Illinois Public Media News


NPR - Illinois Public Media News - November 25, 2013

U.S. May Be Producing 50 Percent More Methane Than EPA Thinks

By Christopher Joyce

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(Duration: 3:29)

The EPA tries to keep track of all sorts of methane producers — including herds of methane-belching cattle.

Methane is the source of the gas we burn in stoves. You can also use it to make plastics, anti-freeze or fertilizer. It comes out of underground deposits, but it also seeps up from swamps, landfills, even the stomachs of cows.

Categories: Environment, Health, Science




WILL - Illinois Public Media News - November 21, 2013

State Farm Helps File Insurance Claims Following Storms

By Sean Powers

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(Duration: 1:04)

A clean up truck hauls away broken tree branches in Gifford, Ill. on Nov. 18, 2013.

As cleanup continues across the state following this week’s devastating tornados, insurance agents are busy helping people file claims. On Thursday, State Farm Insurance representatives were in Gifford, where an EF3 tornado destroyed part of the town.



WILL - Illinois Public Media News - November 18, 2013

Tornado Batters Gifford, Minor Injuries

By Sean Powers

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(Duration: 3:38)

Damage from a tornado that struck Gifford, Ill. on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013.

There were dozens of reported tornados on Sunday across the state, including two in Champaign County that hit at almost the same time. Illinois Public Media’s Sean Powers arrived in Gifford just as the skies were clearing, and the cleanup was beginning. Listen to the audio by clicking the button on the left. A small album of photos can be found here

Categories: Environment


NPR - Illinois Public Media News - November 11, 2013

Aid Groups Struggle To Reach Survivors Of Typhoon Haiyan

By Jason Beaubien

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(Duration: 3:57)

Military personnel from the U.S. and the Philippines unload relief goods at the Tacloban airport, Nov. 11, 2013. Some reports estimate that 10,000 people may have died in the city of Tacloban.

Aid agencies are scrambling to try to get water and food to people in the Philippines who've been left homeless or injured by Typhoon Haiyan.

But reaching some of the areas ravaged by the intense storm is proving difficult. Even when aid can make it onto the islands, it's still not clear what supplies are needed the most.

An estimated 10,000 people are presumed dead and more than 600,000 people have been left homeless by the Category 5 typhoon, the United Nations said Monday.

One of the hardest hit areas is the city of Tacloban. The airport outside the city of about 220,000 has finally opened up, but there's so much debris in the roads that it's hard for relief workers to even leave the airport.

"The route from the airport to the city itself is only 11 kilometers (6.8 miles)," John Ging, with the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said at a press briefing Monday in Geneva. "But it takes a six-hour round-trip journey ... to get from the airport to the city again because of the devastation."

Typhoon Haiyan, which is known as Yolanda in the Philippines, came ashore with sustained winds of almost 150 mph. There are also reports of a devastating storm surge that pushed a huge wall of water inland.

Many places are strewn with dead bodies, Ging says. And the first challenge is to bury the bodies. "But it's not just that," he says. "It's also [providing] clean drinking water for those who are alive. Food is also a big issue.

"Entire areas have been completely and utterly decimated." Ging says. "So keeping [the survivors] alive, as well as dealing with the corpses — they're concurrent priorities."

Various U.N. agencies are sending in emergency teams with aid supplies. Private humanitarian groups also are mounting the largest relief operation since the Haitian earthquake in 2010.

The nonprofit Doctors Without Borders is shipping 350 tons of tents, generators, medical supplies and other gear into Manila on chartered planes from warehouses in Brussels and Dubai.

The biggest challenge right now is trying to assess exactly what the needs are in the parts of the islands hit hardest, says Henry Gray, an emergency coordinator with Doctors Without Borders.

"On huge parts of the island chain, we just don't know what's out there," Gray says. "We know that there are millions of people in the affected zone. We know that there are massive needs. But getting a clear picture is really difficult.

There are reports from some parts of the island of Cebu that 90 to 95 percent of the buildings have been destroyed. Hospitals and clinics were flattened.

Doctors Without Borders is assuming there are a wide variety of medical needs, Gray says. "There will be people with traumatic injuries from flying debris, falling trees, crashing walls," he says. "Then there will be the next phase ... in which people who are not necessarily badly wounded ... succumb because of the unsanitary conditions."

In the coming days, the focus of the relief effort will be to make sure people in the areas hit hardest have access to the bare basics: clean drinking water, sanitation and a roof or tarp to sleep under. The wounded need to be sewn up. The dead need to be buried. Roads need to be cleared.

Then, eventually, agencies and communities can start to think about rebuilding homes, schools and communication towers.

This week is just the beginning, Gray says. "There is a long game here. Getting this part of the Philippines back on its feet is going to take an incredible effort."

Categories: Environment

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