Climate Change: bringing in the New Year with natural disasters 

2017 isn't over yet and the climate seems to still be the main topic of conversation.  The tropical storm "Tembin" left a trace of death and destruction in the south of the Philippines. According to rescue teams, the heavy rainfall and floods have left 240 victims and more than 70.000 without basic commodities. According to local police, 120 thousands inhabitants of the Mindanao island had to evacuate their homes.

However, the history of Diana Salim represents the hope of the victims and the country.  Salim lives in North Zamboanga and, during the storm, the 25 years-old woman was dragged out to sea with her entire home. After 3 days, a rescue team found her alive 900 kilometers away from her town.

Meanwhile, in United States, Pennsylvania is experiencing record snowfall. According to authorities, a Christmas storm dumped a record amount of snow on the city of Erie, Pennsylvania, and its surrounding areas. The National Weather Service office in Cleveland, Ohio assured that the storm left 34 inches (86,36 centimeters) of snow, breaking the daily record in the city. In two days, the city experienced snowfall of 57 inches (1.44 meters), affecting the airport, burying cars, and converting roads IGNORE INTO ice rinks; more than 40 accidents were reported.

The authorities declared the situation a disaster emergency. Said storms are affecting the northeast and the upper Midwest. The snow is so severe that the local authorities deployed national guardsmen with Humvee ambulances.

Scientists have linked the extreme precipitations to climate change. Dork Sahagian, a professor of Earth and Environmental Science, said to The Brown and White journal that "you can't often pin a weather event on climate change, but you can say the fact that we're getting certain weather patterns may be making more likely because of the climate change that we're experiencing".

A difficult year

2017 was one of the most dramatic years when it came to  natural disasters. The hurricane season was one of the most active since 2005. Harvey, Maria, and Irma, among others, left hundreds of deaths. Wildfires in the US affected several states in the west coast, leaving damaged buildings and several casualties.

In Latin America, the panorama was also grim. In April, mudslides left hundreds of victims in the Colombian Southern province of Putumayo. Meanwhile, Mexico suffered one of the most mortal earthquake in local history.  Peru experienced floods that swept hundreds of houses and left 114 deaths and 1 million affected people.



Latin American Post |  Santiago Gómez

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