Friday, January 23, 2015

Malawi Floods - update # 2

When I first wrote about the recent flooding in Malawi on January 21, 2015, I wrote that I had spent two weeks in Malawi in 2007. I had the privilege of traveling with some wonderful people, most of whom were from California, who were doing work with HIV (through an organization known as GAIA) and I was interested at the time in issues around the provision of clean water.  I have since lost touch with the wonderful people who were my travel companions, and I think of them often. My life has taken a very different direction since my trip to Malawi in 2007, but what I saw in Malawi changed me.

One of the districts in Malawi that has been among the most severely affected districts is a district in southern Malawi known as Chikwawa (map of Malawi highlighting districts affected by the 2015 floods). We spent part of a day in the Chikwawa district, by far the most remote and among the poorest areas that we visited in Malawi. I write about traveling on as remote and rutted dirt road in the Chikwawa district, a village (Mindanti) we visited and a drive to Father Patrick’s (Anglican) Church here. I was interested in a water well that was then under construction in the Mindanti. The day we drove that road (during the dry season), it was lightly raining but many of the rivers and streams we crossed over were dry. Prior to going to Malawi, I had heard that the road we were on is impassable during a normally rainy season, this was confirmed by our driver. I could see why.

I wonder how the people in Mindanti and Father Patrick's Church made out during the floods.

I feel wholly inadequate writing that my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Southeastern Africa (Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar) that have been affected by flooding, see this report and map dated January 23 for a summary of information from each country.  Malawi often sees a lot of rain during this time of year, its rainy season. As I understand it, this is the worst flooding that Malawi has seen in some 30 years. And as it is still relatively early in the rainy season in Malawi, more heavy rains may make recovery efforts difficult.

One website that I have been to that has a good summary of some of the current conditions and some of the ongoing relief efforts is from ReliefWeb. As I write this ReliefWeb has a nice page summarizing focusing on Malawi with links to information about the recent floods that may be found here, however if you are accessing this page sometime after these floods, the information on this page may change.

The government of Malawi has a preliminary response plan for the 2015 floods where they report that:
  • an estimated 638,00 people have been affected,
  • an estimated 174,000 people have been displaced from their homes and are living at various displacement sites,
  • 62 people are dead, and
  • 153 are missing.
Included among the international relief agencies currently working in Malawi are World Food ProgrammeDoctors without Borders, and Gift of the Givers (Gift of the Givers photo gallery of destruction). I am certain that there are many other relief organizations working in Malawi that I am not mentioning here. I did find a link to a South Africa media site (includes TV and radio) known as SABC. I did notice, through searching on their website for "Malawi flood" some stories on the recent floods in Malawi, for example this one dated January 20th reports on difficult access.

Edited on January 24, 2015 to add link to Gift of the Givers and SABC website.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Flooding in Malawi

Some of you may or may not know that in June 2007 I spent two weeks in Malawi. It was only yesterday that I learned of the recent floods that have devastated southern Malawi. I wrote about my trip to Malawi here in this blog starting on June 14, 2007. Among the districts flooded in Malawi (see this map from Relief Web) are three districts where I spent at least night: Salima (Stayed in Carolina's Beach Resort in Salima), Blantyre, and Zomba. At least 173 are dead. I've seen reports of 20,000 to as much as 70,000 people being displaced or cutoff due to the flooding.

It feels only appropriate that I take a time out from my usual postings and write a post or two about the flooding in Malawi.

For more information on the flooding in Malawi

CNN report on Malawi
Reliefweb on Malawi (1/14/15 report)
Gift of the Givers 1/17/15 FB post on Malawi Flooding

direct link to video from War News

direct link to video from AFP News Agency

Monday, January 19, 2015

More Marine Helos working San Diego County Wildfires (May 2014)

Following up on my post of January 14 where I shared a 6 minute video showing various Marine Helos (and perhaps a Navy Helo?) working the wildfires that burned in San Diego County in May 2014, here is a 16 1/2 minute video where you will see Helicopters from the Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron (HMMT) 164, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton working the Tomahawk Fire. The video is by Cpl. Megan Scullin, 3D Marine Aircraft Wing Combat Camera.

I believe that much of the footage involves a Boeing Veritol CH-46 Sea Knight. You will see external shots as well as internal shots. There are also shots of the bucket being hooked up and deploying the bucket. I enjoyed the chance to see the CH-46 more up close and personal. Nice Video Cpl. Scullin.


direct link to video

Friday, January 16, 2015

Rim Fire - largest fire in California history

I got caught up in some technical difficulties connecting to the internet which are now resolved. My intention was to share another video about Marine helicopters (up close and personal) used in the May 2014 wildfires that burned in San Diego County, California. This will have to wait until next Monday.

In the meantime, here is a very nice video from Yosemite National Park about the Rim Fire that burned in 2013. This is, to date, the largest wildfire in California history. They talk about things to think about regarding wildland fire management.

direct link to video

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Marine Helos fighting (May 2014) San Diego County Wildfires

I ran across a nice video the other day of Marine Helicopters working the May 2014 wildfires in San Diego County, California (see my May 15, 2014 article and Bill Gabbert's May 18, 2014 article). I really liked this video because I got to see a variety of military helicopters that I don't normally get to see.

I wanted some help to confirm the type of helicopter that you see in the opening shots of the video, so I asked a good friend who worked with helicopters to help. He is busy, but took a few moments to watch the video. Thank-you!! As I suspected, my friend told me that the helicopter that you see in the opening shots of this video is a Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight, the civilian version is the Boeing-Vertol 107 IIs. In 2009, I wrote a couple of articles on the Boeing Vertol 107.

My friend went on to offer his best identification of some of the other helicopters in the video (I am not sure where in the video you see them): Bell Super Cobra, Bell Twin Huey, and Sikorsky CH-53 Super Stallion. The links that I included here are the best that I could do to offer some information (from wikipedia) on what could be these three helicopters.

In any event, I enjoyed watching all the helicopters in the video. You will also see hot reloading of fuel at Camp Pendleton, where I believe that fuel is reloaded while the engine is running.

direct link to video

Monday, January 12, 2015

Type 2 Initial Attack Wildfire Crew - Alaska Delta 2 (2008)

Here is a nice video of a Type 2 Initial Attack from Alaska, Delta Type 2 Intial Attack Crew 1, fighting fires in Alaska in 2008. Included in this eight minute video is a short tribute to those who died at the Iron Mountain Complex.

direct link to video


Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today has written extensively about the crash of the Carson Helicopter at the Iron Mountain Complex that killed 7 firefighters, the pilot-in-command and a USFS check pilot here. Two former Carson employees pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the crash (see Bill Gabbert's Nov. 24 2014 post.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Type 2 Initial Attack Wildfire Crew - Delaware 2012 season

Before and after the holidays, I've been sharing videos about different types of wildland fire crews. Today I am embedding a video from the Delaware Type 2 Initial Attack Wildfire Crew's 2012 season.

direct link to video

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Monday, January 05, 2015

Smokejumpers - McCall

I continue embedding videos about various wildland firefighting crews. Today and again this Wednesday (January 7), I will be embedding videos about smokejumpers. Today, you will watch a video from the  McCall Smokejumpers. You will  learn what goes into being a smokejumper and what they do, thanks to some great footage of the McCall Smokejumpers 2012 season. The McCall Smokejumpers have been around since 1943.

direct link to video

Saturday, January 03, 2015

More wildland firefighting footage

Continuing where I left off before the holidays, here is some nice footage showing the Sho-Pai Fire Season from the Shoshone Paitute Tribes.

direct link to video