(Part of a series) This Saturday, September 29, marks 15 years since Hurricane Juan ripped through Halifax in the middle of the night toppling trees, smashing boats and knocking out power for many days and even weeks in some neighbourhoods. Wind speeds of up to 178km an hour were recorded at McNabs Island in Halifax Harbour. Continue reading
The social effects of extreme weather for the homeless, the poor, the elderly and the colonized, in the cities and on the roads; the abnegation of social responsibility and the public interest by the media and governments shows the need for empowerment. “When tragedies do occur, the monopoly media focuses on the technical mechanics of the disaster, excluding who should be held accountable, how the concerns and campaigns of the community were dealt with or ignored, and the response of the public bodies” | TONY SEED
(December 30, updated January 5) – According to the CBC, the main “news” and social consequences of the record extreme cold weather seems to be the status of outdoor civic New Year’s parties, the condition of the ice on a short-term, multi-million dollar outdoor rink erected on Parliament Hill, polar bear dips, and an outdoor World Junior hockey game between Canada and the U.S. in Buffalo on Friday December 28th.
A fiery crash of a tractor trailer truck on the QEW (pictured above) that shut down the Niagara bound lanes near Bartlett Ave. in Grimsby was reported merely as a freak obstacle or an inconvenient “long delay” to the many Canadians heading to the game. While no one was hurt this time, the damage to the highway was extensive and will take time to repair.
One CBC anchor, Hanna Thibodeau, joked with meteorologist David Phillips as to whether Russia was to blame for the Arctic front.
In seeming contrast, CBC published on December 29 a long photo feature titled “Toronto has officially frozen over. See it here in all its icy glory” highlighting the beauty of a nature that is benign. The kicker called on readers to “Take in the stunning sights of the city during the deep freeze.” (The photos were submitted.)
As 2017 ends, the working people face a media onslaught about what is going on in Canada and around the world, of which the weather occupies one sphere. We think that a sober approach going into 2018 is of importance.
An awesome lake effect snow squall (snowsquall) drops heavy snow over Sudbury on February 27, 2014. Lake effect squalls from Georgian Bay are noted for their persistence and linear banding, producing blinding visibility on Highway 400.
The following reflection was written on February 28, 2014 but for some reasons was not published at the time. I am posting it now in the midst of the extreme cold weather front that is gripping Canada and the United States.
The view from Blantyre
By TONY SEED
WHEN extreme weather event strikes, the reporting of the media proceeds from the premise of the insurance companies: it is a supernatural “act of God,” a natural disaster divorced from the social conditions made by man. It has become a genre and given a name – disaster journalism. It was all so “unexpected.” Hurricane Katrina? Just blew in suddenly from the Gulf. That ice storm in Atlanta? The weather suddenly shifted upstate in the morning. That tsunami in the Indian Ocean? No-one at the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii had the phone number of the Sri Lanka president and hence the island received no warning. Thousands of people, mainly poor fishers, along the eastern and southern coastline were engulfed by the deep blue sea, as if an act of Buddha. Due to the large number of victims, that far-off disaster did make the evening news. These were not “accidents”; natural disasters became crimes. Continue reading
Signs at emergency rally for Puerto Rico, Philadelphia, September 29, 2017.
By VOICE OF REVOLUTION*
New York City and Buffalo’s Puerto Rican community, alongside that of Boston and Chicago, and joined by all those concerned across the country, have rallied support for the millions contending with no power, no drinking water and the broad devastation across Puerto Rico. It is the people in the U.S. and Puerto Rico who are setting up facebook pages to provide information about conditions in various towns, reach out to family in Puerto Rico where lack of power means communication is down, set-up fund raising campaigns, and organizing together for the recovery. Continue reading
cpcml.ca (May 5) – The evacuation of Fort McMurray is now complete, with close to 90,000 people forced to leave as the devastating forest fires continue to rage. The people of Fort McMurray and emergency workers are being widely recognized for their strong community response in accomplishing the evacuation of their city under extremely perilous conditions.
The Alberta government declared a provincial state of emergency. Authorities report that two people were killed in a tragic accident on highway 881 south of Fort McMurray amidst heavy traffic of evacuees. There are presently no other known deaths or serious injuries.
Firefighters continue heroic efforts on the ground and in the air to battle the devastating wildfires burning in Fort McMurray and area. Five dozen firefighters from the state of Jalisco, Mexico have now joined the hundreds of firefighters from Wood Buffalo, Slave Lake, and Edmonton, working to suppress the fire. They are here to fight the massive blaze in the Wood Buffalo region as well as forest fires across the province, including one west of Edmonton that is destroying homes and has caused the evacuation of the Alexis Sioux First Nations and the Glenevis area in Lac Ste. Anne County West of Edmonton. One hundred firefighters from Ontario are on their way, and hundreds of firefighters from across the country are on standby to assist when needed.
Three subdivisions in Fort McMurray have suffered extensive damage to homes and businesses and seven more communities in Wood Buffalo have also experienced serious damage. At least 1,600 structures (homes and businesses) have been lost. Fire officials are warning that a lethal combination of high temperatures and winds and low humidity means that the crisis is far from over. The fire covers more than 10,000 hectares (100 square kilometres).