NEWS: World Cleanup Day in the eye of the storm

13/09/2018 It’s two days to go until World Cleanup Day on 15 September, for which the local teams in more than 150 countries have been preparing for many months. In several regions they are now facing natural disasters, floods, earthquakes, typhoons and hurricanes. “In most of the places faced with those challenges, we’re talking about […]

13/09/2018

It’s two days to go until World Cleanup Day on 15 September, for which the local teams in more than 150 countries have been preparing for many months. In several regions they are now facing natural disasters, floods, earthquakes, typhoons and hurricanes.

“In most of the places faced with those challenges, we’re talking about postponements, not cancellations,” said Heidi Solba, one of the leaders of the Let’s Do It movement and part of the World Cleanup Day organising team, adding: “No cleanup activity is more important than the safety and the lives of the people planning and participating in them. We are wholeheartedly urging everyone in areas affected by natural disasters and inclement weather conditions to put their plans on hold if there is any risk to safety or even human life. We will support affected areas to continue their operations when it is safe to do so.”

According to global disaster alerts, there are six active tropical cyclones that may hit participating countries or regions and are expected to have a humanitarian impact based on the storm strength and forecast path, all of which will affect millions of people.

In Asia, tropical cyclones are expected to reach the southern coast of China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam by 14-15 September and could affect as many as 150 million people.

In North America, US States North & South Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C. and Georgia face the (now-downgraded but still dangerous) Category 2 Hurricane Florence, making landfall on 14 September and affecting up to an estimated 17 million people, with 2 million already evacuated.

In US, President Donald Trump has issued a video message saying: “This is going to be one of the biggest ones to ever hit our country… Protection of life is the absolute highest priority.”. As the effects of Florence are currently unknown, cleanups in the affected States have been cancelled until further notice, just as they were in Texas last year after Hurricane Harvey.

The Hawaiian islands face a tropical storm today, the 13th, with an estimated 1.1 million people affected. Currently, indications are that Hawaii will be able to continue on Saturday as scheduled.

In Japan, several prefectures are still repairing damage caused by Super Typhoon Jebi in the beginning of September. Furthermore, the region suffered a 5.2-magnitude earthquake on 11 September in Shizunai and a 5.0-magnitude earthquake on 12 September in Hokkaidō.  Additionally, several earthquakes exceeding 5.0 magnitude been registered today (13 September) in Turkey, Nicaragua, India, China and the Indonesian Archipelago. Fortunately, no structural damage or injuries have been reported.

“This all is a very serious forecast. We do hope there will not be any casualties due to the tropical storms. We keep monitoring global disaster alerts and we are ready to assist countries’ team leaders how to go on in these circumstances, if necessary,“ said Evelin Uibokand, head of Safety and Crisis team for World Cleanup Day.

Despite different recent or ongoing emergencies and conflicts in many countries, most nations are still taking part in World Cleanup Day. Some countries in the affected areas have already announced their rescheduled cleanup dates. The leading World Cleanup Day action team from Hong Kong declared that they are postponing their cleanup to 6 October, due to the typhoon. Macau have followed suit, planning an action for 23 September. Taiwan is rescheduling all coastal cleanups for 29 September.

“We totally support these decisions, made in the name of safety. It is not safe to carry out cleanups in high category tropical storms,” said Evelin Uibokand. To facilitate a safe and successful event, Safety&Crisis Team have prepared Safety&Crisis guidelines to all World Cleanup Day participating teams.

World Cleanup Day will gather millions of volunteers in 150 countries to unite with their energy, goodwill and concern for the environment, to clean their countries of waste pollution in a single day on September 15th, 2018. World Cleanup Day is being propelled by the civic movement Let’s do it! World, which has been initiating cleanup actions across 113 countries throughout the last decade, with over 20 million volunteers taking part in total. The movement began in the small Northern European tech-savvy country of Estonia in 2008, when 50,000 people came together to clean up the entire country in just five hours. Technology created by former Skype chief architect and co-founder of Starship Technologies, Ahti Heinla, enabled the organising team to map more than 10,000 trash points before the cleanup and arrange the work of 50,000 volunteers.

 

The year 2018 marks 100 years since the founding of the Republic of Estonia. World Cleanup Day 2018 is Estonia’s biggest gift to the world on its 100th anniversary. More information about the centenary events can be found at www.EV100.ee

 

More information:

Website:  www.worldcleanupday.org

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/worldcleanupday2018/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/letsdoitworld

 

Tiina Urm, Head of Communication

Ph.  +372 53000515

E-mail: [email protected]

Skype:  tiinaurm