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Big quake in Japan and Afgan flooding kills 200

Our Mother Earth really seems to be kicking into extreme weather gear lately. Shoot, we got half a foot of snow in Green Bay, and a town in western Wisconsin ended up with 23 inches of snow! It's the middle of March and we still have a few feet of snow on the ground. But, I guess that is all peanuts compared to the flood in Afghanistan...

Torrential rains have killed more than 200 people and destroyed thousands of houses in several parts of Afghanistan in recent days, officials said on Sunday.

The worst hit areas were Deh Rawud district in the rugged central Uruzgan province and the western provinces of Farah and Herat, they said.

"The deaths of 115 have been confirmed... while thousands of homes have been destroyed,,"" Uruzgan's governor Jan Mohammad Khan said, adding that many more people were missing.

U.S. military Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters rescued around 250 people in the Deh Rawud District, some 70 kilometers northeast of the U.S. at Kandahar, after the Helmand river burst its banks.

In Farah 68 people died as a result of floods, its governor Assadullah Falah said. Officials reported 40 more deaths in Faryab and Ghor provinces.

"We have reports of total destruction of 7,800 houses in Farah," Falah said, adding that large numbers of livestock had been killed.

Some 2,500 houses had collapsed in Herat province. Most houses in Afghanistan are built from mud and are highly vulnerable to flooding.

Local officials also reported an outbreak of dysentry diarrhea in Herat's mountainous and inaccessible Pashtun Zarghoon area.

Afghanistan had its worst winter for over a decade after nearly six years of harsh drought.

Several hundred people lost their lives during the winter and the current rains coupled with melting snow have caused the latest calamity.

Japan was hit with a 7.0 quake Sunday morning

TOKYO (AFP) - A powerful earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale rocked the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, killing at least one person and injuring more than 400 others.
The quake, which occurred Sunday at 10:53 am (0153 GMT), also collapsed houses and roads, caused landslides and disrupted land and air traffic.

The Meteorological Agency immediately issued tsunami warnings but lifted them one hour later after detecting no significant rise in the tide.

"The fault was caused by the crust's horizontal shift. If the fault was vertical, it would have triggered tsunamis," said Toshikazu Hirai, a seismic expert at the government agency.

Now isn't that quite a different attitude than what other scientists have said about tsunamis. Most of the time they give statements peppered with words like "unlikely to happen again" or "once in 5,000 years". This guy makes it sound like an arbitrary event something that might happen, or might not. How likely is it to shift vertically? Is this something that can occur regularly? Don't you think these are questions that need to be asked?