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Monday, February 28, 2011

Malaysia : Dengue worries

An article from The Malay Mail :

" PJ city council says action taken and they will monitor the situation

OVERGROWN grass and pools of stagnant water in Damansara Perdana is giving worries to JACQUELINE, a resident there.

"Such conditions are a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and my neighbours and I fear an outbreak of dengue here," she says.

"Also in need of cleaning up is a stream behind a bus stop shelter in Jalan PJU 8/1, which stinks on most days and is a haven for aedes mosquitoes. I noticed a sweeper often cleared the dirt from the pedestrian walkway into the stream, making the situation worse."

JACQUELINE says she lodged a complaint on these matters with the Petaling Jaya City Council on Jan 25 this year.

"If action has been taken, it does not seem to have made any improvement."

Live updates: Christchurch earthquake Monday

Live updates from TVNZ :

" 3.31pm
Foodstuffs South Island has advised that, due to the severity of damage, New World stores at Redcliffs and St Martins will not be re-opening. 3.24pm Maori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples is visiting the Maori earthquake response command centre at Wigram this afternoon.

3.15pm
An Auckland based trauma team, which specialises in working with survivors of war or torture, has been called to Canterbury to help earthquake victims. The team is from Refugees as Survivors New Zealand, an agency that provides mental health treatment and rehabilitation for people from war torn countries like Afghanistan, Iraq or Burma.

3.05pm
The Rangiora Earthquake Express road trains continue to deliver food and essential supplies to the worst hit areas of south-east Christchurch. Donations received or promised during the past 24 hours include: A container load of water bottles from Spring Fresh, an unlimited supply of muesli bars from Griffins, an unlimited supply of burger buns, 10,000kgs of bacon, 15,000 chicken nuggets from McDonald's, 6,000 chocolate bars from Cadbury, a pallet load of torches and batteries from T K Global plus the use of a refrigerated container, a sizeable donation from Canterbury earthquake Trust and sanitizer and emergency supplies from Canterbury 4WD club."

Indonesia : Bird Flu Patients Expected to Increase

Translated report from Kompas :

" The number of patients infected with bird flu suspects in Hospital Dr. Slamet Garut, West Java, the two men. Community asked to be alert when a family member sick with flu-like symptoms.

Patients suspected of bird flu is L (9 months) from Kampung Cangkuang, Banyuresmi District, Garut. He had fever, cough, and shortness of breath after contact with poultry infected with bird flu. Sukaresmi is the region with the highest cases of dead poultry in Garut since early 2011.

RS Dr. Slamet also treat patients suspected of bird flu AN (49), employees of Animal Husbandry Department, Fisheries and Marine Sub Banyuresmi. He sudden high fever and cough after interacting with the birds died of bird flu positive."

Vietnam : Seven A/H1N1 cases reported in Ben Tre

An article from Saigon Daily :

" Seven cases of A/H1N1 swine flu have been reported at the Giao Thanh primary school in Giao Thach commune of Thanh Phu District in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre.

These seven cases have been quarantined and are being treated at the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City. Another 186 students showing symptoms of the flu are under observation. There are also reports of many people being affected with the flu in the province these days."

New Zealand : #CHCH #EQNZ Quake Update 61

The latest update from New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defence :

" 1345, 28 February 2011

NZ asked to observe silence for CanterburyPrime Minister John Key has asked that all of New Zealand observes two minutes’ silence for the victims of Canterbury’s devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

“I am calling on all New Zealanders to stop and remember those who have lost their lives, those who are missing, and the hundreds of people who are mourning family and friends. At 12.51pm this Tuesday, 1 March, I am asking that New Zealand stops for two minutes as a sign of unity for the people of Canterbury who are enduring a tragedy beyond what most of us can imagine.”

Rescue Operation
In the past few hours Police have assisted with an evacuation of properties in Kinsey Terrace and Clifton Terrace in Redcliffs, due to concerns about the stability of a cliff-face. This is now being assessed by geologists.Over the evening of 25 February, around 30 people were evacuated from Soleares Ave, in Mt Pleasant because of risk of rock fall. They have been re-housed or are at welfare centres.

As at 1345 on 28 February:
  • There are 148 confirmed fatalities. This figure is expected to rise.
  • The identity of eight of the deceased has been publicly released. See: http://www.police.govt.nz/list-deceased
  • There have been 70 people rescued alive.
  • There are more than 200 people reported missing (unaccounted for) in the worst-damaged sites in the city. This number will include many, or all, of the fatalities.
  • The disaster victim identification process is thorough and time-consuming. To date, eight names have been released."

South Korea : Fresh bird flu strain confirmed in southern area

Via The Korea Times, excerpt :

" About 1,000 ducks found dead earlier this week at a farm in southern South Korea were confirmed Saturday to have been infected with a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza, raising concern that the lethal virus is spreading in the country, officials said.

The H5A1 virus was found on the duck farm in Damyang county of South Jeolla Province, about 350 kilometers south of Seoul, quarantine officials said.

It was the 46th confirmed bird flu outbreak in the country since the first case was reported on Dec. 29. In the past two months, a record 5.5 million birds have been culled."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Zealand : #CHCH #EQNZ Quake Update 43 (102 fatalities)

The latest update from New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defence :

" 0200 hrs Friday 25 February 2011

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake occurred 10km south-east of Christchurch at 12:51, February 22, 2011. Depth (focal depth): 5km. The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated and a National State of Emergency has been declared (www.beehive.govt.nz).

The Christchurch CBD and Lyttelton have suffered considerable damage with a number of collapsed or seriously damaged buildings. Aftershocks could lead to further building damage or collapse. There is a cordon around the four avenues of the CBD. Damage assessment is ongoing.

Power, telecommunications and essential services continue to be disrupted. Restoration work is progressively providing increased utility services. Extensive liquefaction throughout the impacted area has caused additional management and restoration issues.

A large number of people have been pulled alive from collapsed buildings.

Priorities for the response remain the support of the urban search and rescue operation, the treatment and care of injured or affected individuals, and the coordination of national resources in support of the local response.

National resources continue to be deployed in support of the local response.

Today, as at 1700, approximately 1146 persons have been moved out of Christchurch to Wellington or Auckland by the established air bridge.

Damage assessment is ongoing and over time will provide a better understanding of the extent of damage.
  • To minimise loading on the telecommunications network, people should use txt messaging to check if friends and family are safe
  • There are reports of widespread building collapse (especially in the central city).
  • There are 102 confirmed fatalities. This figure is expected to rise.
  • There are 228 people reported missing (unaccounted for). This number will include some, or all, of the fatalities."

Indonesia : 163 Garut residents feared H5N1 Transmission

Machine translated report from Republika :

" GARUT : Public Health Service, Garut regency, West Java, to supervise the 163 people who live in District Banyuresmi, because it was feared H5N1 virus or bird flu after the discovery of hundreds of chickens died suddenly fell ill from the virus.

Head of Communicable Diseases Eradication (P2M), Public Health Service, Garut regency, Dede Rohmansyah told reporters on Thursday, said the monitoring of citizens because otherwise have been in contact with dead or sick poultry.

"Efforts to control it, as a first step if people are sick or got the flu and health officials at the health center directly handle medically," he said."

New Zealand : Earthquake Live updates (Day 3)

Via TVNZ :

" 1:50am
Council says three-quarters of homes in Christchurch now have power and 40% have water. Also, fuel is now in constant supply and there is no need for panic buying.

1:16am

Five aftershocks measuring over 3 on the Richter scale have been felt in the last two hours.

12:05am
Twelve streets behind Redcliffs Primary School have been evacuated with residents cleared out after cliffs in the area were deemed to be unstable. The Redcliffs suburb is on the way to Sumner. The army helped police with the evacuation, which started about 10pm. Police said residents left willingly and have gone to welfare centres at Cowes Stadium and Pioneer Stadium.

11:33pm

The City Council has released detailed information on current road and bridge closures.

10:49pm
ANZ says its Canterbury Earthquake Appeal has raised nearly $500,000 since Tuesday. Go here for details on how to donate."

Indonesia : Bird flu outbreak, Farmers Must Ready

Machine translated article from Kompas :

" GRESIK : Bird flu disease that attacks poultry in Bojonegoro and Gresik occur sporadically. Farmers are encouraged diligent cleaning cages and sprayed desinvektan for disease does not spread. Infected poultry must be destroyed by burning or backfilled.

Head of Animal Husbandry Subdinas Gresik Regency, Susanto, Thursday (2/24/2011) said efforts to anticipate and prevent the spread of bird flu virus is by vaccination. In addition there are educational to farmers for diligent in cleaning his cage."

Hong Kong : Public hospitals announce latest Human Swine Influenza cases

Via Centre for Health Protection :

" In response to the recent influenza situation in Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority (HA), in close collaboration with the Centre for Health Protection, has activated the enhanced monitoring system for severe influenza patients staying in the intensive care units of public hospitals. The HA spokesman today (February 24) announced that there is no new confirmed case of Human Swine Influenza (HSI). In addition, two HSI patients have succumbed due to continued deterioration of clinical condition, including an 87-year-old male patient at Queen Mary Hospital and a 75-year-old male patient at Tuen Mun Hospital. The hospitals expressed deep condolences to the patients' families.

As at 2pm today, there were a total of 20 influenza patients staying in the intensive care units of public hospitals."

New Zealand : Live updates - Christchurch quake - day three

Live updates from TVNZ :

" 5.09pm recap
- police have delayed releasing a list of missing people and confirmed victims.
- Superintendent Dave Cliff says it remains a rescue operation.
- but hopes of finding survivors fading, particularly at CTV building.
- Estimate of people trapped in CTV building between 60 and 120.
- Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says Lyttelton is heavily devastated.
- Gerry Brownlee is appointed Minister of Canterbury Earthquake Recovery.
- 76 bodies are in a temporary morgue, but that number is expected to rise considerably.
- the list of missing stands at 238.
- no one has been rescued the rubble of the ruined city since yesterday.
- BP now able to replenish stocks.
- 75% of city expected to have power back tonight. - hospitals coping well.
- the city has been divided into grids where search and rescue personnel are working.

5.05pm:
Suggestions Christchurch city should be moved, or the financial district shifted to a more stable area, are absurd, Deputy Mayor Ngaire Button said. "Where would you move it to? The whole of Canterbury (province) is shaking," Button told Reuters.

5.02pm: A free-to-call service to take non-emergency queries from the public has been set up to ease pressure on emergency phone numbers in Christchurch. The number is 0800 96 0133 .

4.54pm: King's Education has published a list of missing students and staff on its website. Forty-six people from the school are missing, according to the list. The school was located on the third floor of the collapsed CTV building.

4.45pm: A website set up by the New Zealand Law Society as a contact point for lawyers offering assistance has been overwhelmed by the response. The website co-ordinates information about legal services, provides a directory of assistance offered by lawyers to the public, and provides documents and property-related information."

Ghana : Cholera cases spreading fast with 34 deaths so far

Via Ghana Web :

" Accra, Feb. 23, GNA : A total of 1,396 cholera cases have been recorded in three Regions with 34 deaths giving an overall attack rate of 2.6 per cent over a period of five months.The Regions affected are; Central, Eastern and Greater Accra with Greater Accra Region recording the highest cases of 742 with 13 deaths.

Briefing the media in Accra on Wednesday, on the current situation and measures being made to salvage the situation, Mr Emmanuel Dzotsi, of the Diseases Surveillance Unit of Ghana Health Service (GHS) said Central Region had the first cholera case in September 2010 and had up to date recorded 396 cases with 18 deaths, whilst Eastern Region had recorded 258 cases with three deaths."

New Zealand : #CHCH #EQNZ Quake Update 37

From The Ministry of Civil Defence :

" 1647 hrs Thursday 24 February 2011

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake occurred 10km south-east of Christchurch at 12:51, February 22, 2011. Depth (focal depth): 5km. The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated and a National State of Emergency has been declared (www.beehive.govt.nz).

The Christchurch CBD and Lyttelton have suffered considerable damage with a number of collapsed or seriously damaged buildings. Aftershocks could lead to further building damage or collapse. There is a cordon around the four avenues of the CBD. Damage assessment is ongoing.

Power, telecommunications and essential services continue to be disrupted. Restoration work is progressively providing increased utility services. Extensive liquefaction throughout the impacted area has caused additional management and restoration issues.

A large number of people have been pulled alive from collapsed buildings.

Priorities for the response remain the support of the urban search and rescue operation, the treatment and care of injured or affected individuals, and the coordination of national resources in support of the local response.

National resources continue to be deployed in support of the local response.

To date, approximately 1000 persons have been moved out of Christchurch to Wellington or Auckland by the established air bridge.

Damage assessment is ongoing and over time will provide a better understanding of the extent of damage.
  • To minimise loading on the telecommunications network, people should use txt messaging to check if friends and family are safe
  • There are reports of widespread building collapse (especially in the central city).
  • The Police Minister has confirmed 76 fatalities. This figure is expected to rise.
  • Reports of missing are being collated and a verification of data is being undertaken."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Christchurch quake day two: As it happened

These are live updates from TVNZ, so check back regularly to the site for more info :

" 1.01am: A firefighting team has moved into the collapsed CTV building to put out a fire in the basement. Diggers are clearing rubble at the back of the collapsed building. Search and Rescue workers have been deployed elsewhere and there is no sign of them returning, Civil Defence told ONE News. They are working in areas "where there is more hope", a Civil Defence spokesman said.

12.49am: An Australian woman who was trapped under her desk in the Pyne Gould building is now recovering in hospital. Ann Vos phoned a TV station to say she was trapped under tonnes of concrete, glass and steel.

12.39am: A 4.1 magnitude aftershock struck at 12.12am at a depth of 8km 10 km east of Christchurch.

12.24am: Telecom is bringing in another 33 generators overnight and setting up three more mobile sites to help improve capacity.

12.12am : The confirmed death toll stands at 75 with 300 people missing. Central Christchurch sits under curfew tonight with police and the army patrolling the streets. Telecommunications companies have repeated their call for people to continue to use text messages instead of calling on mobile phones when contacting people in Christchurch.

11.45pm: Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs has named one of the victims as Owen McKenna, who was in his mid-40s and from County Monaghan, national broadcaster RTE said. He had been married to a New Zealand woman, and had been living here for several years, it was reported. A man originally from Northern Ireland is also believed to have died in the quake, RTE said."

New Zealand : #CHCH #EQNZ Quake Update 27

The latest update from The Ministry of Civil Defence, excerpt :

" 2100 hrs Wednesday 23 February 2011

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake occurred 10km south-east of Christchurch at 12:51, February 22, 2011. Depth (focal depth): 5km. The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated and a National State of Emergency has been declared (www.beehive.govt.nz).

Considerable damage has been reported in the Christchurch Central Business District and in Lyttelton. There is a cordon around the central business district. Damage assessment is ongoing and over time, will present a better understanding of the extent of damage. Rescue work is likely to take days to complete.

A large number of people have been pulled alive from collapsed buildings.

Priorities for the response remain the support of the urban search and rescue operation, the treatment and care of injured or affected individuals, and the coordination of national resources in support of the local response.

Resources are being deployed from around the country and from overseas to provide support to the Canterbury response. An 'air bridge' has been established between Christchurch and Wellington.

Damage assessment is ongoing and over time will provide a better understanding of the extent of damage.
  • To minimise loading on the telecommunications network, people should use txt messaging to check if friends and family are safe
  • There are reports of widespread building collapse (especially in the central city).
  • There are 75 fatalities, 55 identities have been confirmed and 20 remain unconfirmed.
    900 people registered at welfare centres
  • People continue to present at hospitals, triage centres and medical establishments and confirmed numbers of injured are not available at this time."

New Zealand : Firefighters go into collapsed building

An article from TVNZ :

" Search and rescue teams have been pulled back from the CTV building as hopes fade for rescuing anyone inside.

Civil Defence (CD) spokesperson Vince Cholewa confirmed to ONE News early this mornig that a firefighting team has moved into the CTV site.

They have been sent to the destroyed building to try and put out a fire in the basement.

Diggers are also at the CTV site to start clearing the large amounts of rubble.

CD said search and rescue teams have been deployed elsewhere and are not expected to return."

New Zealand : Buried Quake Victim Rescued After 24 Hours

An article from Sky News :

" A woman pulled alive from a building in Christchurch 24 hours after the city was rocked by a deadly earthquake has given rescuers hope of finding more survivors.

Applause erupted among workers as Ann Bodkin was lifted out of the rubble of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, where five others are still being searched for, and was reunited with her husband.

The rescue boosted morale as hope begins to fade of finding many more people alive and several sites are abandoned by workers over health and safety fears following the 6.3 magnitude tremor.

Bob Parker, the mayor of Christchurch, who saw the rescue, said: "She was complaining of being a bit sore, because she's been lying on one side for a long time.

"But in the midst of what is by and large one of the bleakest day in the story of our city, the sun came out at the same moment as they removed Ann from that building.

"You might have seen the guys down there laugh because somebody made the comment that they got Ann out of that building, so God turned on the lights."

New Zealand quake turns student paradise into nightmare

Via Reuters :

" The smoking ruin of a six-storey building may be all that remained on Wednesday of the dreams of dozens of Asian students who had travelled to New Zealand to learn English.

Reduced to a heap of broken masonry and smouldering fires by the quake in Christchurch, it was home to one of many small English-language schools dotted around the picturesque city.

"How was this allowed to happen?" said Indian student Jeewan, still raw with anger after watching rescuers abandon the search of his old school."

Vietnam : Bird flu hits Vinh Phuc province

Via VOV News :

" Vinh Phuc provincial People’s Committee has announced a new outbreak of bird flu in Tam Quan commune, Tam Dao district, and the locality is deploying urgent measures to fight this disease.

From February 10-16, many poultry in Tam Quan commune showed symptoms of infection with A/H5N1 virus. Vinh Phuc provincial Health Department said the main cause was some households raising ducks didn’t destroy sick poultry and threw them untidily to the environment, spreading the disease to other poultry."

Hong Kong : Public hospitals announce latest Human Swine Influenza cases

From Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" In response to the recent influenza situation in Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority (HA), in close collaboration with the Centre for Health Protection, has activated the enhanced monitoring system for severe influenza patients staying in the intensive care unit of public hospitals. The HA spokesman today (February 23) announced that there were three newly confirmed Human Swine Influenza (HSI) cases, including a 50-year-old male patient at Queen Elizabeth Hospital who is in critical condition. The other two patients are a 60-year-old male patient at Queen Mary Hospital and a 60-year-old female patient at Pok Oi Hospital. Both are in serious condition. The three patients were prescribed with Tamiflu.

As at 2pm today, there were a total of 23 influenza patients in the intensive care units of public hospitals, including the above newly confirmed HSI cases."

New Zealand : Rescuers Press Search for New Zealand Quake Survivors

An article from The New York Times :

" CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand : Emergency crews were withdrawn from a large part of central Christchurch over safety concerns on Wednesday, a day after an earthquake killed scores of people and left much of New Zealand’s second largest city in ruins.

The police withdrew the crews amid concerns that one of the city’s tallest buildings could collapse. Officials cleared a two-block zone around the Hotel Grand Chancellor, suspending search and rescue operations in some of the city’s most badly damaged buildings. The Canterbury Television headquarters — where dozens of people were still missing — was among them.

As many as 24 Japanese exchange students were believed to be among the missing in the collapse of the Canterbury Television building, which housed their language school. “We understand that a significant proportion of those that were in that building are Japanese nationals. We are working with the Japanese consul around that,” Dave Cliff, a police official, told reporters."

New Zealand : Key warns quake death toll will climb

An article from TVNZ :

" With 75 people already confirmed dead following the 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch, Prime Minister John Key says people need to prepare for that death toll to climb.

Earlier today, Key said 55 bodies have so far been identified around the city and 20 remain unidentified since yesterday's devastating quake.

"We know there are a number of sites that are likely to have suffered other fatalities," Key told ONE News tonight.

"It is a very tragic situation."

The fire service said there are seven buildings confirmed with people trapped inside. Those buildings are the CTV building, PGC building, Christchurch Cathedral, The Press building, Smith City carpark, St Asaph/Colombo, and 92-95 Cashel Street.

Police have said they do not believe the site of the CTV building is survivable.

Area Commander Inspector Dave Lawry told a press conference this afternoon police have abandoned efforts to find survivors from the site."

New Zealand : 'No chance' of survivors at quake-hit TV site

Via ABC News :

" New Zealand authorities have abandoned all hope of finding survivors in the collapsed Canterbury TV building in central Christchurch, adding it was likely foreign students would be among the dead.

The number of confirmed dead remains at 75 and more than 300 are missing after yesterday's 6.3-magnitude earthquake.

Police say they are 100 per cent certain those trapped in the CTV building, including a group of overseas students, are dead.

Rescuers earlier gave hope to families as they pulled office worker Ann Bodkin from the flattened Pyne Gould building.

Ms Bodkin, who was lying under her desk, emerged wrapped in blankets to applause from rescue workers who have been poring through the building's mangled remains."

New Zealand : #CHCH #EQNZ Quake Update 26

From The Ministry of Civil Defence, latest update as of 1950 hrs Wednesday 23 February 2011 :

" A magnitude 6.3 earthquake occurred 10km south-east of Christchurch at 12:51, February 22, 2011. Depth (focal depth): 5km. The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated.

Considerable damage has been reported in the Christchurch Central Business District and in Lyttelton. There is a cordon around the central business district. Damage assessment is ongoing and over time, will present a better understanding of the extent of damage. Rescue work is likely to take days to complete.

A large number of people have been pulled alive from collapsed buildings.

Priorities for the response remain the support of the urban search and rescue operation, the treatment and care of injured or affected individuals, and the coordination of national resources in support of the local response.

Resources are being deployed from around the country and from overseas to provide support to the Canterbury response. An 'air bridge' has been established between Christchurch and Wellington.

Damage assessment is ongoing and over time will provide a better understanding of the extent of damage.

National State of Emergency Declared
The Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key has announced that Cabinet agreed with the decision made under Civil Defence legislation by the Minister of Civil Defence, John Carter, to declare a national state of emergency.

A state of national emergency can be declared when the civil defence response is beyond the resources of the responsible local authority. In this case, there is a need to coordinate the significant amount of assistance and resources that have arrived and are arriving from other regions and from overseas. The declaration of the state of national emergency highlights the seriousness of the situation – more so even than the 4 September 2010 quake.

Aftershocks
As at 1700 23 February, there had been 37 aftershocks with a magnitude between 4 and 6, and many smaller ones. GNS Science advises that there may be more magnitude 5 or greater aftershocks in the next few days. Aftershocks are expected to to continue and this could lead to further building damage or collapse, as well as continued distruption to power, telecommunications and essential services.

See also: http://canterburyearthquake.org.nz/"

India : Man tests positive for swine flu

Via Times of India :

" A middle-aged man from Ludhiana tested positive for H1N1 on Tuesday. Vice-principal of DMCH Dr Jagdeep Whig said the patient was admitted three days ago and he had flu-like symptoms. The patient has been kept in the isolation ward and his nasal swab samples were sent for testing on Sunday."

India : Malaria claims more soldiers than bullets do here

An article from NDTV :

" Agartala: Malaria poses a bigger threat than insurgents and smugglers to Border Security Force (BSF) men posted along India's northeastern border with Bangladesh, with many dying of the disease every year, say security officials.

"Our troopers are now battling malaria, with the disease turning out to be our biggest enemy in the mountainous border areas," a senior BSF officer posted at the Tripura frontier said."On an average, five to six BSF personnel died of malaria every year on the Tripura border alone. No one was killed by insurgents during the past three years," the BSF officer told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Comprising eight states, northeast India is a malaria prone zone, with the vector-borne disease claiming an estimated 500 civilian lives annually."

India : Death shows swine flu is still around

Via Mid Day :

" Two months after last H1N1 fatality and just weeks after authorities said swine flu threat largely over, docs shocked as disease claims 43-year-old Pimpri-Chinchwad resident.

43-year-old resident of Pimpri-Chinchwad succumbed to H1N1 after a battle of nearly a week. Medical experts said the death was reason for worry as the district administration had recently declared that provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act might be lifted since the city and its vicinity had more or less become free of swine flu, the previous H1N1 death was recorded two months ago.

In the latest case, Pimple Gurav resident Basil Vanjari was admitted to Sahyadri hospital on Karve Road a week ago and was initially suspected to be suffering from pneumonia."

Indonesia : Avian flu outbreaks in East Java, Riau

Via Jakarta Post :

" Hundreds of chickens have died in fresh outbreaks of avian flu in Riau and East Java.

The outbreak in Riau was centered in Meranti Island regency and Pekanbaru city.

Authorities declared avian flu “endemic” in Pacitan, East Java after a dozen outbreaks were reported in the regency.

Residents of Rumbai Pesisir in Pekanbaru, Riau, were reportedly haunted by anxiety following the sporadic deaths of many of their chickens over the last three weeks.

“The Pekanbaru Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Office has confirmed that the dead chickens were infected with the avian flu virus,” resident Masril, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Masril said that first dead chickens were discovered on Feb. 4. “After that the infection spread everywhere,” he said.

Pekanbaru Health Office chief Dahril Darwis said he deployed a team to monitor the outbreak and distributed doses of tamiflu, used to suppress and decrease transmission of the virus, to local community health centers."

New Zealand : Earthquake pictures (Day 2)

The Pyne Gould Corporation building in central Christchurch after the 6.3 earthquake, February 22, 2011

Rescue workers search for survivors on February 22, 2011.

The Christchurch Chinese Methodist Church in Merivale lies in ruins on February 23, 2011
-
You can see more pictures here from NZ Herald.

New Zealand : Prison cleared for quake rescuers

Another article from NZ Herald :

" Christchurch's Rolleston prison is being cleared to create beds for the influx of rescuers into the city following yesterday's 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

Corrections Minister Judith Collins said the prisoners would be moved to the higher security Christchurch Mens' prison, emptying 320 beds for rescuers. The rescue teams now include 200 police from Australia on top of their specialist search and rescue team.

In a further bid to make room in the city the Air Force was today ferrying tourists and out-of-towners from Christchurch to Wellington and Auckland to clear hotel rooms and other accommodation for rescuers.

The rescue teams were being flown to Christchurch on the return leg. Hundreds of people were expected to use the flights today.

Civil Defence National Controller David Coetzee said as well as rescue teams, council workers including building inspectors and sewage workers were now being drafted to Christchurch to help assess buildings and restore basic services.

75 dead

Rescuers have recovered and identified 55 bodies and are yet to identify a further 20 bodies from yesterday's earthquake in Christchurch."

New Zealand : #CHCH #EQNZ Quake Update 20

Update 20 from The Ministry of Civil Defence, as of 1400hrs, Wednesday 23rd Feb 2011 :

" A magnitude 6.3 earthquake occurred 10km south-east of Christchurch at 12:51, February 22, 2011. Depth (focal depth): 5km. The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated.

As at 1400 23 February, there have been 30 aftershocks with a magnitude between 4 and 6, and many smaller ones.

Considerable damage has been reported in the Christchurch Central Business District and in Lyttelton. There is a cordon around the central business district. Damage assessment is ongoing and over time, will present a better understanding of the extent of damage. Rescue work is likely to take days to complete.

Aftershocks are expected to to continue and this could lead to further building damage or collapse, as well as continued distruption to power, telecommunications and essential services.

A large number of people have been pulled alive from collapsed buildings as rescuers have continued to work throughout the night under floodlights.

Priorities for the response remain the support of the urban search and rescue operation, the treatment and care of injured or affected individuals, and the coordination of national resources in support of the local response.

GNS Science advises that there may be more magnitude 5 or greater aftershocks in the next few days. See: http://www.geonet.org.nz/earthquake/quakes/latest.html

Resources are being deployed from around the country and from overseas to provide support to the Canterbury response. An 'air bridge' has been established between Christchurch and Wellington.

Damage assessment is ongoing and over time will provide a better understanding of the extent of damage.

See also: http://canterburyearthquake.org.nz/

LATEST NEWS

National State of Emergency Declared

The Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key has announced that Cabinet agreed with the decision made under Civil Defence legislation by the Minister of Civil Defence, John Carter, to declare a national state of emergency.

A state of national emergency can be declared when the civil defence response is beyond the resources of the responsible local authority. In this case, there is a need to coordinate the significant amount of assistance and resources that have arrived and are arriving from other regions and from overseas. The declaration of the state of national emergency highlights the seriousness of the situation – more so even than the 4 September 2010 quake.

Damage assessment

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) is assessing information with the assistance of scientific advisors and Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups.

• To minimise loading on the telecommunications network, people should use txt messaging to check if friends and family are safe

• There are reports of widespread building collapse (especially in the central city).

• There are 75 fatalities, 55 identities have been confirmed and 20 remain unconfirmed.

• People continue to present at hospitals, triage centres and medical establishments and confirmed numbers of injured are not available at this time."

New Zealand : Christchurch quake - Desperate wait for news of friends

Emergency services search the rubble for survivors of the collapsed CTV building in Madras Street last night. Photo / Brett Phibbs
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An article from NZ Herald :
-
" A man who has more than a dozen close friends and colleagues missing in earthquake-devastated central Christchurch says all he can do is wait and hope they are still alive.

Richard Lord had until recently worked for regional television station CTV, which is based in one of the worst-hit buildings in the 6.3 magnitude quake that hit yesterday, claiming at least 75 lives.

Some of the occupants of the CTV building have been freed alive, while others have been confirmed dead and many are still missing.

There have been conflicting reports on news bulletins and websites that there may be up to 15 people still alive in a pocket in the wreckage, and that all hope of finding more survivors is lost.

Mr Lord, an employee of three years at CTV, said the workforce was a "notoriously tight bunch".
"It's very difficult waiting and not knowing," Mr Lord said.

"You do whatever you can to try to find information and try to get in touch with the people who were okay and managed to get out. We know some are okay, but we don't know anything more about the other people."

New Zealand : Quake rescues raise hopes more alive

Via New Zealand Herald :

" The Fire Service has confirmed 15 people have been rescued after more than 20 hours amid fire and devastation in the Canterbury TV building following yesterday's 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch.

The news came as police said they had recovered 75 bodies after the quake - 20 of which had not yet been identified - and Prime Minister John Key declared a national state of emergency.

Transalpine Area Commander Ross Ditmer said the group of survivors was found by a camera sent into the building by Urban Search and Rescue.

He did not know the level of injuries they suffered, but said they were all alive and receiving medical care.

"There's still a small fire in the building, so their survival has been remarkable. We're absolutely ecstatic. It just shows the work the USR people are doing is paying off."

Pyne Guinness Gould rescues

Mr Ditmer also confirmed one person had been pulled from the collapsed Pyne Guinness Gould (PGG) building in the last hour.

TVNZ reported a woman had been rescued came more than 21 hours after the earthquake and minutes after a man was pulled out of the building."

US : North Carolina sees uptick in flu cases; 18 deaths

Via News 14 :

" CHARLOTTE : The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports two more people died this past week as a result of the flu, bringing the total this year to 18, including seven children.

According to a report recently released from the Centers for Disease Control, 19 states, including North Carolina, saw a surge in patients with flu-like illnesses at the beginning of the month.

"It's been about half influenza A, half influenza B. Some of the influenza A has been the H1N1 that we saw last year. That's been continuing a little bit into this flu season," said Dr. Charles Bregier Jr. with Presbyterian Urgent Care."

Swine flu death toll reaches 21 in Georgia

An article from News.am :

" The number of swine flu victims in Georgia reached 21. A 49-year-old woman died of H1N1 virus in Kutaisi, Georgia Online reports. She received treatment in the church clinic.

The woman also suffered from chronic diseases, which deteriorated her state.

Georgian Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 21 swine flu deaths in the country."

New Zealand : Earthquake - Death toll rises to 75

Via BBC News, fatalities rises, excerpt :

" New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has declared a national state of emergency as the death toll from Tuesday's earthquake in Christchurch rose to 75.

There are now 55 bodies in a morgue and another 20 being transported there following the 6.3-magnitude tremor.

Police have said there is "incredible carnage right throughout the city", with "bodies littering the streets".

More than 300 people are still missing. Forty-eight were pulled out from collapsed buildings alive overnight.

The earthquake struck at a shallow depth of 5km (3.1 miles) on Tuesday lunchtime, when the South Island city was at its busiest.

It was Christchurch's second major tremor in five months, and New Zealand's deadliest natural disaster in 80 years.

Amputations

More than 500 search and rescue personnel, police, fire service staff, soldiers and volunteers worked throughout the night to find survivors trapped under the rubble, many using only their bare hands."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Zealand : Earthquake (News updates)

The following are the latest news updates worldwide with regards to the New Zealand earthquake and also New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defence has its Update no. 14 as 0455 hrs local time.

News excerpts :

UK sends rescue team to New Zealand quake zone

Britain has dispatched a search and rescue mission to New Zealand, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday, to help find survivors of a powerful earthquake that has killed at least 65 people in the second city of Christchurch.

Voicing his "deepest sympathies and condolences" to New Zealand, Cameron said the UK "stood ready" to provide further help at this "dark and difficult time".

"There are many people in Britain with ties of friendship or family to New Zealand," said Cameron, speaking to British journalists travelling with him in Kuwait.

New Zealand earthquake: Rescuers work through night

Rescuers are toiling overnight in New Zealand to reach scores of trapped people after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake which has claimed at least 65 lives.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says more than 100 people are feared buried in collapsed buildings in the city.

The disaster struck at a shallow depth of 5km (3.1 miles) on Tuesday lunchtime when Christchurch was at its busiest.

Window of three days for rescue: NZ chief

New Zealand's emergency management chief says rescue teams have a window of opportunity of only two or three days to recover people trapped by the devastating 6.3-magnitude earthquake in Christchurch.

John Hamilton, who is coordinating the rescue effort, says people remain in city buildings not yet completely searched.

"We're expecting casualty numbers to be extremely high," he told the ABC's Lateline program on Tuesday.

"It'll take probably until midday tomorrow to get a better feel for exactly what the missing and casualty rate truly is."

Cambodia : Doctors fear bird flu outbreak

An article from The Phnom Penh Post, excerpt :

" Banteay Meanchey provincial authorities fear an outbreak of avian influenza (H5N1) after a mother and her child died two weeks ago and seven more were hospitalised.

Samples taken from Prak Sophorn, 21, who died on February 13, and her 11-month old son, Sun Nga, who died on February 15, were sent to the World Health Organization for testing and results are expected soon.

“I am waiting for laboratory results to clarify the cause and hope to know by the end of the day,” Dr Nima Asgari, public health specialist at the WHO, said today.

Keo Sopheaktra, director of Banteay Meanchey province’s health department, said the mother and son became sick after eating infected chicken."

UK : Child dies from swine flu at St Leonard's hospital

Via The Argus :

" Swine flu has claimed another child’s life, one of four people to have died at two Sussex hospitals during the latest Swine flu outbreak.

The youngster, whose name and age have not been revealed, died at the Conquest Hospital in St Leonards between September last year and February this year.

It is the first time East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust has confirmed deaths took place as a direct result of swine flu, known in medical terms as H1N1.

Health officials are refusing to give any details of victims, saying to do so would breach the patients’ confidentiality.

The child’s death emerged though a Freedom of Information request to the trust."

Hong Kong : Public hospitals announce the latest Human Swine Influenza cases (2 more fatalities)

Press release from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" In response to the recent influenza situation in Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority (HA), in close collaboration with the Centre for Health Protection, has activated the enhanced monitoring system for severe influenza patients staying at the intensive care unit of public hospitals. The HA spokesman today (February 22) announced that a 56-day-old baby boy at Prince of Wales Hospital was confirmed Human Swine Influenza (HSI) today. He is in stable condition.

Furthermore, two male patients (72-year-old and 73-year-old) at Princess Margaret Hospital were succumbed due to continued deterioration of clinical condition. The 73-year-old patient was confirmed HSI while the other one was confirmed influenza A. The hospital expressed deep condolences to the patients' family."

New Zealand : #CHCH #EQNZ Quake Update 11

The latest update from New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defence - as of 2200hrs local time :

" A magnitude 6.3 earthquake occurred 10km south-east of Christchurch at 12:51, February 22, 2011. Depth (focal depth): 5km.

There have been 21 aftershocks greater than M4, with 4 greater then M5.

Considerable damage has been reported in the Christchurch CBD and in Lyttelton. A more thorough assessment of the damage will completed over the next 24 hours. Rescue work is likely to take days to complete.

Aftershocks are likely to continue and this could lead to further building damage or collapse.

See also: http://canterburyearthquake.org.nz/

Damage assessment:
The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) is assessing information with the assistance of scientific advisors and Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups.

The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated.
  • To minimise loading on the telecommunications network, people should use txt messaging to check if friends and family are safe
  • There are reports of widespread building collapse (especially in the central city).
  • There are 65 confirmed fatalities and numerous reports of injuries. This figure is likely to rise.
  • The earthquake was felt widely across the South Island.
  • Christchurch City declared a state of emergency at 1445 hrs.
  • National agencies have been activated and are being coordinated via the National Crisis Management Centre.
  • The National Crisis Management Centre is anticipating a need for temporary accommodation due to the extensive building damage.

Government help lineCall the Ministry of Social Development's Government help line 0800 779 997 for information about all government services and support."

New Zealand : Scores Killed in New Zealand Earthquake

From The New York Times :

" Residents of Christchurch braced for a tense night after a powerful earthquake struck New Zealand’s second-largest city during the busy lunchtime rush on Tuesday, killing scores of people, flattening office buildings, destroying homes and leaving large swathes of the city without electricity and running water.

Prime Minister John Key said that at least 65 people were confirmed dead in the 6.3-magnitude quake. “We may be witnessing New Zealand’s darkest day,” Mr. Key told 3 News New Zealand, warning that the death toll could rise significantly.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said a state of emergency had been declared and that he had ordered the evacuation of the city center. Speaking Tuesday night on the Australian television network ABC News, Mr. Parker said the focus overnight would be on rescuing an unknown number of people believed trapped under the rubble. He called the situation “extremely grave."

New Zealand : Christchurch quake toll predicted to rise

Via ABC News :

" Hundreds of Christchurch residents are spending the night in the city's parks as rescuers continue to scrabble through the ruins of collapsed buildings in search of survivors from today's massive earthquake.

Prime minister John Key is warning the death toll of 65 is likely to rise after the 6.3-magnitude quake struck New Zealand's second largest city about 12:50pm local time.

Helicopters and cranes have already plucked terrified survivors from danger, but more than 100 are still missing after scores of buildings were reduced to rubble within seconds.

The spire of the city's historic cathedral also crashed to the ground in the second major quake to hit Christchurch in five months.

Cold temperatures and rain is making it harder for the people gathered at evacuation centres."

Ukraine : Health authorities say flu epidemic no longer threatens Ukraine

An article from National Radio Company of Ukraine :

" According to Minister of Health Ilya Yemets, in Ukraine this year there has been only several cases of death from influenza registered. The Minister said that influenza epidemics are cyclical, and last year there was a serious epidemic.

"We have to remember about prevention, and the way our parents successfully coped with the epidemic using folk remedies. Then there was no widespread use of chemicals, with their negative consequences," the minister said. According to the head of the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service of Ukraine, Serhiy Ryzhenko, in Ukraine the incidence of influenza is decreasing within 3% in all the regions and control cities."

New Zealand : Christchurch quake - Toll expected to rise from 'NZ's darkest day'



An article from NZ Herald :

" Darkness, rain and temperatures are falling on Christchurch with people still trapped in buildings crumpled by a massive earthquake, waiting on search and rescue teams to get them out alive.

Rescuers will work throughout the night in miserable weather looking for survivors following a 6.3 earthquake which claimed at least 65 lives, Civil Defence director John Hamilton said.

Emergency services were focussing on high rise buildings in the central business district, many of which were extensively damaged, police said.

Prime Minister John Key announced tonight that "at least 65 people have lost their lives" and noted the rescuers were still scrabbling through the ruins of collapsed buildings looking for injured and trapped survivors - and bodies."

New Zealand quake 'kills 65'

An article from The Sun, excerpt :

" A DEADLY earthquake has hit New Zealand's second largest city, killing at least 65 people officials said today.

Police said two buses had been crushed by falling buildings as the 6.3-magnitude quake ravaged Christchurch - and the death toll could still rise.

Groups of people tried to help victims found clutching bleedings wounds. They were carried off on makeshift stretchers made from rugs or bits of debris and transported in private vehicles."

Please read the original article, it has extensive reports and pictures of the devastation.

Indonesia : 43 Chickens Die as Bird Flu Suspect

Translated article Surabaya Post Online, another bird flu outbreak in Indonesia being reported :

" SIDOARJO : Bird flu disease is still eyeing Sidoarjo. After residents attacked the poultry in the village of Candi Kec Durung Bedug in mid last year, this time a similar disease outbreak in RT2/RW 4 Trosobo Village Park District.

Data from the Department of Livestock Fisheries Plantation (DP3) Sidoarjo mention am 43 infected chickens died of bird flu outbreaks. Dozens of chickens that died belonged to 66 families in the region."

Japan : New flu virus resistant to antiflu drug Rapiacta detected in patient

Via Japan Today :

" TOKYO : A genetic mutation of the H1N1 influenza virus resistant to the Rapiacta anti-influenza drug has been detected in a 5-year-old patient, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. It is likely the first case in Japan concerning a patient treated with the intravenous drip medicine introduced in January 2010.

According to a report recently posted by the institute on its website, a genetic mutation was found in a virus from the child who was treated with Rapiacta after testing positive for the type A influenza virus last month. ‘‘This is only one case and there is no need to worry,’’ said Takato Odagiri, head of the Influenza Virus Research Center at the institute. ‘‘We need to carefully watch how frequently such a virus resistant to Rapiacta appears."

New Zealand : Earthquake (updates)

Ministry of Civil Defence : Update 8, excerpt :

1940hrs

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake has occurred 10km south-east of Christchurch at 12:51, February 22, 2011. Depth (focal depth): 5km.

This has been followed by a number of aftershocks, the largest a magnitude 5.7 which was 6km deep and centred 10km east of Canterbury. There are areas of liquefaction in the central city, as well as telecommunications and power outages and reports of water in the streets.

Canterbury Earthquake :

Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Media Statement – 7.40 pm
Cordons have been set up around the one way system in central city; these will be pushed out to the Four Avenues overnight.

Welfare centres have been established in the following locations:

- Burnside School,

- Addington Raceway IS NOW SHUT,

- Papanui High School to be open at approximately 8pm,

- Lyttelton Recreation Centre open,

- Brooklands Community Centre is open,

- Akaroa Senior School is open.

Water supplies have been disrupted throughout most of the city. If it rains, residents are asked to collect water in buckets if possible.

Continue to boil water."

New Zealand : Earthquake (News update)

More news sources, recent articles online :

Quake among New Zealand's worst

The 6.3-magnitude earthquake that devastated Christchurch today is among the most serious to hit New Zealand since records began.

The quake struck at 12:51pm (local time) at a depth of four kilometres and according to the US Geological Survey was centred five kilometres north-west of Christchurch. It was followed by several strong aftershocks measuring up to 5.6 in strength.

New Zealand government cannot confirm reports of quake deaths

The New Zealand government said it was unable to confirm reports of multiple deaths from an earthquake in the city of Christchurch on Tuesday.

New Zealand earthquake - live updates

Multiple fatalities and widespread damage as Christchurch, New Zealand is hit by 6.3 magnitude quake.

4.48am / 5.48pm NZ: Most of the attention has focussed on the city centre but news is filtering in from the nearby port of Lyttelton and seaside town of New Brighton, both closer to the centre of the earthquake. Now TV3 channel is reporting that the two towns are "unliveable", which suggests considerable damage."

New Zealand : Another web link

You can get more timely update from the following website :

http://canterburyearthquake.org.nz/

The latest update as of Updated: 2.35 pm Tuesday 22 February 2011 (local time) :

An earthquake has struck in Canterbury this afternoon. The Canterbury Emergency Coordination Centre is activating and currently responding to the earthquake."

Indonesia : More bird flu epidemic

Translated article from Harian Global :

" After a long sound, bird flu (Avian Influenza) re-plagued North Sumatra. Indeed there has been no human casualties in the attack that the H5N1 virus, but hundreds of poultry in the district died suddenly of a positive Deliserdang contracted the deadly virus.

The attack of bird flu was detected in Deliserdang last Saturday. Hundreds of poultry died suddenly in Districts and Sub Pancurbatu Lubukpakam. In Lubukpakam, poultry owned by tens of people dead. In Sub Pancurbatu, precisely in the Old Village, poultry that died suddenly in the hundreds."

New Zealand : Earthquake (News)

More news being reported with regards to the New Zealand Earthquake. Here are a few recent ones :

" All NZ flights grounded after earthquake

Flights across New Zealand have been grounded after a major earthquake devastated the South Island city of Christchurch.

Auckland Airport spokesman Richard Llewellyn said the airways system around the country was closed shortly after the 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck on Tuesday lunchtime.

New Zealand quake: Police confirm fatalities

Police have confirmed fatalities after a massive earthquake hit Christchurch.

Multiple fatalities have been reported at several locations in the central city, including two buses crushed by falling buildings. A doctor and emergency services are attending.

Scores trapped inside NZ building: report

Scores of people are believed to trapped inside a collapsed building in central Christchurch following a devastating earthquake.

Local network TV3 reported that up to 200 people were inside the Pyne Gould Guinness Building on Cambridge Terrace when the earthquake struck at 10.51pm (AEST)."

New Zealand : #CHCH Quake Update 4

From The Ministry of Civil Defence, this site gets updated regulary :

" #CHCH Quake Update 4

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake has occurred 10km south-east of Christchurch at 12:51, February 22, 2011. Depth (focal depth): 5km.

This has been followed by a number of aftershocks, the largest a magnitude 5.7 which was 6km deep and centred 10km east of Canterbury. There are areas of liquefaction in the central city, as well as telecommunications and power outages and reports of water in the streets.

Damage assessment (1620hrs):

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) is assessing information with the assistance of scientific advisors and Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups.

The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated.
  • To minimise loading on the telecommunications network, people should use txt messaging to check if friends and family are safe
  • There are reports of fatalities and injuries and widespread building collapse (especially in the central city).
  • The earthquake was felt widely across the South Island.
  • Christchurch City declared a state of emergency at 1445 hrs.
  • National agencies have been activated and are being coordinated via the National Crisis Management Centre.
  • There are Fire Service and Police reports of serious injuries and fatalities.
  • The National Crisis Management Centre is anticipating a need for temporary accommodation due to the extensive building damage.

Urban Search and Rescue

Task Force 2 (Christchurch) is understood to be inoperable. However, Task Force 1 (Palmerston North) and Task Force 3 (Auckland) are being mobilised. USAR support from Australia is being mobilised, while support from the United States in on standby.

Hospitals and Medical Centres

Christchurch hospital is operational (contrary to some media reports) and one ward has been evacuated. The hospital has 40+ casualties (as at 1415 hours) but they expect this to rise. The District Health Boards are communicating to coordinate support requirements.

Wellington Hospital is on stand-by to receive patients if required.

Airport status

Christchurch International Airport is open for emergency flights only. The runway is being assessed. Other South Island airports are open. Air New Zealand will not be flying until at least 1900 hours today.

Port status

Damage reported but extent unconfirmed.

Lifeline utilities

Electricity: The Transpower main transmission grid reports no major issues. Orion is reporting significant local distribution network outages.

Telecomms: Vodafone and Telecom are advising customers to limit their calls or to use text only.

Water: There are reports of broken water pipes and associated flooding.

Waste water (sewerage): There are reports of broken water pipes and associated flooding."

New Zealand : #CHCH Quake Update 2

From New Zealand's Ministry of Civil defence : Update 2. This site gets updated regulary, so do check back for the latest updates on the situation in Christchurch.

" #CHCH Quake Update 2

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake has occurred 10km south-east of Christchurch at 12:51, February 22, 2011. Depth (focal depth): 5km.

Damage assessment (1430hrs):The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) is assessing information with the assistance of scientific advisors and Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups.

The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated. MCDEM is standing up all available Urban Search and Rescue teams. An Australian team has been put on call.Temporary accommodation is currently being organised for those displaced.

Looking at erecting tents in Hagley ParkThe hospital has been evacuated and several rest homes are also being considered for evacuation.There is major damage in the Christchurch CBD, and there are a number of people with significant injuries.

MCDEM is working with the Ministry of Social Development and the Police to re-establish contact with Christchurch civil defence."

New Zealand : Christchurch Earthquake

Here are some of the latest reports :

People trapped after 'huge' NZ quake

People are trapped in buildings in the New Zealand city of Christchurch after a strong earthquake caused extensive damage and cut power, witnesses told local television.
“It is huge. We just don’t know if there are people under this rubble,” a priest standing outside the rubble of a damaged cathedral told New Zealand television.

6.3 magnitude quake hits N.Zealand's Christchurch

WELLINGTON — A large 6.3 magnitude earthquake rocked New Zealand's Christchurch Tuesday, causing widespread damage in a city already recovering from a major quake in September last year.

Television footage showed panicked workers fleeing from offices after the quake, which the US Geological Survey said hit at 12:51pm (2351 GMT Monday) five kilometres (three miles) from the city at a depth of just four kilometres.

And here's the link for Google's real time update of the situation from various sources.

Indonesia : Sudden death of chicken, Citizens gets Bird Flu

Translated article from Kompas :

" A total of five residents Banyuresmi Village, District Banyuresmi, Garut, got the flu, following the discovery of hundreds of chickens that died suddenly due to the H5N1 virus or bird flu in the region.

"There were five residents in Banyuresmi with flu, but provisional estimates indicated no bird flu," said the Head of Disease Prevention and Eradication of Garut Health Office Dede Romansyah after reviewing the location of the area stricken with the H5N1 virus in Banyuresmi, Garut, on Monday (21 / 2 / 2011).

Five people's identity can not be dipublikaskan, but the patients identified two children under the age of 2.5 years and 1.5 years, a six-year-old child and two adults aged 54 years and 35 years."

CIDRAP : Flu activity shows signs of receding in Europe

An article from Robert Ross at CIDRAP :

" Influenza activity persists at medium to high levels in most European Union countries but is showing signs of decreasing, according to the latest report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Fourteen countries reported a decrease in influenza-like illness (ILI) and acute respiratory infections (ARI) in the week of Feb 7 to 13, which was 10 more than did so the previous week, the ECDC said. The proportion of respiratory samples from sentinel healthcare providers dropped to 43%, compared with a peak of 57% in the last week of 2010.

However, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and Sweden reported high-intensity flu activity, and Luxembourg had very high activity, the ECDC said. Cases were reported at medium levels in 19 countries and Scotland. The rest of the United Kingdom had low activity, as did Cyprus and Malta."

Australia : Dengue cases rise in far north Qld

Via ABC News :

" A dengue fever outbreak in far north Queensland is worsening, with nearly 40 people diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease.

A total of 31 people have been diagnosed with type-two dengue at East Innisfail, south of Cairns, and another eight have type-four.

Queensland Health says the outbreak has so far managed to stay contained to East Innisfail."

Hong Kong : Public hospitals announce the latest Human Swine Influenza cases

Press release from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" In response to the recent influenza situation in Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority (HA), in close collaboration with the Centre for Health Protection, has activated the enhanced monitoring system for severe influenza patients staying in the intensive care units of public hospitals. The HA spokesman today (February 21) announced that there were four newly confirmed Human Swine Influenza (HSI) cases over the past 72 hours (from 2pm on February 18 to 2pm on February 21), including a 63-year-old female patient at Princess Margaret Hospital, a 55-year-old male patient at Caritas Medical Centre and a 48-year-old male patient at Yan Chai Hospital. The three patients are in critical condition. Another patient is a 29-month-old girl at Queen Elizabeth Hospital who is in serious condition. All patients were prescribed with Tamiflu.

A 63-year-old female HSI patient in critical condition at Ruttonjee & Tang Shiu Kin Hospitals succumbed today due to continued deterioration of clinical condition. The hospital expressed deep condolences to the patient's family."

Greece : Greek officials on alert over swine flu death toll

An article from France 24 :

" Health officials in Greece on Monday warned the public to remain vigilant against swine flu that has so far killed 93 people, pointing to low vaccination ratios and suggesting the elderly are more at risk.

"The country is going through a phase of high seasonal flu activity," the state centre for disease control (Keelpno) said in a statement, adding that the potentially deadly H1N1 virus strain was "predominant".

It noted that 126 people were currently in hospital with confirmed flu symptoms and that only a small number of health staff and high risk groups had taken vaccines."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Australia : Fighting dengue

An interesting science article from ABC Science in Australia :

" As Australia's dengue season escalates, we look at how science is trying to tackle rise of this potentially deadly disease.

They might not look like much, but the boxes of plastic containers filling the Eliminate Dengue project's white van could hold the key to stopping dengue.

Inside are a clutch of biologically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — a distinctive species of mosquito with white banded legs that is notorious around the world as the main carrier of the dengue virus.

As the dengue season escalates in Far North Queensland, the project's scientists are closely monitoring the small communities of Yorkeys Knob and Gordonvale where they are releasing 6000 modified mosquitoes each week until the end of March.

This research project is one of many international efforts that may eventually reduce the spread of dengue, not only in Far North Queensland, but the rest of the world."

Indonesia : Leptospirosis outbreak prompts emergency action

An article from IRIN, excerpt :

" JAKARTA, 21 February 2011 : Bantul regency in Indonesia's central Java region has declared a state of emergency and health agencies nationwide are on alert following an outbreak of leptospirosis, a fatal animal-borne disease that can result in high fever, internal bleeding and organ failure, said the Health Ministry.

Four of 15 people reported to have been infected with the bacterial disease have died since the onset of the outbreak in late January, a case fatality rate of 27 percent. Indonesia's Director-General of Disease Control and Environmental Health at the Health Ministry, Tjandra Yoga Aditama, said infected rats may have caused the epidemic."

Somalia: Toddlers Die of Diarrhea in Southern Region

Via All Africa :

" Wanlawayn : As water shortages reported from many parts in south-central strife-ridden Somalia, at least 5 kids died of diarrhea in the district of Wanlawayn in lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia.

Reports from Wanlawayn suggested that the kids died in the the village of Jaleecan, adding that there are others more suffering the same disease."

Three more H1N1 flu deaths in Hong Kong

Via The Straits Times :

" HONG KONG : THREE more people in Hong Kong have died from swine flu, bringing the death toll to at least 17 in the past month, the territory's health authority said on Monday.
Health officials have stepped up surveillance on the virulent strain of influenza since late last month amid concerns about more deaths in the teeming metropolis of seven million.

The latest three victims, who died last week, were a 64-year-old woman and two men aged 71 and 83, and come a year-and-a-half after an outbreak of the disease killed 80 people in the city. 'We are currently at the peak of the flu season,' York Chow, the city's Secretary for Food and Health, told reporters on Sunday. "

Indonesia : Residents Not Willing poultry Destroyed

Translated article from Tribun News :

" GARUT : Although already stated poultry in Kampung Warung, Banyuresmi Village, District Banyuresmi, Garut regency, positive contracted the virus H5N1 (bird flu), residents are still not willing poultry destroyed.

Local people are still shocked upon reasonable notice submitted by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Marine Garut regency, related deaths more than 300 birds that died suddenly due to contracting the bird flu virus."

Israel : Rare disorder reported in young swine flu patient

Via Haaretz :

" Physicians say girl, 11, suffering from Alice in Wonderland syndrome

An 11-year-old girl from the center of the country diagnosed with swine flu has also developed a condition called Alice in Wonderland syndrome, characterized by distortions in the perception of the size of objects.

The condition is named after the 1865 Lewis Carroll novel "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" in which the protagonist of the book is depicted as confronting objects at major variance with their normal size. The syndrome was first described in medical literature in 1955 by British psychiatrist John Todd."

Venezuela cholera outbreak contained: official

An AFP report hosted by Google News :

" CARACAS : The government of Venezuela has said that it had contained a cholera outbreak that at its peak sickened hundreds of its citizens, who caught the disease at a wedding in the Dominican Republic.

Officials in Caracas said they planned to implement a followup program this week to verify that every remnant of the disease had been completely eradicated throughout the country, but were confident that they had halted its spread.

The illness infected some 450 Venezuelans who attended a wedding last month in the Dominican Republic that borders Haiti, which was the original source of the outbreak of the waterborne bacterial disease."

India : Youth dies of swine flu

Via MSN India :

" Fathegrah Sahib (Pun), Feb 20 : A newly-married man died of swine flu in a hospital at Banur near here, officials said today.

Thirty-year-old Kulwinder Singh, hailing from Nalini village, breathed his last at Gian Sagar Medical College and Hospital yesterday.

Kulwinder was also suffering from acute asthma for the past some time, they said."

Indonesia has most dengue patients among ASEAN countries

An article from Xinhua, excerpt :

" JAKARTA, Feb. 18 : An Indonesian government senior official said on Friday that Indonesia has the largest number of dengue patients among the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Rita Kusriastuti, Director of Animal-infected Disease Control at the Indonesian Health Ministry said the ministry recorded around 150,000 dengue patients as of 2010.

"The number was not reducing compared to figures in previous years," Rita told a press conference in the ministry's premises here.

According to Rita, the spreading of dengue in Indonesia was favored by weather condition. Indonesia was overwhelmed by rainy season in the last few years, favorable to the breeding of mosquito larva during the season."

Malaysia : All out to stop dengue outbreak in Bukit Sentosa

Via The Star :

" THE authorities are taking immediate steps to stop an outbreak of dengue fever in Bukit Sentosa.

Hulu Selangor district officer Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan, who chairs the dengue outbreak monitoring committee, said there were three dengue cases reported at the four-storey Anggerik Apartments in Bukit Sentosa in five days.

“This is very serious. When there are three cases of dengue reported, the Health Ministry declares it as an outbreak,’’ he said during a visit to the area."

India : Thousands of ducks and chickens killed in Indian bird flu scare

Via The National :

" Health workers have killed about 4,000 ducks and chickens at a government-run farm in the remote Indian state of Tripura after some tested positive for bird flu, a government official said yesterday.

Sixteen public health teams also began slaughtering poultry within one kilometre of the state-run farm in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus, said Jyotirmoy Chakrabarty, joint director of the state's animal research department.

Mr Chakrabarty said some poultry on the farm were infected with the H5 strain of bird flu, and more tests were under way to determine whether it was the virulent H5N1 subtype.
There were no reports of any humans being infected, he said."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Macao : First H1N1 death in two years

An article from Macao Daily Times, excerpt :

" The 47-year-old woman who was hospitalised a month ago with Influenza A (H1N1) died yesterday morning at the Kiang Wu hospital, the Health Bureau (SSM) announced. It’s the first death caused by the so-called “swine flu” in Macau since October 2009.

According to a press release, the woman stopped breathing and despite attempts to revive her, was pronounced dead at around 9 am.

The deceased was hospitalised on January 18, suffering serious pneumonia. As she was transferred to Kiang Wu’s intensive care unit, tests detected the H1N1 virus. The doctors used an artificial lung to help the patient breathe and her condition initially improved."

Hong Kong : No mutation but H1N1 virus to linger till March

Via The Standard, excerpt :

" There are no signs the human swine flu (H1N1) virus has mutated but the flu peak season will continue until mid-March, Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok said.

This came as the 11th case of a Tamiflu- resistant strain of the virus was confirmed in a four-year-old girl treated at Canossa Hospital on February 7. She did not require hospitalization and has since recovered.

Meanwhile, two more deaths brought to 14 the number of fatalities so far this year.

The deaths reported yesterday were that of a 72-year-old woman at Tuen Mun Hospital and an 84-year-old man at Queen Elizabeth Hospital."

Italy : H1N1 - Two Dead In Molinette Of Turin

An article from AGI News :

" Turin : Two patients suffering from the H1N1 virus have died today at the Molinette hospital in Turin, where they were hospitalized in the intensive care unit. One of the victims was moved about ten days ago by the hospital of Verbania and had cardiorespiratory problems and was obese (130 kg).

The other victim was also an obese man who prior to being admitted to Molinette had been hospitalized in Novara and Vercelli. Both patients had undergone ECMO, the equipment that allows the extra-corporeal circulation.

Meanwhile, last night in the Molinette hospital, another patient hit by the H1N1 was transferred from Novara. He is a 55 year old man with a transplanted kidney and pneumothorax. There are currently three patients with H1N1 in the intensive care unit of Molinette."

Bangladesh to hold massive cholera vaccine trial

From BBC :

" Health officials in Bangladesh are due to launch the world's largest trial of an affordable cholera vaccine which could save tens of thousands of lives.

The study involves nearly 250,000 people near the capital, Dhaka.

If the results are positive, the programme can be replicated in other countries where cholera is a big problem, officials say."

US : Elephant spread TB to workers at Tenn. sanctuary

Via Associated Press, excerpt :

" ATLANTA : A tuberculosis outbreak among workers at a Tennessee elephant sanctuary in 2009 is being blamed on one of the pachyderms, even though some of the employees didn't have close contact with the animal."

Flu epidemic spreads in U.S. : Report

An article from Xinhua :

" LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17 : The flu season has reached an epidemic level in the United States, circulating in all 50 states and widespread in 37, HealthDay News reported on Thursday.

Pediatric deaths from flu tripled in the past month, jumping from 10 early in January to 30 by Feb. 5, the report said, quoting statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Outpatient doctor visits because of flu increased steadily from January to February, according to the report.

While it's too early for exact numbers, the flu, which usually peaks in February, contributed to eight percent of adult deaths in 122 cities, the report said."

Hong Kong : Public hospitals announce the latest Human Swine Influenza cases (2 more fatalities)

Another press release from Hong Kong's CHP, their daily updates on swine flu cases. This update has recorded 2 more fatalities :

" In response to the recent influenza situation in Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority (HA), in close collaboration with the Centre for Health Protection, has activated the enhanced monitoring system for severe influenza patients staying in the intensive care units of public hospitals.

The HA spokesman today (February 17) announced that there were two newly confirmed Human Swine Influenza (HSI) cases admitted to intensive care units, including a 56-year-old male patient at Ruttonjee & Tang Shiu Kin Hospitals who is now in critical condition. Another patient is a 13-month baby girl who is staying at United Christian Hospital, and is in serious condition. Both patients are under Tamiflu treatment and the 56-year-old male patient requires ventilation support. The hospitals will continue to closely monitor their condition.

A 72-year-old female HSI patient in critical condition succumbed today (February 17)at Tuen Mun Hospital due to continued deterioration of clinical condition. A male patient aged 84 with past good health was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on January 17 due to influenza like symptoms. He succumbed today due to continued deterioration of clinical condition. He had tested positive for influenza A. The hospitals would like to express deep condolences to the patients' family."

Hong Kong : Another case of Tamiflu-resistant human swine influenza detected

From the Centre for Health Protection, more cases of Tamiflu resistant H1n1 cases being detected, excerpt :

" The Department of Health's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) today (February 17) detected another case of resistance to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in a strain of human swine influenza (HSI) virus.

A department spokesman said the virus was identified during PHLSB's routine sensitivity tests of the HSI virus to oseltamivir and zanamivir.

"This is the 11th case of Tamiflu resistance to HSI virus detected in Hong Kong.

"Tests showed that this strain is sensitive to zanamivir (Relenza)," he said.

The virus was isolated from the specimen taken from a 4-year-old girl who enjoyed good past health. She presented with fever and cough since February 4. She sought medical attention in the out-patient department of Canossa Hospital on February 7 and was prescribed with Tamiflu. No hospitalisation was required and the girl is now in stable condition."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dengue update: 32 cases in Peru's capital

Via Living in Peru, excerpt :

" The number of patients infected with dengue in Lima rose to 32 this week, with the majority having recently traveled from Iquitos, Peru’s ministry of health reported today.

The virus is carried by the mosquito species Aedes aegypti. In Iquitos, the number of victims is around 20,000.

Health minister Oscar Ugarte told authorities and citizens not the let down their guard, reminding the public that Lima is still in a state of “yellow alert.”Due to its numerous green spaces, cemeteries and plant nurseries, La Molina is one of the districts with the highest risk of spreading dengue.

In particular, one of the prime mosquito breeding areas is the Lagunas de Rinconada. It was there that Ugarte initiated the prevention campaign in the district yesterday, fumigating the shores of the lake where mosquitos grow and reproduce."

Cholera death toll in Haiti rises to 4,549

Via Xinhua :

" SANTO DOMINGO, Feb. 16 : The cholera death toll in Haiti rose to 4,549, Haitian Health authorities said on Wednesday.

According to information reaching here from Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital, the Public Health and People's Ministry (MSPP) said in a recent report that the figures were updated till Feb. 9."

Hong Kong : Another case of Tamiflu-resistant human swine influenza detected

Another press release from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Department of Health's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) today (February 16) detected another case of resistance to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in a strain of human swine influenza (HSI) virus.

A department spokesman said the virus was identified during PHLSB's routine sensitivity tests of the HSI virus to oseltamivir and zanamivir.

"This is the 10th case of Tamiflu resistance to HSI virus detected in Hong Kong.

"Tests showed that this strain is sensitive to zanamivir (Relenza)," he said.

The virus was isolated from the specimen taken from a 33-year-old man with chronic illness. He had presented with fever and cough since January 27. He sought medical attention at Queen Mary Hospital (QMH) on the same day and was prescribed with Tamiflu. The man was admitted to QMH for persistent fever on February 1. He was discharged on February 7 in stable condition."

Hong Kong : Public hospitals announce latest Human Swine Influenza cases

From the Centre for Health Protection, excerpt :

" In response to the recent influenza situation in Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority (HA), in close collaboration with the Centre for Health Protection, has activated the enhanced monitoring system for severe influenza patients staying in the intensive care units of public hospitals. The HA spokesman today (February 16) announced that two newly confirmed Human Swine Influenza (HSI) cases had been admitted to intensive care units, including a 53-year-old male patient at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital and a 30-year-old male patient at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, who are both in critical condition. Both patients are under Tamiflu treatment and on ventilation support. The hospitals will continue to closely monitor their condition.

Furthermore, a 69-year-old male patient who had confirmed positive for influenza A and was staying at Queen Elizabeth Hospital with critical condition, succumbed on February 14 due to continued deterioration of clinical condition. The hospital expressed deep condolences to the patient's family."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Georgia records seventeenth fatality since early year

Via Trend :

" Another person died from the H1N1 virus in Georgia. As the National Center for Disease Control told Trend, this time the 50-year-old woman died, who had other chronic diseases that caused complications and the so-called "swine flu".

This is the 17th fatality as a result of the flu this year in Georgia. Twelve people died from the H1N1virus. The rest died from other subtypes of the A type virus and B type virus.

As the Center told Trend, so far "swine flu" has been recorded in 425 people and it was confirmed by laboratory tests. Most of them recovered from the virus without consequences."

Singapore : H1N1 death toll rises to 74 with death of six last week

An article from Asia One :

" Six people infected with influenza A (H1N1) virus died last week, raising the nation's total influenza casualties since July 2010 to 74. All six patients were male, unvaccinated, with ages ranging from two to 84.

A total of 183 patients aged from two to 89 years old have been confirmed to have severe seasonal influenza infection in the last two weeks alone, of those, only 10 specimens had received vaccination, according to Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Beside the typical influenza symptoms, the outbreak this winter so far also seemed to have been the source of severe coughing and even the loss of vocal cord functions, CDC said."

Vietnam : Rubella, dengue fever on rise

Via Vietnam News :

" HCM CITY : Outbreaks of rubella and viral fever have been reported in Da Nang and Quang Nam Province in the last week.

Dr Pham Ngoc Ham, head of Da Nang Hospital's tropical diseases ward, said rubella is occurring earlier than normal this year.

On Monday 24 children were treated at the hospital for the disease taking the total number of affected children in the previous few days to 30, he said.

The hospital has isolated the patients to avoid further transmission.

It has also admitted 15 patients with viral fever and nine others with serious dengue fever."