Disasters/ Significant Events – Dec 25, 2015
Posted by feww on December 25, 2015
Brazil warns against pregnancy amid surge in ZIKV birth defects
States of Emergency have been declared in six Brazilian states after a surge in the number of suspected microcephaly among the newborn linked to Zika virus (ZIKV).
In Pernambuco State, about 1,000 cases have been reported. In Rio de Janeiro, about 400 pregnant women are suspected of having Zika infection. About 3 dozen related infant deaths are being investigated.
Brazilian health authorities are advising would-be parents not to get pregnant, especially in the country’s northeast. The advice follows research that have linked the potentially deadly virus Zika, a mosquito-borne infection, to newborn microcephaly—a neurological disorder that can result in a severe birth defect in which the brain fails to develop properly and the head is much smaller than normal.
“Microcephaly can be caused by genetic factors, infections, or injuries. In recent years, there have been between 150 and 200 cases in Brazil per year. As of 30 November, more than 1,200 cases had been reported in 10 states, all of which have also reported Zika virus infections, says Ana Maria Bispo de Filippis, head of the flavivirus laboratory at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”
However, the number of suspected infections have now doubled to more than 2,400 cases and spared to 20 Brazilian states (compared with 147 cases last year).
Storms kill at least a dozen, injure dozens more, leave trails of destruction across the U.S. South
Gov. Haslam approved the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency’s recommendation to go to a Level III State of Emergency, after storms moved across the state Wednesday night, killing at least two people.
Gov. Deal declared a state of emergency in Georgia for Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens counties through January.
“Following severe weather that resulted in flooding, damage to roads and properties and downed trees, the state is working to ensure the affected counties have access to the resources necessary for response efforts,” said Deal.
Gov. Bryant has declared a State of Emergency in seven Mississippi counties after storms pummeled the state late Wednesday..
Benton, Coahoma, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Prentiss and Tippah counties have all reported damage, at least six dead and more than 40 injuried.
- Macon County North Carolina issued a state of emergency after the storm caused severe flooding across the area.
- An unknown number of people were injured after the storm overturned planes at a local airport northwest of the state, said reports.
A large tornado, one of at least 3 dozens, landed in Mississippi and raked along a 240-km trail to Tennessee.
SPC received hundreds of severe weather reports including 39 tornadoes, as of posting. Tornadoes left trails of destruction across multiple states: Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Illinois.
Beijing air pollution worsens significantly
Air pollution index (AQI) in China hit a high of 592 on Friday and persisted at 562, as of posting.
[The EPA’s revised breakpoints for the upper end of the hazardous air pollution band, AQI of 401 – 500, is equivalent to PM2.5 concentration of 350.5 – 500 μgm−³ averaged over a 24-hour period. —Editor]
There’s apparent confusion among officials concerning the severity and duration of the smog events, on the one hand, and the extent of willpower exercised by government to shoo away the potentially deadly pollution, on the other. The official news agency, Xinhua, wrote:
Even though Beijing has lifted the red alert for severe pollution, the capital city will remain in haze for a few more days. [How dare smog worsens “even though” the authorities have downgraded the pollution warning to the lowest level. Ed.]
The Beijing municipal heavy pollution emergency response headquarters issued a blue alert for heavy pollution in the city on Thursday afternoon, saying smog will hit central Beijing and southern suburbs on Thursday night. It called on residents in these areas to take protective measures.
“Red” represents the most severe warning level on China’s four-tier warning system, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
In addition to Beijing, at least 50 other cities in northern and eastern China have issued air pollution alerts for potentially deadly smog this week.