German militarism destroys wildlife

This 13 September 2018 from Germany says about itself (translated):

The German Armed Forces [Bundeswehr] are unable to control the moor fire on their test site in Meppen and have now asked for assistance from the German Technical Relief Agency (THW). …

According to the Bundeswehr, this affects about six hectares of land. …

The moor fire had been triggered in a shooting war game with air-to-ground missiles. “Especially with an extreme drought like this summer, something like that can happen”, said a spokesman.

The Emsland Conservation League criticizes that the Bundeswehr has tested ammunition in such dry soil conditions. Small animals such as lizards, snakes and insects were bound to be killed by the resulting conflagration. In addition, the atmospheric aerosol particles pollution caused by the fire should not be underestimated.

The Bundeswehr admitted errors this week. Like, this time no aerial firefighting helicopter had been present. We underestimated the danger, said a spokesman. In addition, a special vehicle broke down. To make matters worse, a moorland fire is a special situation for the emergency services. Because the fire can eat deep into the lower layers of the bog. It was “a smoldering, a cooking of the vegetation”, a Bundeswehr spokesman formulated. …

The effects of the fire have been felt in recent days due to strong south-westerly winds, even at a greater distance. After initially people in Oldenburg had complained of smoke smell, the smoke has been smelled in the meantime also in Bremen and in 230 kilometers away Hamburg. On Tuesday afternoon, citizens in both Hanseatic cities had reported smoke smell to the control centers, the fire brigades reported.

Today, 18 September, it is five days later. No more ‘six hectares’ now: five hundred hectares, five square kilometers. Dutch NOS TV reports today (translated):

German peat fire caused by missile test difficult to fight

In a nature reserve near the German town Meppen, just across the Dutch border at Emmen, firefighters have been working for almost two weeks to extinguish a wildfire that has arisen during a missile test.

During the war game, soldiers fired missiles from a helicopter. The caterpillar vehicle that had to extinguish the resulting fire after the exercise broke down, while the replacement vehicle was in the workshop for repair. This allowed the smoldering fire to spread. …

From regional politics there is criticism of the military exercise in the area. “While civilians are told not to throw cigarette butts away during a dry period, the military is having weapons tests that cause wildfires“, said Christian Meyer, former minister of agriculture and current Vice President of the Green party in Lower Saxony.


Hurricane Florence threatens USA, Trump reacts

Hurricane Florence and Trump, cartoon

This cartoon, by Argus in Dutch daily Metro today, is about Hurricane Florence now threatening the USA, and President Donald Trump’s reaction to it.

CNN HOST SLAMS TRUMP JR. ON FLOODING Anderson Cooper tore into Donald Trump Jr. after the president’s son claimed the CNN anchor was faking the depths of North Carolina floodwaters to make his father look bad. “I didn’t see him down in North Carolina in the last few days helping out, lending a hand, but I’m sure he was busy doing something important besides just tweeting lies,” Cooper said. [HuffPost]

Here’s how climate change is fueling Hurricane Florence: here.

Hurricane Florence kills five in North Carolina, leaves nearly one million without power: here.

15 DEAD FROM FLORENCE Volunteer rescuers are going door to door in search of residents who refused to flee the rapidly rising waters in Lumberton, North Carolina. The death toll rose to at least 15 from Florence, which crashed into the state as a hurricane Friday, bringing record rainfall. The heavy rains caused a slope to collapse at a coal-ash landfill at a closed power station near the coast. [HuffPost]

Thirty-one dead as Hurricane Florence continues to ravage the Carolinas: here.

FLORENCE IS THE TRAIN WRECK FORECASTER WARNED ABOUT Days after landfall, the remnant of Florence continues to pummel flood-scarred communities in North Carolina. This is the slow-motion train wreck forecasters warned about. [HuffPost]

TYPHOON BATTERS HONG KONG The world’s most powerful storm this year battered Hong Kong, collapsing bamboo scaffolding, tearing the corner off a building and slamming the waterfront with nearly 13-foot surges. Typhoon Mangkhut’s winds reached roughly 106 mph as the storm barreled westward into China’s Guangdong Province. [HuffPost]

Typhoon Mangkhut kills dozens in the Philippines, leaves trail of destruction in China and Hong Kong: here.

Hurricane threatens South Carolina, USA

This 10 September 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Meteorologist Ashley Batey is tracking Florence as it strengthens in the Atlantic. The hurricane is expected to slam into the East Coast near the Carolinas as a Category 3 or 4 storm.

ONE MILLION TOLD TO LEAVE SOUTH CAROLINA South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) ordered a mandatory evacuation of the state’s coastline ahead of Hurricane Florence’s expected arrival. Approximately 1 million people in eight counties have until noon today to evacuate, the governor said.[HuffPost]

CLIMATE BILL HAUNTS N.C. OFFICIALS In 2012, North Carolina legislators passed a bill that barred policymakers and developers from using up-to-date climate science to plan for rising sea levels on the coast. Now, Hurricane Florence threatens to cause a devastating storm surge that could put thousands of lives in danger. [HuffPost]

‘Politicians guilty in London Grenfell disaster’

 Firefighters observe the wreckage of Grenfell Tower

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Monday, September 10, 2018

TUC 2018: Politicians should be held accountable for Grenfell Tower blaze, congress hears

CONGRESS called for politicians to be held to account today over the decisions that led to 72 people dying in the Grenfell Tower blaze last year.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said it was chilling that Grenfell Tower’s refurbishment had turned it into a death trap, with ventilation and safety systems not functioning and the cladding meaning the whole building was “effectively wrapped in petrol”.

Grenfell Tower was safer in 1974 than in 2017. That raises some pretty fundamental questions”, he pointed out.

Unite‘s Maxine Loza, a bus driver from the Grenfell neighbourhood, said a colleague had “lost his home and his daughter” in the fire.

She called for the public inquiry to “be bolder” and “bring scrutiny to the deregulation of building standards.”

The atrocity was “not unlucky but the result of decisions taken by people in authority”, she said, backing Mr Wrack’s call for politicians responsible to be “held to account”.

Composite 3 on Grenfell also called for an end to outsourcing health and safety and building control as well as a ban on combustible materials on the external walls of buildings.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has published a damning report showing successive governments ignored its warnings about building cladding systems nearly 20 years before the entirely avoidable fire that killed 72 at Grenfell Tower last year: here.

DELEGATES at the Trade Union Congress in Manchester yesterday voted unanimously for Composite Motion 3: Grenfell Tower. The motion condemns the tragedy where 72 men, women and children died while also condemning the use of flammable cladding and the lack of safety regulation: here.