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Snorkelling anyone?

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1 Snorkelling anyone? on Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:29 am

RedCleft!

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Due to heavy rains and already full dams, much of Central and Southern Queesnland (including brisbane, not me our house is not affected) has recieved major flooding. Whilst there is too much going on to describe fully here, I ask you to keep the flood victims in your thoughts.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/queensland-floods

Death toll is currently 19

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2 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:00 pm

Jeremy

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This is copied and pasted from iratA! All those dead deserve better than this! MadThumbs Down

The front page news here today was about a 13 year old boy who died in the floods, but just before he died, he told his rescuer to save his little brother first.

Brave kid.

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3 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:20 pm

RedCleft!

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Actually, the one on iratA was copied from here...I wrote this one first.

Yeah, its not pretty whats happening here. Brisbane and Ipswich have had only 1 death, but its the towns inland such as Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley that got hit by a major flash flood (70ml or rain in an hour) thats where most of the damage occurred.

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4 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:34 pm

wagi

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Terrible, horrible flooding there. We are also having it (almost 400 dead near Rio already from landslides) and in Europe as well. Been watching footage from them all, really sad.

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5 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:22 pm

RedCleft!

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Dear me, 400 dead in Rio? And we think we have had it worse...

Its really, really annoying...people are already saying CLimate Change is to blame...

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6 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:21 pm

wagi

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There's a possibility that's true. The past several years here our rainy season has been really bad. It's a bit warmer here, which causes the thunderstorms to build and they release more rainfall. This is also show just over the city of São Paulo where I live. If you look at Google Earth you'll see that we are a huge gray-colored blob just inland from the coast. We're actually about 2000+ elevation, and only about 50 kilometers inland as the crow flies. As systems come in they are forced to rise when they hit the shore by the escarpment the city is on. Then as soon as the clouds are over the city they encounter a large pool of rising heat - that gray color shown on satellite images is what's paved over or built up, and it reflects a huge amount on heat as we are just a few kilometers south of the Tropic of Capricorn (we cross it driving to the airport all the time, that heat super-charges the thunderclouds and we can get torrential tropical downpours, even here inside the city. Rio is a little different, it's located at sea level but about 430 kilometers north of us, so is warmer, plus it's surrounded by mountains. The flooding there occurred outside of the city about 40 to 60 kilometers. Steep narrow valleys where many homes are built on the slopes. A recipe for disaster.

Your flooding was much worse by volume, ours here the damage was mostly from slides...here's some pics from a town outside of Rio, it had dozens of slides just inside the town. The death toll in just this town will be more than 300.









Here in São Paulo ours is more urban flooding and two rivers that run through the city overflowing. The Tiete river flows along the north side of town about a mile from me, five years ago they finished dredging and widening it, costing over a billion dollars and they said it should stop floods for the next 50 years.

It flooded the next year.

They now are again dredging. It's bad because these storms can hit anytime, and the river is bordered by a freeway - 12 lanes on each side. It's happened before where people get trapped on the freeway with no way to get off and their cars get flooded.







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7 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:21 pm

wagi

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Has the water gone down now HedgeCleft? What sort of damage near you?

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8 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:02 am

RedCleft!

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Yes, nearly everything has receeded I think. (Naturally the media over dramatises everything..) Lots of damage. 30 dead, 14 still missing. Over 1$ Billion in damage.

http://panedia.biz/vst/vtmap.swf?map=zpgfgqtn

Nearly all our ferry / citycat terminals have been destroyed. Our 300t boardwalk decided to float down the river nearly colliding with Gateway Bridge

http://video.au.msn.com/watch/video/9raw-flood-takes-brisbane-boardwalk/xre7r1n

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/weather/amazing-tug-work-saved-day-with-floating-boardwalk-20110113-19ot6.html


Grantham, Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley were the worst hit, along with a few suburbs in Brisbane. I was in Sydney at the time and flew up whilst it was happening.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010%E2%80%932011_Queensland_floods

Already on Wikipedia! Thats fast!


Currently its just cleanup, recovery and mourning....no doubt the finger pointing will come soon.


How is Brazil now? In the grand scheme, its much much worse over there.

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9 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:20 am

wagi

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There's ALWAYS finger pointing...thanks for the links! Hey! You have Kibon ice cream! Yer civilized!

Here they continue digging in the areas outside of Rio, looking for bodies, death toll through this morning is 711 with quite a few still missing. It's still the rainy season, but it's been fairly dry last couple of days. They are trying to quickly construct thousands of new homes plus trying to force people to leave danger areas. Here in São Paulo they say about 200,000 people live in areas that flood or have a high danger level for slides, and they'll need to be relocated. It will never happen. As soon as they move others will move in to take their places

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10 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:25 am

RedCleft!

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I was talking to a friend today and he made mention of how there is always some natural disaster that happens around christmas...volcanoes, earthquakes tsunamis ect...

Are you directly affected Wagi? Or are you ok where you live?

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11 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:06 am

wagi

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We had street flooding here in São Paulo a week ago, but I live downtown on the 16th floor of a highrise condominium that's actually on a bit of a ridge, there was water up over the sidewalk in places even on our block, but that's it.

Now about three blocks from me is bit of a valley where a freeway runs and then it tunnels under a large park here in the city center. That tunnel was flooded to the roof for some hours before finally draining away, but that happens occasionally, we can get storms that drop 13 centimeters (5 inches) of rain in an hour during a tropical downpour.

A few weeks ago we were headed back from shopping when a storm hit, luckily we turned off of the elevated freeway that runs near where we live and took surface streets as the elevated was flooded (trash blocking drains) and traffic at a standstill, while driving under the elevated the street was flooded except for the central bus lanes that were only a couple inches deep which we could drive through, the outside lanes and some side streets were more than knee deep. As a rule we avoid areas we know are likely to flood on days when it looks to have thunderstorms, especially near the rivers, but street flooding can happen pretty much anywhere. Street flooding is mainly caused by the way they handle trash here (as in they leave bags of it sitting on the sidewalk for hours until the truck picks it up...or more likely - homeless people dig through it looking for recyclables to sell and tossing the reat all over the street), an out-dated drain system and having pretty much every square meter either paved over or built on, so no place for water to soak into the ground. Our problems here pale to what took place up north near Rio.

Last night we saw that there was a notice posted in our social elevator stating that a man here in the building was in mourning having lost his wife and daughter in the slides, his daughter lived there and his wife was visiting for summer holiday. The death toll there now is 765.

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12 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:54 am

RedCleft!

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If you dont mind me asking, is Brazil, or Sao Paulo for that matter, 3rd World by chance? Do major diasaster similar to this happen regularly?

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13 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:03 pm

Jeremy

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Brazil is in something of a transition period, alongside countries like South Africa and China - parts are incredibly poor, whilst the big cities are some of the largest in the world (Sao Paulo is 7th by population and 6th by area) and really rather modern and not unlike many "first world" cities.

As I gather, the worst hit have been those living in the slums around the outside of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

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14 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:52 pm

wagi

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Depends on how the list is set up, we sometimes rank as high as 3rd in population - and believe me it's nothing to brag about. Thankfully those crafty Chinese and Indian blokes have been diligently working to keep their numbers up!

The City itself has around 11 million people, the surrounding Metro area takes that up to 18 to 21 million, depending on which cities are counted.

Jeremy is correct - São Paulo is like any major urban area in the world, just like New York, LA or London, there are areas that are 1st Class, and there's areas you need an armored car to drive through. When I first arrived here 11 years ago the MONTHLY minimum wage was R$150, which at that time was worth about US$47. Many poor people worked 44 hours a week for that. Now it's R$540, now currently worth US$320. Many people still work for that. But 11 years ago 80% of the wealth was in the hands of 20% of the population. The Lula years have lifted a huge percentage of the population out of poverty (what they refer here as Class R and D) into middle-income levels (Class C and B).

We are blessed to be considered Class A ourselves, but we're certainly NOT rich, more so solidly upper middle-income by American standards. But the highest class - AAA - still controls a huge amount of wealth. Things have made the first steps towards balancing out, but the imbalance didn't happen overnight either. For those who can afford it, there's every luxury item that can be found here - SP has more than 40 major malls and twice that many smaller ones. We have a mall that you can't walk to - entrance is only by car or helicopter, which limits the type of customers who will visit. On the other hand there are favelas here in the city, visible from the freeway, where their homes are built of scrap lumber from shipping pallets and scrap metal. Power is stolen from power lines, and they regularly catch fire and burn to the ground. It's a constant never ending battle to build them housing, with no end in sight.

The roads are horribly clogged - we hit 6 million cars registered inside the city last year. The bus system is caotic, the metro system too small and overcrowded (they fit an average of seven people per square meter...obviously not when I'm on it...) - 2.5 million people per day ride on only 54 kilometers of line (finally the first new line is opening this year). There is a huge fleet of helicopters here to avoid the gridlock, they made 70,000 flights over central SP in one year, compared to the 11,000 landings at London's Battersea heliport over the same time period.

Infrastructure is lacking, of course. We live in an older but very nice high-rise condominium downtown on a good street. But there's still garbage on the street and homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks. Five blocks away is a large area dubbed 'Cracklandia' for obvious reasons, although they are redeveloping downtown here, much of it remains a bit ratty and decayed,and I'm not just referring to the hookers, hustlers and rent-boys that line the streets after dark. But there's also so fantastic things here too. The largest number of people of Japanese ancestry outside of Japan live here, a huge number of Italians, Portuguese, Lebanese, and Jews made this home, so it's a very cosmopolitan city too.

Actually, the areas hit by the slides were 40 miles from Rio, they were towns in the mountain area there. Here in SP some of the flooding and smaller slides have indeed been in the favelas, as they are usually built in unapproved fashion, many of then squatting on unoccupied land, much of which is along stream and on hills.

Sorry, didn't mean to offer a complete lecture!

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15 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:09 pm

RedCleft!

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Helicopters? That sounds awsome! I keep telling people who complain about not getting a seat on our trains that there are far worse places to ride trains than in Brisbane.

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16 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:47 am

wagi

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Yeah, we have almost 500 active helipads in the city, and a lot more that are inactive. I ride the subway occasionally, but I try to avoid rush hour...



I rode a city bus...once.

I decided I'd much rather pay for a taxi or walk than to hang out the door of an overflowing, smelly bus. I've not yet ridden a city train here. Our housekeeper takes two hours to commute from her home in a northern suburb to our place which is in the northern part of the city. She takes two different buses, then a train, then takes the Metro subway to the station on the end of our block.

Long, multi-hour commutes are somewhat normal for here. My partner commutes 65 kilometers one way, and on a bad night he can leave work at 7 pm and not be home until after 10 pm...and most of that was the bumper-to-bumper traffic inside the city limits!

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17 Re: Snorkelling anyone? on Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:43 pm

RedCleft!

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Hahaha! The next time I see a person who complains about crowded trains, I will tell him about brazil!

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