Archive | March 26, 2014

New Eruption At Reventador Volcano In Ecuador

The volcano has entered a new eruptive phase since yesterday, Ecuador’s Institute of Geophysics (IGP) reported. Starting from 15:00 local time yesterday, increasing tremor was registered and steady ash emissions were observed. At night, incandescent blocks could be seen and heard rolling down from the crater where probably a new lava dome has started to appear. 
Small pyroclastic flows descended on the eastern, southeastern and southern flanks of the volcano, probably as a result of re-mobilization of fresh lava and tephra deposits. These so-called secondary pyroclastic flows reached lengths of 500 m below the summit. 
IGP assumes the most likely scenario for the evolution of the new eruptive episode is that activity continues at similar levels for a while. So far, lava avalanches and pyroclastic flows have been confined within the caldera, near the flanks of the main cone. So far, no reports of ash falls became available from communities in the nearby areas, suggesting that the eruption is still small. An important hazard remains in the form of lahars (mud flows), which can be generated by re-mobilization of loose material during heavy rainfall and would most likely threaten the bed and banks of the Quijo river.

Deadly Ebola Virus Suspected To Have Spread From Guinea To Liberia

Ebola Virus

Africa’s biggest Ebola outbreak in seven years has probably spread from Guinea to neighboring Liberia and also threatens Sierra Leone.
Five people are suspected to have died from the disease in Lofa county in northern Liberia, Bernice Dahn, Liberia’s chief medical officer, said at a briefing Monday. At least 86 cases and 59 deaths have been recorded across Guinea, the west African country’s health ministry said. The capital, Conakry, hasn’t been affected, government spokesman Albert Damantang Camara said.
“The forest region where UNICEF delivered the emergency assistance on Saturday is located along the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia with many people doing business and moving between the three countries,” said Laurent Duvillier, a UNICEF spokesman, in an email. “Risk of international spread should be taken seriously.”
UNICEF plans to dispatch 5 metric tons of aid, including medical supplies, to the worst-affected areas. Suspected cases of the lethal hemorrhagic disease are being investigated in Guinea’s southeast border areas, according to the World Health Organization.
“The three cases which were registered in Conakry have no link with Ebola,” Camara said. “The analyses were made abroad. The outbreak of the disease may be heavier than 59 but the health ministry will release a statement on the disease soon.”
The Geneva-based WHO hasn’t previously recorded any outbreaks of Ebola in Guinea, the world’s biggest exporter of bauxite, the ore used to make aluminum. At least eight health- care workers who were in contact with infected patients have died, hindering the response and threatening normal care in a country already lacking in medical personnel, UNICEF said.
“This outbreak is particularly devastating because medical staff are among the first victims,” New York-based UNICEF said. There is no specific treatment or vaccine for Ebola.
Supplies delivered over the weekend are being distributed to health-care workers, said Timothy La Rose, a UNICEF spokesman, in an email Monday.
“We are focusing on prevention,” La Rose said. “We are alerting the public on how to avoid contracting Ebola. Since there is no treatment, this is the best way to stop the spread.”
Doctors Without Borders is setting up isolation and treatment units while workers at Rio Tinto’s operations have been issued with personal protection equipment. The five latest cases were in the towns of Gueckedou and Macenta, it said.
The Ebola virus is transmitted through contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected person or wild animal, according to the WHO. It was first identified in 1976 in Congo and Sudan, when two different strains of the virus killed 431 of the 602 people infected.
Mali and Ivory Coast called for vigilance to prevent the disease from spreading across their borders. The countries border Guinea along with Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.
Mali’s government Monday warned against unnecessary travel to the contaminated area, after the health ministry held a crisis meeting and called on citizens to be “vigilant.” Liberia’s New Democrat newspaper ran an editorial in which it said there was an immediate need for increased surveillance on all border posts with Guinea. Many of the goods sold in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, come from Guinea.
Ivory Coast set up a coordinating post in Man on the border with Guinea and will increase surveillance and run awareness campaigns, the country’s health ministry said.
Gambia, an enclave in Senegal, is monitoring the situation, its health ministry said. South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases has issued an alert for port health authorities to examine travelers from Guinea with possible symptoms of the disease, Johannesburg’s Business Day newspaper said.
A man in Canada who showed symptoms similar to Ebola after traveling to Liberia tested negative for the virus, Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman, said on Twitter today.
Recent Ebola outbreaks have occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012 and in Uganda in 2011, according to the WHO.

Deadly Ebola Virus Outbreak Gets Mobile From Africa To Canada

Reuters/Edward Echwalu

The deadly Ebola virus has made its way towards Canada, as a local came from Africa with suspicious symptoms. It comes after the ‘molecular shark’, as the virus is branded, killed 59 in West Africa.

The local Health Ministry in Canada’s Saskatchewan province said a man had been put in solitary confinement, with the test results expected on Tuesday. The patient’s family also remains in quarantine.

Dr. Denise Werker, the province’s deputy chief medical officer, declined to say how long the man had been in Africa but said he only fell ill after returning to Canada.

“As of this morning six cases have been reported of which five have already died – four female adults and one male child. One of the suspected cases, a female child, is under treatment,” Liberian Health Minister Walter Gwenigale said in a statement, as quoted by AFP.

The patients were mostly Liberian citizens, mainly because they attended a funeral in an Ebola-hit region of Guinea and were infected there, Doctors Without Borders reported.

“All we know at this point is that we have a person who is critically ill who traveled from a country where these diseases occur,” Denise Werker, joint director of health in Saskatchewan, in western Canada, told AFP.

The scientists are actually warning that the epidemic risks spreading due to mobility – both among humans and animals.

“People, goods and animals — such as sheep, goats and cows used in Sierra Leone — come from Guinea and it is these districts that they are brought into. And in these areas, people hunt for birds, monkeys and baboons for food,” Sierra Leonean aid organization the Health for All Coalition told AFP.

The Ebola virus kills from 25 to 90 per cent of those who are infected, and no vaccine or treatment is available.

The decease’s symptoms include severe fever and muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea. Afterwards, organs shut down, causing unstoppable bleeding. The virus is called ‘a molecular shark’ in health publications.

Transmission to humans can come from wild animals or from direct contact from infected human blood, feces or sweat, or by sexual contact and the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

The latest epidemic of Ebola, in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) infected 62 people, with 34 of them dying over 2012.

Hail And Snow Batter Kent As Storms Bring Thunder And Lightning To The County, UK

It may be spring – officially – but no-one’s told the weather.

A severe hail storm earlier this afternoon left parts of Kent under a thin carpet of white.

Thunderstorms also hit Medway, and snow was said to be falling over the villages around Sevenoaks.

The top of Blue Bell Hill has also seen a flurry of the white stuff, with Maidstone having a sleet shower.

Kent MP Tracey Crouch even tweeted that snow had forced a football match to be cancelled – just days before we’re predicted to have unseasonably warm weather.

Now weather forecasters are predicting more wintry showers into this evening.

The forecast for the region predicts “outbreaks of showery rain falling as sleet over hills and perhaps down to lower levels for a time.”

A garden in Rochester is also covered in hailstones


Subject To Change

Depth: 144 km

Distances: 57km (35mi) W of Tobelo, Indonesia
106km (66mi) N of Ternate, Indonesia

108km (67mi) N of Kota Ternate, Indonesia
259km (161mi) E of Bitung, Indonesia

990km (615mi) SW of Koror Town, Palau

Global view


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

188 km S of Shiyan, China / pop: 3,460,000 / local time: 00:20:05.0 2014-03-27
52 km NW of Yichang, China / pop: 476,725 / local time: 00:20:05.0 2014-03-27

Global viewRegional view


Subject To Change
Depth: 6 km
Distances: Gardiner, MT – 26 km (16 miles) S (190 degrees)
West Yellowstone, MT – 31 km (19 miles) ENE (59 degrees)
Island Park, ID – 56 km (35 miles) NE (53 degrees)
Big Sky, MT – 66 km (41 miles) SE (141 degrees)
Salt Lake City, UT – 460 km (286 miles) N (11 degrees)

2-degree map


Subject To Change

Depth: 42 km

Distances: 133km (83mi) E of Bitung, Indonesia
137km (85mi) NW of Kota Ternate, Indonesia

139km (86mi) NW of Ternate, Indonesia
165km (103mi) E of Tondano, Indonesia

1105km (687mi) SW of Koror Town, Palau

Global view


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 613 km S of Fukuoka-shi, Japan / pop: 1,392,289 / local time: 17:49:42.0 2014-03-26
389 km S of Kagoshima-shi, Japan / pop: 555,352 / local time: 17:49:42.0 2014-03-26
207 km E of Naze, Japan / pop: 41,365 / local time: 17:49:42.0 2014-03-26

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Subject To Change

Depth: 485 km

Distances: 777 km SW of Nuku‘alofa, Tonga / pop: 22,400 / local time: 17:23:12.0 2014-03-26
892 km S of Suva, Fiji / pop: 77,366 / local time: 16:23:12.0 2014-03-26
1388 km E of Nouméa, New Caledonia / pop: 93,060 / local time: 15:23:12.0 2014-03-26

Global viewRegional view