Long-term impact of 3-day storms/earthquakes

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A Y2K wake-up call appears to be in order based on what is happening following hurricane Floyd and what appears to be coming down the pipe in the wake of the earthquake in Taiwan. It remains to be seen if the press will put two-and-two together.

In the case of hurricane Floyd (the 'classic three-day storm') contamination of fresh water supplies and ground aquifers by human/livestock sewage and decaying livestock carcasses will cause significant and lasting economic impact for both local residents and regional economies according to the San Jose Mercury News. The additional rain and misery descending on the region from another tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico is in many ways analogous to the residual Y2K impacts that will follow the actual century rollover.

In the case of the earthquake in Taiwan, six- to eight-week disruptions in the supply of motherboards for PC's are likely to occur as a result of damage to factories and interruptions in the manufacturing processes at the time of the quake. The Mercury News reported this morning that "Taiwan's biggest ever earthquake sent modest ripples through financial markets on Tuesday, with jitters focusing on the island's semiconductor industry." Approximately 80% of motherboards for desktop PC's originate in Taiwan. It will be interesting to see how the 'fix-on-failure' management response to the effects of the quake works in practice. How resilient will the electronics component industry in Taiwan prove to be?

We should all keep our ear to the rail to see how long it will take for the initial 'storm' and 'quake' problems to be fixed and how long the spin-off effects last. It's one thing to have isolated, localized spike events like 'three-day storms' and earthquakes. However, the follow-on societal and economic impacts from these natural events may prove to be the greater challenge. In the Y2K arena when multiple, Y2K-induced 'storms,' 'quakes,' and a myriad of nuisance problems begin rippling around the globe come January ,1 the long-term impacts may have more serious consequences than the rollover failures themselves.

Any thoughts from the forum faithful?


-- Brian E. Smith (besmith@mail.arc.nasa.gov), September 21, 1999


Yep. Apple's stock is already taking a tumble today because of announced limitations in G-4 chip supply and an expectation in upcoming lower earnings.

Will the Silly Valley finally WAKE UP to Y2K and supply chain ripples? Time... and tide (l waves)... will tell.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), September 21, 1999.


Since these Merc articles disappear faster than melted butter on hot bread... the full-text:

Posted at 1:11 a.m. PDT Tuesday, September 21, 1999

Floyd's floodwaters deliver
knockout punch to Carolinas

New York Times

http:// www.sjmercury.com/breaking/docs/078955.htm

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

TARBORO, N.C. -- Of the 10,000 North Carolinians driven into shelters by Hurricane Floyd, more than 2,000 have occupied a teeming building here that until recently was Tarboro High School. It is surrounded by lakes of stagnant brown water, but there is not a drop for toilets, showers or washing clothes.

Most of the refugees come from the inundated town of Princeville, a couple of miles east of Tarboro, where President Clinton spoke Monday at the edge of the flooded downtown. Princeville, the first village in the United States founded by freed slaves, is a normally placid community of 2,000. It may also have been the deadliest place to have lived in the storm that hit Thursday.

At the shelter, people speak of relatives and friends who remain missing, and of rumors of bodies afloat in the unapproachable waters around Princeville.

Of the 32 people that the state medical examiner, Dr. John Butts, had determined by late Monday were killed by the storm, seven were in Edgecombe County, in or near Princeville, including six who drowned in an overcrowded boat that was fleeing the Tar River as it ravaged the village. No other county has had as many deaths from the storm, Butts said. Here, beyond the lost lives, is the total if perhaps temporary loss of the whole town of Princeville.

Connected to loss

Stephanie L. Randolph, 25, lives high and dry in an apartment in Tarboro with her four children. But most of her family was in Princeville.

``My mom lost her trailer,'' Randolph said. ``My sister lost her house. My whole family lost everything. We lost our church.''

Randolph knows about the people in the capsized boat. ``My babysitter's two nieces died,'' she said. ``They were 2 and 5. They drowned. The water was coming so fast they fell off the rescue boat.''

It was a harrowing time for others in Princeville, many of whom learned of the assault of the river past midnight.

``My son-in-law come knocking at the door,'' said Dolores Sherrod, who escaped with her husband and two grandchildren and was searching through mounds of donated clothes at the shelter. ``We had to get out fast.''

None of the Princeville evacuees who were interviewed said they had had time to collect anything.

``I live in a mobile home there,'' said Jimmie Hilliard, 47, a custodian at the Tarboro courthouse who has a wife and five children. ``It's underwater. Totally gone. We lost everything.''

Old and new, destroyed

Kevin White, 22, told of Turner Prince, Princeville's founder, who built some of the houses that still stand there on Main Street. Or that stood until Thursday.

``We had Freedom Hill in Princeville,'' White said. ``That's where they escaped to. We were building a new boys and girls club with a gym. All gone.''

No one knows what might be left of Princeville. Police and the Tar River have blocked roads leading there, precluding any access or even a view of the place. But from a small boat, Princeville was Lake Princeville.

Above the surface of the Tar, only rooftops, a church steeple and the top floors of a few larger buildings were visible.

A dog was stranded on a gas-station roof, another dog on the roof of a house, a cat on a chimney.

The people of Princeville, however, are hardly alone in the totality of their loss. All across Edgecombe and neighboring counties, the Tar has climbed so high -- 24 feet above flood stage -- that it has swallowed so much of some neighborhoods that nothing can be seen of them without a boat.

From the Bahamas to New England, 62 deaths connected to the storm have been reported. But North Carolina was hit the hardest. The eastern third of the state is flooded, and state officials said the storm may be North Carolina's costliest natural disaster.

While there were some encouraging reports Monday, of a receding river or a restored power line, the news was mostly grim. Two to three more inches of rain were expected as early as Monday night from a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico.

First Sgt. Jeff Winstead of the state highway patrol said that the Tar and Neuse rivers were expected to remain at flood stage for five more days.

Lives have been disrupted in countless other ways. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reported that 47,000 customers in North Carolina remained without electricity, 56,000 without water and 33,500 without phones. Most schools in the counties east of Interstate 95 were closed indefinitely. So were more than 200 roads, including long stretches of Interstates 95 and 40.

Disease was also a concern, with livestock carcasses rotting, and sewage overflow, fuel, farm chemicals and manure fouling the water.

The National Guard delivered drinking water to several counties, and two industrial-size incinerators were brought into Jones County to burn the hundreds of thousands of dead animals.

In Tarboro, Clinton tried to be encouraging, announcing loans for farmers.

``I urge you to keep your spirits up and know we're going to be with you every step of the way,'' he told 500 people. ``When things like this happen to some of us, we know they could happen to all of us. We know we have a responsibility as members of the American family to help you get back on your feet again.''

Beginning to tally

In Rocky Mount, which straddles Edgecombe and Nash counties, Ben Elliott stands at one end of Taylor Street. At the other, now submerged, his wife, Marion, and three grandchildren lived in an $80,000 brick ranch house.

``That water just gushed down there,'' he said. ``Them that didn't get out had to be rescued. The only thing that I got out was the pair of pants I was wearing, a shirt and my shoes.''

He has called FEMA for help and been assured that he would most likely be given a low interest loan and other assistance for new housing. He has to make an inventory of what he lost, however.

To share in the exercise, Elliott suggested that his granddaughter, Shannon, 8, who was standing with him in the mud at the safe end of Taylor, make her own inventory of lost property. This is Shannon's list, as she compiled it on a yellow legal pad:

``Barbie skates, Barbie helmet and kneepads and elbo pads.

``NC State Barbie, Balerina Barbie, Florda Barbie and sweethart Barbie and ther was a Barbie who had star sticking things that go in her hair.

``Freestile bike.

``A dog.

``50 pairs of socks and underwear.

``Lots and lots of church dresses.

``Lots of shirts and pants.

``A Barbie diary.''

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), September 21, 1999.

And... love this Y2K-applicable quote...

``Those people putting a price out there are very much holding a finger to the wind and hoping their guess, once the local market opens, is correct.''

Ripples... within ripples... MOST... unexpected!


Posted at 8:02 a.m. PDT Tuesday, September 21, 1999

Taiwan quake raises modest
market ripples

http:// www.sjmercury.com/breaking/docs/024449.htm

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

LONDON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Taiwan's biggest ever earthquake sent modest ripples through financial markets on Tuesday, with jitters focusing on the island's semiconductor industry.

Taipei's stock and currency markets were closed on Tuesday and trading in offshore Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs) was restricted, but analysts said Taiwanese microchip stocks were set for a knock when trading reopened.

``If in fact there has been damage it could be very serious,'' Mark Mobius, president of the Templeton Emerging Market Fund, told Reuters in an interview. ``They need very clean rooms. This could have have caused contamination.''

Nevertheless, analysts said initial reports suggested the blow to the wider economy from the quake, which killed more than 1,500 people and measured 7.6 on the open-ended Richter scale, would be relatively limited.

Two major firms, Taiwan Semiconductor and United Microelectronics Corp, said the quake had caused power outages but no damage to their production lines.

Shares in European and South Korean semiconductor firms spiked up, anticipating reduced supply from Taiwan.

Traders said London's Stock Exchange Automated Quotation (SEAQ) market declared no dealing in Taiwanese GDRs on Tuesday because of the local market closure, confining trade in the offshore instruments to tiny levels.


Microchip companies provide the bulk of Taiwanese GDRs, and traders said a few players were marking down the stock in anticipation of a fall when the Taipei market reopened.

``Obviously we will see the market come off tomorrow,'' one London- based trader said. ``Those people putting a price out there are very much holding a finger to the wind and hoping their guess, once the local market opens, is correct.''

The HSBC Taiwan GDR index was down 2.97 percent on Tuesday but traders said the drop reflected late Monday levels in New York, which was still in the midst of its trading day when the quake struck just before 1800 GMT.

In currency markets the Taiwan dollar felt only limited pressure through offshore non-deliverable forwards (NDFs).

``The markets' main concern is about the effect on Taiwanese exports, specifically semiconductor exports,'' said Callum Henderson, currency strategist at Citibank in London.

The premium over spot rates for three-month NDFs rose slightly to around 0.1/0.15 from Monday's 0.07, but for one-year NDFs it remained virtually unchanged, suggesting the quake's impact on the currency would be short-lived.

``The Taiwan dollar is likely to give back some of its recent strength against the greenback, but any weakness is likely to be temporary,'' Standard Chartered said in a note to investors.

Henderson at Citibank said additional government spending on reconstruction after the quake would put upward pressure on Taiwanese interest rates, but the central bank was likely to resist rate hikes unless the underlying economy merited them.

The tragedy may even salve one irritant for Taiwan markets in the short term: tense relations with arch-rival China.

Beijing has offered condolences and help, and analysts say the two countries could benefit from the kind of ``earthquake diplomacy'' that has warmed ties between Turkey and Greece since quakes rocked those countries last month.

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), September 21, 1999.

Can anyone point me to an actual quote by Koskinen or an equivalent of a "three-day storm", as opposed to a storm which would have a three-day impact? (I think someone else raised this issue recently.) I believe the idea is that they are predicting the impacts equivalent fo a fairly ordinary events for which it would take three days to shovel out after, not the types of catastrophes we are thinking of, like the Montreal ice storm or Floyd.

Otherwise, I think you are right on, Brian. I believe Taiwan may have been impacted already by the electrical outage last summer. Not sure what the problem was, but perhaps a lack of air conditioning fried one of the electronics manufacturing plants. (You would have thought they would have emergency generation capability if it was that critical.) In which case, this earthquake aggravates the problem.

Floyd was just a BITR here in northeastern Massachusetts - never finished mowing last weekend because there were too many sticks to pick up. And of course, many parts of the country could only enjoy Floyd vicariously by television reports. However, I recall that the costs of building materials nationwide shot up after Andrew, and the same may happen with Floyd.

Our local news carried a report early last weekend that folks were already returning their hurricane emergency supplies to the stores. Would have hoped that this close to the rollover more would have seen the value to holding on to them this time.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), September 21, 1999.

I seem to remember that a year after the Kobe quake... another "localized" event... 80,000 were still homeless.

-- Linda (lwmb@psln.com), September 21, 1999.

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