Earthquakes and other Calamities and the End of Times

· Ahmadiyyat: True Islam
Authors

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.

One should note that the fabric of human history is made of two threads, ’cause and effect’ and ‘crime and punishment,’ denying either of the two gives us only a distorted view of human affairs.  A physical explanation of any phenomenon does not rule out any spiritual implications!
The Promised Messiah
Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Holy Quran states, “Man does indeed transgress, because he considers himself self-sufficient.” (Al Quran 96:7-8) The theme of this knol could be considered to be Divine response, to this human illusion, as revealed through the prophets.

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)  

The Messiah of this age, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, wrote in 1907:
“Remember, God has informed me of many earth-quakes. Rest assured, therefore, that as earth-quakes have shaken America and Europe, so will they shake Asia. Some of them will resemble the Day of Doom. So many people shall die that rivulets of blood shall flow. Even the birds and the beasts will not he immune against this death. Havoc shall sweep the surface of the earth which shall be the greatest since the birth of man. Habitations shall be demolished as if no one had ever lived in them. This will he accompanied by many other terrible calamities which the earth and the heavens will send forth, till their extraordinary nature will become evident to every reasonable man. All the literature of science and philosophy shall fail to show their like.
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.” [1][2]
On another occasion he announced:
As my mission is to invite and propagate, I make it clear once again, calling God to witness, that He has disclosed to me through His revelation that His ire has been aroused on earth, for the majority of people have become so sunk in sinfulness and worship of the world that they have no faith left in God Almighty. And he who has been sent by Him for the reform of people is mocked at and their mocking and derision have exceeded all bounds. Therefore, God announces that He will fight them and will attack them in such manner as they cannot conceive of, for such is their love of falsehood that they have sought to trample the truth underfoot. God says: I am now determined to safeguard My poor community against the attacks of these wild beasts and to display manifold signs in support of the truth. And He says: 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.[3]

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.

In addition to the warning Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Messiah also mentioned the good news:
I inform you and convey to you the glad tidings that the Sailor, Who is the Lord of the heaven and the earth, has heard the supplication of those confronted with the tempest and has fulfilled the promise He made in His Holy Word to save His vessel at the time of the tempest. He has appointed one of His servants that is to say, this humble one who is now speaking to you, and has explained to him the devices to weather the storm and that would render it unnecessary to throw overboard the boxes of valuables. The time is near when heaven will call out, as is mentioned in the Holy Quran:
‘O earth, swallow thy water, and O sky, cease raining.’ And the water was made to subside and the matter was ended. And the Ark came to rest on al-Judi. (Al Quran 11:45)
But right now the flood is at its height. At the approach of this flood God Almighty appointed this humble one and commanded, ‘build thou the Ark under Our eyes and according to Our directions.’ This Ark would be in no danger from the tempest. It would be supported by God’s hand. This then is the Ark of pure Islam to which I call the people to board. If you are awake, arise and board this Ark quickly for the flood is raging upon the earth and every life is in danger.[4]
In his book, the Will after giving a word of warning, Hadhrat Ahmad wrote, “Note that this proclamation is not made to cause anxiety, but only to prevent future fears lest one should perish in ignorance. Every action is determined by [one’s] intention and my intention is not to cause pain, but to protect against it. Those who repent shall be saved from Divine punishment. But the unfortunate one who does not repent, nor shuns the company of those who indulge in ridicule, nor does he renounce foul deeds and sin, his days of destruction are near because his defiance deserves Divine wrath in the sight of God.”[5]

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

SOME QURANIC REFERENCES ON THE SUBJECT OF NATURAL CALAMITIES
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
And had it not been for the fact that, if an affliction should befall them because of what their hands have sent before them, they would say, ‘Our Lord, wherefore didst Thou not send a Messenger to us that we might have followed Thy Signs, and been of the believers?’ We should not have sent thee as a Messenger. (Al Quran 28:48)
And truly when We cause man to taste of mercy from Us, he rejoices therein. But if an evil befalls them because of what their hands have sent forth, then lo! man is ungrateful. (Al Quran 42:49)
Never did We send a Prophet to any town but We seized the people thereof with adversity and suffering, that they might become humble. Then We changed (their evil condition) into good until they grew (in affluence and number) and said, `Suffering and happiness betided our fathers (also).’ (So if it befalls us, it matters not) Then We seized them suddenly, while they perceived not.  (Al Quran 7:95-96)
Till (on one side) the messengers despaired (of the unbelievers) and (on the other side) they (unbelievers) thought that (in the name of revelation) they were being told a lie, Our help came to them (the messengers), then was saved he whom We pleased. And our chastisement can never be averted from the wicked people.   (Al Quran 12:111)
And whether We make thee (Muhammad) see the fulfilment of some of the things with which We threaten them or whether We make thee die, it makes little difference, for on thee lies only the delivery of the Message, and on Us the reckoning. (Al Quran 13:41)

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)

Your Lord is He Who propels the vessels in the sea for your benefit that you may seek of His bounty. Surely, He is Ever Merciful towards you.   When danger threatens you in the sea you call upon Him, and forget all others upon whom you call. But when He brings you safe to land, you turn aside. Man is ever ungrateful. Do you then feel secure against His causing you to be swallowed up by the earth or His sending a sandstorm to cover you up, when you would find no one to rescue you? Or, do you feel secure against His sending you back therein once more and raising a fierce gale against you and drowning you because of your ingratitude, when you would find no one to help you against Us? We have indeed honored the children of Adam, and provided for them means of transportation in land and sea, and given them wholesome food and exalted them high above the greater part of Our creation. (Al Quran 17:67-71)
Why, then, were there not among the generations before you persons possessed of understanding who would have forbidden corruption in the earth — except a few of those whom We saved from among them? But the wrongdoers followed that by which they were afforded ease and comfort, and they became guilty.  And thy Lord would not destroy the cities unjustly while the people thereof were righteous.  (Al Quran 11:117-118)
The Holy Quran very profoundly describes human psychology at time of trial and its tendency of ‘out of sight out of mind’ once the trial is over.  But, in the final analysis, there is no escaping from All Knowing God.  Allah says:
If you are ungrateful, surely Allah is Self-Sufficient, and He is not pleased with ingratitude in His servants; but if you are grateful, He likes it for you. No one can bear the burden of another. To your Lord is your return; and He will inform you of that which you used to do. Surely, He is Well-Aware of your secret thoughts. When a person is afflicted, he calls upon his Lord, turning penitently to Him. Then, when He confers a favor upon him from Himself, he forgets that which he used to pray for before, and starts assigning rivals to Allah, that he may lead people astray from His way. Say to such a one: Profit from thy disbelief a short while; thou art surely of the inmates of the Fire. Then observe one who is devout in prayer, standing and in prostration, during the hours of the night, and who fears the Hereafter, and hopes for the mercy of his Lord. Ask them: Can those who know be like those who know not! It is only those endowed with understanding that take heed.  (Al Quran 39: 8-10]

 

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

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad is the current international leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, he delivered a detailed Friday sermon on this topic on March 5, 2010.  He said that the current-day calamites and disasters are also a sign of support for the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace).  A summary description of his speech is included here:
He quoted several verses of the Holy Quran including this one from Sura Anbiyya.  “‘Nay, We provided those and their fathers with the good things of this world till life grew long for them. Do they not see that We are visiting the land, reducing it from its outlying borders? Can they even then be victors?” (Al Quran 21:45). Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said if a nation has been in power for a long period of time and feels superior about it, certainly such situations are not permanent. In fact God states that He generously provides generations upon generations of a nation but it should always be kept in view that great nations were diminished in the past. In recent past the European nations lost much of their power. They had colonized huge parts of the world and now they are diminished. Russia too had spread over a vast area but many of its nations have gained independence. This very destiny will one day be repeated in America. Smaller countries too may not have any presumptions, they too can diminish. However, there is glad-tiding for Islam, there is glad-tiding for the followers of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that Islam will be triumphant. Our Tabligh efforts are humble, our task is to spread the message with love. However, we see glimpses of what Divine decree can do in the form of earthquakes and other calamities. If only the Muslims too would abandon their opposition and become a part of the destiny that will come to pass through the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). He said the current-day calamites and disasters are also a sign of support for the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Many people query that the opposition is from the false leaders, why then are the poor and disadvantaged being killed in these disasters.

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.

The summary of his sermon and audio or video can be reviewd at the following link:
It seems that the frequency of earthquakes and other calamities has really picked up in this century as the review below would suggest.  Wikipedia has a List of 20th and 21st century earthquakes.  First the list of 21st century:
List of 20th century earthquakes:
We are only ten years in the 21st century and even a cursory examination of these lists will suggest that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of earthquakes during this century.  We will review some of the prominent earthquakes and other calamities in this knol that made the most headlines:
THE 2004 INDIAN OCEAN EARTHQUAKE OR TSUNAMI
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on December 26, 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The quake itself is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake. The resulting tsunami itself is given various names, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Asian Tsunami, Indonesian Tsunami, and Boxing Day Tsunami.
The earthquake was caused by subduction and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing nearly 230,000 people in fourteen countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (100 feet) high. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand were the hardest hit.
With a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3, it is the second largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. This earthquake had the longest duration of faulting ever observed, between 8.3 and 10 minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 cm (0.4 inches) and triggered other earthquakes as far away as Alaska.[6]
File:Chennai beach2.jpg
Chennai’s Marina beach after the Tsunami
HURRICANE KATRINA 2005
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the costliest hurricane, as well as one of the five deadliest, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall.
Hurricane Katrina formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005 and crossed southern Florida as a moderate Category 1 hurricane, causing some deaths and flooding there before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico to Category 5 hurricane. The storm weakened before making its second landfall as a Category 3 storm on the morning of Monday, August 29 in southeast Louisiana. It caused severe destruction along the Gulf coast from central Florida to Texas, much of it due to the storm surge. The most severe loss of life occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed, in many cases hours after the storm had moved inland. Eventually 80% of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks. However, the worst property damage occurred in coastal areas, such as all Mississippi beachfront towns, which were flooded over 90% in hours, as boats and casino barges rammed buildings, pushing cars and houses inland, with waters reaching 6-12 miles (10-19 km) from the beach.
At least 1,836 people lost their lives in the actual hurricane and in the subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane. Economist and crisis consultant Randall Bell wrote: “Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the largest natural disaster in the history of the United States. Preliminary damage estimates were well in excess of $100 billion, eclipsing many times the damage wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.”
The levee failures prompted investigations of their design and construction which belongs to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as mandated in the Flood Control Act of 1965 and into their maintenance by the local Levee Boards. There was also an investigation of the responses from federal, state and local governments, resulting in the resignation of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael D. Brown, and of New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Superintendent Eddie Compass. Conversely, the United States Coast Guard (USCG), National Hurricane Center (NHC) and National Weather Service (NWS) were widely commended for their actions, accurate forecasts and abundant lead time.
Four years later, thousands of displaced residents in Mississippi and Louisiana were still living in trailers. Reconstruction of each section of the southern portion of Louisiana has been addressed in the Army Corps LACPR Final Technical Report which identifies areas not to be rebuilt and areas and buildings that need to be elevated.[7]

EARTHQUAKE IN PAKISTAN OCTOBER 2005
The 2005 Kashmir Earthquake was a major earthquake centered in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, near the city of Muzaffarabad, affecting Gilgit-Baltistan and North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) regions of Pakistan. It occurred at 08:52:37 Pakistan Standard Time on 8 October 2005. It registered a debatable moment magnitude of 7.6 making it similar in size to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the 1935 Quetta earthquake, the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, and the 2009 Sumatra earthquakes. As of 8 November, the government of Pakistan’s official death toll was 79,000, while officials say nearly 1,400 people also died in Indian-administered Kashmir and four people in Afghanistan. The severity of the damage caused by the earthquake is attributed to severe upthrust, coupled with poor construction.[8]
The Friday sermon of Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad on this issue from January 27th, 2006, can be listened to or read online:
CYCLONE NARGIS IN BURMA 2008
Cyclone Nargis (also known as Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Nargis), was a strong tropical cyclone that caused the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Burma (officially known as Myanmar). The cyclone made landfall in the country on May 2, 2008, causing catastrophic destruction and at least 138,000 fatalities.[9]

File:Nargis 01 may 2008 0440Z.jpg

CHINA EARTHQUAKE IN 2008
The 2008 Sichuan earthquake or the Great Sichuan Earthquake was a deadly earthquake that measured at 8.5 ON Richter magnitude scale occurred at 14:28:01.42 CST on May 12, 2008 in Sichuan province of China and killed at least 68,000 people.[10]
The deadliest earthquake in China since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake 32 years ago and the strongest in 58 years since the 1950 Chayu earthquake. The earthquake lasted three minutes and was felt as far away as Beijing and Shanghai some 1,500 and 1,700 km away where people were evacuated from office buildings as a precaution. Mianyang, Ngawa, Deyang, Guangyuan, and Chengdu suffered the most loss of lives. Most of the buildings that collapsed were in rural areas and did not adhere to building codes. At least 4.8 million people were rendered homeless.

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.
TORNADOES IN USA 2009
Crews went door-to-door Wednesday, February 6, 2008, a day after the super Tuesday, named after the Presidential election primaries, in USA, searching debris for more victims of deadly tornadoes that ripped the roofs off shopping malls and churches, pummeled homes and blew apart warehouses as they tore across five states. At least 55 people were killed throughout the South.  Relatives of a baby boy, Kyson Stowell, found him alive after being flung 300 feet by the tornado.  Eleven-month-old Kyson was found face down in a muddy field after being picked up by the tornado that killed his mother and wrecked his home.  “He’s just a miracle, luck, God watching over him – it’s all it can be,” said his grandfather Doug Stowell.  It was the deadliest tornado barrage in two decades, the US news agency Associated Press reported.   It tore apart communities in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.   As the rescue workers combed through the devastated town of Castalian Springs, Tennessee, firefighter David Harmon came across what looked “like a baby doll”.   “He was laying face down with his arms above his head, he was just laying there motionless, wasn’t moving,” said David.  The baby was lying 300 feet or more from the ruins of his house. His mother, 23-year-old Kerri Stowell, was found dead in the same field.  He was taken to the children’s hospital at Vanderbilt University, but had only light cuts and bruises.  Dr Tom Morgan said, ‘Maybe he landed on something that lessened his blow, maybe he, you know, came down against a bush or something.’ He stuttered, ‘I think it was probably mostly luck, God’s grace.’[11]   It is not possible for man to not invoke God in circumstances like this.  The combination of tragedy and the silver lining in the situation is too much to bear.  There is a common proverb, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”
Others in the community also saw it as divine intervention, a ray of hope amid the destruction visited on them in a few violent hours. The bland facts of science as to what brings about tornadoes may give us some future prevention but offer no consolation for the tragedy at hand.
A 1997 survey of American scientists found that 39 percent believed in a God to whom one may pray in expectation of receiving an answer as compared to 42 percent in a 1916 survey that used the same questions and an identical sampling procedure. The results chal¬lenged the widely held assumption that religious beliefs have fallen off drastically among scientists in the twentieth century.
These statistics are about an imagined trial or tragedy.  Once the tragedy or trial hits home, these numbers quickly swell to a hundred percent.  It has been well documented that 96% of patients undergoing cardiac surgery used prayer as a coping mechanism to deal with their stress.   Dawkins himself tells us that 95% of US population believes in afterlife.  It seems it is very hard for humanity to face his or her mortality.  Once again, it cannot be repeated enough, ‘There are no atheists in foxholes.’
The super Tuesday tornadoes were the nation’s deadliest barrage of twisters in almost 23 years.  “I was there before daylight and it looked like a war zone,” said county emergency management director Johnny Burnette.
In Mississippi, Desoto County Sheriff’s Department Cmdr. Steve Atkinson said a twister shredded warehouses in an industrial park in the city of Southaven, just south of Memphis.  “It ripped the warehouses apart. The best way to describe it is it looks like a bomb went off,” Atkinson said.
Union University staff and students search through dormitories destroyed by a tornado in Tennessee.  Classes have been canceled for two weeks to allow for cleanup.  The Union University campus was perhaps hardest hit.  Candra Pennington, a senior, told CNN there were 15 students in her dorm when the warning sirens went off; “we went to look at the weather and we realized we couldn’t get the door open,” she said. “We had to get all 15 girls in the bathroom. As we were closing the bathroom door, the debris, the windows were shattering in with us, the ceiling began to fall on us. We were able to get the door shut just in time to keep ourselves safe from all of the debris that fell out into the room.‘  “It looks like a war zone,” said David Dockery, university president. “Cars and trucks thrown from one side of the campus to the other,” Dockery exclaimed, and added, “the women’s dorms were destroyed, along with two academic buildings.” Many other school buildings received lesser damage.
“I’m surprised that I’m alive,” said Telia Sorrells, 24, who survived one twister that left only parts of two walls standing in her home. A gash on her head required eight staples at a hospital to close.  Sorrells was sitting on her couch watching storm coverage on television and talking with her mother by cell phone when the power abruptly went out.  “Something is hitting the house,” she told her mother. Then, “It’s here!”  The next thing she knew, she said, “I was looking up at sky.”
Winter tornadoes are not uncommon. The peak tornado season is late winter through midsummer, but the storms can happen at any time of the year with the right conditions. But this batch was the nation’s worst in a 24-hour period since May 3, 1999, when some 50 people died in Oklahoma and Kansas. One can safely assume that there would be tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes in future also.  Man seems to be in constant need of consolation for one reason or another.
EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI IN 2010
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicentre near the town of Léogâne, approximately 25 km (16 miles) west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local tim on Tuesday, 12 January 2010. By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. As of Feb. 12, an estimated three million people were affected by the quake; the Haitian Government reports that between 217,000 and 230,000 people had been identified as dead, an estimated 300,000 injured, and an estimated 1,000,000 homeless. The death toll is expected to rise. They also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged.
Presidential Palace Haiti
The earthquake caused major damage to Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and other settlements in the region. Many notable landmark buildings were significantly damaged or destroyed, including the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the main jail. Among those killed were Archbishop of Port-au-Prince Joseph Serge Miot, and opposition leader Micha Gaillard. The headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), located in the capital, collapsed, killing many, including the Mission’s Chief, Hédi Annabi.  This was the fifth deadliest earthquake in recorded history.[12]
File:AirdropcloseJan18haiti edited.jpg
One of the first air parachute drops on January, 18
EARTHQUAKE IN CHILE IN 2010
On Richter scale it was 8.8
A collapsed bridge over the Claro river is seen near the town of Camarico, Chile,  some 112 miles (180 kilometers ) south of Santiago Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. An 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile early Saturday. The quake hit 200 miles (325 kilometers) southwest of the capital and the epicenter was just 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Concepcion, Chile's second-largest city. (AP Photo/Aliosha Marquez)
A collapsed bridge over the Claro river is seen near the town of Camarico, Chile, some 112 miles (180 kilometers ) south of Santiago Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. An 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile early Saturday. The quake hit 200 miles (325 kilometers) southwest of the capital and the epicenter was just 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city.
Sebastian Pinera has been sworn in as president of Chile, on March 11, 2010, minutes after it was hit by the largest aftershock since last month’s devastating earthquake.
The 6.9-magnitude tremor was centred in O’Higgins Region, some 140km (90 miles) south of the city of Valparaiso, where the inauguration ceremony took place.  Seldom can an incoming president have faced such a massive and immediate challenge, says the BBC’s Gideon Long in Santiago.
Many people have been made homeless by the quake, with about half a million homes destroyed.
BBC reader Ian Hutcheon, from San Vicente, 45km south of Rancagua, described Thursday’s aftershock as “very severe”.
“I was in a bank when it hit and there was mayhem, panic and chaos,” he said. “People rushed into the street. I saw some people being helped out of the opposite buildings with blankets over their heads but I am not sure if they were hurt or just being comforted.  “I also saw that some houses that were badly damaged in the big quake have now collapsed.”[13]
Chile’s new President, Sebastian Pinera, has said it will cost at least $30bn (£20bn) to rebuild the country after January’s earthquake.  Speaking on his first full day in office, he said loans and budgetary savings would be used to rebuild infrastructure, homes and industry.  Other nations would be asked to help, Mr Pinera told reporters in Santiago.
The 8.8 magnitude quake on 27 February killed nearly 500 people, with hundreds others missing and 1.5m homes damaged.
SANDSTORMS IN CHINA 2010
A sandstorm reduces visibility near the Olympic Green in Beijing, China, Monday, March 22, 2010. Sandstorms whipped across a wide swath of China on Monday, forcing residents to don masks and scarves to protect themselves from the unhealthy grit.
People walk in Tiananmen square during a sandstorm on March 20, 2010. The meteorological administration said a sandstorm that swept down from the Gobi desert Friday would continue to shroud parts of northern China stretching from the far-western region of Xinjiang to Beijing.  A severe drought in southwest China, which locals say is the worst in a century, is forecast to linger till the start of the rainy season in May, according to two provincial meteorological stations in Yunnan and Guizhou, Xinhua News Agency reported. Picture taken March 16, 2010. 
A view of a partially dried-up pond at a village of Guangnan county, Yunnan province, March 16, 2010. A severe drought in southwest China, which locals say is the worst in a century, is forecast to linger till the start of the rainy season in May, according to two provincial meteorological stations in Yunnan and Guizhou, Xinhua News Agency reported. Picture taken March 16, 2010.  The locals say, this drought is the worst in a century, is forecasted to linger until the start of the rainy season in May.
DHULQARNAIN
The following portion is meant for Muslim audience only who already believe in the truth of the Holy Quran.  Allah says:
Then he (Dhulqarnain) followed another way.  Until, when he reached the place between the two mountains, he found beneath them a people who would scarcely understand a word.  They said, ‘O Dhu’l Qarnain, verily, Gog and Magog are creating disorder in the earth; shall we then pay thee tribute on condition that thou set up a barrier between us and them?’ He replied, ‘The power with which my Lord has endowed me about this is better, but you may help me with physical strength; I will set up between you and them a rampart.  ‘Bring me blocks of iron.’ They did so till, when he had levelled up the space between the two mountain sides, he said, ‘Now blow with your bellows.’ They blew till, when he had made it red as fire, he said, ‘Bring me molten copper that I may pour it thereon.’  So they (Gog and Magog) were not able to scale it, nor were they able to dig through it.
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)
Commenting on these verses the Messiah of this age, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes:
Dhulqarnain (the Promised Messiah) will then follow another course and will find himself at a very critical
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) …
After these verses, God Almighty goes on to say: Then Dhulqarnain (the Promised Messiah) will say to the people who are afraid of Gog and Magog: ‘Bring me copper so that I may melt it and pour it over the wall. Thereafter, Gog and Magog will not have the power to scale it or to make holes in it.’
Here it should be noted that though iron assumes the qualities of fire when left in it for a long time, it does not
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.
Then He says that at the time of Dhulqarnain (Promised Messiah) all people will rise up in support of their own
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.
All these signs will testify to the truth of the Promised Messiah. See, how the grace of the Beneficent One has
bestowed all these favours on this humble one, who is labelled a disbeliever and Dajjal by his opponents![14]
EARTHQUAKE IN CHINA APRIL 2010
An earthquake shook China at about 7:49 am local time on April 14 and registered between a 6.9 and 7.1 on the Richter scale.  The quake did widespread damage along the Tibetan Plateau and a reported 500 people have died as a result.

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.[15]

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.[16]

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.

TENNESSEE FLOOD MAY 2010
The Opryland Hotel stood in floodwaters one story deep in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday, May 3, 2010. After heavy weekend rains and flooding.
It seems God is reminding mankind all over the world that, despite our technological advancement, He is still In Charge!
The US homeland security secretary has been touring Nashville, which, along with other areas in the American South, was hit by flooding this week.
More than 30 people died as flood waters swept through the states of Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky, destroying homes and businesses.
Janet Napolitano said she expected government workers to be still cleaning up in six months time.
The cost of repairing the city is estimated to be at least $1.5bn.
The floodwaters that swept through Nashville last week didn’t discriminate, ruining trailer homes, as well as the mansions of country music’s elite.
Multi-award winning singer Keith Urban was just one artist who lost his stock of guitars to water damage.
More than 16,000 Tennessee residents have already registered for federal assistance.
But, as she toured Nashville on Saturday, the Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned there were limits to what the government could do.
“There will be individuals who will be suffering financial damage and I’m not going to say we’re going to guarantee everybody is going to be made whole,” she said.
“We will do as much as we can in every possible way that we can.”
As waters receded, volunteer cleanup efforts are gathering pace, with hundreds turning out on Saturday to provide food and shelter to those whose homes have been gutted.
Many Nashville residents had never considered protecting themselves against the risks of flooding.
“I just can’t believe it. It’s just so devastating. When I moved here I didn’t even think about getting flood insurance,” said one person.
DEADLY PLANE CRASH LEAVES A MIRACLE SURVIVOR
May 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.

UNPRECEDENTED FLASH FLOODING IN ARKANSAS IN JUNE 2010
LANGLEY, Ark. – Crews on Monday found a 20th victim of a flash flood that swept through a popular campground, but they continued searching because authorities don’t know if the body belonged to the last person thought to be missing. State police declined to identify the victim, who was found floating in the Little Missouri River. But Capt. Mike Fletcher said searchers weren’t sure if the body matched the description of the last person they were looking for.
Dozens of people were feared missing after the pre-dawn Friday flood, but authorities on Sunday narrowed their search to just one person known to have been camping at the Albert Pike Recreation Area. They said they believe many others first feared missing were camping in other parts of the state, without cell phone coverage.
A heavy storm sent a wall of water rushing down the river while most campers were sleeping, leaving them scrambling in the dark for safety amid the area’s steep terrain.
Floodwaters rose up to 8 feet per hour, pouring through the remote valley with such force that they peeled asphalt from roads. Cabins along the river banks were severely damaged, and mobile homes were tossed on their sides.
FLASH FLOODING IN FRANCE IN JUNE 2010
No week passes by without a catastrophe in one part of the world or another.  Just a few days back there was flooding in Oklahoma, USA and now France.

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.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100616/ts_afp/franceflood

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.[17]

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.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10340024.stm

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.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/latin_america/10372362.stm

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.

http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Pakistan-flooding-ravages-countryside-kills-hundreds/ss/events/wl/073010peshfloods

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.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/as_pakistan_floods

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.

BEIJING – Floods and landslides have left 3,185 people dead and more than 1,060 missing in China this year, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) said Tuesday.
Heavy rains have hit many Chinese provinces, including Gansu, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Jilin, Jiangxi and Hubei, this year.
As of Tuesday, about 230 million Chinese had been affected.
Nearly 15.2 million people had been evacuated and 16.5 million hectares of crops had been affected.
Direct economic losses stood at more than 350 billion yuan (US$51.4 billion), according to figures released by the China National Committee for Disaster Reduction.
EARTHQUAKE NEW ZEALAND SEPTEMBER 2010

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.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/nzealandquake

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11191105

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11626242

Thai floods leave 181 dead in Nov. 2010

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,

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101109/wl_asia_afp/thailandweatherfloods

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.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/11/19/colombia.rain.calamity/index.html?hpt=T2

Australia floods: Fears worsen for Brisbane, the third largest city of Australia

Jan 2011

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12167950

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRv5RTUAP_U

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12179296

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.

‘Thousands trapped’

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12187985

A hurricane heading towards Australia: Twice the size of Katrina

The storm will compound misery in Queensland, which has already been hit by months of flooding that killed 35 people and inundated hundreds of communities. Cyclone Yasi is due to hit north of the main waterlogged area, but emergency services are already stretched and the whole state is flood-weary.”This is a cyclone of savagery and intensity,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a nationally televised news conference as the storm moved toward the coast. “People are facing some really dreadful hours in front of them.”

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.

http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/australia-cyclone-queensland_2011-02-02

The hurricane or the cyclone as it is called in that part of the world is expected to hit Queensland on Saturday. It is category 5 hurricane, “Winds at the center of the storm were gusting up to 186 mph (300 kph).”In time of great distress, humans have no real choice except for praying to God or stubborness that only a few extreme cases are able to demonstrate. Note the sentence in the news, “‘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.

New Zealand Quake Kills at least 65

 

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.

Many in Christchurch have been on edge since the September 4, 2010 quake which caused massive damage but no loss of life, with more than 5,000 aftershocks ravaging the city of 390,000 — New Zealand’s second largest.

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.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/nzealandquakeviolence

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12709598

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.

Explosion at Japan’s quake-hit nuclear plantMy sympathies and prayers go to the victims and their families

March 12, 2011

The blast came as plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) worked desperately to reduce pressures in the core of the reactor that — if not contained — could lead to a release of radiation into the atmosphere.

“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.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2011-03/12/content_12161819.htm

Rescuers scramble to save lives as aftershocks jolt Japan
Shirakawa, Japan (CNN) — Rescuers plucked dazed survivors from collapsed homes, muddy waters and raging fires Saturday, a day after a powerful earthquake tore through northeastern Japan, unleashing waves that swallowed entire neighborhoods along the coast.
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

CNN 2011-03-17 20:41:08
Tokyo (CNN) — I’ve been asked questions along this theme multiple times, from my friends and family in the United States to colleagues who work around the globe: How, amid Japan’s worst natural disaster in 100 years, can the Japanese seem so calm?

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

Delivered on March 18, 2011
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (Hudhur) explained that a true believer continues to call on God after trouble is averted while the ungrateful get embroiled in bad ways. As the blessed model of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) demonstrated, true believers do not just fear God at the time of their own trouble, rather when affliction falls on others, it instils fear of God in them. Hudhur said whether the calamities be of the past or current times, if a true believer fears God through the bad ending of ancient people, how much more should the present disasters make one turn to God and fear Him. However, the majority attributes natural disasters to simply climatic changes and laws of nature. It is correct that natural disasters occur due to the laws of nature. Earthquakes happen when the earth’s plate tectonics move. It is correct that New Zealand, Japan and many islands are located on plate tectonics and that is why they experience more earthquakes. However, it is also noteworthy that the one commissioned by God in the current age foretold earthquakes.
Many years ago, during his Tabligh efforts, one of our missionaries in Ghana Mubasher sahib, was told by the local ulema (religious leaders/scholars) that earthquakes were one sign of the coming of the Mahdi and if his claim about the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was truthful, then they wanted a sign of earthquake in their country. Earthquakes are not common in Ghana. The missionary sahib prayed and it so happened that an earthquake occurred in Ghana. This created a lot of restlessness among the Christians and many came into the fold of Ahmadiyya Islam and this sign became most renowned. Hudhur said we observe that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has indeed connected his advent with earthquakes and other natural disasters. Having being informed by God, he foretold that natural disaster would take place as a sign for him. He wrote: ‘Addressing me God Almighty said: ‘You are a warner on my behalf. I have sent you so that the guilty ones be separated from the righteous, ‘and He said, ‘A warner came unto the world but the world accepted him not, yet God will accept him and demonstrate his truthfulness with mighty onslaughts.’ And, ‘I shall bless thee, so much so that kings shall seek blessings from thy garments.’ And God informed me of another impending earthquake which would be of utmost severity and said: ‘Again the spring came and again the word of God was fulfilled.’ Thus another massive earthquake is bound to occur, but the righteous are safe from it. Be righteous, therefore, and fear God that you may be saved. Fear God today so that you may remain safe from the fear of that Day. It is inevitable for the heaven to show some sign for the earth to do likewise. But those who fear God shall be saved. God’s Word informed me that many calamities will occur and many disasters will descend on the earth – some during my life time and some after I have gone. And He will promote and advance this Jama’at to the full. A part of it will happen at my hands, and some after me.’ (The Will, pp. 3 – 5).
Hudhur said he has explained it before that the natural disasters that have occurred in the last 100 years have exceeded all previous records. God is repeatedly demonstrating these signs in different part of the world. Therefore, we should repeatedly keep this warning in view and strengthen our faith and take this message to the world.
Last week an extremely powerful earthquake hit Japan. It was followed by a tsunami which obliterated many towns. Hudhur said our team is on the ground helping the victims. En route they rang and said they were passing through a desolated area where once a town of 15,000 inhabitants stood. Roads, large buildings were wiped out. Hudhur said this is a most frightening situation and we should follow in the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and pray that may God enable these people to recognize the truth so that they may be saved from disasters; may God open their hearts. For this, we too have to take the message to them.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had a particularly good intuition about the Japanese people. So, while they suffer from earthquakes, in light of the Promised Messiah’s (on whom be peace) good intuition, if they understand the true teachings, they can be saved. Our Jama’at in Japan is small, but it should try its very best to take this message to people. In the current situation, discretion should be used in taking this message to them alongside service to humanity. Our Ahmadi camps are indeed serving humanity there, but they need to make these links permanent so that people know about Ahmadiyyat. Hudhur said the Japanese are very proud of their Shinto and Buddhists beliefs. It is said that both these belief systems are observed in Japan. Marriages take place according to Shinto beliefs where as in death Buddhist rites are observed. A very influential Japanese friend of Hudhur told Hudhur a while ago that due to their Shinto beliefs, the Japanese will not be drawn to Islam. Hudhur told him that indeed Shinto belief has many good moral aspects but one day they will have to come to Islam. Hudhur said the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wished for Tabligh in Japan and said that there should be a comprehensive book on Islam to draw the attention of the Japanese. He had said that books on Islam published by others have errors in them and were not to be trusted. He said what he presented was indeed what Islam was. Hudhur said this lays a huge responsibility on us to have such a book written in Japanese. He said he did not think such a book has yet been written. Hudhur said the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had said that even if it meant paying someone Rupee 1000, which was a huge amount in those days, to get such a book translated, it should be done. Hudhur explained that currently the Japanese translation of the Holy Qur’an is being revised by Zia sahib. Hudhur also mentioned that Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) had a vision in 1945 about which he said that the Japanese were spiritually dead at the time, but God will incline them towards Ahmadiyyat and they will hearken at his voice just as birds responded to the voice of Hadhrat Ibrahim (on whom be peace).
Hudhur said today it is our task to pay attention to this matter. It is our task to alert every nation. It is being said that there has not been such a powerful earthquake for the past 1000 years. Japan has many earthquakes and buildings are built there with this specification. However, when God’s decree comes to pass, nothing works. The Japanese plan for earthquakes of 7 to 8 Richter scale. The current earthquake measured 9 on the Richter scale and was followed by a tsunami. Man assumes that he has advanced a lot. Atomic/nuclear energy is now being utilized in beneficial ways. Although there is opposition to atomic energy in Japan because of the WWII history but it is being used there for mankind’s benefit. However, the recent earthquake has damaged a few nuclear reactors and as a result radiation is spreading. Hudhur said he has just received a fax informing him that as the attempt by helicopters to drop water at the reactors to cool them down has not worked, they are now hosing water at the reactors with tanks belonging to the fire brigade. Hudhur said may God bless and save from further destruction. Hudhur said he has sent a message to all our volunteers working in Japan to take homoeopathic remedy; specific medicine in specific order. It should also be given out to others and if stocks are not sufficient, Humanity First should have them delivered.

South storm death toll climbs to 178; 128 in Ala.

April 2011

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.”

The weather channel reported that the frequency and severity of the tornadoes in the month of April was of epic proportions and there were more in just a month than are generally recorded in 6 month period.
Colombia: Worst flooding in country’s history
15 May 2011 Last updated at 23:30 ET Help

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13407701

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