Archive | September 13, 2014

MAGNITUDE 5.3 HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/usb000sc6p#summary

Subject To Change

Depth: 97 km

Distances: 8km (5mi) WSW of `Alaqahdari-ye Kiran wa Munjan, Afghanistan
96km (60mi) S of Jarm, Afghanistan
97km (60mi) SE of Farkhar, Afghanistan
106km (66mi) SW of Ashkasham, Afghanistan
214km (133mi) NE of Kabul, Afghanistan  

Global view

Red Alert for wind impact in Vietnam, China, Philippines

Cloud map
The map shows the areas affected by tropical storm strength winds (green), 58mph winds (orange) and cyclone wind strengths (red)
This tropical cyclone is expected to have a high humanitarian impact based on the storm strength and the affected population in the past and forecasted path.
Current impact estimate:
  • Population affected by Category 1 (120 km/h) wind speeds or higher is 13.1 million
  • Hurricane/Typhoon > 74 mph (maximum wind speed of 157 km/h)
  • Vulnerability of affected countries: High
Up to 15.1 million people people can be affected by wind speeds of cyclone strength or above. In addition, 1.2 million people people are living in coastal areas below 5m and can therefore be affected by storm surge.

Taal volcano records 6 earthquakes in 24 hours and Mayan Volcano on Alert Level 2, Philippines

Alert Level 1 has been raised in Taal Volcano while Mayon Volcano is at Alert Level 2
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said on Saturday, September 13, that at least 6 volcanic earthquakes were recorded at Taal Volcano in the last 24 hours.
 
Phivolcs maintains in its latest bulletin that Alert Level 1 is still in effect as a hazardous eruption is not imminent.
 
The public is advised against staying near the main crater which is still strictly off-limits due to possible sudden stream explosions and high concentrations of toxic gases.
 
Phivolcs also said that permanent settlement in the area is strongly not recommended as the entire Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ).
 
Meanwhile, Mayon Volcano remains on Alert Level 2 as magma has likely intruded at depth, and current conditions could lead to a larger eruption.
 
One volcanic earthquake and two rock fall events were also recorded in the last 24 hours at the famed volcano known for its perfect cone.
 
Residents are strongly advised to be vigilant and to stay out of the 6 kilometer-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) as sudden explosions, rock falls, and landslides may occur.
 
Phivolcs is closely monitoring the situation of the two volcanoes and said it would immediately disseminate to the public any development.

Eruption increases, powerful strombolian explosions at Slamet volcano in Central Java, Indonesia

Activity at the volcano has increased and VSI raised the alert level to “siaga”, 3 on a scale of 1-4. The mild strombolian activity which had been going on for months at the volcano has become more and more intense since the beginning of September. Some explosions in the past days have been strong enough to eject incandescent material to all over the summit cone of the volcano. 
 
In its latest report on 11 Sept, VSI mentions that 165 eruptions occurred on that day with ejection heights between 50-1500 m. 
 
BNPB, Indonesian’s Civil Protection began preparing for a possible evacuation. According to them, 23,699 people are located within a radius of 5 to 6 km from the summit, and the area up to 4 km radius around the volcano has been declared an exclusion zone. 
 
56,000 dust masks have been distributed to the local population. 
 
Trucks and vans are prepared to be on standby when evacuation order is given in order to transport people away from the danger zone. 
 
Shelters are being set up.

Eruption ‘Sulfur Dioxide’ Pollution at Record Levels – Residents Warned in Iceland

The sun seen through the haze.
The eruption area north of Bárðarbunga is shaking less than it has been although a quake of magnitude 4.7 occurred on the northern rim of the volcano’s crater at midnight. The eruption and lava flow seem to be similar as they have been in recent days.
 
Pollution is at its highest level. In Reyðarfjörður on the east coast sulfur dioxide measured at 4,000  µg/​cubicmeter just before 11 PM on Friday night, according to mbl.is. All residents in the area are advised to keep inside, close window and raise the heat in ovens to keep the air pressure greater inside. Everyone should follow how the measurements develop, but they have been fluctuating widely. According to the warnings any measurements above 3,000 µg/​cubicmeter is considered unhealthy. This is by far the highest readings in Iceland since Iceland Met started following this pollution in 1970.
 
According to the Environmental Agency one resident of Reyðarfjörður described the pollution level as standing behind a truck and inhaling the vapors. This man complained of sore throat and irritation in his eyes, as well as a headache.
 
Before midnight the level came down to 200 µg/​cubicmeter, but the Environmental agency says more tops are to be expected.
Sulfur Dioxide Alert

Deadly Ebola Virus; ‘Real risk’ Ebola virus will mutate to become an AIRBORNE disease, expert warns

Ebola Virus

As the Ebola outbreak rampages through Africa scientists are privately concerned the virus could mutate to become airborne, one expert has warned.
 
So far 2,300 people have lost their lives to the disease with more than 4,300 cases recorded in West Africa in the last six months – the worst outbreak since the disease was discovered in 1976.
 
 The World Health Organisation has warned there may be thousands of new cases each week in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria by early October.
 
Fifteen countries could be hit by the outbreak – putting the lives of 22 million people at risk, a new study has revealed.
 
But behind closed doors, virologists fear what we have seen so far may be just the tip of the iceberg
As the Ebola outbreak rampages through West Africa, one expert has warned the virus could mutate to become airborne. Pictured are health workers carrying the body of a woman they suspect died from the virus in Clara Town, Monrovia in Liberia
As the Ebola outbreak rampages through West Africa, one expert has warned the virus could mutate to become airborne. Pictured are health workers carrying the body of a woman they suspect died from the virus in Clara Town, Monrovia in Liberia
 
Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota said virologists are loathed to discuss their concerns for fear of whipping up hysteria. He said: 'If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola' 
Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota said virologists are loathed to discuss their concerns for fear of whipping up hysteria. He said: ‘If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola’
 
Writing for the New York Times, Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy a the University of Minnesota, said those experts are loathed to discuss their concerns in public, for fear of whipping up hysteria.
 
Discussing the possible future course of the current outbreak, he said: ‘The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air.’  
 
But the chair of the UK’s Health Protection Agency, Professor David Heymann of the London School of Hygiene of Tropical Medicine, said it is impossible to predict how any virus will mutate.
 
He said scientists across the world do not know enough about genetics to be able to say how the Ebola virus will change over time.
The virus can currently only be transmitted through close contact with bodily fluids, including blood, of an infected patient.
 
But  Dr Osterholm warns viruses similar to Ebola are notorious for replicating and reinventing themselves.
 
It means the virus that first broke out in Guinea in February may be very different to the one now invading Nigeria, Congo and Cameroon.
 
Pointing to the example of the H1N1 influenza virus that saw bird flu sweep the globe in 2009, Dr Osterholm said: ‘If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola.’  
 
In 2012, Canadian researchers found the virus could be passed via the respiratory system between pigs and monkeys – both of which have similar lungs to humans. 
 
It was the same virus as that which is responsible for the current death toll in West Africa.
A new study by Oxford University scientists created this new map showing the places most at risk of an Ebola outbreak. They predict up to 22 million people could be at risk
A new study by Oxford University scientists created this new map showing the places most at risk of an Ebola outbreak. They predict up to 22 million people could be at risk
 
Dr Osterholm said public health officials, while discussing the possibility in private, are reluctant to air their concerns.
 
‘They don’t want to be accused of screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater – as I’m sure some will accuse me of doing.
 
‘But the risk is real, and until we consider it, the world will not be prepared to do what is necessary to end the epidemic.’ 
 
He called for the United Nations to mobilise medical, public health and humanitarian aid to ‘smother the epidemic’.  
 
Meanwhile Professor Heymann, told MailOnline: ‘No one can predict what will happen with the mutation of the virus.
 
‘I would like to see the evidence that this could become a respiratory virus.
 
‘The virus’s epidemiology is consistent with transmission via bodily secretions and excretions, which is exactly the same as other past epidemics.
 
‘In order to change it would have to develop a whole new system to allow it to attach to the receptors in the respiratory system.
 
‘The difference with this outbreak is the intensity of the transmissions, it is spreading much more in communities rather than hospitals, as in the past.
 
‘The best thing we can do is stop the current outbreak.’
 
Professor Heymann said the way to take control of the virus is adopting the same three-pronged strategy that has proved successful in the past.
 
‘The first thing to do is isolate any patient with the virus, and get them to hospital, while ensuring healthworkers are protected,’ he said.
 
‘The second is contact tracing, to identify those at risk.
 
‘Once identified those people must have their temperatures checked twice a day and if they develop a fever within 21 days, they should be hospitalised.
 
‘And the third thing to help combat the virus is community empowerment, helping people understand how it spreads and how to stop it spreading.’
Workers wearing protective clothing stand next to a mother holding her child inside the contaminated area at the Elwa Hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Monrovia
Workers wearing protective clothing stand next to a mother holding her child inside the contaminated area at the Elwa Hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Monrovia
 
Currently the virus can only be transmitted through contact with a victim's bodily fluids, including blood, vomit, diarrhoea and other secretions  
Currently the virus can only be transmitted through contact with a victim’s bodily fluids, including blood, vomit, diarrhoea and other secretions
 
His views come as Oxford scientists have created a new map of places most at risk of an Ebola outbreak. 
 
They warn regions likely to be home to animals harbouring the virus are more widespread than previously feared, particularly in West Africa.
 
The virus, which can have a human mortality rate of up to 90 per cent, is thought to be carried by bats or other wild animals and to cross into humans through contact with blood, meat or other infected fluids.
 
These jumps by viruses from animals to humans are known as ‘zoonotic events’ and were the cause of major human disease outbreaks such as HIV and the H1N1 swine flu pandemic.
 
The map, published as the West Africa Ebola outbreak, the world’s largest, stands at almost 2,100, found that large swathes of central Africa as well as the western part of the continent have traits of what the scientists called ‘the zoonotic niche’ for Ebola.
 
Understanding better where people come into contact with Ebola-infected animals – for example through hunting or eating bush meat – and how to stop them contracting the deadly disease, is crucial to preventing future outbreaks, the researchers said.
 
Nick Golding, an Oxford University researcher who worked on the international mapping team, said it found significantly more regions at risk from Ebola than previously feared.
 
‘Up until now there hadn’t been a huge amount of research, but there was one paper in which the at-risk area was much smaller,’ he said in a telephone interview. ‘It didn’t predict, for example, the area in Guinea where this current outbreak first started.’

“Unidentified Virus or Bacteria” has killed 8 People in less than 72 hours in Venezuela

HIV Alert

The Medical Association of Aragua state (north Venezuela) has declared a state of alarm following the death of eight people in the last few hours at the Maracay’s Central Hospital because of an unidentified virus or bacteria. The information was confirmed by the president of the Medical Association in Aragua state, Angel Sarmiento. He explained that four adults and four children died less than 72 hours after being admitted with the same symptoms, including a 40 C-fever, general discomfort, and skin rashes that then turned into blisters. Sarmiento ruled out the possibility that the deaths were caused by Ebola infection, as reported on social networks. Chikungunya fever and dengue virus were also ruled out. He added that doctors were waiting for the results of the autopsies to determine whether it was a viral or bacterial disease.

MAGNITUDE 4.6 85 km WEST OF TE ANAU, NEW ZEALAND

http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2014p691161

Subject to change

Depth: 5 km

Distances:  Latitude, Longitude
-45.71, 166.69

14.09.14 W of Te Anau NZ

MAGNITUDE 5.4 TONGA

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/usb000sc57#summary

Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 125km (78mi) NE of Neiafu, Tonga
426km (265mi) NNE of Nuku`alofa, Tonga
461km (286mi) SSW of Apia, Samoa
465km (289mi) SW of Tafuna, American Samoa
471km (293mi) SW of Pago Pago, American Samoa  


Global view

Wildfire forces many to evacuate their homes in California, USA

Wild Fire Alert

People in about 30 homes were ordered to evacuate as a wildfire roared through a canyon in Southern California’s Cleveland National Forest, burning through 2 ½ square miles of dry brush.
 
Fire officials called Friday evening’s evacuation precautionary and no residences were immediately threatened.
 
The fire had been burning uphill and away from the homes all day but the potential threat of a down-canyon wind after sunset prompted the evacuation.
 
“The wind was very mild, and with increased humidity and lower temperatures we’re not seeing rapid growth,” Orange County fire Capt. Mike Petro said late Friday.
 
About 300 firefighters, aided by aircraft, battled the flames, which sent up a towering column of smoke that could be seen for miles.
 
Crews worked in steep terrain and temperatures that approached 100 degrees, with the high expected to hit 102.
 
The National Weather Service says high pressure combined with a weak offshore flow will create high temperatures throughout the weekend reaching up to 20 degrees above normal.
 
Cleveland National Forest sprawls over the rugged peaks of the Santa Ana Mountains straddling the Orange and Riverside county line southeast of Los Angeles.