September Current Events 2023: Disaster News

Updated September 29, 2023 | Infoplease Staff

World News | U.S. News | Science & Technology News | Current Events This Week

The world is a very busy place, and it's hard to stay on top of everything. Infoplease has got you covered. Here are the Disaster news events you need to know so far for September 2023.

  1. 74 People Pronounced Dead In A Building Fire In Johannesburg
  2. Flood Triggered In Hong Kong After A Heavy Typhoon
  3. Australians Exposed To Smoke Blanket Following Hazard Reduction Burns
  4. Libyans Grow Angry At The Death Toll From Severe Flooding
  5. Metallic Toxicants Found To Affect Millions Of People Worldwide
  6. New Reports Show That 10% Of Swiss Glaciers Depleted In 2 Years


74 People Pronounced Dead In A Building Fire In Johannesburg

South Africa Fire

Photo Source: AP Photo/Jerome Delay


Thursday, August 31, 2023 – At about 1 a.m., a five-story building in Johannesburg that houses more than 400 residents caught fire. The residents of the building included extremely poor economic migrants and asylum seekers, predominantly from Malawi, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and several South Africans.

The death toll reached 74. In hospitals all around the city, dozens more individuals were receiving medical attention for injuries. The health department for Gauteng reported that 12 of those who died in the fire were youngsters.

As a standard security precaution, the only door in and out of the building was locked when the fire started, leaving no way for the residents to flee, resulting in most residents breaking through the windows to escape.

Although the City of Johannesburg owns it, neither the city nor the municipality actively managed or maintained the structure. Residents were said to have paid to a syndicate that controlled the property. A month's rent for a room was roughly R1,000, and little to no maintenance was done.

Source: The Guardian 

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Flood Triggered In Hong Kong After A Heavy Typhoon

Hong Kong Flood

Photo Source: AP Photo/Louise Delmotte

Friday, September 8, 2023 – The amount of rain that fell in Hong Kong in a single hour on Thursday night was 158.1 mm, the most since records began being kept in 1884. This record-breaking rainfall led to widespread flooding and disrupted train and road traffic. The city's Mass Transit Railway said that service on one of its lines would be temporarily halted after a station in the Wong Tai Sin neighborhood was flooded, with a few other stations also affected.

Only a few days after the city narrowly avoided significant damage from a super typhoon, the city experienced record rain in the hour leading up to midnight on Thursday. No death has been recorded yet.

Heavy rain was also reported in Shenzhen, a neighboring Chinese tech powerhouse. According to Hong Kong officials, the city has prepared to dump water from its reservoirs, which might result in flooding in sections of northern Hong Kong.

Source: The Guardian

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Australians Exposed To Smoke Blanket Following Hazard Reduction Burns

Australia Wildfires

Photo Source: AP Photo/Mark Baker

Monday, September 11, 2023 – Due to hazard reduction burns over the weekend, Sydney awoke on Monday to a thick layer of smoke covering several areas of the city.

 The commissioner of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said firefighters will continue performing hazard reduction burns over the upcoming few months as long as it's safe to do so, which might cause smoke to become trapped in the Sydney basin.

The Hazard reduction burn is a yearly practice by the firefighters especially in areas where there are properties. The fire service chiefs informed local news that the hazard burns were delayed this year and the process is still currently behind schedule.

Communities are being urged to bear with the process because; ultimately the smoke will clear over a period of few days and is far better than a bushfire disaster which could easily get out of control.

Source: The Guardian 

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Libyans Grow Angry At The Death Toll From Severe Flooding

Libya Floods

Photo Source: AP Photo/Muhammad J. Elalwany

Thursday, September 14, 2023 – Senior politicians have asked Libya's attorney general to launch an urgent investigation into the catastrophic floods that have killed tens of thousands of people, including allegations that local officials imposed a curfew on the night Storm Daniel struck, causing the collapse of two poorly maintained dams.

There is an estimate that 20,000 people died. These are only estimates, not body counts or figures certified by UN authorities. At least 5,200 deaths have been confirmed.

There is also a general atmosphere of anger as different accusation are flying around about how the situation is being managed and how the ruling class is involved in different cover-ups that has led to the flood such as the poor maintenance of a Dam since the Libyan civil war in 2011.

Rescue crews from Egypt, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Qatar have arrived. The majority have now arrived in the city; they have been vital to the rescue effort by pulling many survivors from under the collapsed structures.

Source: The Guardian

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Metallic Toxicants Found To Affect Millions Of People Worldwide


Photo Source: Getty Images

Thursday, September 21, 2023 – According to a study, at least 23 million people worldwide live on floodplains affected by potentially hazardous quantities of toxic waste from metal-mining operations. These findings were built upon the team's earlier research into how mining contamination flows and accumulates in the ecosystem.

The extent of contamination from the world's 22,609 active and 159,735 abandoned metal mines was calculated by UK experts. These findings are particularly important as demand for metals used in battery technology and electrification, such as lithium and copper, has continued to rise even though metal contamination of the environment can be dated back to 7,000 years ago.

Chemicals from mining operations can seep into the soil and waterways as shown by the data collated from global mining activity data that governments, mining companies, and organizations such as the US Geological Survey have provided. This information includes the location of each mine, the metal extracted, and whether it was operational or abandoned.

Source: BBC 

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New Reports Show That 10% Of Swiss Glaciers Depleted In 2 Years

Switzerland Glacier Melt

Photo Source: AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

Thursday, September 28, 2023 – According to scientists, the continual combustion of fossil fuels is causing climate breakdown, in just two years, the volume of Swiss glaciers has decreased by 10%. The continual loss of the ice can be traced to abnormally hot summers and winters with very little snowfall. 

The volume lost in the 2022 and 2023 scorching summers is equal to the volume lost in the 1960s to 1990s. This year's record temperature was witnessed in the Swiss Alps. The Swiss weather service discovered that in August, the month of maximum melting, the elevation at which precipitation freezes set a new record overnight high—5,289 meters.

The melting ice is changing the mountainous scene. This meant that the minor glaciers had melted away and the large glaciers would continue to shrink. The Swiss Academy of Sciences discovered that 4% of Switzerland's total glacier volume was lost this year, the second-largest annual drop on record. The greatest dip occurred in 2022, when it was 6%.

Source: The Guardian 

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