HAMNET Report 29th May 2022

GDACS is warning of an approaching cyclone in the Pacific barreling down on the West coast of Mexico. Named Tropical Cyclone One-E 22, and with winds of up to 148km/h, it is threatening the lower half of Mexico, and 500 000 people are in its expected path. As of yesterday, it had not crossed the coastline of Mexico, so precise details are a bit sketchy. We’ll keep you posted as it develops.

A new APRS digipeater has been installed on du Toit’s Peak in the du Toit’s mountain pass area east of the Peninsula. Working in collaboration with Pierre ZS1HF in Worcester, the Western Cape Repeater Working Group built up a radio and KPC3 TNC system to work as a stand-alone parrot repeater of APRS signals whose range extends from the centre of Cape Town, about 150Km up the N1 in the direction of Touwsriver, as well as giving coverage to the North and South of this axis.

The site is apparently reliant on solar power only, so panels and batteries were installed with the digipeater and antenna. The site is only accessible by helicopter, so the group had to wait until another user of the site was ferrying equipment up, to hitch a ride on the chopper. The APRS system is being hosted free-of-charge up there, and thanks are due to all parties involved in the installation.

Look for callsign ZS0DZ in the path of APRS packets you may see, and for the digipeater’s own beacon on your digital map.

Michael ZS1MJT, our Western Cape Regional Director, has sent me a short report of the Klipdale National Car Rally, at which 5 HAMNET members assisted with radio communications. The rally was held on Friday the 20th and Saturday the 21st of May. Eight rally stages were driven on the Friday, and another seven on Saturday. Control on Friday was at the Bredasdorp Park, manned as always by stalwart Davy ZR1FR and Christo, and on Saturday they moved to Ruens College. The 145.675 MHz repeater on Jonaskop near Villiersdorp provided coverage, and both days’ events ran smoothly.

Michael thanks Davy ZR1FR, Corrie ZS1CQ, Johann ZS1JM and Okko, ZS1OKO for their assistance, and as usual, takes none of the credit himself!

The newest version of the Global Radio Guide is out. In this 18th edition, author Gayle Van Horn discusses “familiar players and familiar places” as the radio industry responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Just like these events have brought up once buried feelings, it has also brought what many thought to be “old” technology back to the forefront,” he said. “While internet access is one of the first targets of invading regimes intent on controlling the narrative, the vast reach of shortwave radio transcends borders and other forms of connectivity.

“It is déjà vu with a front row view.”

The guide includes articles about the international broadcasters on the front lines as well as detailed information about the monitoring of utilities on the shortwave bands, including military communications.

The 18th edition also includes its usual 24-hour station/frequency guide with schedules for selected AM band, longwave, and shortwave radio stations. Plus, listings of DX radio programs and Internet website addresses for many of the stations included.

“Whether you monitor shortwave radio broadcasts, mediumwave, amateur radio operators, or aeronautical, maritime, government, or military communications in the HF radio spectrum, this book has the information you need to help you to hear it all.”

The current edition of the Global Radio Guide is available on the Teak Publishing website and via Amazon. Thank you to the Southgate Amateur Radio News for reporting on this publication.

A disaster which happens underneath our noses, every day of the week, and which should be of more than a passing interest to radio enthusiasts is the copper cable theft disaster.

MyBroadband.co.za reported on Friday that South Africa needs to prohibit the trade of scrap for cash to curb copper cable theft in the country, according to Metal Recyclers Association trade adviser Donald Mackay.

He also said specialised training should be provided for members of the police force to help them identify stolen copper and problematic scrap yards.

“There are a couple of low hanging fruit that we should immediately go after that could make a big difference quite quickly,” Mackay said in an interview with Radio 702.

“One of them is to prohibit the trade in scrap for cash. The moment you trade anything for cash, traceability becomes a challenge.”

“That’s something that’s relatively easy to do quite quickly,” he added.

He also explained that South Africa currently doesn’t have a specialised police force to tackle the problem. Non-specialists don’t always understand the difference between legitimately traded metals and stolen goods.

As a result, the stolen goods enter the regular trading stream.

“There used to be specialised people within the police. For example, in Cape Town, the metro police had “copper heads”, which were a specialised team looking at copper theft particularly,”

“The South African police, in fact, had an arrangement to have people specially trained to identify stolen scrap and taught how to inspect a yard to identify problematic dealers.”

Mackay explained that the South African Police Service no longer seems to do this, adding that the Metal Recyclers Association is reinitiating conversations with the police to get it back on track.

It would also be necessary for police to investigate foundries, as a significant proportion of stolen copper ends up in melted form.

“If we have a look at where the stolen copper ends up, we do see, for example, that some of it ends up in some kind of melted form before it is exported,” Mackay said.

“So presumably, a significant portion of the stolen copper is ending up at local foundries who are then converting the stolen copper into a melted form.”

This makes it much harder to trace, and Mackay said it could then be resold, exported, or used for illegal electricity connections.

“There is a second-hand goods act which regulates what you are meant to do, but of course, this is not well enforced,” he noted.

We all know that this has become a disaster of huge proportions in the electricity, rail and telephone industries, so the sooner the thieves and syndicates are brought to book, the better.

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.

HAMNET Report 22nd May 2022

A follow-up report from KwaZulu Natal this week, in expectation of a severe cold front due to strike the Eastern parts of the country this weekend, says that 88 persons are still missing after last month’s devastating rains and flooding.

eNCA news said on Friday that disaster teams in KwaZulu-Natal had been placed on high alert this weekend as the province received a severe weather warning.

KZN premier Sihle Zikalala appealed to residents to exercise caution.

“The provincial government has received a severe weather warning notice from the South African Weather Services. We are advised that if KZN receives an additional 20 millimetres of rain, there is a potential for flooding as the ground may still be saturated following the recent heavy rain,” Zikalala said.

“We have been advised to expect snowfall and freezing temperatures. We urge our fellow citizens to be aware, especially those who may be in flood-prone areas.”

This is the result of a cold front that struck the Western Cape on Wednesday. Rainfall wasn’t particularly heavy, but the cold Antarctic air coming up from the south behind the front has caused night-time temperatures to fall to single figures here in the Western Cape, and will no doubt be responsible for the snow which we can expect on high ground this weekend. So be careful, folks, and prepare for severe weather wherever you are.

I like it when existing infrastructure turns out to have other unexpected valuable uses. A team of researchers with the National Physical Laboratory and the University of Edinburgh, Google and Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica developed a way to use existing undersea fibre cables to detect seismic events. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their test project involving a cable spanning the Atlantic Ocean.

Scientists have known that cables can be used to detect seismic activity—work was done as far back as the 1960s to find out if they could be used to detect submarines or undersea earthquakes.

More recently, scientists have looked into the possibility of using distributed acoustic sensing as a way to detect seismic activity. Light pulses are sent across a cable and sensors listen for any bounced back due to tremors. Three years ago, a team installed a cable in Monterey Bay in California to test the idea. And another team from Caltech working with Google demonstrated the use of polarization in regular undersea telecommunications cables. In this new effort, the researchers extended the idea of using undersea cables by taking advantage of a feature of the repeaters used on such cables.

Repeaters are used to send signals great distances across the ocean floor—they listen to the signal, amplify it and pass it along. To assist with maintaining operations, repeaters have hardware to send signals in reverse. This helps to isolate problems. The researchers in this new effort used this feature to test using existing cables as underwater seismic sensors. They sent light through a cable that connects the U.K. to Canada and then studied the signals sent back by the repeaters. They found that they were not only able to see seismic activity, but they were also able to locate it to points between repeaters. The researchers were able to detect a small earthquake with an origin near Peru and another near Indonesia. They found the cable so sensitive that they were even able to make out noise from moving ocean currents.

And so, based on such serendipitous discoveries, science in general, and seismology in particular, can be enhanced.

Thanks to techxplore.com for that report.

Universetoday.com notes that growing food in space using in-situ resources is [going to be] vital if astronauts are to survive on both the Moon and Mars for the long-term. Growing plants in space using Earth soil is nothing new, as this research is currently ongoing on board the International Space Station (ISS). But recent research carried out on Earth has taken crucial steps in being able to grow food in space using extra-terrestrial material that we took from the Moon over 50 years ago.

In a recent study published in Communications Biology, researchers have made a remarkable first step in helping future astronauts on the Moon grow their own food using lunar regolith instead of Earth soil. This is an extraordinary discovery as this could help future astronauts on the Moon and Mars grow their own food using in-situ resources as opposed to relying on resupplies from Earth to help them survive. What makes this research even more amazing is it was accomplished using lunar regolith that was returned from the Moon over 50 years ago by samples from Apollo 11, 12, and 17.

“This research is critical to NASA’s long-term human exploration goals as we’ll need to use resources found on the Moon and Mars to develop food sources for future astronauts living and operating in deep space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This fundamental plant growth research is also a key example of how NASA is working to unlock agricultural innovations that could help us understand how plants might overcome stressful conditions in food-scarce areas here on Earth.”

“Here we are, 50 years later, completing experiments that were started back in the Apollo labs,” said Robert Ferl, a professor in the Horticultural Sciences department at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and a co-author on the study. “We first asked the question of whether plants can grow in regolith. And second, how might that one day help humans have an extended stay on the Moon.”

For the study, the team grew the well-studied Arabidopsis thaliana, which is native to Eurasia and Africa, and is a relative of mustard greens and other cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts.

[All the seeds germinated, but] it was only after day six that the research team realized the plants growing in the regolith were not as robust as the control group plants growing in volcanic ash. To make matters worse, the regolith plants were growing differently depending on which type of sample they were in. They grew more slowly and had stunted roots; additionally, some had stunted leaves and sported reddish pigmentation.

While the plants ultimately did not turn out as was hoped, this research nonetheless opens the door not only to growing plants in habitats on the Moon, but it also opens the door for additional studies as well.

In the meantime, it sounds as though we’re going to need a lot of tomato or soya sauce to make the stuff edible.

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.

HAMNET Report 15th May 2022

Our National HAMNET Director, Grant ZS6GS has sent out a message he received from the IARU Region 1 inviting stations of Emergency Communications Groups in Region 1 to participate in a Simulated Emergency Test on Saturday 21st May, 2022 from 14.00 – 16.00 UTC

The operation will take place on and near the emergency Centre-of-Activity (CoA) frequencies on 40 and 17 metres (+/-QRM ).

This is a short notice event to test how well emergency communications groups can set up networks from home or temporary locations. Messages will be passed in both directions so please keep notes of who you can work as you may be asked to relay outgoing messages to their destination.

The objectives of the test are;

To increase the common interest in emergency communications, to test how usable the CoA frequencies are in IARU Region 1, to create practices for international emergency communication and to practice the relaying of messages using SSB and CW.

Each participating station will send messages to the Control station formatted using the IARU HF International Emergency Operating Procedure. Stations should relay messages received towards the Control station for that band or mode. To comply with licence regulations, all messages should be addressed to a licensed radio amateur taking part in the exercise.

Messages sent should be shorter than 25 words, and contain nothing which would be considered as a real emergency message by accidental listeners who don’t understand that this is an exercise. A weather report at the station location, the number of operators available and interesting facts about the station would all be acceptable messages.

There is no limit to the number of messages to be sent but each one must have a unique message number. To create a more realistic situation, operators are asked to limit their transmitting power during the exercise to 100 Watts. The organisers are especially interested in stations operating mobile/portable and/or on emergency power.

All HAMNET members will have seen this email, and will have the URL’s to download formatted message sheets, and to log contacts. These logs, but not the messages themselves, should be sent to Greg at g0dub@iaru-r1.org

Thanks to all who participate in the exercise.

Western Cape HAMNET members were invited to participate in an EMS emergency training session this week, when maritime and aeronautical agencies, together with the EMS services, dealt with a man-overboard in Table Bay in 12 degree water on Thursday morning, followed by an oil spill off Greenpoint washed by the prevailing current on to Milnerton beach, before drifting northwards and towards Robben Island, on Thursday afternoon and Friday.

A variety of rescue agencies dealt with the man over-board, who was rescued by helicopter, while oil-control agencies dealt with the spill, and environmental people managed the damage to the ocean and land environment from the oil.

Communications around the harbour and Table Bay were managed on an EMS radio channel, assisted by a temporary repeater installed for EMS by a HAMNET member on Signal Hill, and relays of messages from the waterfront to the training arena in Durbanville were attempted from the Disaster Management station ZS1DCC via the 145.700MHz repeater. Some voice messages were also monitored in Durbanville on a Zello relay from ZS1DCC, there being no line of sight reception of the EMS repeater channel there.

The two operators at ZS1DCC had air-band privileges, so kept a listening contact with the helicopter, and reconnaissance Cessna light aircraft, as well as using Marine channels 10 and 69 to keep an ear out for marine communications.

An X-50 antenna was installed on the roof of the conference centre in Durbanville, where the training for large numbers of personnel from each agency took place, based on the events as they unfolded. Three HAMNET members monitored the VHF messages intercepted at Durbanville.

Sybrand, ZS1SJ, our Deputy Regional Director, thanks the operators who assisted him, namely ZS1MTF, ZS1OSK, ZS1JFK, ZS1ABT and ZS1DFR.

Communications for future exercises and training procedures of this sort will function more effectively, if the training centre can be positioned to hear all radio traffic as the exercise plays itself out, and not have to rely on second hand news relayed by intervening stations, because it is topographically not exposed to the rescue scenario.

Reporting on Astronomy, Liz Kruezi and Emily Conover report that Astronomers announced on May the 12th that they have finally assembled an image of the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy.

“This image shows a bright ring surrounding the darkness, the tell-tale sign of the shadow of the black hole,” astrophysicist Feryal Özel of the University of Arizona in Tucson said at a news conference announcing the result.

The black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, (Sgr A*), appears as a faint silhouette amidst the glowing material that surrounds it. The image reveals the turbulent, twisting region immediately surrounding the black hole in new detail. The findings were also published May 12 in 6 studies in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

A planet-spanning network of radio telescopes, known as the Event Horizon Telescope, worked together to create this much-anticipated look at the Milky Way’s giant. Three years ago, the same team released the first-ever image of a supermassive black hole. That object sits at the centre of the galaxy M87, about 55 million light-years from Earth.

But Sagittarius A* is “humanity’s black hole,” says astrophysicist Sera Markoff of the University of Amsterdam, and a member of the EHT collaboration.

At 27,000 light-years away, the behemoth is the closest giant black hole to Earth. That proximity means that Sgr A* is the most-studied supermassive black hole in the universe. Yet Sgr A* and others like it remain some of the most mysterious objects ever found.

That’s because, like all black holes, Sgr A* is an object so dense that its gravitational pull won’t let light escape. Black holes are “natural keepers of their own secrets,” says physicist Lena Murchikova of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., who is not part of the EHT team. Their gravity traps light that falls within a border called the event horizon. EHT’s images of Sgr A* and the M87 black hole skirt up to that inescapable edge.

Sgr A* feeds on hot material pushed off of massive stars at the galactic centre. That gas, drawn toward Sgr A* by its gravitational pull, flows into a surrounding disk of glowing material, called an accretion disk. That accretion disk is where the action is — as the gas moves within immensely strong magnetic fields — so astronomers want to know more about how the disk works.

And I want to know if that is where all my unmatched socks have gone to. They’re certainly nowhere here at home!

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.

HAMNET Report 8th May 2022

In reports on the Ukrainian conflict, the European Commission says that they are coordinating the delivery of assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to Ukraine, from all 27 Member States and two participating states. Over 26,500 tonnes of non-military assistance from these countries and items from the rescEU medical stockpile have been delivered to Ukrainian civilians via the UCPM logistic hubs in Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

And for the war-ravaged country of Afghanistan, the horror continues. Flooding and storms in 12 provinces have resulted in 22 deaths and 40 injured citizens, according to Hassibullah Shekhani, head of communications and information at Afghanistan’s National Disaster Management Authority.

The Taliban government, struggling to cope with the disaster that has affected more than a third of its provinces, will approach international relief organisations for help, officials said.

The rain and flooding was particularly severe in the western provinces of Badghis and Faryab and the northern province of Baghlan. Afghanistan has been suffering from drought in recent years, made worse by climate change, with low crop yields raising fears of serious food shortages.

Shekhani said 500 houses were destroyed, 2,000 damaged, 300 head of livestock killed and some 3,000 acres of crops damaged. He said the International Committee of the Red Cross was helping and officials would approach other international organisations for help.

Thank you to dawn.com for this insert.

Danie, ZS1OSS, has added another feather to the bow (if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor) of relays of Western Cape repeaters outside the Western Cape, by installing an OpenWebRx receiver at his home, with links to 4 possible VHF and UHF spectra on the internet. You can choose VHF digital channels, VHF analogue audio channels, UHF digital channels or UHF analogue audio channels. You will then be presented with a waterfall on your browser, showing the relevant segment of the spectrum with frequencies marked, and favourites highlighted. This will allow you to click on a frequency in the waterfall, and receive the signal on that frequency.

He also notes that, by watching this reception on the internet, while you are transmitting on RF, you can easily gauge the quality of your signal and audio.

This is available 24 hours a day, and can be accessed by entering https://openwebrx.gadgeteerza.co.za/ in your browser. All the HAMNET and club bulletins are available via this portal. Thank you to Danie, ZS1OSS, and his knowledge of matters digital, for making this available to us all.

The ITU Radiocommunication Bureau’s Nick Sinanis SV3SJ/F5VIH/HB9DSR writes about amateur radio and notes that basic equipment like a handheld radio is affordable and sufficient to make local contacts, while more expensive, larger antennas enable more distant communications. Still, tinkering with a rooftop long wire connected to a software-defined radio module can deliver the joy of a long-distance call at a reasonable cost

Another hallmark of amateur radio is its unique combination of knowledge in telecommunications, electronic engineering, physics and tinkering of all sorts. This magic mix can help one recognize a radio ham even in a data centre! Moreover, radio science plays an important role in scientific and technological innovation.

Above all, amateur radio is a social hobby that still attracts the interest of the young, through social networking apps, or challenges, like copying high-speed Morse code.

The passion of radio amateurs and their community have also provided crucial assistance in the form of emergency communications.

Thanks to Southgate Amateur Radio News for highlighting that passion for us.

With nothing in common with the thriller movie of almost the same name directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the spacecraft PSYCHE has arrived at Kennedy Space Centre, to be prepared over the next three months for a launch on 1st August this year.

SciTechDaily tells us that it will use solar-electric propulsion to travel approximately 2.4 billion kilometres to rendezvous with its namesake asteroid PSYCHE in 2026. This will make it the first spacecraft to use Hall-effect thrusters beyond the orbit of the Moon. This thruster technology traps electrons in a magnetic field and uses them to ionize on-board propellant, expending much less propellant than equivalent chemical rockets. PSYCHE also carries three scientific instruments: an imager, a magnetometer, and a gamma ray and neutron spectrometer

The unique, metal-rich PSYCHE asteroid may be part of the core of a planetesimal, a building block of rocky planets in our solar system. Learning more about the asteroid could tell us more about how our own planet formed and help answer fundamental questions about Earth’s own metal core and the formation of our solar system.

Techxplore.com reports this week on a spiralling helical compressible antenna that looks like two strands of DNA, developed by a group of mechanical engineering students at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

As the space industry evolves its focus from large satellites to smaller ones with the same functionality, there is a growing need for the hardware on board to shrink as well. Current satellite antenna hardware is fully deployed upon launch. Those systems can be large and not aligned with the industry’s goal for smaller hardware.

The team’s prototype is a deployable helical antenna that starts as a compressed coiled spring.

The students designed their antenna to deploy once it is in space—activated by an on-board computer. This would trigger the device’s antenna component to extend four times its compressed height from 6cm to nearly 50cm for full functionality.

The team accomplished this by designing the antenna with the properties of a mechanical spring, which is an idea the industry has rarely attempted to build before. The students explained that optimizing the prototype to be both a spring and an antenna was difficult to do.

They had to take geometry, material and frequency bandwidth all into consideration. The students used spring calculators and high frequency structure simulator software to build an antenna that could stow and deploy with the properties of a mechanical spring.

The students have completed antenna functionality, deployment, and mechanical shock and vibration tests on their prototype. The radiofrequency testing was done at First RF, a company specializing in antennas and radiofrequency systems, while the vibration testing happened at Lockheed Martin. The antenna size is scalable to be resonant on a variety of frequencies.

Finally, may I take the opportunity to wish all our Mothers out there a very meaningful Mother’s Day. And if you aren’t a Mother, you definitely do have one. If she is still with you, tell her how much you appreciate all she ever did for you, and, if she isn’t, remember her on this day with fondness.

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.

HAMNET Report 1st May 2022

By Tuesday this week, the Global Disaster Alert Coordination System was starting to report on the newly formed Tropical Storm JASMINE which was moving eastwards over the Mozambique Channel, towards the south-western coast of Madagascar. On 26 April at 4.00 UTC, its centre was located about 240 km east of Toliara City, with maximum sustained winds of 116 km/h.

JASMINE was forecast to make landfall in the afternoon of 26 April in an area close to Toliara, with maximum sustained winds up to 105 km/h. After the landfall it was expected to weaken, dissipating on 27 April over Atsimo-Andrefana Region.

According to the Madagascar National Bureau of Disaster Risk Management (BNGRC)’s latest provisional damage report of April 27th, three people had died, 7 people were missing, 197 people had been affected in 56 households, and 88 people were displaced in an accommodation site. Some 57 houses had been totally or partially destroyed.

Relief efforts for those affected by the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal are continuing, with the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster especially giving thanks to the community groups that have volunteered and donated in assistance.

In a media briefing led by the Minister of Health, and including Ministers of Basic Education, and Social Development, the departments provided an update on the relief efforts.

The ministers in the cluster have at various times this week visited different parts of the provinces in the affected areas to assess the damage caused and to seek ways of assisting those in need.

The priority, they said, was placed on providing immediate support to women, children, older persons and persons with disabilities.

Providing a run-down of the numbers, Dr Joe Phaahla reported that there are 98 shelters where over 8 400 people are being housed in community halls, religious facilities, and other temporary structures within communities.

The majority of the people housed in shelters are women, 4700 in fact, 1 700 are children under 10 years of age, 1 000 are older persons and there are 217 people with disabilities.

“Working with the province and local municipalities, where shelters are identified, the DSD teams have been providing cooked meals, blankets and dignity packs, working with NPOs, churches, corporates and committee members, to displaced individuals. Our Community Nutrition and Development Centres (CNDCs) have also been providing this support on a daily basis. Specific focus has been on children who have been displaced from schools and those who have lost family members or belongings,” Dr Phaahla said.

He added that the teams have also been providing much needed psychosocial support and debriefings with families and individuals in affected communities. Social Workers have reached over 15 983 people in this regard, and these services are ongoing. Sassa has provided Social Distress Relief (SDR) to more than 3 000 people to the tune of almost R5 million, and purchased uniforms for learners to the value of R372 000, targeting flood victims in eThekwini and iLembe Districts.

Human activity and behaviour is contributing to an increasing number of disasters across the world, putting millions of lives in danger, together with a wide range of social and economic gains over recent decades, a new UN report published on Tuesday warns.

The Global Assessment Report (GAR2022), released by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) ahead of next month’s Global Platform on reducing risk, reveals that between 350 and 500 medium to large-scale disasters took place every year over the past two decades.

The number of disaster events is projected to reach 560 a year – or 1.5 each day, statistically speaking – by 2030.

The GAR2022 blames these disasters on a broken perception of risk based on “optimism, underestimation and invincibility,” which leads to policy, finance and development decisions that exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and put people in danger.

“The world needs to do more to incorporate disaster risk in how we live, build and invest, which is setting humanity on a spiral of self-destruction,” said Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, who presented the report at the UN headquarters in New York.

“We must turn our collective complacency to action. Together we can slow the rate of preventable disasters as we work to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for everyone, everywhere.”

The report entitled, Our World at Risk: Transforming Governance for a Resilient Future, found that the implementation of disaster risk reduction strategies, as called for in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction agreed in 2015, had reduced both the number of people impacted, and killed by disasters, in the last decade.

However, the scale and intensity of disasters are increasing, with more people killed or affected, in the last five years, than in the previous five.

And disasters disproportionately impact developing countries, which lose an average of one percent of GDP a year to disasters, compared to less than 0.3 per cent in developed countries.

Thank you to moderndiplomacy for these notes.

After all this doom and gloom, allow me some latitude to attempt to put some humour into the bulletin.

If you haven’t been disconnected from all forms of news in the last 10 weeks or so, you’ll know of the major conflict playing itself out in Eastern Europe. We watch with horror, and listen to many reports of all sorts of military horror taking place there.

Now, my role is not to be political, so I will say nothing about that, but one has to wonder at all the military and technical cleverness happening in the air and on the ground. I certainly don’t support war, and I’m sure you don’t either, so any attempt on either side to make life difficult for the other faction has to be lauded, because it retards the violent actions of the opposition.

I also recognize that the kind of reporting we hear is biased, and one-sided, and the opposing nations can probably describe stories of all sorts of cruelty and demoralising activities on the part of A against B, and of course, B against A.

But in the face of it all, and in the presence of all the tanks, artillery, troop carriers, aircraft, drones and what-not, built of high quality steel, I find it ironic and darkly humorous, that the one side is trying to jam the other side’s radio transmissions with music described as “heavy metal”..

Quite appropriate, don’t you think?

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South /Africa.