The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report saying 2017 will be the most expensive year on record for natural disasters, between the Western wildfires, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and other disasters. A total of $306 billion was done in damages, $265 billion from hurricanes. The year’s disaster death toll was 362.
A study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday reported hurricanes have become more sluggish since the mid-20th century, presenting greater danger for people residing in their path. Hurricanes are staying in one place for longer and causing more damage. Last year’s Hurricane Harvey demonstrated the increased damage that can be done by lingering storms.
At least 85 people have died and 58 remain missing as torrential rains continued to hit western parts of Japan on Sunday. The government pleaded with affected residents to ‘take adequate actions.’ The largest of the California wildfires has been half-contained as thousands of firefighters continue to battle fires across the state.
Heavy rains, Tuesday, in Southern California caused mudslides and flooding, leaving at least 13 dead, and 163 taken to the hospital. Police said the area, ‘looked like a World War One battlefield.’ Officials believe many of the deaths were in the coastal Montecito area, where the mudslides carried debris left from the Thomas Fire.
The search for survivors of the mudslides in Southern California continued Wednesday, with 500 firefighters and other rescue workers searching debris, as the death toll reached 17. The mudslide destroyed more than 100 homes, leaving another 300 damaged. Another 28 injuries have been reported in Santa Barbara County, with 17 people reported missing.
On the Portuguese island of Madeira, a large hollow tree fell at a religious ceremony, killing 13 people and injuring 49. Reports say the tree was an oak that was 200 years old. 3 days of mourning have fallen over the island after the shocking accident, which was streamed on Facebook live by onlookers.
An increased probability of a larger eruption at Mount Agung has triggered more evacuations from the Indonesian Island of Bali. Though scheduled to reopen for travel Tuesday, Bali’s international airport could remain closed based on conditions. The United States State Department deemed travel to and from Bali safe, as of Monday, warning customers that extra travel expenses may be implemented.
Volcanic eruptions from Mount Agung, Saturday, prompted evacuation of nearly 100,000 Bali residents, with authorities issuing highest-level warnings. Bali’s international airport has been shut down, leaving hordes of travelers stranded. The designated danger zone was increased to 10 kilometers, with the National Board for Disaster Management claiming a potential larger eruption is ‘imminent.’
Yesterday, heavy rains caused landslides across Sierra Leone, leading to the death of over 300 people. The number of casualties is expected to rise, with locals trying to retrieve bodies by themselves from the rubble. As a result of the landslide, over 2,000 people are now homeless.
A fire in central Portugal broke out on Saturday leaving 62 fatalities and is now being called one of the worst disasters in the country’s recent history. The forest fire is thought to have begun from lightning from a dry thunderstorm, according to José Maria de Almeida Rodrigues, the national director of Portugal’s judicial police. Most recent reports dating to Sunday say that the fire is still raging.