the south and North and South America to the east.
The Red Cross in Geneva warned that the tsunami waves could be higher than some Pacific islands, Reuters news agency said.
Coastal areas in the Philippines, Hawaii and other Pacific islands were evacuated ahead of the tsunami’s expected arrival.
Strong waves hit Japan’s Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, officials said, damaging dozens of coastal communities. Kyodo news agency said a 10-metre wave (33ft) struck the port of Sendai in Miyagi prefecture.
The power in a Tsunami is unbelievable, the houses have been hurled together and some of them are on fire in the picture below:
TOKYO – An explosion blew the roof off an unstable reactor north of Tokyo on Saturday, Japanese media said, raising fears of a disastrous meltdown at a nuclear plant damaged in the massive earthquake that hit Japan.
The 8.9-magnitude earthquake — the strongest ever recorded in Japan — sent a 10-metre tsunami ripping through towns and cities across the northeast coast. Japanese media estimate that at least 1,300 people were killed.
Jiji news agency said there had been an explosion at the stricken 40-year-old Daichi 1 reactor and TV footage showed vapour rising from the plant, which lies 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.
March 12, 2011
“An unchecked rise in temperature could cause the core to essentially turn into a molten mass that could burn through the reactor vessel,” risk information service Stratfor said in a report. “This may lead to a release of an unchecked amount of radiation into the containment building that surrounds the reactor.”
NHK television and Jiji said the outer structure of the building that houses the reactor appeared to have blown off, which could suggest the containment building had already been breached.
Earlier the operator released what it said was a tiny amount of radioactive steam to reduce the pressure and the danger was minimal because tens of thousands of people had already been evacuated from the vicinity.
Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said the earth’s axis had shifted 25 cm as a result of the quake and the U.S. Geological Survey said the main island of Japan had actually shifted 2.4 metres.
Friday’s tremor was so huge that thousands fled their homes from coastlines around the Pacific Rim, as far away as North and South America, fearful of a tsunami.
More than 900 people were killed and about 700 were missing, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported. The number of dead is expected to rise as rescuers reach more hard-hit areas.
In the town of Minamisanriku, 9,500 people are unaccounted for, Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported, citing local officials. That figure is about half the population of the town, which is located on the Pacific, the news agency said.
More than 3,000 people had been rescued, according to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Kyodo News Agency said.
“We’d first like to focus on saving lives and secondly the comfort of the evacuees,” Kan said. “There will be many resources that will be needed for this evacuation process.”
Japan’s historic quake Friday’s 8.9-magnitude quake was centered about 130 kilometers (80 miles) from Sendai, a farming region already battling youth population losses to big cities, leaving aging residents struggling to keep up with the global economy.
Aftershocks continued to jolt the island nation Saturday, including two at 6.1 and 6.4 magnitude.
In the city of Shirakawa, south of Sendai, rescuers dug through rubble with shovels to try and reach 13 neighbors trapped when the earth opened up and swallowed their homes. Relatives and friends stood in the cold, quietly watching, praying and waiting. Others wept.
Amid disaster, Japan’s societal mores remain strong
Food and water are both scarce. Electricity in the tsunami zone is nearly nonexistent. Survivors have lacked information about their missing loved ones.
But unlike other disasters where the world has observed looting, rioting and public outbursts of sorrow and rage, it has seen a country quietly mourning, its people standing patiently for hours in orderly lines for a few bottles of water.
This is surprising only if you’ve never lived here or experienced how Japan’s society operates. As a resident of Japan for three years, I would have been surprised if this country’s people behaved in any other manner.
How Japanese cope with disaster Across Sendai’s tsunami zone, both in the areas devastated and in the neighboring regions, you can see that Japan’s societal mores have failed to break down, even if the tsunami destroyed the physical structure of this coastal community.
At stores across the city, long, straight lines of Japanese tsunami victims have been waiting for rations in the city. No one is directing these lines; they’re organized by the people themselves.
At the front, which takes hours to get to in some cases, shoppers are limited to 10 food or beverage items. No complaints, no cheating.
Friday Sermon of Khalifatul Masih V about the Japanese earthquake and tsunami
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The death toll from severe storms that punished five Southern U.S. states jumped to a staggering 178 Thursday after Alabama canvassed its hard-hit counties for a new tally of lives lost.
Alabama’s state emergency management agency said it had confirmed 128 deaths, up from at least 61 earlier.
“We expect that toll, unfortunately, to rise,” Gov. Robert Bentley told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Mississippi officials reported 32 dead in that state and Tennessee raised its report to six from one. Another 11 have been killed in Georgia and one in Virginia.
The fierce storms Wednesday spawned tornadoes and winds that wiped out homes and businesses, forced a nuclear power plant to use backup generators and prompted the evacuation of a National Weather Service office.
The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said it received 137 tornado reports around the regions, including 66 in Alabama and 38 in Mississippi.
One of the hardest-hit areas was Tuscaloosa, a city of more than 83,000 and home to the University of Alabama. The city’s police and other emergency services were devastated, the mayor said, and at least 15 people were killed and about 100 were in a single hospital.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama (CNN) — Daylight illuminated a scene of utter devastation across many areas of the South Thursday, following storms of near-epic proportions that killed as many as 247 people in six states.
The vast majority of fatalities occurred in Alabama, where 162 people perished, said Yasamie August, Alabama Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman.
A breakdown provided by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s office showed that violent weather claimed lives in 16 Alabama counties. Thirty people perished in DeKalb County in northeastern Alabama; the death toll in the hard-hit city of Tuscaloosa, in west-central Alabama, was at 36 as of Thursday morning, said Mayor Walter Maddox.
“I don’t know how anyone survived,” Maddox said. “We’re used to tornadoes here in Tuscaloosa. It’s part of growing up. But when you look at the path of destruction that’s likely 5 to 7 miles long in an area half a mile to a mile wide … it’s an amazing scene. There’s parts of the city I don’t recognize, and that’s someone that’s lived here his entire life.”
Torrential rain and flash flooding have caused chaos in north-eastern Colombia.
The rain has flooded towns and huge swathes of farmland. This year’s rainy season is the worst in Colombia’s history.
- [Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 22, pp. 268-269]
- [Majmu‘ah Ishtiharat, vol. 3, p. 518]
- [A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 5, pp. 261-262, footnote]
- [Brahin-e-Ahmadiyyah part V, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 21, pp 119-126]