Six killed by cyclone in Solomon Islands

 

81641979_026312087Trees were blown down by cyclone.
Image source: www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31883712

by Qian Lu

Six people were killed by the cyclone “victor” in the early morning yesterday in Solomon Islands. 18 people have been treated in hospital for minor injuries.

According to the emergency services, Honiara has been the worst affected. More than 20 houses were destroyed and a number of other buildings sustained considerable structural damage in Honiara. More than 100 people are now homeless.

81656863_fed8b35b-0efd-44a5-b974-5dd2643c35ccMore than 20 houses were destroyed
Image source: www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31895231

Police say three men died when their car was blown off the road into a river, and two women and a man were killed by flying debris.

By 10 a.m., winds were blowing at more than 140 kilometres per hour in Honiara.

At about midday, the centre of the cyclone passed directly over Honiara and tracked into the Coral Sea and then blew itself out.

Mopping-up operations have started in Honiara.

At 2 a.m. yesterday morning, meteorologists at the Nadi Weather Centre detected a cyclone near Nauru and moving quickly towards the Solomon Islands. They informed the Solomon Islands government of Cyclone Victor.

Government officials immediately warned all shipping and people in the area of the cyclone’s approach.

(Declaration: This is only a class practice in a University Course.)

 

 

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Six Killed by Cyclone Victor

Six residents were killed by a cyclone named “Victor” when it passed over Honiara yesterday midday. Besides, there were more than 100 people homeless and another 18 people have been treated in hospital for minor injuries.

Furthermore, more than 20 houses were destroyed and a number of other buildings sustained considerable structural damage.

According to police, the six people who died, three men drowned when their car was blown off the road into a river, and two women and a man were killed by flying debris.

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Image source: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/we-are-enduring-an-absolute-hiding-cyclone-victor-slams-the-cook-islands

At 2 a.m. yesterday morning, meteorologists at the Nadi Weather Centre detected Victor developing rapidly near Nauru and moving quickly south-west across the Pacific towards the Solomon Islands.

At 3 a.m., the Centre contacted the Solomon Islands government warning of the approach of Cyclone Victor. After receiving the message, government officials immediately put emergency plans into operation. They warned all shipping in the area of the cyclone’s approach.

By 10 a.m., winds in Honiara were blowing at more than 140 kilometres per hour.

Cyclone “Victor” hits the Solomon Islands

Early in the morning, the Government put the country under emergency, but 6 people were killed, 18 were sent to the hospital and several houses were destroyed in Honiara, the city that took the brunt of the damage.

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It all started at 2 a.m., when the Nadi Weather Centre detected a cyclone developing near Nauru and moving towards the Solomon Islands. An hour later, the meteorologists contacted the Government, which quickly deployed their emergency plans. They warned ships in the area, broadcasted warnings on the radio, and alerted the police.

At 10 a.m. though, the cyclone struck Honiara, Solomon Islands’ capital city, killing 6 people, injuring 18, and leaving 100 people homeless. The emergency services are still on call in nearby districts, but they believe that Honiara was the worst affected district.

Cyclone Strikes Solomon Islands Capital

Six people dead and over 100 were left homeless in Honiara yesterday as cyclone ‘Victor’ blitzed through the Solomon Islands capital. Blowing at over 140km/hr, the cyclone passed over Honiara at midday, destroying homes and buildings, leaving an additional 18 people injured.

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Residents walking through the rain and surrounding debris following the aftermath of the cyclone (Audience Submitted: Tony Bransby)

 

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Opal Card: a Nice Reformation, but the potential Loophole of NSW Public Transport.

"I'm using Opal card almost every day, but I'm worried about it."

Since the Opal electronic ticketing system was established in New South Wales from last March, more than 2,000,000 Opal Cards has been applied in Australia. Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian indicated the roll out of Opal card is “phenomenal”. However, this $1.2 billion investment ticketing system is denounced because of its deficiencies of software and the accompanying influences.

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 (Trian station entrance with Opal electronic ticketing system. Photography by Yepin Hu, 28th April,2015.)

The population of the NSW is approximately 7.4 million (Australian Bureau of Statistics). The 2 million Opal cards holders take a high proportion as Opal card has quickly become the NSW travellers’ basic necessities and travel passes. Passengers could tap on / off on the Opal devices with Opal cards to get the access of public transportations. At the same time, the paper tickets were gradually replaced by Opal.

“I really like Opal card, I think we should had it a long time ago. I used use paper ticket before but it always very inconvenient because only can buy weekly or monthly for the concession one. I love Opal card cause it’s easier and saving time.” Isabella Lau, a local student of Sydney Uni, said.

Is Opal card really that practical and really so welcome?

And it seems that Opal card is popular, but not 100% satisfied. Isabella Lau continued talking:“I think it will be good that they sale the Opal cards in train station cause right now you could book them online but it still take a while. They could make it cheaper, maybe more benefits.”

Opal electronic ticketing system is a great reformation in NSW, but it currently not a perfect transport system. With the process of operating, more shortcomings of Opal system have revealed.

Weifeng Chen is an overseas student from China and currently residing in Burwood, Sydney, she told me: “Rails and buses are the main means of my daily transport. I use Opal card almost every day. But the Opal card contains my personal information, and I heard that the Australian government can investigate passengers’ daily travel movements from the Opal company, that makes me feel no sense of security, as if being monitored.”

“Also, I have twice experienced that Opal card system overcharged my transportation costs, which makes me feel annoying and worried as well. You know, my bank card is bundling with Opal. ”

Yes, the story that Chen mentioned is not only happened on her. Moreover, according to the 9 -News TV Channel reported, that from August to October in 2014, Opal users are overcharged 1,205,556 times, that the fare value totaled over 6 million Australian dollars with malfunctioned.

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(Source: from 9 News. com.au )

Now the signs of Opal card can be seen in many places including rail, bus, ferry and light rail. The Australian Government made a great contribution to Opal system with encouraging citizens to use it. This phenomenon seems to tell the Australian residents that the paper ticket era has passed.

Opal card is really a significant reform of NSW traffic and very effectively combine more than one paper tickets into a multi-purpose magcard. People love it, but hate it may because of its principles. Like when talking about Opal card could save money, Andrea Ho, a student from Canada, spoke of her complaints, “I’m an international student, there is no student discount for me. It is slightly unfair. Opal card is a great system, I just wish international students are able to apply for the concession card.”

For students in the New South Wales, public vehicles are the main transportation of their daily travel. Once this group of people is perplexed by the Opal card system that would be an issue in Australia, which need to be noticed.

What is more, not only passengers but also staffs who work for the transport department were plagued with the establishment of Opal card system.

Excepting the passengers, the transport department staffs also meet new challenges. Puja Arora is a Customer Services Attendant in Burwood train station and I interviewed her. She said: “The Opal electronic system reduced my workload, that is good. But many of my co-workers are gone. They lost their jobs because of Opal card, especially the salesmen worked in the paper ticket windows. Now they have already gone. No sales, no jobs. People now buy paper tickets from the machines.” Then she pointed to one of the ticket windows.

It is true,the ticket booth windows are been tightly closed.

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(The Paper ticket windows have been closed. Photography by Yepin Hu, 30th May, 2015. Burwood, Sydney)

With the Opal smart cards are promoted for working at all Sydney rail stations, Sydney Trains is cutting the number of sales staff at stations (SHM). As a result,dozens of sales positions have been removed.

For passengers, Opal card to facilitate travellers save transportation fee and time, but because of the immaturity and imperfect of its infrastructure, the users are not fully appreciated on the system; for rail station staffs, they are under the pressure of job cut.

Are these matters showing the potential loopholes of Opal electronic ticketing system? Whether the relevant departments need to consider about these issues and to improve Opal card system or just maintaining the present status? Is that if there has no large outbreaks of serious incidents, these sort of small problems of Opal card system could be ignored?

However,as Isabella Lau recommended, “Octopus card in Hong Kong is a good example, at least I can buy a card directly at stations.”

So, should we imitate the Hong Kong’s Octopus card mode as a sort of solution?

All in all, the New South Wales passengers are affecting by the Opal card system in their daily trips during the one-year period from Opal card been launched. Opal card actually brings convenient to the NSW passengers, but brings some confusion at the same time. Hopefully, if the relevant departments to consider these potential problems and try to solve them, Opal card system could be improved as a better reformation in transportation industry.

Perhaps we need to seek for a relatively balance for Australian sustainable development from here.