Archive | August 14, 2014

Landslides claim eight‚ four missing feared drowned in Nepal

Landslide Alert

As many as eight persons, including six minors, were killed due to landslides triggered by incessant downpour across the country today.

Four persons, including three children, were killed when a house was buried in a landslide in Jajarkot, while three persons were swept away in Udayapur, Sindhuli and Morang districts. Another landslide claimed the life of a minor in Rukum. Four persons have been missing and are feared to have drowned in swollen rivers.

Nabaratni Bohara, 34, and her seven-year-old son from Sakla, Jajarkot, were buried alive when a landslide struck their house at around 3:00am, said DSP Chakra Bahadur Singh of District Police Office. Nabaratni’s husband Jayalal Bohora and their daughters, nine-year-old Kamala and 12-year-old Arati, have sustained serious injuries in the landslide.

Two minor sons of Dhansure Nepali of Ramidanda, Dhaukot, were killed when their house was buried in a mudslide on Wednesday evening, said Nandalal Joshi, a teacher at a local school. More than two dozen houses in Ramidanda, Rokayagaun, Nayakwada and Sakla VDCs of the district have been buried in the landslides, said the police. 

Bhanubhakta Rai, 43, of Siddhipur, was swept away by the Dwarkhola River while crossing it in Udayapur; Bhakta Bahadur Shrestha, 62, was swept away by the Kamala River at Hatpate, Sindhuli; Karna Bahadur Magar, 36, of Letang, Morang, was swept away by the Turke River. 

Ten musahar households have been submerged at Sirthauli VDC.

Khadga Bahadur Limbu, 46, of Barangi, 22-year-old Mohan Rai of Bishnupurkatti, Siraha, and 48-year-old Bhikhari Mahara of Bhokraha have gone missing after being swept away while crossing rivers. 

Nandaram’s son Bijay Gharti, 7, died on the spot while his daughter Bijaya (10) has gone missing when a landslide buried their house at Simachaur of Chunwang, Rukum. 

At least eight members, of Mahendra Mahato of Bathnaha, sustained serious injuries when their house collapsed in a landslide following incessant rainfall in Mahottari. 

Saptakoshi at record level

DHANKUTA: Water flow in the Saptakoshi River has increased due to incessant rainfall in the eastern hill and Tarai districts. It has risen to a record level, with the water in the river flowing at 3,03,925 cusec (cubic feet per second), said Chief of Koshi Barrage Control Room, Shukanandan Singh. Of the 56 sluice gates of the barrage, 33 have been kept open to release the water.

Massive damage across country

• Human settlements in Chikana, Bhokraha, Bishnupura and Saraswor VDCs were submerged after eastern embankment of the Kamala River collapsed along Siraha and Dhanusha border; more than 500 families have been displaced

• Transportation services on the East-West Highway were obstructed after a bridge that linked Lalgadh Dhalkebar collapsed on Wednesday night along Mahottari and Dhanusha border

• Transportation on the Koshi Highway has been halted following landslides at many places 

• Koshi hilly districts have been cut off, as Dhankuta’s Leuti River swept away temporary diversions

• Part of Koshi Highway was buried in Mahabharat VDC; a pick up van ferrying vegetables was also buried

• Hundreds of passengers on way to Dhankuta, Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur and Terhathum have been stranded due to road blockage

• Several places in Nepalgunj and Janakpur have also been submerged due to continued downpour 

• Vehicular movement has been disrupted on Bardiya road section along the East-west Highway 

due to road damage at Bhasikuwa, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded

• Landslides have struck at several places along Kohalpur-Surkhet-Deuralidanda 

• Transport services on Hetauda-Sisneri-Kathmandu route have been disrupted due to landslide at Sisneri in Makawanpur

Deadly Ebola Virus; ‘WHO’ Warns Kenya Is At High Risk For Ebola Virus Outbreak

Ebola Virus

Much of the world’s focus is on West Africa with the outbreak of Ebola in four countries receiving great scrutiny and the rising death toll lurching over 1,000. Yet, in East Africa there is a growing concern about the spread of the virus in two countries that have now taken a series of pre-emptive steps.
 

Reports today state that the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified Kenya as a “high-risk” country for the spread of the Ebola virus, because it is a major transport hub, with many flights from West Africa, WHO officials say.

In Kenya, however, health officials have said adequate measures are now in place to prevent the entry of the virus. Despite this, and though there has been no reported outbreak of the Ebola virus in Kenya so far, some in the media and general public are not certain of the adequate measures Kenyan Health officials claim to have put in place.

In one glaring instance, travellers arriving in Nairobi from West Africa on Tuesday had complained they were not screened for the virus at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).  One was David Lochuch Imana, a United Nations official who was among the dozens of passengers arriving from Liberia. Lochuch Imana was visibly irritated upon his arrival at the Kenyan airport.

“It was my concern that this country is not taking the disease seriously as the other countries do. It is because of this careless approach that I raised the matter with my MP so that she could promote public awareness,” Lochuch Imana told the Star Newspaper shortly after his arrival. His words matter, as Lochuch Imana is a Kenyan immigration officer who works at the United Nations Mission in Liberia. His comments came after his arrival from Monrovia this week.

Yet, Kenyan officials are not the only government leaders skittish about the possible spread of Ebola to the eastern region of Africa. In Uganda, health officials on Tuesday had announced that a man they had isolated for nearly a week, since Wednesday at Entebbe airport, had tested negative. He was ill when he arrived and was suspected of carrying the Ebola virus.

The man in question was a Sudanese clinical officer. He was identified during a screening at Entebbe Airport where he had arrived on an Ethiopian Airlines flight.

“The results came in, and it is not a (Ebola) case,” the health ministry spokeswoman Rukia Nakamatte had told Uganda’s New Vision newspaper.

Even though there have been no reported cases of Ebola reported in the East African region, anxiety runs high among health officials in a handful of countries who fear the region is vulnerable.

Kenya may be the key country to watch in East Africa because its Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is the main transit point for travellers from West Africa, and is also a gateway for other transit points in the east. 

A diabetic Liberian aboard a Kenya Airways flight last week, for example, had caused a panic at the JKIA when he appeared sickly, according to the Star newspaper. Kenya’s transportation officials say that the JKIA receives approximately 76 flights a week from West Africa.

Deadly Ebola Virus; ‘WHO’ to assist Vietnam in testing for deadly Ebola virus

The World Health Organization (WHO) will provide technical assistance for Vietnam to carry out molecular tests for the fatal Ebola virus that has killed over 1,000 people in West Africa so far this year, a senior WHO official has said
Masaya Kato, the WHO’s communicable disease coordinator, made the statement at a press conference held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health’s Preventive Health Department in Hanoi on Tuesday.
 
Unlike many other countries that usually send samples to five laboratories associated with the WHO for testing for the deadly virus, Vietnam wants such tests to be done locally, so the global health body will give technical assistance to the country, Kato said.
 
Accordingly, the WHO will supply Vietnam with virus inactivation techniques needed for molecular tests for Ebola, the expert said.
 
Such tests are required to be carried out at medical laboratories with biological safety conditions at level 4, while Vietnam’s laboratories now meet level 3 only, Kato said.  
 
Therefore, a number of important safety procedures will have to be applied at local labs to make them qualified in terms of biological safety, he added.
 
“Vietnam is required to ensure absolute safety in taking and transporting samples… due to the easy spread of the epidemic,” the WHO expert stressed.
 
As of August 11, Ebola virus disease (EVD) affected 1,848 people and killed 1,013 of them in four West African countries: Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, according to WHO statistics.
 
Thus far, no cases of Ebola infection have been reported outside these four countries, Kato said, adding that Vietnam faces a very low risk of infection.
 
Dr. Tran Dac Phu, director of the Vietnamese Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department, said the ministry will work closely with the WHO, international organizations, and the epidemic-hit countries in updating the disease’s developments, issuing forecasts, and taking proper precautionary measures.
 
The ministry will tighten control of bacterial contamination in all hospitals and train medical staff in taking, maintaining and transporting blood samples for Ebola virus tests in line with international standards, Dr. Phu said.
 
On Tuesday, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health examined the local preparation work to cope with the EVD at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
 
Nguyen Hong Tam, deputy head of the HCMC International Health Quarantine Center, said the center has installed four temperature sensor systems at the airport to check all visitors.
 
As for passengers coming from the Ebola-hit region in West Africa, they are required to fill out health declaration forms provided by the center, Tam said.
 
Anybody found having high temperatures will be invited to the international health quarantine room for a medical examination, he said, adding that no passengers have so far been found having any signs of contracting Ebola.
 
Ebola is a highly fatal virus that can kill 90 percent of infected people, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health warned, adding that Ebola infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.
 
As a severe acute viral illness, the EVD is often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, according to the WHO.

Deadly Ebola Virus; Philippines challenged and vulnerable by Ebola virus

Ebola Virus

The Philippines is challenged by the outbreak of the dreaded Ebola virus due to the health department’s small budget and the few number of isolation rooms prepared nationwide in case it enters the Philippines, sources told Gulf news, adding that the Philippines is vulnerable because of the impact of free international travel, and the presence of thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the three West Africa countries where the outbreak has already claimed 1,000 lives.

“The number of isolation rooms that were been prepared to handle cases of Ebola virus in the Philippines might not be adequate (in case the virus enter the Philippines),” said Health Undersecretary Janette Garin.

“Being ready for the Ebola virus is such a strong word — although we have experts who can deal with the Ebola problem, including facilities in different parts of the country where we can bring patients afflicted by Ebola virus,” admitted Health Department’s program manager, Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy.

“The health department has allocated P50 million (Dh4.16 million) for the infectious disease programme,” said Suy, adding, “The allocation is small, but members of congress have agreed to increase the budget ahead of the possible entry of the Ebola virus in the Philippines.”

 

“The threat of the Ebola virus entering the Philippines is real because travel bans have not been issued, “ warned Ludovico Jurao, head of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, who likewise admitted that regional medical centres nationwide have prepared isolation rooms for Ebola cases.

“We are monitoring our preparedness. We have to be alarmist in responding to this health problem because we have OFWs in West Africa where the virus has claimed lives,” explained Congressman Walden Bello, chair of the Congressional Committee on overseas Affairs.

On a more positive note, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said, “The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and other government hospitals nationwide are equipped to undertake laboratory tests for possible Ebola cases.”


Health, itinerary checklist

“The Philippine health department has required all local and foreign travellers entering the country to fill up a health and itinerary checklist to guide us,” said Ona, adding that all air and seaports have been equipped with thermal scanners to detect the temperature of arriving passengers.

As a result, there was a close monitoring of 15 OFWs who arrived from June 25 to July 15 from Sierra Leone with fever, a symptom linked to Ebola virus infection. “Luckily, 13 of them were cleared of the Ebola virus last August 8,” said Ona.

Two other OFWs might soon be cleared of the Ebola virus, said Ona, adding this will be known on August 28.

“Health workers have extended their monitoring period to one month, beyond the 21 days incubation period for the Ebola virus to manifest symptoms on patients, such as bleeding, diarrhoea, high fever, muscle pain, organ failure, vomiting, and weakness,” Ona explained, adding, “The relatives and nurses who monitored the OFWs were also placed under strict medical observation.”

Earlier, Manila’s labour department called on OFWs in West Africa to return to the Philippines so that they would not be affected by the outbreak of the Ebola virus.

The labour department likewise suspended the deployment of OFWs to these countries, but allowed OFWs with existing employment contracts to return there.

“As a precautionary measure, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) was instructed to undertake weekly monitoring of OFWs in the Ebola-hit West African countries,” Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

“Filipino seamen were also instructed not to leave when their ships dock in West African countries hit by the Ebola virus,” Baldoz added.

Manila’s department of foreign affairs also told OFWs in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, to “take extra precaution by restricting non-essential movements and avoiding public places”.

International agencies say there are 5,000 OFWs in the Ebola-hit West African countries.

In comparison, the POEA has a shorter list of 600 OFWs, including 72 OFWs in Guinea; 202 in Liberia; and 398 in Sierra Leone.

The foreign affairs department has also a different list: 880 OFWs in Guinea; 632, including 148 members of the UN Peace keeping Force in Liberia; and 1,979 in Sierra Leone.

The virus is transmitted through bodily fluids, said the World Health Organisation. There have been 1,711 cases of Ebola and 932 deaths in four West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, said the WHO which called on all countries to implement emergency measures to prevent the spread of the dreaded virus.

Deadly Ebola Virus; 21 Quarantined as the Ebola Virus spreads to Enugu State, Nigeria

Ebola Virus

Governors avoid handshakes, greet with knuckles

A nurse who ignored medical advice not to travel to Enugu on the grounds of having a contact with the late Liberian Patrick Sawyer who brought Ebola Virus to Lagos has caused an apprehension in Enugu, as her decision to travel to Enugu has led to another development.

About 21 persons, including the nurse and her husband have been quarantined in Enugu State, following suspicion that they were infected with Ebola Virus, the federal government said yesterday.

It also noted that about 198 persons suspected to have contacted the deadly Ebola Virus were under the watch list of health specialists.

This came just as the increasing spread of the disease compelled the Chief Physician to the president, Dr. FDP Fiberesima to issue some precautionary measures to workers at the presidential villa.

Information minister, Mr. Labaran Maku, who disclosed this after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting noted that the affected nurse, who had primary contact with the late Patrick Sawyer travelled to Enugu from Lagos against instruction not to leave Lagos State.

He also told State House Correspondents that, out of the 198 persons under surveillance, 177 of them were in Lagos while 21 were in Enugu.

He said, “All those who had primary contact have been quarantined. Secondary contacts have also been traced. So far, the number of people that have been traced is 198. Out of this number, 177 are in Lagos and are being traced. Some are in quarantine, some are being monitored by health specialists. 21 persons in Enugu are also being watched.

“This is because one of the nurses that was involved with the treatment of the index case, unfortunately, disobeyed medical instructions and somehow travelled to Enugu. All those who she was in contact with, including her husband, are under quarantine. The medical team have been to trace all those who made contact with her.

“Health workers are now in all our border units. All the entry points into this country and exit points, we have port health workers that are working in our airports and seaports”.

He said: “In one or two cases where we have had disobedience, we lost one of them and this one now moved with it to another place (Enugu).

So we are urging Nigerians, please to help us in making sure that all these messages and appeals we are making on you, we implement them.

“There is no cure so far, anywhere in the world. Even the trial drug in the US is still a trial drug, its not been established. One of the doctors and research experts that came forward was Dr Simon Agwale, who has been one of the frontline global researchers on developing vaccines for HIV and other viral diseases.

“He also came forward and said he could help, both in terms of working out to develop a vaccine, which he said he has started work on between himself and his fellow experts in the US and he said this is ongoing”.

In a circular he made handy to workers in Aso Rock, Chief Physician to the president, Fiberesima, said the precautionary measures announced by him was in view of the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus disease and certain animals ( bats and monkeys) have been linked with the virus.

He urged then to avoid physical contact with bats and monkeys, whether dead or alive and picking up dead bats and monkeys.

“Immediately notify the public health unit of State House Medical Centre for proper disposal. Avoid using hand contacts to clear droppings (animal faeces) on parked cars. Hand gloves are available at the SHMC on request.

Water hose, vehicles parked under trees (with or without animal droppings on them) properly before washing. Sanitise hands or wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible”, he stated.

He further explained that the measures were purely precautionary in view of the large number of bats and monkeys in the Villa.

Governors avoid handshakes, greet with knuckles

In a related development, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday summoned the 36 state governors with their Commissioners for Health for an emergency meeting to discuss possible ways to curtail the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease.

But LEADERSHIP observed that when the governors were about to greet themselves in the usual handshake, some of them opted to greet one another with knuckles at the presidential villa.

State of Emergency declared after severe flooding in Islip, New York, USA

Town of Islip Supervisor Tom Crocideclared a state of emergency to expedite the recovery process as services and equipment are brought in to clean up a record 13.1” or rain that flooded the area over the course of 12 hours. Islip’s MacArthur Airport is open, though delays have been caused by the rain. Islip also cancelled all of day and evening Youth and Senior Recreational Programs, and closed Town of Islip ocean beaches on Fire Island for the day. Town Bay beaches will remain closed tomorrow, August 14.

“All Town personnel and equipment have been dispatched and will work round-the clock to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” Supervisor Croci said.

Governor Cuomo announced that he had dispatched resources including equipment, personnel, and water pumps to Long Island to help in the cleanup process. 8 major roads were still closed at 10 AM due to flooding, and the north service road of the LIE in North Hills was closed due to an auto accident at 12:30 PM.

‘Biblical’ rain brings flash floods to south London, UK

Flash floods left cars submerged and houses across the capital damaged as 10 days’ worth of rain fell in just a few hours this afternoon.

The heavy rain mainly affected south east London with Greenwich, Lewisham, Peckham and Sydenham all affected.

The London Fire Brigade said they have attended 20 incidents relating to the downpours since 2pm this afternoon.

Fire crews rescued a person trapped inside a flooded basement flat in Forest Hill.

Commuters reported a waterfall of rain trickling down Peckham Rye station which lead to it being closed.

The Met Office issued severe weather warnings across the country as the Environment Agency put 19 flood alerts in place – including eight in the south-east.

Forecasters said some areas could see 1.2 inches of rain fall within two or three hours on Thursday afternoon and evening. August’s total monthly rainfall is 3.5 inches.

The downpours follow a weekend when the tail-end of Hurricane Bertha hit London, sparking flooding as torrential rain swept in from the Caribbean.

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: “At midday on Thursday there are 19 flood alerts in place, meaning flooding is possible.

“High spring tides continue today, bringing a risk of wave overtopping and spray in places, particularly when strong gusts of wind coincide with the time of high tides.

“Over the last week Environment Agency teams have been out on the ground, ensuring coastal flood defences are ready, rivers can flow freely and clearing trash screens.

“Since August 11 we’ve received reports of 15 properties flooded from coastal flooding. We will continue to support local councils as they respond to surfacewater flooding.”

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Plane crash kills Brazilian Presidential Candidate

Plane Crash Alert

A candidate in Brazil’s presidential election was killed Wednesday when a small private plane crashed in a residential area in Santos, in the state of Sao Paulo.

Eduardo Campos, 49, was the candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) in the October 5 election. Party leader Carlos Siqueira confirmed his death to TV channel Globo.

Several people were reportedly injured in the crash. Brazilian aviation authorities said the plane had been carrying seven people.

The causes of the accident in the port city of Santos, about 60 kilometres from Brazil’s industrial powerhouse Sao Paulo, remained unknown.

Opinion polls predicted that Campos will come third in the election, in which Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff seeks a second term.

Record rainfall floods homes in Factoria, Washington, USA

Factoria Boulevard flooded
 
Seven units at Newport Villa Townhomes were flooded Wednesday morning after nearly two inches of rain fell in a two-hour period.

It pushed Kelsey Creek in Bellevue over its banks and into buildings. Beth Hinkson walked downstairs from her bedroom into water that was up to her thighs. 

She said, “I thought I might be dreaming. I was hoping a nightmare.”

For Hinkson, it was deja vu. In May, a pipe broke in her house while she was away, doing the same kind of damage.  She had just finished installing a brand new bamboo floor Tuesday night.

Hinkson said, “I haven’t cried yet, but I will. I’m pretty sure I’ll cry tonight.”

To make matters even worse, Hinkson owns two of the flood-damaged town homes in the complex.  Her rental next door, was also under water, with tenants who had no insurance.  

Hinkson said, “I was just about ready to make a call to Red Cross to see if we can get them located someplace, because they can’t live there.”  

Residents told KIRO 7 that because of a history of flooding, four of the seven units damaged were covered under federal flood insurance policies. Three were not.  

Those owners will have to pick up the cost of repairs on their own.

The storm also caused damage elsewhere. In White Center, a fallen tree left 4,000 people without power, Seattle City Light said.

 
Phinney Ridge
 

Heavy rain causing flooding and power outages in Connecticut, USA

Severe Weather Alert

Streets are flooded in parts of Connecticut and nearly 1,700 power outages are reported as heavy rain moves across southern New England.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings Wednesday morning for shoreline areas including New Haven, Middlesex and New London counties. Flash flood watches and advisories are posted for the rest of the state.

The Weather Service says rainfall rates could hit up to 4 inches an hour in some locations. Television news reports showed some streets in Branford under several inches of water.

The same storm caused flash flooding on Long Island, New York, and some drivers had to be rescued Wednesday.

Connecticut Light & Power Co. reports about 1,300 power outages across the state. United Illuminating reports 390 outages in the Bridgeport and New Haven areas.