Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Disaster Recovery


Large earthquake strikes near Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands

A large earthquake has just shaken eastern Papua New Guinea and nearby islands, the U.S. Geological Survey is reporting.

The magnitude 7.5 quake – which is pretty severe as far as earthquakes go – struck around 4:48 PM Pacific Time (2015-03-29 23:48:31).

Not many details are known as this time.

The closet major human settlement is Kokopo. Here’s a list of major cities and their distances from the quake epicenter:

  1. 55km (34mi) SE of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
  2. 281km (175mi) ENE of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
  3. 310km (193mi) SE of Kavieng, Papua New Guinea
  4. 367km (228mi) WNW of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
  5. 787km (489mi) NE of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami warning for Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.


We are horrified that something of this nature could have been taken place… It is the worst nightmare that anyone can have in our company.

— Carsten Spohr, the chief executive of Lufthansa, speaking at a news conference in Cologne, Germany (via The New York Times).

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Another day, another pipeline explosion

MSNBC: “Rachel Maddow reports on a natural gas pipeline in Brooke County, West Virginia that exploded in a huge fireball, the fifth pipeline accident in the U.S. so far this month.”

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Four Mount Ontake climbers confirmed dead after eruption

Japanese media are reporting that four of the thirty-one people known to be on or near the peak of Mount Ontake have been confirmed dead after their bodies were found by rescuers. The ten thousand foot mountain is the second highest volcano in Japan.

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Storm swamps Phoenix: Mesa flooding a ‘slow-moving disaster’

The Arizona-Republic reports on the historic flash flooding that has turned ordinarily dry metro Phoenix into a swampy mess.

Earthquake-damaged building in Napa

The 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Napa Valley area on August 24th has left many buildings, including this one at the corner of Main & Clinton, in bad shape. (Photo: California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services)

Reporters stand in front of damaged Napa building

“The day after! Downtown Napa after the quake. News crews use one of the most damaged buildings as a backdrop to their reports.” (Photo: Mark Gunn)

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Magnitude 6.0 quake rocks Northern California

The most powerful earthquake to strike Northern California since the 1989 Loma Prieta tumbler has caused extensive damage in and around the Napa area. The quake struck in the middle of the night, at 3:20 AM, injuring some ninety people, rupturing gas mains, and ruining building façades. California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency.


We have proof that the terrorist attack was planned and carried out with the involvement of representatives of the Russian Federation… We know that Russia is trying to hide its terrorist activity and their direct involvement.

— Vitaly Nayda, the head of counterintelligence for the Ukrainian State Security Service, expressing his government’s conclusion that Russia was directly involved in the attack that brought down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

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Russian media generates wild conspiracy theories to explain MH17 downing

Businessweek’s Carol Matlack looks at some of the crazy conspiracy theories that supposedly mainstream Russian media outlets are trotting out in response to the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, which the United States government says was deliberately destroyed.


I know people have seen fires before. This is a different beast. This is a fire storm.

— Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, speaking at a news conference and urging Washingtonians to obey fire evacuation orders. (The sheriff in Okanogan County says up to 100 homes lost in wildfire).


Mr. Putin and those who support him seem incapable of accepting that their model of government, with all its cronyism, corruption and bullying, is not the one many former Soviet subjects want.

— The New York Times, editorializing on the destruction of MH 17: Downing of Malaysia jet is a call for Russia to act to end the conflict in Ukraine.

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Leading AIDS researcher killed in Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash

A prominent scientist who has been investigating AIDS, the Auto Immune Defiency Syndrome, is among those killed in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, the New York Times reports. He and several colleagues were enroute to Melbourne, Australia, for an important conference.


This is truly a grave situation… Nearly three hundred souls have been lost. The families need consolation and our prayers, and many questions need to be answered. And we’ll get those answers, and we’ll take action accordingly.

— Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to Netroots Nation 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Biden’s comments were incorporated into a New York Times story about the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.


I would just ask all Americans to send their thoughts and prayers to Washington State and the community of Oso, and the families and friends of those who continue to be missing. We hope for the best, but we recognize this is a tough situation.

— President Obama, speaking earlier today from Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Rutte of the Netherlands. Obama told reporters he had spoken with Governor Jay Inslee by phone and says his administration stands ready to provide whatever help the state may need.

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Thanks, California! Golden State sends firefighters to help with mudslide response

Eighteen firefighters from California left for the Pacific Northwest last night to help respond to the Oso mudslide in Snohomish County, the State of California has announced. The firefighters have been trained to do urban search-and-rescue and move dirt and debris to search for trapped victims.



This is one of the biggest landslides I’ve seen… There is still some movement on the landslide, and so that is something that we’re trying to get a better handle on.

— Washington’s state geologist Dave Norman, briefing reporters earlier today on the scope and scale of the Oso mudslide. Norman, who head DNR’s Geology and Earth Resources Division, is the godfather of NPI founder Andrew Villeneuve.

Aerial view of the Stillguamish River and SR 530 after the March 22, 2014 landslide

The Oso landslide on March 22 resulted in the damming of the Stillaguamish River in Snohomish County. Mud covering the area, including SR 530 is a mile wide. Click to see a bigger view. (Photo: WSDOT/Reproduced under a Creative Commons license)