Archive | September 19, 2020




Volcanic Caribbean island of Dominica shaken by explosion of steam and gas #Explosion #Steam #Gas #Volcanic #Dominica #Caribbean

Volcanic Activity Alert

An explosion of steam and gas in the mountains of the remote, jungle-clad Caribbean island of Dominica has shaken residents, who are fearful it is a harbinger for renewed seismic activity in a nation that is home to nine volcanoes.

The Dominica Office of Disaster Management and the Seismic Research team said the activity in the Soufriere area on Wednesday was likely the result of a landslide, followed by subsequent geological adjustments.

In a statement, the office’s coordinator Fitzroy Pascal said there had been no volcanic earthquakes recorded in the area associated with “the strong steam degassing.”

“It is possible that the area may still be unstable and that additional landslides may occur with continued steam degassing,” Pascal said.

Dominica last suffered major phreatic or steam-drive volcanic eruptions in 1997, and before that in 1880.

Soufriere resident Lynthia Bellot said that residents were worried by the activity, after a series of small tremors in 2018 and 2019.

“A lot of residents are concerned, I was taken aback and I was like, if it is a landslide why is smoke coming out? I still do not understand it, I still do not get it,” she said.

Memories are fresh in Dominica of Hurricane Maria, which in 2017 killed 65 people and ruined housing stock and infrastructure, while some of the island’s oldest trees were destroyed.

Courtesy of

Thousands test positive for bacterial disease after leak from Chinese factory #Bacteria #Disease #China

Health Alert

A gas leak at a Chinese research lab has infected over 3,000 people with a bacterial disease that can cause lifelong illness.

Staff working at China Animal Husbandry Lanzhou Biopharmaceutical Factory, which used the bacteria that cause brucellosis in animals as part of a vaccine, had used out-of-date disinfectant for cleaning.

This error allowed exhaust gases from the vaccine creation process to become contaminated with aerosolised Brucella bacteria.

The gas escaped from the state-owned plant and was blown towards the nearby Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, where over 180 people were infected in December last year.

Cases have now cropped up in Heilongjiang province, several thousand miles from the initial outbreak.

Brucellosis,is also known as Malta fever or Mediterranean fever. Mainly affecting livestock, its symptoms in humans include headache, fever, joint pain, loss of appetite and fatigue.

The infection is usually eradicated after a long course of antibiotics, but in some cases it can return throughout a victim’s life. Longer-term effects include inflammation of the heart and severe arthritis.

Health officials in Lanzhou said that 3,245 people tested positive for brucellosis after the gas leak. Preliminary tests from a further 1,401 people have also been marked as positive.

Eleven public hospitals have been earmarked to provide the infected patients with free and regular checkup and compensation payments will start in October.

The precise amount of compensation has not been made public.

Factory managers issued an official apology in February and the facility has had its brucellosis vaccine production licence removed.

Eight people who have been found responsible for the gas leak have reportedly been “severely punished.”

According to the NHS, Brucellosis is extremely rare in the UK but there have been some outbreaks across the globe in the past few decades. An outbreak in Bosnia infected about 1,000 people in 2008, making it necessary to cull infected livestock.

In the US, brucellosis is quite widespread, and endemic in wild bison, leading to billions of dollars of losses for the farming industry.

Human-to-human transmission is extremely rare, according to the US Centre for Disease Control. Most people who become infected pick the disease up by eating contaminated meat or drinking raw milk.

Courtesy of


Subject to change

Depth: 20 km

Distances: 15 km SSE of Pasadena, United States / pop: 142,000 / local time: 23:38:45.9 2020-09-18

8 km E of East Los Angeles, United States / pop: 126,000 / local time: 23:38:45.9 2020-09-18

Storm Ianos: Two dead after ‘medicane’ lashes Greece and sparks islands emergency #StormIanos #Medicane #Greece

Storm Alert

At least two people have been killed after a “medicane” – a rare Mediterranean hurricane – toppled trees, cut power and flooded streets in Greece.

Storm Ianos hit the Ionian islands and the western Peloponnese on Friday before lashing the centre of the country on Saturday.

Greece’s weather agency warned of damage and threat to life as it issued alerts for many areas.

An elderly woman was found dead in a flooded house in Farsala and the body of 63-year-old man was discovered near a hospital in Karditsa.

“We’re dealing with a total catastrophe,” one Farsala resident told state television.

Areas of Karditsa, one of Greece’s biggest plains – around 125 miles (200km) north of Athens, were swamped with water and a bridge collapsed.

The fire service said it had received more than 2,450 calls since the storm began – to rescue people, cut down trees and pump water from houses and businesses.

Five boats also sank off the holiday islands of Zakynthos (also known as Zante) and Lefkada on Friday, said the coastguard.

Greece’s civil protection agency declared a state of emergency on Kefalonia, Ithaca and Zakynthos as power was cut in many areas.

Kefalonia’s mayor, Theofilos Michalatos, said no one was hurt but that homes, roads and water facilities had been damaged.

The storm reached the Athens area on Saturday but there have so far been no reports of damage. Trains between the capital and the second city of Thessaloniki were suspended.

A medicane is a hybrid phenomenon with “some characteristics of a tropical cyclone and others of a mid-latitude storm”, according to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization.

They have strong winds spinning around a central core and torrential rain, but are smaller in diameter than hurricanes and don’t last as long – typically 24 to 48 hours.

Such storms first appeared in Greece in 1995 and, while far less common than hurricanes, have become more frequent in recent years.

Courtesy of Sky News


Subject to change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 0.945°N 26.850°W

Global view

Thousands of dead fish wash up in a river in Northern Greece #Fish #Greece

Fish Kill Alert

Shocking images emerged of thousands of dead fish washed up along the shores of several bodies of water in Rhodope, a region in Western Thrace, over the weekend.

Veterinary officials from Eastern Macedonia and Thrace located the dead fish in three areas in Lake Ismarida in Rhodope, Lake Vistonida, located between Rhodope and Xanthi, and along the Kompsatos River, which begins in the Rhodope mountains and flows into Lake Vistonida.

Prussian carp, eels, flathead grey mullets, and blue crabs were identified among the dead aquatic life.

According to autopsies conducted on the creatures, as well as tests of the environment from Lake Ismarida, scientists concluded that the mass death was due to increased water temperatures and low oxygen levels in the lake.

No evidence of disease, parasites, or harmful bacteria was found among any of the samples gathered for analysis.

When water temperatures rise, the available oxygen decreases, causing asphyxiation in aquatic life. Scientists note that this particular instance is very troubling, as eels, usually adaptable to low-oxygen levels, were among the dead creatures.

Increased temperatures and low water levels led to a similar phenomenon in Greece’s Kompsatos River. Flow of brackish water from Lake Vistonida caused even more damage to the sensitive fresh-water creatures in the Kompsatos, increasing the numbers of dead fish in the river.

Officials have begun to collect the dead fish from the sites. The fish will be disposed of according to strict safety and hygienic measures. Authorities ensure the public that none of these dead fish have been placed on the Greek market for consumption.

Greece experienced extremely high temperatures last week nearing 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), which is very unusual for this late in the summer.

Courtesy of