‘Tidal surge sweeps past east coast of England – and surfers catch a wave’

18 11 2007

The biggest tidal surge in over 50 years threatened the coastline of East Anglia, along the east coast of England, leading to severe flood risks. Up to 7500 people were evacuated from their homes after the Environment Agency gave warning of “extreme danger to life and property” in coastal areas of Norfolk and Suffolk. Water levels reached their highest, 2.75m, between 7am and 8am, although the prediction had estimated a peak of 30cm higher. There were no injuries or deaths, unlike a similar event in 1953 in which 300 people died. There wasn’t even any flooding to properties reported. However, hundreds faced upheaval and uncertainty, and the temporary housing in local schools and other public buildings left many with inadequate shelter and food. Many schools were closed for the day and roads and rail links were shut. Officials said there had been no reports of flood defences being broken although there had been some flooding of coastal roads because of the height of the waves.

‘Temporary flood barriers were fitted during the night around an electricity substation in Great Yarmouth to protect power supplies’ and the Dartford Creek and Thames barriers were closed to prevent widespread flooding. Gordon Brown said the Government was standing ready to help any local communities affected by the tidal surge – “Our first priority is to ensure people are safe, and that’s why over the course of yesterday and throughout the night we have been bringing in the helicopters, the sandbags, the preparations that are absolutely necessary so that people are safe”.

Related linksQ&A: flood insurance Towns kept dry by flood defences and luck

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Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article2839078.ece (November 2007)





‘Disaster in Black Sea as storm sinks tanker’

14 11 2007

A storm struck 10 ships in the Strait of Kerch, which links the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, sinking a Russian oil tanker, the Volganeft-139 and causing widespread environmental damage in The Black Sea region. Although most of the crew were rescued, five seamen were killed and 18 are still missing. The Volganeft-139 split in two and spilled at least 1300 tonnes of oil into the water. The severe weather prevented emergency workers from collecting the oil, which authorities said was sinking to the seabed. Another storm in the area is forecast, prompting a ban on tankers docking at the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk.

The environmental destruction has been severe. Birds covered in thick oil are being recovered on the shore and biodiversity is being reduced. Vladimir Chuprov, head of the energy department at Greenpeace, told the RIA Novosti news agency: “As a result of the oil spill into the sea, heavy elements of fuel oil will settle on the seabed and cause hydrocarbons to permeate the Sea of Azov. This will lead to a shortage of oxygen in the water, and the unique fauna will suffer greatly.”

Two of the other freighters that sank were carrying around 6500 tonnes of sulphur, the Russian emergency situations ministry said. Sergei Baranovsky, the president of the Green Cross environmental group, said sulphur could potentially be more hazardous to the environment than the oil.

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Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/nov/12/pollution.russia?gusrc=rss (Nov 12th 2007)