Erupting volcano off the coast of Japan could cause tsunami

August 2014 JAPAN – An erupting volcanic island that is expanding off Japan could trigger a tsunami if its freshly-formed lava slopes collapse into the sea, scientists say. The small, but growing, island appeared last year and quickly engulfed the already-existing island of Nishinoshima, around 1000 kilometers south of Tokyo. It now covers 1.26 square kilometers. The island’s craters are currently spewing out 200,000 cubic meters of lava every day – enough to fill 80 Olympic swimming pools – which is accumulating in its east, scientists said. “If lava continues to mount on the eastern area, part of the island’s slopes could collapse and cause a tsunami,” warned Fukashi Maeno, assistant professor of the Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo. He said a rockfall of 12 million cubic meters of lava would generate a one metre tsunami that could travel faster than a bullet train, hitting the island of Chichijima – 130kms away – in around 18 minutes, he said. Chichijima, home to about 2000 people, is the largest island in the Ogasawara archipelago, a wild and remote chain that is administratively part of Tokyo.
“The ideal way to monitor and avoid a natural disaster is to set up a new tsunami and earthquake detection system near the island, but it’s impossible for anyone to land on the island in the current situation,” Maeno added. An official from the Japan Meteorological Agency, which monitors earthquakes and tsunamis, said the agency is watching for any signs of anything untoward. “We studied the simulation this morning, and we are thinking of consulting with earthquake prediction experts … about the probability of this actually happening, and what kind of measures we would be able to take,” he said. Japan’s northeast was ravaged by a huge tsunami in March 2011, when a massive undersea earthquake sent a wall of water barreling into the northeast coast, killing more than 18,000 people and wrecking whole towns. -3News
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32 killed, 9 missing in flooding and landslides, as heavy rains lash Hiroshima

August 2014ASAHIKAWA, Japan — At least 32 people were killed and nine more were still missing in the western Japanese city of Hiroshima on Wednesday after heavy rain caused flash floods and landslides that buried victims alive as they slept in their homes, the police said. Hundreds of soldiers have been sent to the scene to dig for survivors. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had been on summer vacation, cut short a game of golf to rush back to Tokyo to lead the response to the disaster, government officials said. While deadly landslides are common in this densely populated, mountainous nation, death tolls rarely reach this high. According to the police, the dead included two young boys, brothers aged 2 and 11, who were both buried when a wall of mud engulfed their home in a neighborhood that sits at the foot of a steep mountainside. A firefighter also died while engaged in rescue operations, the police said. The landslides took place around 3:30 a.m. local time, after rainfall of up to four inches per hour was recorded by the national weather agency. Many of the victims appeared to be asleep when entire hillsides, heavy with the weight of rainwater, suddenly gave way.
Japanese news reports quoted one survivor as saying that he had heard the frantic screams of the buried boys’ mother and had rushed to find their house covered in mud. He said he dug with his bare hands until he found the younger boy, but he could not free him because of furniture and other debris, according to Kyodo, a Japanese news agency. The boy was dug out two hours later by rescuers, who were unable to revive him, the agency said. Video footage taken by helicopter showed thick layers of mud and, in some places, raging torrents of muddy water flowing through what had been neighborhoods of tightly spaced homes. Many of the wooden houses had been shattered into broken planks and piles of colorful roof tiles. –NY Times
Posted in Civilizations unraveling, Climate unraveling, Cloudburst storms with flashflooding, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Extreme Weather Event, Flooding, High-risk potential hazard zone, Landslide & geological deformation, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Record rainfall | Leave a comment

Ebola virus scare reaches Germany, as woman is tested in Berlin and 600 people are quarantined

 
August 2014BERLIN, Germany The 20-year-old woman, who collapsed while working at a Job Centre in Berlin’s Pankow district was taken to hospital after showing symptoms of the virus. According to Berliner Zeitung the woman, who is originally from West Africa, said she had had contact with victims of Ebola in her homeland. The job centre was immediately cordoned off and around 600 people have now been quarantined inside, according to reports. Police have not confirmed the case was Ebola but said they were testing for the disease. The deadly virus can only be determined after a blood test is carried out. Early symptoms include fever and circulation issues and mucus. There have already been cases of Ebola found in Spain and Austria. A Spanish priest became the first person in Europe to be treated for the disease. Miguel Pajares suffered a fatal heart attack less than 48 hours after being diagnosed with the disease. –Express UK
3 tested for Ebola in Vietnam and Myanmar: Vietnam and Myanmar are testing 3 patients for the deadly Ebola virus after they arrived in the Southeast Asian nations from Africa while suffering from fever, health officials said. Two Nigerians were sent to Ho Chi Minh City’s Tropical Diseases Hospital for isolation after they arrived in the city by plane, Vietnam’s health ministry said, adding that they did not have symptoms other than fever. Airline passengers sitting next to the pair – who travelled to Vietnam on Monday, August 18, from Nigeria via Qatar – have been advised to monitor their own health. In Myanmar a 22-year-old local man was taken to hospital in Yangon after arriving at the city’s main airport on Tuesday, the Myanmar Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement on its official Facebook page late Tuesday. It said he is believed to have returned from Guinea, having also travelled to Liberia, two of the countries worse hit by the Ebola outbreak. Four people who accompanied the man to hospital were also being kept under observation, although they have not shown signs of illness. “We have to send the samples to India for laboratory testing to see whether it is Ebola or not. The process will take 3 to 4 days,” Tun Tin, deputy director of the ministry of health, told the Agence France-Presse. He added that authorities were working closely with the World Health Organization.
Myanmar, which began emerging from harsh junta rule in 2011, has one of the world’s worst funded and poorly equipped healthcare systems, with many people cut off from even basic medical help. The global death toll from Ebola stands at 1,229, with the bulk of cases in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The medical charity MSF has said the outbreak is moving faster than aid organizations can handle, while the World Health Organization said the scale of the epidemic had been vastly underestimated. Vietnam has introduced mandatory temperature checks at its two major international airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to try to prevent passengers bringing the deadly virus into the country. – Rappler
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Two suspected Ebola patients flee hospital in Saudi Arabia – Nigerian doctor, released and said recovered from Ebola drops dead – virus may have mysterious latent triggers

August 2014SAUDI ARABIA - Two men, displaying suspected symptoms of the Ebola virus, ran away from a rural health center located in the Madinah province of Saudi Arabia on Sunday, a Saudi daily reported. “The two African nationals, who did not have residency permits or any other documentation, came to see the doctor at the health center, complaining of difficulty breathing and bleeding while passing urine,” an official who requested anonymity told Arab News. Medical officials were unable to conduct a thorough examination and confirm that the patients were infected with the Ebola virus as they ran away after being asked to produce their residency permits. The doctor present had instructed the center to take the patients to a hospital with better facilities before the duo took off. The matter was reported to police instantly, the source said.
The police are still searching for the patients, the report added. The Health Affairs Directorate in Madinah said the patients were from East Africa, a region not affected by Ebola, although their precise nationality had not been identified. The deadly Ebola virus, declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO), has killed over 1,140 people in West Africa and is spreading rampantly. Saudi Arabia has been taking several measures to prevent the entry of the virus into the country, and earlier this year declared that haj and umrah pilgrimage visas will not be granted to people from Ebola-hit countries. Earlier this month, a Saudi businessman who returned from a business trip to Sierra Leone showed symptoms of the virus and later died in a hospital in Jeddah. However, test results later confirmed that he had not been infected with Ebola. –Gulf Business
Nigerian Doctor
Nigeria reports 5th Ebola death: A senior doctor who treated Nigeria’s first Ebola patient has died, taking the death toll in Africa’s most populous country to five, Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said on Tuesday. Chukwu said the doctor was “the most senior who participated in the management of the (first Ebola) patient” in the country. Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer, 40, died in a Lagos hospital on July 25, five days after arriving at the city’s airport visibly unwell on a flight from the Liberian capital, Monrovia. “With this unfortunate development, the total number of Ebola virus-related deaths in Nigeria now stands at five,” Chukwu added. –Yahoo News
There is much about the Ebola virus that we don’t know. Ebola is a virulent level-4 pathogen with a near 90% mortality rate. The virus didn’t acquire its pernicious ranking by being predictable. It’s an insidious, mysterious killer that is subject to further evolutionary development or mutations just like any other virus that replicates. I warned in my radio address that the virus may also have latent triggers that could trick the infected patient into thinking they have recovered when, in fact, he or she may be just a stumble or two away from death, and is only further aiding in the transmission of the virus. We may be in for more nasty surprises from the Ebola virus.  –Alvin Conway

Ebola virus

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Quarantine Police: shoot-on-sight order given to soldiers in Ebola-wary Liberia for any border crossers

 
August 2014AFRICA – Liberia’s armed forces have reportedly been given orders to shoot people trying to illegally cross the border from neighboring Sierra Leone, which was closed to stem the spread of Ebola. Soldiers stationed in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties, which border Sierra Leone, were to ‘shoot on sight’ any person trying to cross the border, said deputy chief of staff, Colonel Eric Dennis, according to local newspaper the Daily Observer. The order comes after border officials reported people continued to cross the porous border illegally. Grand Cape Mount county had 35 known ‘illegal entry points,’ according to immigration commander Colonel Samuel Mulbah. Illegal crossings were a major health threat, said Mulbah, ‘because we don’t know the health status of those who cross at night.’ Liberia closed its borders with Sierra Leone weeks ago in an attempt to contain the Ebola outbreak, which killed more than 1100 people in West Africa. The announcement came after residents of a slum near the capital broke into an isolation centre and freed up to 30 Ebola patients, local newspaper Front Page Africa reported.
‘As I speak the police station is deserted. There is no security now in West Point,’ resident Moses Teah was quoted as saying. The break-in to protest poor conditions at Ebola quarantine centres has raised fears that the deadly virus will spread in the slum. ‘I saw sick people being taken out of the Ebola Centre. Some took them home to care for them,’ said Teah. Other residents, who reportedly continue to deny the existence of Ebola, looted the quarantine centre, stealing patients’ mattresses, blood-stained bedding, cooking utensils and medication, according to media reports. Some Liberians believe the Ebola outbreak was a ploy by government to secure foreign aid, the Daily Observer reported. Liberians also criticize government for not providing sufficient services to Ebola patients, including health care, food and safe burials. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that a ‘massive scaling up of the international response’ is necessary to get the outbreak under control. By August 15, 2127 cases and 1145 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. In Liberia, there were 786 suspected and confirmed cases, according to the WHO, of which 413 people died. The current outbreak is caused by the most lethal strain in the family of Ebola viruses. Ebola causes massive hemorrhages and has a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent. It is transmitted through contact with blood and other body fluids. –Sky News
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Ebola death toll tops 1,200, with 84 new fatalities – outbreak rapidly spiraling out of control

August 2014AFRICA - As West African nations grapple with the worst-ever outbreak of the Ebola virus, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that the death toll had exceeded 1,200 and announced increased efforts to forestall hunger in areas isolated by quarantine measures. The figure offered a familiar, grim picture of the spread of Ebola, which international health specialists say has been outpacing containment efforts since its identification in March. Mr. Brown was also quoted as saying that 17 people believed to have been infected with Ebola who were missing from a quarantine center in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, over the weekend had been found and transferred to a specialist treatment center. The only hint of relief came from Dakar, Senegal, where Liberia’s information minister, Lewis Brown, was quoted by Reuters as saying that three African doctors treated in the country with the experimental drug ZMapp were showing “remarkable signs of improvement.”
There is no licensed cure or vaccine for Ebola, which kills at least half of those infected. At its headquarters in Geneva, the World Health Organization said the number of people who had died in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria had reached 1,229, with 84 new fatalities reported between Aug. 14 and 16 — the latest available figures. The total number of cases was reported as 2,240 — an increase of 113 in the same period. International health experts say the epidemic is probably much worse than the official figures suggest. Local health officials in some countries say they are expecting a sharp increase in the number of cases as they identify patients who have stayed in hiding rather than report to public health facilities. –NY Times
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Ebola test ordered on British-Nigerian woman found dead in her apartment in Austria

August 2014 AUSTRIA - A 48-year-old British Nigerian woman is feared to have died of the deadly Ebola virus in Austria. The woman’s body was found at her apartment in Vomp, in the Tyrol, at the weekend after she returned from a trip to Nigeria. Blood, hair and urine samples have been sent to a tropical disease centre in Hamburg for urgent tests. The woman, who has a British passport, had travelled from Nigeria to Germany where she then flew back to her home in Vomp. Her body was discovered in her flat on Saturday. Austrian officials confirmed today they implemented emergency measures following the suggestion that she might have died from the Ebola virus. Results from the Centre for Tropical Diseases in the northern Germany city of Hamburg are expected sometime today.
The doctor who attended the scene where the body was found gave the cause of death as a viral infection. Police confirmed that they had already ruled out violent crime for her death. They were alerted to the fact that there might be a problem when a relative had called them to say they could not contact the woman. Head of the regional health board Franz Katzgraber said that he regarded the risk that the woman had died from the Ebola virus as being at the lower end of the scale. However he confirmed it was nevertheless vital to implement emergency measures even when there was just a suspicion. He said only one person has died from the virus in Nigeria and the risk of catching it from a trip to the country was low, and much more likely if somebody had come in from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone. The woman’s home has been sealed off and emergency services staff including medics who found the body have been quarantined.
A spokesman for the Austrian Health Ministry confirmed that even before the body had been found the staff been wearing protective clothing. They added that even if the woman did turn out to have died from Ebola, it was unlikely that it would be passed on to anyone else as the infection is transmitted through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person. Although a British citizen, the woman appears to have had a property in Austria although it was not explained whether it was a holiday home or whether she lived in the Alpine Republic. -Mirror
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