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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
Aerial view of a flooded area in the village of Queja, in San Cristobal Verapaz, Guatemala on Nov. 7, 2020 where it is estimated that dozens of people died after a mudslide caused by the passage of Hurricane Eta. ESTEBAN BIBA / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

A large landslide caused by torrential rains during Hurricane Eta buried half a small village's residents, leaving the other half searching for family members and neighbors in Guatemala on Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.

Officials deemed Queja, a farming community of a few hundred residents, "uninhabitable," and ended rescue operations, calling for the survivors to abandon the area now mostly covered in tons of rock and mud. 99 people were reported missing, with 44 confirmed deaths.

Mayor Ovidio Choc, representing the San Cristobal Verapaz region, including Queja, said the evacuated village would be declared a cemetery.

The former director of Guatemala's national disaster management agency said the country is ranked among the highest risk countries for natural disasters, based on data by the World Risk Index.

"It is a structural problem that is linked not only the threat or the probability of producing elements like Eta, but rather other factors that make us vulnerable and are directly tied to the development of the country," Alejandro Maldonado said, The Washington Post reported.

The inability to invest in mitigation plans, and deforestation were likely to be circumstances that caused the landslide, noted Maldonado.

The residents of Queja are the latest addition of what is being called the "great climate migration." Climate change is causing sea level rise and extreme weather conditions, such as intense heat, drought, wildfires and enlarged hurricanes and typhoons, which induce mudslides, landslides and flooding, forcing many to flee their homes, never to return.

And climate refugees are predicted to increase in number in the coming years as more natural disasters occur. According to Ecological Threat Register, a September 2020 report by the non-profit think tank Institute for Economics & Peace, one billion people live in areas were there is not enough infrastructure in place to combat ecological changes.

2020 already claims the largest number of hurricanes and wildfires ever recorded.

Eta first made landfall just south of Puerto Cabezas, a city on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast on Nov. 3, as a Category 4 hurricane, causing 140 mph winds, massive downpours and destructive flooding to several countries in Central America, including Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras.

Hurricane Eta is expected to hit Florida's Gulf Coast in its fourth landfall on Wednesday, as a Category 1 hurricane, bumped up from a subtropical storm with rains hitting southern Florida on Sunday and Monday. While diminished in intensity from its peak in Central America, landslides and flooding are expected.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An electric car at an eVgo charging station in a parking lot in Dublin, California on June 20, 2018. Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday that would ban the sale of new cars in California that run only on gasoline by the year 2035. The bid to reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis would make California the first state to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines, according to POLITICO.

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CBD lemonade and CBD ciders in the Erewhon store in Venice, California. Irma Omerhodzic

With the ever growing popularity of CBD oil, consumer demand has paved the way for various other types of CBD-infused products and application styles. It's easy to find CBD edibles, but now hemp-infused beverages like CBD water are becoming more prominent within the industry.

Read More Show Less
Konso dwellings are seen near the town of Konso, Ethiopia. Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Indigenous people around the world have lived in concert with nature for centuries, practicing responsible land management, regenerative farming practices and water conservation.

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Windmill at Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Texas pumping water from the Ogallala Aquifer. Leaflet / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Matthew R Sanderson, Burke Griggs and Jacob A. Miller

A slow-moving crisis threatens the U.S. Central Plains, which grow a quarter of the nation's crops. Underground, the region's lifeblood – water – is disappearing, placing one of the world's major food-producing regions at risk.

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A protestor in NYC holds up a sign that reads, "November Is Coming" on June 14, 2020 in reference to voting in the 2020 presidential election. Ira L. Black / Corbis / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard

What follows are not candidate endorsements. Rather, this nonpartisan guide aims to inform voters' choices, help journalists decide what races to follow, and explore what the 2020 elections could portend for climate action in the United States in 2021 and beyond.

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A September 17 report by the Rhodium Group calculates that 1.8 billion tons more greenhouse gases will be released over the next 15 years as a result of climate change rollbacks the Trump administration has achieved so far. Pete Linforth / Pixabay / CC0

By Karen Charman

When President Donald Trump visited California on September 14 and dismissed the state Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot's plea to recognize the role of climate change in the midst of the Golden State's worst and most dangerous recorded fire season to date, he gaslighted the tens of millions of West Coast residents suffering through the ordeal.

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The remains of a home near a beach destroyed by Hurricane Michael on May 9, 2019 in Mexico Beach, Florida. Scott Olson / Getty Images

As the Gulf states get pummeled by intense hurricanes and California burns in record-breaking wildfires, many in regions like these have contemplated moving to places projected to fare better in the face of the climate crisis. The ability to work from home, indefinitely for some, has also inspired interest in relocation away from expensive cities like San Francisco and New York that are vulnerable to climate disasters, reported SF Gate.

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Pexels

By Claire O'Connor

Agriculture is on the front lines of climate change. Whether it's the a seven-year drought drying up fields in California, the devastating Midwest flooding in 2019, or hurricane after hurricane hitting the Eastern Shore, agriculture and rural communities are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Scientists expect climate change to make these extreme weather events both more frequent and more intense in coming years.

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A satellite image shows smoke spreading from wildfires in the Western U.S. on Sept. 11, 2020. NOAA / NASA

The smoke from the wildfires devastating the West Coast of the U.S. has reached as far away as Europe, officials said Wednesday.

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An aerial view of a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire on November 15, 2018 in Paradise, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

By Timothy Rooks

The many wildfires roaring through America's West Coast don't just look scary, they are bad for people's health, bad for public and private lands, and bad for the economy.

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For the first time on record, the main nursery of Arctic sea ice in Siberia has yet to start freezing by late October. Euronews / YouTube

By Sharon Guynup

At this time of year, in Russia's far north Laptev Sea, the sun hovers near the horizon during the day, generating little warmth, as the region heads towards months of polar night. By late September or early October, the sea's shallow waters should be a vast, frozen expanse.

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Smoke hangs low at Big Basin Redwoods State Park as some redwoods are still on fire Aug. 22, 2020 in Boulder Creek, California. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The massive redwood trees that dot the landscape of Northern California have survived through countless earthquakes and natural disasters. Some of them are over 1,800 years old, hundreds of feet tall, and more than 90 feet in circumference. Yet, the climate crisis may threaten their livelihood as the latest California wildfires have encroached upon the ancient trees, as NPR reported.

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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
Aerial view of a flooded area in the village of Queja, in San Cristobal Verapaz, Guatemala on Nov. 7, 2020 where it is estimated that dozens of people died after a mudslide caused by the passage of Hurricane Eta. ESTEBAN BIBA / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

A large landslide caused by torrential rains during Hurricane Eta buried half a small village's residents, leaving the other half searching for family members and neighbors in Guatemala on Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.

Officials deemed Queja, a farming community of a few hundred residents, "uninhabitable," and ended rescue operations, calling for the survivors to abandon the area now mostly covered in tons of rock and mud. 99 people were reported missing, with 44 confirmed deaths.

Mayor Ovidio Choc, representing the San Cristobal Verapaz region, including Queja, said the evacuated village would be declared a cemetery.

The former director of Guatemala's national disaster management agency said the country is ranked among the highest risk countries for natural disasters, based on data by the World Risk Index.

"It is a structural problem that is linked not only the threat or the probability of producing elements like Eta, but rather other factors that make us vulnerable and are directly tied to the development of the country," Alejandro Maldonado said, The Washington Post reported.

The inability to invest in mitigation plans, and deforestation were likely to be circumstances that caused the landslide, noted Maldonado.

The residents of Queja are the latest addition of what is being called the "great climate migration." Climate change is causing sea level rise and extreme weather conditions, such as intense heat, drought, wildfires and enlarged hurricanes and typhoons, which induce mudslides, landslides and flooding, forcing many to flee their homes, never to return.

And climate refugees are predicted to increase in number in the coming years as more natural disasters occur. According to Ecological Threat Register, a September 2020 report by the non-profit think tank Institute for Economics & Peace, one billion people live in areas were there is not enough infrastructure in place to combat ecological changes.

2020 already claims the largest number of hurricanes and wildfires ever recorded.

Eta first made landfall just south of Puerto Cabezas, a city on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast on Nov. 3, as a Category 4 hurricane, causing 140 mph winds, massive downpours and destructive flooding to several countries in Central America, including Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras.

Hurricane Eta is expected to hit Florida's Gulf Coast in its fourth landfall on Wednesday, as a Category 1 hurricane, bumped up from a subtropical storm with rains hitting southern Florida on Sunday and Monday. While diminished in intensity from its peak in Central America, landslides and flooding are expected.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An electric car at an eVgo charging station in a parking lot in Dublin, California on June 20, 2018. Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday that would ban the sale of new cars in California that run only on gasoline by the year 2035. The bid to reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis would make California the first state to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines, according to POLITICO.

Read More Show Less
CBD lemonade and CBD ciders in the Erewhon store in Venice, California. Irma Omerhodzic

With the ever growing popularity of CBD oil, consumer demand has paved the way for various other types of CBD-infused products and application styles. It's easy to find CBD edibles, but now hemp-infused beverages like CBD water are becoming more prominent within the industry.

Read More Show Less
Konso dwellings are seen near the town of Konso, Ethiopia. Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Indigenous people around the world have lived in concert with nature for centuries, practicing responsible land management, regenerative farming practices and water conservation.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Windmill at Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Texas pumping water from the Ogallala Aquifer. Leaflet / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Matthew R Sanderson, Burke Griggs and Jacob A. Miller

A slow-moving crisis threatens the U.S. Central Plains, which grow a quarter of the nation's crops. Underground, the region's lifeblood – water – is disappearing, placing one of the world's major food-producing regions at risk.

Read More Show Less
A protestor in NYC holds up a sign that reads, "November Is Coming" on June 14, 2020 in reference to voting in the 2020 presidential election. Ira L. Black / Corbis / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard

What follows are not candidate endorsements. Rather, this nonpartisan guide aims to inform voters' choices, help journalists decide what races to follow, and explore what the 2020 elections could portend for climate action in the United States in 2021 and beyond.

Read More Show Less
A September 17 report by the Rhodium Group calculates that 1.8 billion tons more greenhouse gases will be released over the next 15 years as a result of climate change rollbacks the Trump administration has achieved so far. Pete Linforth / Pixabay / CC0

By Karen Charman

When President Donald Trump visited California on September 14 and dismissed the state Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot's plea to recognize the role of climate change in the midst of the Golden State's worst and most dangerous recorded fire season to date, he gaslighted the tens of millions of West Coast residents suffering through the ordeal.

Read More Show Less
The remains of a home near a beach destroyed by Hurricane Michael on May 9, 2019 in Mexico Beach, Florida. Scott Olson / Getty Images

As the Gulf states get pummeled by intense hurricanes and California burns in record-breaking wildfires, many in regions like these have contemplated moving to places projected to fare better in the face of the climate crisis. The ability to work from home, indefinitely for some, has also inspired interest in relocation away from expensive cities like San Francisco and New York that are vulnerable to climate disasters, reported SF Gate.

Read More Show Less