Australian Wildfires: January 2013

Tasmaniaexperienced its peak temperature since records began with levels hitting 41.8C onFriday 4th January

The heatwave, which began in Western Australia on December 27 and lasted eight days, was the fiercest in more than 80 years in that state and has spread east across the nation, making it the widest-ranging heatwave in more than a decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
Due to the dry conditions, fires broke out across Tazmania. Thousands of people have been stranded and at least 100 homes destroyed as wildfires sweep through the area.
Watch: 9 NEWS Australia VIDEO REPORT
On the island, holidaymakers and Tasmanian locals have been forced to flee by boat as at least 100 properties have been destroyed, a large number in the small community of Dunalley, east of Hobart, where the police station and school were burned down.
Al Jazeera Video report:
In Dunalley, the picturesque fishing town where properties including the school, police station and bakery were destroyed, residents told how they were forced to dive into a canal to escape the flames on Friday.
7 NEWS Australia Video report:
Large parts of south-east Australiaare suffering from the worst fire conditions since the Black Saturday disaster almost four years ago, when 173 people in rural Victoria lost their lives.
Watch: BBC News VIDEO REPORT

Can the body cope with 50c? Read the article here to find out more As a result of the extreme temperatures, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology have had to add a new colour to their temperature maps. Watch the video to find out more

UPDATE – 7th January 2013: South East Australia was starting to see wildfires spreading following a heatwave that had seen record breaking temperatures:

VIDEO – Tasmanian family hide in the sea to escape fire tornadoes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20959468 Jan 09, 2013
VIDEO – How La Nina has helped to make the Australian wildfires more intense: http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/features/20948259 Jan 09, 2013
IMAGES – Collection of pictures showing ‘catastrophic’impact of the wildfires in Australia:  Jan 09, 2013


UPDATE – January 12th 2013:

VIDEO – Roads melt in Australia. Record temperatures in the outback cause havoc:
VIDEO: Massive Australian duststorm looks like a giant red wave. Footage and explanation:

Report from ITN on the ‘red wave’:
As the fires continue to rage, many volunteer firefighters have been called in to help with the containment effort. Among them are chefs, electricians and pilots. Backburning is now being used to contain the spread of the fires. Find out more about how this works here by watching this report from Al Jazeera English here:

Sources: BBC News, New Zealand Herald, 9 NEWS, Al Jazeera, 7 NEWS, BBC Weather, CNN, The Atlantic Wire
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Sahel drought problem

Millions of people in the Sahel region are facing severe food shortages because of drought.

The Sahel is a dry stretch of land south of the Sahara that stretches across 12 countries. Several of them have declared food emergencies, including Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso. View an interactive map for more information here


Al Jazeera reports in-depth on the current situation across the Sahel.


Watch the report here:


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There is also a wealth of information via the special report page on the Al Jazeera website here – well worth a look if you want to learn more about this under-reported crisis.

Brazil: Jardim Gramacho, Rio’s wasteland

France 24 – Jardim Gramacho, on the edge of Rio de Janeiro, is the largest landfill in Latin America. With the UN Summit on Sustainable Development coming to town, it’s finally shutting down after 30 years.

That means the end of an era for thousands of “catadores” who make their living sorting through the trash – they’ll have to move on. But its closure heralds the dawn of a new age in Rio: separating garbage and recycling it.

Watch this video for more: