International Committee on issues of Global Changes of the Geological Environment, “GEOCHANGE”

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Elchin Khalilov: NATURE TURNED ON THE TIMER Natural, technological, ecological and humanitarian disaster in Japan

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What lessons should the humanity learn? AZE.az asked the President of the International Committee on Global Changes of geological environment «GEOCHANGE» Prof. Elchin Khalilov to comment the situation.

Courage, fortitude, restraint and nobleness with which the Japanese met the biggest catastrophe of the present, cause a great respect and compassion among the people of the world. The quality historically typical for this hard-working and selfless people, once again helped them to unite into a single monolithic force to survive and withstand the element. But will this highly civilized, industrially and economically developed country be able to cope with the cataclysm the consequences of which have already stirred the whole planet?

Catastrophic earthquake in Japan with magnitude 9 and consequent tsunami on 11 March 2011 is one of the most threatening warnings of the nature about the beginning of the era of natural disasters, about which the world community has been informed by International Committee GEOCHANGE since the end of 2009. To date, our committee brings together about 350 famous scientists from 88 countries.

At the end of 2010 the UNO, the basic structures of the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the heads of more than 140 countries received the International communiqué and the special report of the Committee of GEOCHANGE about the beginning of a sharp increase of seismic and volcanic activity and tsunami since 2011. At the beginning of 2011 the communiqué and report of IC GEOCHANGE were also sent to the parliaments of more than 120 countries of the world (www.geochange-report.org).

Now we can state that "NATURE TURNED ON THE TIMER”. The disaster in Japan has much worse and large-scale consequences for all humanity, than it seems to many experts now. The number of victims and missing persons as a result of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami of March 11 in Japan is approaching to 30 thousand people. Japanese police confirmed the death of 10 thousand 901 people. Many experts consider this number to be much understated. It is said about 18,000 dead. Preliminary assessment of the Japanese Government of the direct economic damage caused by natural disaster to the economy is about $ 300 billion.

The accident at a nuclear plant Fukushima-1 is often compared with the accident at the Chernobyl APP. At the same time it is said that the current disaster in Japan has less consequences of radioactive contamination as compared to Chernobyl one. It is not clear yet whether those who comment on the situation in Japan really think so or is it just an awkward attempt to hide the truth and prevent the panic among the people. In any case it is wrong. After the Japanese disaster it should be stated that our planet and civilization will never be as they were before. In the environment and human psychology there have been significant changes that will affect the development of humanity.

It has already affected many countries which have formally declared their intention to reconsider their plans of energy development after the events in Japan. The Governments of Germany, Venezuela, Thailand, Israel, Peru, Switzerland charted a course on alternative energy. In other countries also the discussions on this problem have begun. Therefore, such energy sources as oil and gas again will take strong positions in the coming years.

Mr. Khalilov, is everything really so bad? Explain please, what is your pessimism dictated by?

- By a very simple chain of reasoning. Yet I'll just talk about the development of events connected with ongoing contamination of the environment. According to experts’ estimations for March 28, inside the 30-kilometer zone around the stricken station during a day a man can get the annual rate of radiation exposure. High radioactive background has been set in the water which is accumulated in the ditches outside the walls of the power unit. The radiation level exceeds 1000 millisieverts per hour. This radiation corresponds to four annual rates for the workers of APP.

If in Chernobyl mainly the surface of the Earth was subjected to the radioactive contamination, and the radiation emitted into the atmosphere during the explosion of the atomic reactor was moved by the atmospheric flow to the big territory of Europe, then in Japan besides these two factors of spread of contamination zone there appeared one more monstrous factor – the Pacific Ocean with its currents, flora and fauna. Now there are no any obstacles for spreading of radioactive contamination to the terrestrial globe. Imagine that plankton, fish, birds, sea inhabitants near the station have received the enormous dose of radioactive contamination and they will be carried away by the currents to enormous distances, and on the travel line they will be eaten by fish and other inhabitants of the ocean and by birds. Now there is no any guarantee that the seafood and fish caught in any region of the world ocean will not be contaminated by the radioactive release from the station Fukushima-1. The same concerns the migratory birds. The animals on the ground which eat the contaminated birds will undergo the radioactive contamination themselves.

- What shall the people do in the existing situation?

- If to speak about the population of different countries I think that everyone has already realized the situation and categorically rejected the delivery and consuming of any products from Japan and neighboring regions. In the issue of the actions of the governments of countries in many countries there have been assumed the measures - the check of radioactivity of foodstuff which is on sale has been toughened. However, this control concerns mainly the cities. I have doubts about serious radiological control of foodstuff in villages. This problem will scarcely be solved in poor and developing countries, particularly in densely-populated ones.

The island states and countries which have the big extent of ocean coast not far from Japan have found themselves in the most difficult situation. In the dietary intake of neighboring regions of these countries there is a lot of seafood. The majority of people living there are very poor, and the ocean is the only source of food and income. There is no sense to speak about the radiological control for these people, because their life entirely depends on the daily take of fish and sale of the caught fish and other seafood. If the situation is stabilized then in due course the concentration of radioactive elements will be spread in the water of the world ocean. It will take many years for that. Meanwhile, the area near Japan will be unfit and dangerous for a long time for lives of people and living organisms.

- What has the catastrophe in Japan shown?

-First of all it has shown that none of the countries of the world is able to resist the large-scale natural element itself. With respect to the influence of these events on the world economy it is necessary to take into account the fact that the economy of Japan is oriented on the export of goods to a great number of countries. The fear of many people all over the world, which is sometimes ungrounded, most probably will bring to sharp reduction of export of the product made in Japan to other countries that may strongly shake the economy of this country in the coming years. At the same time Japan will have to import the additional volume of energy carrier and foodstuffs from other countries. Insurance companies are expecting the growth of the cost of reinsurance in Japan on 20%. However the analysts are sure in sharper jump minimum on 50%, as the loss from earthquakes and tsunami on 11 March will undermine the financial position of insurance companies.

It is only a small part of the economical consequences for Japan discussed by the experts.

Now the nature more often reminds the people about the threatening danger trying to wake up their vigilance and to redirect their thoughts and actions to another channel. But apparently neither people nor governments of the countries are ready yet to feasibly apprehend these menacing warnings.

Psychology of a man hasn’t been changed for thousands years of its existence. The people don’t want to believe to the coming danger until they see everything with their own eyes. Unfortunately, after it is too late. I understand the ordinary people who get irritated at the information about the possible cataclysms. And it is simply explained – everyone is wrapped up in his vital problems which are the most important for any family. Working days absorb the most part of human energy, and the information about the thing which doesn’t depend on people only scares and irritates. But there is the category of people who are enjoined by thinking about defence of people, about decrease of victims during natural cataclysms, about preparation of infrastructure and population in case of natural element. I speak about scientists, specialists, leaders of the countries, heads of big international organizations, such as UNO, European Union and others.

- Dear Mr. Khalilov, you are speaking about necessity of some actions for decreasing the negative influences of natural cataclysms. What can the international structures and governments of the countries do if such technologically developed country as Japan was absolutely taken unawares by a strong earthquake and tsunami despite the incessant preparation for such cataclysms?

- You are absolutely right telling that Japan was taken unawares. But do you know why? First of all, because of absence of unite international policy concerning the preparation for such large-scale cataclysms. The cataclysms of analogous scales occurred more than once in the history of human civilization, and their consequences go beyond the scope of separately taken country. Natural cataclysms don’t have the state boundaries. Look, the accident in atomic power plant occurred in Japan, and all countries began to worry about their own PP, their population began to demand the stop and conservation of power plants. But should it be like that? The international integration and coordination in this question is necessary. And these are not only beautiful words; there is deep sense in them, which I will try to decipher.

The fact that something has changed on our planet is obvious for many people. The International Committee GEOCHANGE is finishing the preparation of the second report where will be given more convincing facts of steady growth of the number and energy of natural cataclysms and global changes of geological and geophysical parameters on our planet and in Solar system. But let’s face the truth.

The proverb “Self comes first” works not only on personal level, but on the level of society. Each country thinks about protection of its population from natural cataclysms independently, and after they come, it begins to fight with them practically alone. Some countries are “lucky”, they are helped considerably more. Others are less “lucky” and they are helped little or almost aren’t helped. Show me the international mechanisms and laws which coordinate the humanitarian aid and its direction to either country. Each country decides itself to help the country in trouble or not. Only some humanitarian structures such as Red Cross and Red Crescent help systematically. But it is miserable quantity in comparison with what must be done.

For example, after monstrous flood in Pakistan in spring and summer of 2010 there suffered 15-20 million people who were left without a roof over their heads and without livelihood. What volume of humanitarian aid was sent to this country which was silently left with its grief face to face?

In case with Japan everyone was sure that the level of technological development of this country excludes the accident on power plants. But it turned out that the power plants in this country are even less steady to earthquakes and tsunami and are not so perfect than in many other countries. To overall estimate is still early. Meanwhile, the general perplexity and astonishment of inexperience of Japan to such catastrophe are well-grounded. Why weren’t the large-scale special robots-rescuers, the remote-controlled engineering, the high-precision independently controlled manipulators, widely advertised at many international exhibitions and in MCM, used during the rescue and repair works on the damaged reactors of the power plant Fukushima-1? The people are sent to the contaminated area! Their heroism deserves admiration and immortalizes them in the history of humanity. But is it enough for winning the development and consequences of the catastrophe?

If nevertheless the living on a large contaminated territory will be impossible, what will happen with millions of people - forced migrants? Where and how will they be accommodated? And is only the state able to cope with this problem? But if this state is not economically and technologically powerful as Japan, what will be with the population in this case? Can’t the modern society “see an inch before its nose”? How many other victims must be in order to begin to act?

The International Committee GEOCHANGE together with a number of authoritative international and national organizations invites the scientists, specialists, representatives of the governments and parliaments of different countries to get together on the World Forum for discussing the vital problems connected with the growing natural cataclysms. The world Forum – International Congress on the subject: “Natural cataclysms and global problems of modern civilization” GEOCATACLYSM-2011 has been planned for 19-21 September 2011 in Istanbul (Turkey).

The International Congress will allow to get together the representatives of all interested countries and organizations for discussing the most actual problems directed to decreasing of victims and damage during natural cataclysms. The final aim of the congress is discussing and approval of the worked out by joint efforts of international organizations and experts of “International Program of emergency measures for decreasing the risks and negative consequences from natural cataclysms”. The participation of representatives of UNO, European Union, Organization of Islamic Conference and other authoritative organizations is planned.

The main sections of the congress are as follows:
1. Earth Sciences; 2. Economy and finance; 3. Transport; 4. Health Service; 5. Emergency Situations Management; 6. Construction; 7. Ecology and Protection of Environment; 8. Communication and informational technologies; 9. International and national law.

The participation of more than 1000 scientists, specialists, political and public figures, members of governments, parliaments and other legislative authorities of different countries, representatives of large interested companies and financial structures from more than 100 countries of the world is planned in the congress. The official site of the International Congress is www.2011.geocataclysm.org

The International Committee GEOCHANGE has prepared the second appeal to the Secretary General of UNO, to the governing bodies of European Union, to heads of states and Parliaments of countries. In the appeal in particular is proposed:

The proposals of International Committee GEOCHANGE

  • To urgently convene the General Assembly of UNO on the question of joining and coordinating the efforts of all countries for resisting the natural cataclysms.
  • To adopt the Framework Convention of UNO and to found the Commission of UNO on Global Changes of Geological Environment.
  • To found the International Center for Monitoring and Forecasting of natural cataclysms.
  • To adopt the international standards for actions of governments of different countries in case of different natural disasters.
  • To adopt the international laws for coordination of international help to the countries which have become the victims of the cataclysms.
  • It is necessary to begin to create the settlements of “rescue towns” with the corresponding infrastructure for continuous stay of a great number of refugees and migrants from the zones of natural catastrophes. “Rescue towns” must be placed on the safer places on our planet from the point of view of natural cataclysms.
  • It is necessary to urgently found the national and international reserve funds and to determine the resource of finance for rendering large-scale humanitarian aid to the countries which have become the victims of natural disasters.

International scientific informational agency WOSCO
www.wosco.org