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SCIENCE FILE / An exploration of issues and trends
affecting science, medicine and the environment

Earthwatch: A Diary of the Planet

November 26, 1998

Hundreds Flee Volcano

Hundreds of people were evacuated from villages near Mexico's Volcan de Fuego following warnings that an eruption was likely within days. Vulcanologists recorded thousands of small tremors at the 13,000-foot mountain, located 280 miles west of Mexico City in the state of Colima.

Tropical Storms

Tropical cyclone 06B lashed eastern India's Andhra Pradesh state with 110 mph winds and torrential rains. At least two people were killed and hundreds of trees and utility poles were toppled by the storm.

Seventeen people were killed when tropical storm Chip roared ashore along the southeast coast of Vietnam. The storm also caused widespread flooding and wind damage.

Dolphin Threat

An oil spill in the South China Sea threatens the dwindling population of rare pink dolphins that inhabit the mouth of the Pearl River Delta near Hong Kong. Chinese authorities were trying to contain a six-mile-long oil slick near the delta following a collision on Nov. 13 between two tankers.

Thai Monkey Raids

Budget cuts in Thailand, which have eliminated funding to feed some wild monkeys, are sending the marauding animals into local villages where they are raiding crops and stored food supplies. Residents in the northeastern Thailand village of Ban Ma have appealed to local authorities to resume feeding 1,000 wild monkeys to get the hungry animals off their backs. The primates have been made even more aggressive in Ban Ma, 350 miles northeast of Bangkok, because of the worsening drought conditions that are plaguing Sisaket province.

Early Russian Winter

An icy storm that swept through the Russian capital late last week has claimed 13 lives and left nearly 200 people hospitalized with cold-related illnesses. Temperatures in Moscow plummeted to as low as minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit as the first winterlike storm of the season arrived earlier than usual.

South African Twister

A rare South African tornado destroyed nearly 200 homes as it swept through the city of Harrismith, about 180 miles southeast of Johannesburg. The South African Press Association reported that 15 people were hospitalized with injuries received during the twister.

Earthquakes

Iran was hit by five strong earthquakes, with two causing extensive damage and the strongest killing five people and leveling an entire village in Fars province on Nov. 13. A subsequent temblor damaged buildings in six villages of Kerman province.

Earth movements were also felt in Taiwan, western Japan, Iceland and parts of Southern California.

*

Additional Sources: U.S. Climate Analysis Center, U.S. Earthquake Information Center and the World Meteorological Organization.

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