Saturday, 28 February 2009
Chances of recovery.........less than 50%, although they are getting a bit better as medical staff learn how to deal with the disease and treat the symptoms. That is in Darwin......where there is some knowledge. In Thailand, the estimated death toll annually is over 1000.
The nasty is .............melioidosis. And you can catch it while GARDENING.
This is absolutely true http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25112442-23289,00.html gives more details. As does http://abovecapricorn.blogspot.com/ .
In Darwin it used to be called Nightcliff Gardeners Disease, but that is a bit unfair. Just because many residences in Nightcliff have active gardeners, and are more exposed to the disease.
At last there seems to be developing a better understanding of the etiology of the disease, with significant work being done at the Darwin locally based Menzies School of Health Research. I have had a few discussions with staff there regarding knowledge of the disease among medical staff in Thailand, where I have worked and was a bit more apprehensive than normal as I knew I would be wandering around in rice paddies.
It seems to occur in many tropical and subtropical regions and countries. The warning now here is to use gloves while gardening and to wear covered shoes. This can be difficult in a culture where being bare footed is vey common. I have certainly been bare footed in many rice paddies and flooded pasture areas in the NT during my work. When the water is 300 - 400mm deep it hardly seems sensible to be wearing boots.
Monday, 16 February 2009
It rained this morning.........just at the time most people were on their way to work. But no, not just some rain. Yesterday was dry, and the ominous signs of the monsoon moving offshore were quite obvious. Were we to have some more dry days? There had been 26 days in a row with rain, Sunday was dry. Maybe a few dry days would be good.
But this morning it rained, very seriously! About 40mm [ more in some areas around Darwin] in about 20 -25 minutes, equivalent to about 100mm in an hour intensity. That is serious rain!
Traffic quickly switched to "wet mode" - headlights on, a bit more care, lots of splashing water off the road and a slightly slower pace. And people were caught out big time, with quite a few drenched bodies seen.........had gone out without the mandatory umbrella!
And now, 40 minutes later the clouds are rising, and blue sky is slowly appearing across the southern sky as the storm clouds disappear to the north, offshore.
But it will be wet underfoot for some time still as the ground slowly moves the water overland or absorbs it.
Sunday, 15 February 2009
Monday, 9 February 2009
The bushfires in Victoria are just awful, even by Australian standards where summer bushfires are a regular issue in much of the southern states, each summer. I cannot even hope to emulate the material on so many of the commercial media web pages, with images often contributed by those most affected, or at least by those who got out.
See - http://www.abc.net.au/ or http://www.news.com.au/ as two major media outlets with vivid stories and photos; if not obvious, search on Victorian bushfires.
As of Monday morning there have been over 100 deaths, about 800 houses totally destroyed and countless other lives and houses devastated. It seems obvious that these figures will rise significantly as authorities reach areas previously cut off. Think of the army of volunteers as fire authority staff, Red Cross assistants and so on who are there helping, and the countless stories of those who were lucky to survive. They do have a bit of deprecating humour, typically Australian............but they will suffer, when the tragedy hits the brain. It might be hours, days or weeks, but realisation will come. I speak as a cyclone victim and survivor and can feel for them.
They need some help............think of them and offer a silent prayer.
And wonder about the idiots or the deranged who may have actually lit the fires in some cases - it seems the authorities are serious about high level prosecutions - manslaughter or similar in a number of situations.
Sunday, 8 February 2009
We have had a visit to the yard from a kingfisher today. A very pretty bird, and there must be quite a few around the area, for I have seen a number of them recently along the Rapid Creek cycle path, in the trees and on the ground. Our family has always recognised a semi-resident king fisher......which has been christened "Kerry", but this one is smaller and maybe a first time visitor to the yard.
We have a large resident population of birds in the garden, including a lot of honeyeaters of various types, even with a few local cats, including our own at times. My view is that the local houses with pools, water features in the garden and similar facilities actually encourage birds, in comparison to the unwatered areas that would be there with the former native vegetation. It also helps that we are about 100m from a permanent creek.
Saturday, 7 February 2009
Friday, 6 February 2009
Shortly after take off around 0830 today, a pilot had to make an emergency landing on a coastal beach near East Point, Darwin. Just after takeoff, the plane lost power and then was ditched very successfully just off the beach.
All 6 passengers and pilot are uninjured, and they walked ashore from shallow water just off the beach. Most believe the pilot did a fantastic job........missed the residential areas. At least here the flight path off the main runway does go to the west over vacant land and then over the water, so he has had to get the plane around and back to the beach to land.
We have large tidal ranges here in Darwin and the light aircraft is now being drowned by the incoming tide.
This is definitely the story of the day locally.