Indonesia seeds clouds to block rainfall after floods killed at least 67 people

Indonesia seeds clouds to block rainfall after floods killed at least 67 people
1 / 4
A drone view shows an area affected by heavy rain brought flash floods and landslides in Tanah Datar, West Sumatra province, Indonesia, on May 12, 2024. (Antara Foto via Reuters)
Indonesia seeds clouds to block rainfall after floods killed at least 67 people
2 / 4
People inspect the damage caused by a flash flood in Tanah Datar, West Sumatra, Indonesia, on May 15, 2024.(AP)
Indonesia seeds clouds to block rainfall after floods killed at least 67 people
3 / 4
A damaged area is seen after flash floods and cold lava flow from a volcano in Tanah Datar, West Sumatra, on May 12, 2024. (AFP)
Indonesia seeds clouds to block rainfall after floods killed at least 67 people
4 / 4
A damaged area is seen after flash floods and cold lava flow from a volcano in Tanah Datar, West Sumatra, on May 12, 2024. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 16 May 2024
Follow

Indonesia seeds clouds to block rainfall after floods killed at least 67 people

Indonesia seeds clouds to block rainfall after floods killed at least 67 people
  • Monsoon rains triggered a landslide of mud and cold lava from Mount Marapi, eventually causing rivers to breach their banks
  • Cloud seeding involves dispersing particles into clouds to create precipitation, thereby modifying the weather

TANAH DATAR, Indonesia: Indonesian authorities seeded clouds on Wednesday, trying to prevent further rain and flash floods after deluges that hit Sumatra Island over the weekend left at least 67 people dead and another 20 missing.
Monsoon rains triggered a landslide of mud and cold lava from Mount Marapi, eventually causing rivers to breach their banks. The deluge tore through mountainside villages in four districts in West Sumatra province just before midnight on Saturday.
The floods swept away people and dozens of homes and submerged hundreds of houses and buildings, forcing more than 1,500 families to flee to temporary government shelters, according to National Disaster Management Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari.
He said 67 bodies had been pulled from mud and rivers by Wednesday, mostly in the worst-hit Agam and Tanah Datar districts, while rescuers are searching for 20 people reported missing. About 44 villagers were injured.
Cloud seeding involves dispersing particles into clouds to create precipitation, thereby modifying the weather.
National Disaster Management Agency chief Suharyanto said the aim of Wednesday’s action was to redirect the rain elsewhere and keep the search operation free of downpours, which could hamper the rescuers’ progress.
Suharyanto, who goes by a single name like many Indonesians, said the emergency response will last until May 25. Authorities are evaluating which areas are no longer inhabitable and which residents need to be relocated “from the danger zone.”
Suharyanto spoke during a visit to the devastated villages in hard-hit Tanah Datar district on Wednesday.
Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency head Dwikorita Karnawati has said that more rain was forecast for West Sumatra in the coming days, and that extreme rainfall could continue until next week.
Karnawati said an air force plane was sent up to shoot salt flares into the clouds on Wednesday to get the clouds to release water and break up before they reach the devastated areas in West Sumatra province. About 15 tons of salt have been prepared for the seeding operation, she said.
Muhari, the disaster agency spokesperson, said Indonesia’s air force teamed up with the country’s technology agency to carry out two rounds of cloud seeding Wednesday each using a ton of sodium chloride, or salt.
Rescue workers meanwhile combed through rivers and the rubble of devastated villages where roads were transformed into murky brown rivers and villages were left covered by thick mud, rocks, and uprooted trees.
Heavy rains cause frequent landslides and flash floods in Indonesia, an archipelago nation of more than 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near floodplains.
Marapi has been active since an eruption late last year that killed 23 climbers. It is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia. The country is prone to seismic upheaval because of its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.
 


Saudi nature reserve becomes Kingdom’s ‘first major biodiversity site’

Saudi nature reserve becomes Kingdom’s ‘first major biodiversity site’
Updated 3 min 47 sec ago
Follow

Saudi nature reserve becomes Kingdom’s ‘first major biodiversity site’

Saudi nature reserve becomes Kingdom’s ‘first major biodiversity site’
  • Accreditation follows evaluation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve by the international organization Key Biodiversity Areas

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve has been granted accreditation as “the first major biodiversity site in the Kingdom.”

The organization Key Biodiversity Areas confirmed the accreditation, after an evaluation based on international standards, on its website on Wednesday. It said the reserve meets three global standards, including the presence of endangered species, and so qualifies for inclusion. The announcement coincided with International Day for Biological Diversity, which takes place on May 22 each year.

KBA works to monitor and preserve approved sites of great importance as part of its efforts to sustain biological diversity on a global level, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Saudi reserve is managed by the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve Development Authority with the aim of protecting endangered species, developing natural habitats, raising environmental awareness among the public, and reducing natural and human threats to the area. It is considered the largest nature reserve in the Middle East, covering a total area of 130,700 square kilometers.


Saudi Arabia participates in UN tourism body meeting

Saudi Arabia participates in UN tourism body meeting
Updated 5 min 35 sec ago
Follow

Saudi Arabia participates in UN tourism body meeting

Saudi Arabia participates in UN tourism body meeting

Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb headed the Kingdom’s delegation at the UN World Tourism Organization’s 50th meeting of the regional committee for the Middle East, on Wednesday in Muscat.

During his speech, the Saudi minister stressed the Kingdom’s openness to cooperate with member states to adopt joint regional tourism projects to attract international visitors to the region. 

Al-Khateeb thanked the Omani Minister of Heritage and Tourism Salem Al-Mahrouqi for the hospitality and extended his appreciation to the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and other officials for their efforts to advance the tourism sector globally.


Blinken urges Egypt to ensure aid is flowing into Gaza

Blinken urges Egypt to ensure aid is flowing into Gaza
Updated 8 min 38 sec ago
Follow

Blinken urges Egypt to ensure aid is flowing into Gaza

Blinken urges Egypt to ensure aid is flowing into Gaza
  • Fighting near the crossing has made providing assistance challenging, but aid could still be getting through, Blinken said
  • “We do strongly urge our Egyptian partners to do everything that they can on their end of things to make sure that assistance is flowing“

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday urged Egypt to do everything it can to make sure humanitarian aid is flowing into Gaza as food and medicine bound for the strip piles up on the Egyptian side.
Blinken told a hearing in the House of Representatives that the Rafah crossing in southern Gaza remained closed after Israel’s military seized it on May 7.
Fighting near the crossing has made providing assistance challenging, but aid could still be getting through, Blinken said, an apparent reference to the Kerem Shalom crossing near Rafah that has been open.
“So we need to find a way to make sure that the assistance that would go through Rafah can get through safely, but we do strongly urge our Egyptian partners to do everything that they can on their end of things to make sure that assistance is flowing,” Blinken said.
Israel is retaliating against Hamas in Gaza — an enclave of 2.3 million people — over a brutal Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian militants. Aid access into southern Gaza has been disrupted since Israel stepped up military operations in Rafah, a move that the UN says has forced 900,000 people to flee and has raised tensions with Egypt.
Egyptian security sources said Egypt cannot bring aid in through Rafah as this would mean an acceptance of the Israeli military’s presence at the crossing, which Egypt opposes.
Egypt’s foreign minister said on Monday that the Israeli military presence and combat operations put truck drivers in danger.
Israel’s strategic affairs minister, Ron Dermer, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” the hold-up was Egypt’s fault.
“Right now, Egypt is withholding 2,000 trucks of humanitarian assistance from going into Gaza because they have a political issue about the Rafah crossing,” Dermer said.


What We Are Reading Today: The World Atlas of Rivers, Estuaries, and Deltas

What We Are Reading Today: The World Atlas of Rivers, Estuaries, and Deltas
Updated 13 min 57 sec ago
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: The World Atlas of Rivers, Estuaries, and Deltas

What We Are Reading Today: The World Atlas of Rivers, Estuaries, and Deltas

Authors: Jim Best, Stephen Darby, Luciana Esteves, & Carol Wilson 

From the Congo and the Mekong to the Seine and the Mississippi, Earth’s rivers carve through landscapes before coursing into the world’s oceans through estuaries and deltas.

“The World Atlas of Rivers, Estuaries, and Deltas” takes readers on an unforgettable tour of these dynamic bodies of water, explaining how they function at each stage of their flow.


Nepal’s ‘Everest Man’ claims record 30th summit

Nepal’s ‘Everest Man’ claims record 30th summit
Updated 16 min 46 sec ago
Follow

Nepal’s ‘Everest Man’ claims record 30th summit

Nepal’s ‘Everest Man’ claims record 30th summit

KATHMANDU: A 54-year-old Nepali climber known as “Everest Man” reached the peak of the world’s highest mountain for a record 30th time on Wednesday, three decades after his first summit.

Kami Rita Sherpa, who broke his own record after climbing the 8,849-meter peak for the 29th time earlier this month, has previously said that he was “just working” and did not plan on setting records.

“Kami Rita reached the summit this morning. Now he has made a new record with 30 summits of Everest,” Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks, his expedition organizer, told AFP.

But celebrations were overshadowed after a Romanian mountaineer was confirmed dead, and a British climber and Nepali guide were reported missing — the latest casualties highlighting the risks of the sport.

Sherpa first stood on the top of Mount Everest in 1994 when working for a commercial expedition.

Since then he has climbed Everest almost every year, guiding clients.

“I am glad for the record, but records are eventually broken,” he told AFP after his 29th climb on May 12.

“I am more happy that my climbs help Nepal be recognized in the world.”

Nepal has issued more than 900 permits for its mountains this year, including 419 for Everest, earning more than $5 million in royalties. Around 500 climbers and their guides have already reached the summit of Everest after a rope-fixing team reached the peak last month.

This year, China also reopened the Tibetan route to foreigners for the first time since closing it in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 10 highest peaks and welcomes hundreds of adventurers each spring, when temperatures are warm and winds typically calm.

Last year more than 600 climbers made it to the summit of Everest but it was also the deadliest season on the mountain, with 18 fatalities.