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Environment

Floods Claim 1,000 In Philippine

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Philippine President Benigno Aquino has ordered an investigation into flash floods and landslides that sent mud and logs crashing down on residents, killing about 1,000 people on a Southern island.

The national disaster agency said 957 were killed and 49 missing on Mindanao after Typhoon Washi triggered the slides.

Most of the casualties were in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan and tens of thousands remain homeless, many sheltering in evacuation centres.

Aquino met officials in the two cities worst hit by the cascades that swept down mountainsides as residents of riverside and coastal villages slept in the early hours of Saturday.

“First priority is to relocate to areas that no longer pose a danger to them,” Aquino told a meeting in Cagayan de Oro, issuing instructions to implement disaster mitigation programmes, including reforestation.

He later told a gathering at a school: “We have no desire to engage in finger-pointing or to assign blame at a time like this. Yet, we have an obligation to find out exactly what has happened.”

Aquino said he had formed a task force to investigate the reasons behind the disaster and to determine whether a nationwide logging ban had been violated.

He declared a state of national calamity, a move intended to release greater funding, and ordered the speedy restoration of power and drinking water supplies in all affected villages.

“If we want this tragedy to be the last of its kind, we need to learn from our mistakes,” he said.

The disaster agency said more than 338,000 people in 13 provinces were affected by the disaster, with nearly 43,000 still in schools, churches and gymnasiums.

More than 10,000 houses were damaged by the typhoon and the flash floods, of which nearly a third were ruined.

Many schools, roads and bridges were also badly damaged.

More than 340,000 dollar worth of crops, mostly rice and corn were damaged, but the Agriculture department said losses were minimal as the crops were in the early planting stage.

Aquino said the government could also access funds from multilateral financial institutions, including three million dollars from the Asian Development Bank and about 500 million dollars in low-interest loans from the World Bank.

Survivors said huge logs thundering down mountainsides crushed residents.

Television footage showed many recovered bodies with arms or hands raised as if reaching out for help or clinging on to something.

Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were struggling to prevent disease from spreading in evacuation centres, with construction proceeding quickly of burial vaults and plots in public cemeteries to bury decomposing bodies.

Iligan has started burying truckloads of bodies, with some family members or residents of the same villages entombed in a single sepulchre.

A Reuters photographer saw bodies lined up along the highway in Cagayan de Oro outside a small funeral home.

An official of the British-based Christian relief and development organisation World Vision said people were fighting for space at evacuation centres.

“It is really overcrowded, there is almost no space in between people,” group official John Salva told ANC Television. “Diseases are starting to appear.”

“It’s really a struggle to manage those evacuation centres, there’s a shortage of water and a shortage of food,” he said.

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Environment

Group Plans Tree Planting Campaign In Rivers

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The Cleanup Nigeria campaigns group has promised massive tree planting programme across Rivers State.
River State team leader of the group, Mr Kingdom Nwanyanwu said this on the sidelines of the just concluded World Environment Day celebration in Port Harcourt
Nwanyanwu who decried the continous cutting down of trees said time has come for the habit to be discouraged.
He said people should be advised to plant more trees rather than cut them down, adding that trees not only provide fruits but also help in reducing the quantity of carbondioxide.
Nwanyanwu also stressed the need for members of the society to cultivate the habit of waste separation.
“We should be able to separate our waste cellophane bags, plastics and bottles take hundreds of years before it can decay. They should be separated and properly disposed off”.
“The term leader also condemned the indiscriminate refuse disposal in the state.
He stressed the need for the government to setup a mobile court that check the activities of people who go against the sanitation laws of the state.
“The government should setup a mobile court to apprehend people who also violate the law”, he said.
Nwanyanwu said the cleanup campaign has done a lot of work in areas of cleanliness around markets in Port Harcourt, schools and other public places.

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Environment

Children Activists Champion Fight Against Climate Change In Nigeria

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Four children climate activists of the Royal Palm International College in Ilorin have inaugurated “Return the Green Club”, an initiative to bring awareness on the need to save the environment from depleting.
The Tide source reports that the Return the Green Club is part of the activities to mark the 2021 World Environment Day, themed: “Restoration of the ecosystem”.
The children are Aderinsola Adegboye, 10 years old; Adenrele Adegboye, 11; Mariam Abdulrazaq, 12; and Chibuzor Oseigbu, 16.
Adegboye, Founder of “Return the Green” initiative, observed that government from nations have agreed to limit global warming by reducing carbon emission in areas like energy and transportation.
She warned that globally, the world has started experiencing changes due to climate change.
Adegboye advised that to cope with the climate change that is taking its toll on the environment, drought resistant crops and trees should be planted.
She also advised Nigerians to build houses and roads above sea level and use of technology to be innovative about irrigation method.
Adegboye listed actions to reduce causes of climate change to include using renewable energy, cooking clean, and reduce re-use and recycle, among others.
Miss Chibuzor Oseigbu listed causes of climate change to include deforestation, burning of fossil fuel and agriculture as a major cause of source of greenhouse gases which contribute to the green house effect and climate change.
She also observed that sometimes natural climate change happened naturally through volcanic eruptions, ocean currents and earth orbital changes, among others.
Miss Mariam Abdulquadir, in her presentation, explained that World Environment Day is United Nation’s principal vehicle for encouraging children and adults, educated and uneducated, rural and urban dwellers, to be worldwide on the awareness and action for the environment.
On his part, Master Adenrele Adegboye, advised school children to fight climate change through provision of bird feeders to provide shelter for birds, use of snack paper bag, compost making and making short videos on climate change and posting.
Also speaking, Mr AbdulGaniyu Opeloyeru, the Executive Director of Ajike Foundation of the Kwara First Lady, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq, commended the children for the initiative.
He observed that such initiative would promote awareness on dangers of ill treatment of the environment and the need to protect it.
Opeloyeru advocated taking such awareness to mosques, churches, opinion and community leaders so as to preach the importance of ecosystem.
Earlier in her address of welcome, Mrs Funmi Adefila-Osiegbu, founder of Bundies Care Support Initiative, noted that human relationship with nature is broken.
“These crises stemmed from the unhealthy practices we have adopted as occupants of our planet,” she said.
According to her, many have been lost to various diseases and infections, from the recent COVID-19 to Ebola, Lassa fever and Zika virus, among others.
Oseigbu expressed optimism that the Return the Green initiative would become national and global, adding that it is time to be action driven towards restoration and preservation of the environment.
On her part, Mrs Remilekun Bamigboye, the  state Commissioner for Environment, noted that climate change issues had been left unattended to and now threatening human existence.
She urged the younger generation to champion the cause of the environment so as to have a safe world to live in.

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Environment

No More Room For Illegal Wildlife Trade -FG

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The Conservator General, National Park Service, Dr Ibrahim Goni, says there is no more room for illegal wildlife trade in the country as offenders will be prosecuted.
Goni, made this known in Abuja when the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) handed over a confiscated parrot to the parks service for keeps and management.
He noted that the confiscation of the bird and its hand-over to the park’s management was a welcomed development, adding that Nigeria would continue to fight against wildlife trafficking.
Goni said Nigeria had been accused by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as a transit root and source of illegal animal trafficking.
“This has given our country a bad name. We are here to redeem that image. Mr President in 2016 reviewed the CITES Act for this reason.
“Based on the Act, most agencies like the National Park Service, NAQS, National Environmental Standard and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA)  and the Department of Forestry in the Ministry of Environment were given additional powers.
“This has made us to work as a team and as a result led to the confiscation of the parrot,’’ he said.
he further said that in the convention Act, the parrot was clearly stated as an endangered bird and must be protected.
“Parrots are beneficial to man in several ways as they serve as stress buster due to their talking nature and help in guarding in homes.
“When well-trained, parrot would be able to pass information to the owner of the house especially if a trespasser comes around.
“A parrot can also tell time about one’s environment. It is highly trafficked because the feathers and inner organs serve as medicine,’’ he said.
Dr Vincent Isegbe, Director General, NAQS, also noted that one of his organisation’s  mandate was‘ to track the in and out of illegal animals’.
Isegbe, who was represented by Dr Yunisa Dakat of NAQS, said that the confiscated parrot was arrested and detained in Lagos for lack of document.
“If our officers discover you don’t have the right documents attached to the animal to travel with, they will confiscate the animal.
“This parrot was seized at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. The people don’t have the document of the bird so we confiscated it and brought it to the parks for keeps,’’ he said.
Also, Yohanna Saidu, Wildlife Conservation Service, commended NAQS for doing its job and taking the pain to move the parrot from Lagos to Abuja for proper management.
According to him, such gesture and collaboration among relevant agencies would help Nigeria to redeem her image globally.
Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director-General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), said the gesture showed that government enforcement agencies were working.
“It sent a message to the would be perpetrators that they will be caught and prosecuted. It will reduce wildlife crime in the nation.
“CITES is an international treaty drawn up in 1973 to protect wildlife against over-exploitation.
“It also has the mandate to prevent international trade from threatening species with extinction. Endangered species is a species of animal or plant that is seriously at risk of extinction,” he said.

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