Archive for February 29th, 2012

Winter’s Thaw Worse Than Its Freeze? Cold Kills 75 Afghan Children

posted by Sarah N Worthy IATTWJ Member @ 10:30 AM
February 29, 2012

 The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) has issued strong warnings to European nations that the hurried thawing of the Danube River has the potential of bringing more death and disaster to those regions so heavily hit by this horrible winter.  Already important cargo ships are sinking, and villages in countries like Bulgaria are severely flooded by thawing flood waters.

 But winter is not thawing in remote areas of Afghanistan where 35 children in refugee camps died from winter pneumonia just in the last two days.  That brings the number of Afghan children killed by winter’s storms to 75 in one month.

 Demanding that individual nations put forth better planning and emergency services, UNISDR insists that the European Flood Alert System faces the greatest threat in its 10-year history.  Margareta Wahlstrom, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction says:  “This severe winter in which hundreds of people have died has highlighted several weaknesses in our built environment and our ability to prepare for worst-case scenarios.

 “Vulnerable communities across Europe have been cut off from transport, schools, health facilities and electricity in many cases.”  She points out that thousands are still snowbound from Serbia to Bulgaria.

 Moreover, Ms. Wahlstrom foresees even greater loss of life and property in nations where there is no flood management infrastructure, such as dams and dikes.  There must be “more focus on winterization planning” she said.

 Spiegel Online reports that “dislodged slabs of melting ice . . . crash into and sink boats and barges anchored on the river, causing hundreds of thousands of euros in damage.”  In Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, ice floes have sunk the “city’s most popular restaurant, a popular tourist attraction.”

 The Associated Press explains:  “Officials are now trying to determine if the thaw will cause more heavy flooding, bringing more misery to a region where more than 600 have already died because of the extreme cold.”

 AP also lauds U.S. military helicopters for evacuating people from parts of Montenegro cut off from the mainland.  And in Germany, with the Danube still frozen, shipping remains at a standstill.  Environmental News Service (ENS) reports that the Bulgarian government started disinfecting of drinking water sources, and that countries have ruled out using TNT to break up huge ice floes.

 Afghanistan is a Third World country, and if war had not forced them into refugee camps, those children may still be alive.  But what is Europe’s excuse for being so unprepared for winter.  Surely they remember The LORD Jesus’ warning in wholesale Christian Bibles, “pray ye that your flight be not in winter (Mark 13: 18).”  Surely more modern Europe should be prepared for this time of death in 2012, but perhaps no people or nations are truly ready for these times we live in!

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