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Flooded. A country that was not ready to fight climate change

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It was Germany’s worst natural disaster in 60 years. “Catastrophic” floods that have flooded the country have resulted in hundreds of injuries, dozens of missing persons and at least 156 deaths, even though police believe there will be “more casualties. But this does not mean that this is the last and unexpected incident at the moment. “Extreme weather events like those affecting Central Europe occur all over the world and have different configurations: floods, but also heat waves,” Francisco Ferreira, president of the Zero ecologists association, describes the phenomenon.

However, before thinking about how to prevent the next natural disaster, rescue teams and law enforcement are now committed to cleaning up German cities and helping those in need.

Tens of thousands of emergency services and at least 850 soldiers were sent to the hardest hit areas in helicopters, armored vehicles and boats to rescue people trapped in water and debris.

Politicians are also approaching this chaotic environment to express condolences and witness the devastating effects of the flood with their own eyes.

Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Rhineland-Palatinate region, one of the regions hardest hit by the floods, with over 130 deaths so far, and pledged to use all government aid to help rebuild. “From here we get a real image of what was happening in front of a surreal and ghostly panorama,” the chancellor said. “I would almost say that in German it is difficult to find words to describe the destruction caused,” he added.

The countries of Central Europe were particularly affected by floods. Belgium has recorded 20 deaths and at least 20 missing people. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo expressed concern that the balance of casualties would get worse. “In many places, the situation remains extremely critical,” he said at a press conference.

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The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland also suffered serious material damage.

Changing of the climate It is no coincidence that these events are taking place in Central and Northern Europe. Francisco Ferreira explained to i that these high rainfall events are exacerbated by global warming and subsequent climate change.

These changes cause a decrease in the temperature difference on a continental scale, releasing more heat at the two poles of the Earth, which leads to a slower circulation of air masses. “Thus, heavy rain, instead of spreading over a larger area, concentrates in a more specific region, soils quickly become saturated and lose their ability to infiltrate, which leads to very high surface runoff, for which cities and infrastructures are not ready because they were built. based on the previous climatological standard, ”said the president of Zero.

This tragedy raised several questions from experts about the ability of the German authorities to prepare for the increasingly visible consequences of global warming and its unpredictable consequences.

According to Francisco Ferreira, “the impacts are directly related to land-use planning and the location of urban centers, from villages to cities or infrastructure, from highways to dams, which were based on the history of a climate that has changed and is now at risk,” arguing that “ the occupation of many lands exacerbates the consequences because, by making the soil impermeable, the runoff increases. “

Germany and Belgium are living on a grisly scenario: together they have killed more than 180 people, and this is alarming for the rest of the international community. Could Portugal survive such an event?

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The Portuguese expert recalls that “we have already had situations of this kind”, describing the February 2010 case in Madeira and in parts of the mainland as the passage of storms, such as the Mondego storm in December 2019. “However, it happened in an exacerbation, but in winter, when at this moment we understand that such episodes can happen in the middle of summer,” he warns.

But this is not the only warning that leaves behind Francisco Ferreira. “We know that if the temperature rises by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era, the consequences will be much more devastating, and we are getting closer to that level,” he explains. “In addition, the climate is very stable and it will take decades to return to the previous situation. Thus, we must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, but we must also prepare ourselves for life with a new climate reality and other more serious consequences such as rising sea levels, ”the professor warns.

“If these dramatic events with huge human and material damage occur in developed countries, a costly recovery is possible, but there is financial opportunity for this,” however, he pointed to cases such as Mozambique, Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, where extreme weather events occurred in recent years, and this recovery is much more difficult, and the consequences are even more serious.

“Any cooperation in this area between developed and developing countries is essential, as stipulated in the Paris Agreement, approved in 2015,” said Francisco Ferreira.

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“Insidious wave” killed a passenger and injured four people during a cruise

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UOne person died and four were injured after a giant wave hit a cruise ship in Antarctica on Wednesday during a storm.

The cruise was bound for Ushuaia, Argentina – the main starting point for expeditions to Antarctica – when the “killer wave incident” occurred, according to a report by cruise line Viking Polaris quoted by CBS News this Friday.

“It is with great sadness that we confirm that a passenger has died as a result of the incident,” Viking Polaris said, noting that he had notified the victim’s family and expressed his “deepest condolences.”

Four other tourists “suffered non-life-threatening injuries” and were treated on board, the company said.

Speaking to WRAL-TV, Susie Gooding, a passenger on the cruise, said the wave’s impact was so “shocking” that passengers wondered if they had hit an “iceberg”.

“Everything was fine until a killer wave hit us and it happened all of a sudden,” Gooding said, adding that no one knew if “equipment needed to be prepared in order to leave the ship.”

Viking Polaris said it was “investigating facts related to this incident.”

Read also: Madeira is recognized as the “Best Cruise Destination in Europe”.

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At least 90% of the world’s population has become immune to Covid, according to WHO.

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BUT The assessment was announced by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a video press conference.

However, Ghebreyesus warned that “gaps in surveillance, testing, sequencing” of the genetics of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 and “in vaccination continue to create ideal conditions for the emergence of a worrying new variant that could cause significant mortality.”

The world-dominant SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus variant of concern to Omicron has more than 500 subvariants, all highly contagious and with genetic mutations that make it easier to overcome immune barriers without causing serious disease. WHO.

In total, the covid-19 pandemic has caused 6.6 million deaths globally and about 640 million infections, according to notifications made by countries to the WHO, which noted that the real number is much higher given cases have not always been communicated.

More than 8,500 deaths from covid-19 have been reported in the past week, a number that the WHO director-general deemed “unacceptable after three years of a pandemic” because there are “tools to prevent infections and save lives.” .

Covid-19 is a respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, discovered in 2019 in China and rapidly spreading around the world, with several variants and sub-variants.

Read also: COVID-19. Azores with 63 new cases in the last week

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Villarrica already has a large lava lake and high seismic activity.

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The Villarrica volcano in La Araucanía, Chile, one of the largest in the world, showed signs of an impending eruption last Thursday, and experts recorded a “greater intensity and height of incandescence” that ranged from 80 to 220 meters above sea level. its crater – a few days ago we managed to fly over the volcano and a large lava lake was recorded, the temperature of which reached 1043 degrees. High seismic activity has also been noted. Chile’s National Geological and Mining Service (Sernageomin) has already issued a yellow alert.

In any case, the experts of the Chilean government spoke in detail about the possibility of an eruption. According to Sernageomina, “small explosions are expected inside the crater, the impact of which is limited to an area close to the crater of the volcano.”

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