Earthquake struck New Zealand

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake and a series of powerful aftershocks left thousands stranded in a New Zealand town near the quake's epicenter. A local state of emergency has been declared for the region of Canterbury, which is home to the areas hardest hit by the quake. Helicopters are being sent to airlift trapped tourists and locals from cut-off communities in the Hurunui and Kaikoura districts.
There have been between 80,000 to 100,000 landslides since the main quake with areas of the Inland and Seaward Kaikoura Ranges the most affected. As a results, a  number of roads are closed indefinitely.

Watch the videos below and reflect on the followings:
What cause earthquake?
When did this earthquake occur?
Where was the epicenter of the earthquake?
Who are affected by this earthquake?
Why was the earthquake damaging?

Watch the video below showing how the earthquake uplifted the coastline of New Zealand as well as the other impacts of the earthquake.

The earthquake lifted the seabed by 2m and created new land

New Zealand is located at the plate boundary between the Australian plate and the Pacific plate. Reflect on how this will result in earthquakes.
How big can Tsunamis get? Watch this video to find out more:

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Singapore using less electricity and water

Individual Effort
Home electricity consumption per capita fell from 115.7kWh in 2006 to 108.7kWh  in 2015. This could be due to more people using more energy efficient household appliances such as air-conditioners and refrigerators.

International Effort
The Paris climate pact seeks to limit global warming to under 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and countries, including Singapore, have committed to implementing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

National Effort
Singapore's climate policy is based on three pillars - fuel switching (Green Plan), increasing energy efficiency (E.g. energy efficient buildings under the Green Mark Scheme), and developing renewable energy. Most of Singapore's electricity is already generated by natural gas, the cleanest form of fossil fuel. But there are limitations, such as the lack of suitable sites, to tapping renewable energy sources. 


Why is there a need to conserve energy and water resources?
Who can help in the conserve the use of energy?
When did the average household consumption of water and electricity decline?
Where was the Paris climate pact made?
What are the efforts made to reduce electricity consumption?
How successful are the efforts?

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Typhoons hit Taiwan Sept 2016

Watch the video clips below and reflect on the following:
1. Describe the weather conditions associated with a tropical cyclone. (pay attention to the wind speed, rainfall and the calm condition of the eye)
2. Explain the hazards brought by tropical cyclone as shown in the video clips. (storm surges, heavy rain, mudslides, strong wind)
3, How can the risks brought by typhoons be reduced? (strength and limitation of measures such as prediction and warning as shown in the video clips,  landuse regulation and reducing vulnerability of infrastructure)

Updated - 3 typhoons hit Typhoon in 2 weeks - Typhoon Megi struck Taiwan on 27 Sept 2016.

Taiwan suffered a direct blow from Typhoon Megi on 27 Sept 2016, which killed at least four people and injured more than 250 people, many of which were caused by flying debris during the storm. Among those hurt were eight Japanese tourists who were inside a bus that overturned.
Earlier on 14 Sept 2016,  Taiwan was hit by another Super Typhoon Meranti which had brought strong winds, torrential rain and flooding to many parts of Taiwan.

Typhoon Meranti has finally moved on after pounding southern Taiwan and Jinmen County with record-setting winds, but right on its heels is another storm, Typhoon Malakas. The Central Weather Bureau expects Malakas to affect the northern half of Taiwan late Friday(16 Sept) and Saturday before heading toward 

How is a typhoon formed? watch the video below to find out more!

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Impact of natural disasters on tourism

Look at the two news reports below and reflect on:
What are natural disasters?
Where are the places which are affected by the natural disasters?
When did it happen?
Who are affected?
Why does natural disasters affect tourism?
How can the risks from the natural disasters be minimised?

1. Typhoon

The city of Guangzhou issued its first-ever red storm alert as Typhoon Nida is expected to make landfall today 2 August 2016. All trains departing from Guangdong would be cancelled and hundreds of thousands of passengers affected.  Local official said that it's the strongest typhoon to hit the Pearl River Delta since 1983 and will bring severe flooding. More than 220 flights out of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai airports were cancelled. Cathay Pacific and its subsidiary Dragonair cancelled all of their flights in and out of Hong Kong for 16 hours, from 10.00pm on 1st Aug until 2.00pm on 2nd Aug, affecting more than 100 flights.

Watch the videos below on the two typhoons which affected Hong Kong and China in 2015 and 2016.

Hong Kong affected by Typhoon Nida on 1 Aug 2016.

2. Volcanic eruption Volcanic ash from Mount Rinjani has caused several flights, including those from Bali to Lombok and several Australian destinations, to be disrupted. Thirteen of the domestic and international flights disrupted due to the eruption were meant to take off from or land in Bali's Ngurah Rai airport. The Lombok International Airport in Praya will also be closed from 4.55pm (local time) to 10am on 2nd Aug 2016. An ash cloud from the active volcano has affected air travel. In November 2015 and hundreds of flights were grounded after Ngurah Rai airport was closed for two days due to its eruption.

Watch the videos below on the volcanic eruption of Mount Rinjani which affected Bali, Indonesia in 2016 and 2015. Natural disasters threaten the lives of people, including tourists. Mount Rinjani attracts many tourists and many tourists were not evacuated on time and many were missing when it erupted in 2016,.

Thousands of tourists were stuck on the Indonesian island of Bali, after a volcano eruption forced its airport to shut and nearly 700 flights to be cancelled. Mount Rinjani, on the nearby island of Lombok, erupted Nov 2015 and ash and debris were thrown 11,000 feet into the air.

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Coral bleaching

Coral bleaching occurs in Singapore too. Is it a results of climate change?

Read the article on

Watch this video on coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef

Reflect on
Where are coral reefs found?
What are the conditions needed for the growth of coral reefs?
Why are coral reefs destroyed?
What are the benefits of protecting coral reefs? Do you know that there are some beautiful coral reefs in Singapore? Click on the picture for the enlarged image.



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Rising sea level threatening countries

Will Bangkok be submerged under the rising sea level?

Will Maldives be under the rising sea level by 2100 due to climate change?

Which are the top 10 countries which will be most affected by rising sea level?

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Increase in Dengue Cases in Singapore

A total of 7,370 dengue cases have been reported in Singapore since the start of the year 2016. Four people have died of the disease so far – a 47-year-old man who lived in Marsiling Rise, a 67-year-old man who lived in Toa Payoh, a 63-year-old woman who lived in Bedok and a 73-year-old woman who lived in Hougang.

The Ministry of Health and NEA have warned that the number of dengue cases in Singapore may exceed 30,000 this year, higher than the record of 22,170 reported in 2013. One of the main factors is the rising temperatures which caused faster breeding and maturation cycles of the Aedes mosquito population.


Correlation between increasing temperature and dengue?

Singapore's fight against Dengue  (2013)

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Heat wave worsens in India

With rising  temperatures, the worst drought in four decades in Western India has emptied reservoirs, killed livestock, destroyed crops and left much of the population desperate for water.

Temperatures reached a record-high of 51 degrees Celsius in some areas, and at least 150 people across the country have died from heat-related causes. Some relief is on the way as rain is predicted across the north in the next few days. 

When did the heatwave affect India.
Where are the areas affected?
Who are affected?
Why does temperature rises?
What are the impacts of the heatwave?
How can help be rendered to those affected?

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Climate change and Water resources in Singapore

Singapore is getting hotter and drier.

How can Singapore meet the increasing water demand in Singapore?

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Earthquakes struck Japan

Two powerful quakes hit southern Japan a day apart, killing at least 41 people as@ 18 April 2016. The first one with a magnitude of 6.2 struck on Thursday 14 April 2016 and the second one with a magnitude of 7.3 struck on Saturday 16 April 2016.

The epicentre of Saturday’s (April 16) quake was near the city of Kumamoto and measured at a shallow depth of 10 km , the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said. The shallower a quake, the more likely it is to cause damage.

Buildings were reduced to rubble, including a university dormitory and apartment complexes, with dozens of people unaccounted for over a wide area.

Around 70,000 people have been evacuated, including 300 from an area close to a dam thought to be at risk of collapse. A hospital was left teetering by Saturday morning's 7.0 quake, with doctors and patients rushed from the building in darkness.

Isolated villages in the mountainous area of Kumamoto were completely cut off by landslides and damage to roads, with at least 1,000 people believed trapped in one area alone.

Aerial footage showed a bridge on a main trunk road had crashed onto the carriageway below it, its pillars felled. The quake came as emergency responders were working to reach areas already affected by a 6.2 magnitude tremor that struck late Thursday.
Aftershocks continued to rock Kumamoto and its surroundings, an area unaccustomed to the powerful quakes that regularly shake other parts of seismically-prone Japan.

Thursday's initial quake affected older buildings and killed nine people, but Saturday's brought newer structures crashing down, including a municipal office in the city of Uto.
The total number of deaths rose to 32.
Nearly 1,000 people have been hurt, 184 of them seriously.

Japan, one of the most seismically active countries in the world, suffered a massive undersea quake on March 11, 2011 that sent a tsunami barreling into the country's northeast coast.

Some 18,500 people were left dead or missing, and several nuclear reactors went into meltdown at the Fukushima plant in the worst atomic accident in a generation.


video on the earthquake

Eruption of Mt Aso

earthquakes in Japan

Another earthquake of magnitude 7.8 just struck Ecuador

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Response to Typhoon

An article released on 13 March 2016 reviewed the efforts of the Philippines government in helping the victims of the typhoon Haiyan which struck in 2015.

What are the responses?

  • Call for more typhoon-proof architecture, but many residents are still living in temporary housing. 
  • As of 2015, only 10 per cent of permanent housing has been completed, leaving thousands still living in temporary bunkhouses across the city. 
  • More than half of the US$12.8 billion earmarked for housing projects had yet to be used. 
  • In Tacloban, almost 14,500 housing units had been targeted to be built on 21 resettlement sites, but only 660 units - less than 5 per cent - have been completed. 
  • Many in the city are still living in transition. Though permanent homes have been built for them, only half have moved out of their temporary bunkhouses as there is no water and electricity at the new sites

What happened?

  • More than 360,000 homes were left destroyed in Eastern Visayas in 2013 as a result of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones to hit the country. 
  • The area was the worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan, with more than 95 per cent of its population living beside the sea or near bodies of water before the typhoon. 
  • The Philippines' precarious position in the Pacific also means it is first in line to receive more than 20 typhoons each year. 
  • The government had initially set a target of moving communities 150 metres above sea level and aimed to build structures able to withstand wind speeds of up to 300km per hour.

Source: - click on the link to watch the video.

Birth of haiyan typhoon:

Impacts of Haiyan:

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Taiwan Earthquake 7 Feb 2016

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan at 4am local time on 7 Feb 2016.

The earthquake started at Kaohsiung but why was the impact greater at Tainan?

The damage at the epicentre Kaohsiung was much lower than Tainan due to the softer soil at Tainan. The impact was also greater as the earthquake  was shallow at a depth of 10km. Many families were at home as it is the eve of lunar new year and casualties were higher as they were sleeping at the time when earthquake struck and were not able to respond or evacuate on time.

The collapse of buildings have caused more deaths and injuries. Queries are made on the structure of the buildings, especially when tin cans were found in the construction. Most new buildings in Taiwan are built to withstand quake of magnitude 5 to 6. The president of Taiwan said that the government will tighten regulation on building construction.
Other than strengthening buildings, what are the other ways to mitigate the impact of earthquakes?

Rescue work is still in progress and is one of the most important short term response.
What are the other short and long term responses?

Earthquake is common as Taiwan lies at the plate boundary of the Eurasian and Philippines Plate.

Why does earthquake occur at the plate boundary?
Why is earthquake a hazard?
Why does the damage from earthquake differ?

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea's Bougainville Island early Tuesday (Feb 9). The quake hit some 96 kilometres southwest of Panguna at 2.19am (12.19am Singapore time), according to the US Geological Survey. The epicentre was 102 kilometres southwest of the larger town of Arawa also on Bougainville Island and USGS said it was 32 kilometres deep, which is considered shallow. Quakes are common on the island nation, which lies on the 4,000-kilometre-long Pacific Australia plate, which forms part of the "Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

The earthquake which struck Papua New Guinea has the same magnitude as the one which struck Taiwan. Why are there more damages and casualties in Taiwan? 

Another earthquake struck Chile at 7.33 pm 9 Feb (0033 GMT Wednesday 10 Feb) 326 km north-northwest of Santiago, the USGS said. It had a depth of 31.5 km. There was no immediate reports of damage and injuries.

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