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Video - Amid Promises of Aid, a Puerto Rico Still in Ruins

The New York Times - By DEBORAH ACOSTA and NATALIE RENEAU - October 3, 2017

President Trump said Puerto Ricans should be proud of the low death toll after Hurricane Maria. But a tour of the island by Times reporters showed that vast humanitarian and logistical challenges remain.

https://nyti.ms/2yHr8K3

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After Hurricane Maria, Dominica Seeks to Rebuild Itself Better

           

A woman walks through the streets of Roseau, the capital of Dominica, shattered by the passage of two category five hurricanes  - UNICEF / Moreno Gonzalez

via Google Translate:
un.org - reliefweb.int - 28 December 2017

Three months after Hurricane Maria ravaged Dominica, the population remains very affected. However, the post-emergency phase represents a series of opportunities to rebuild better and increase the resilience of the Caribbean island.

Hurricane Maria, of category 5, hit Dominica on September 18, leaving 15 people dead and about 57,000 people affected.

"Three months after the disaster, the situation is much better, but it is still difficult for many," said Luca Renda, the leader of the United Nations response team to the crisis in Dominica, in an interview with UN News.

"The basic needs are covered. The vast majority of children go to school and shops and markets have reopened. However, a third of the population remains displaced, staying at home with family or friends. Only 10% have electricity, and a third do not have direct access to water (potable), "said Renda, who is also coordinator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on the island.

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CARICOM Moving to Create the World’s First Climate Resilient Region in the Year Ahead – Incoming Chairman

INCOMING CHAIRMAN OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY HIS EXCELLENCY JOVENEL MOÏSE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF HAITI

caricom.org - December 31, 2017

NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE FROM INCOMING CHAIRMAN OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY HIS EXCELLENCY JOVENEL MOÏSE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF HAITI

2018 dawns for the Caribbean Community, with the prospect of seizing an opportunity out of a crisis.  As we begin the rebuilding process after the devastating hurricanes of last September, as well Hurricane Matthew, which pounded the region on October 3-4 , 2016, we do so with the aim of creating the first climate resilient Region in the world.

The absolute necessity to create a climate smart Region is clear given the effects of climate change which have brought us droughts, mega hurricanes, heavy floods and unusual weather patterns, all of which adversely affect our development.  The social and economic gains that we have made individually and collectively must be protected against the onslaught of nature.

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Forty Years Later, Ebola Survivors are Still Making Antibodies to the Lethal Virus

           

Lab technician and Ebola survivor Sukato Mandzomba (front) worked with Peter Piot (back) in 1976 and again in 2016.  Heidi Larson

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Ebola Virus Neutralizing Antibodies Detectable in Survivors of theYambuku, Zaire Outbreak 40 Years after Infection

sciencemag.org - by Jon Cohen - December 14, 2017

Forty years after the first documented Ebola outbreak, some of the survivors still have antibodies against the virus, a new study reveals. The find bolsters the widely held assumption that Ebola survivors remain immune to the virus for life. The work may also help guide development of new medicines and clarify the long-term health consequences of an Ebola infection.

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Humidity May Prove Breaking Point for Some Areas as Temperatures Rise, Says Study

           

Large swaths of the tropics and beyond may see crushing combinations of heat and humidity in coming decades, according to a new study.  Credit: Ethan Coffel

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Temperature and humidity based projections of a rapid rise in global heat stress exposure during the 21st century

sciencedaily.com - Source: The Earth Institute at Columbia University - December 22, 2017

Summary: Climate scientists say that killer heat waves will become increasingly prevalent in many regions as climate warms. However, most projections leave out a major factor that could worsen things: humidity, which can greatly magnify the effects of heat alone. Now, a new global study projects that in coming decades the effects of high humidity in many areas will dramatically increase.

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UN Centre Improving Lives by Linking People and Humanitarian Data

           

Humanitarian aid workers help fight cholera in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: OCHA/J-L. Mbalivoto

unmultimedia.org - 22 December 2017

Access to data is crucial for humanitarians responding to various crises worldwide.

For example, aid workers feeding hungry people in Nigeria use a mobile-based platform to monitor the price of rice and other staples to know when costs increase.

To better assist these professionals, the UN has opened a global humanitarian data centre in the Netherlands that aims to improve lives by connecting people and data.

Veronique Durroux spoke to Javier Terán Castro, a statistician with the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, who explained how it functions.

http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/2017/12/un-centre-aims-to-connect-people-and-humanitarian-data-to-improve-lives/#.Wj0Cma3MzFR

The Centre for Humanitarian Data - https://centre.humdata.org

HDX - https://data.humdata.org

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Caribbean Leaders Launch Ambitious Plan to Create the World’s First “Climate-Smart Zone”

           

If the world is to end poverty in all its forms by 2030, we must boost resilience—in all its forms. This means the capacity to cope with shocks without major economic, social and environmental setbacks. Photo: Michael Atwood / UNDP

The Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition seeks rapid implementation of US $8 billion climate investment plan that will transform regional energy system, build resiliency, drive economic growth and set a global example

undp.org - December 12, 2017

Paris, 12 December 2017 - The UN Development Programme (UNDP) announced its support to Caribbean leaders gathered today during the launch of a new public-private coalition to create the world's first "climate-smart zone" to support the parts of the region decimated by some of the most powerful hurricanes to ever cross the Atlantic in September.

The announcement came at the One Planet Summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris to review progress made on the Paris Agreement adopted by global governments two years ago today.

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U.S. Study Sheds Light on How Zika Causes Nerve Disorder

           

FILE PHOTO: An aedes aegypti mosquito is pictured on a leaf in San Jose, Costa Rica February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate/File Photo

CLICK HERE - STUDY - CDC - EID - Postmortem Findings in Patient with Guillain-Barré Syndrome and Zika Virus Infection

reuters.com - by Julie Steenhuysen - December 13, 2017

A new study sheds light on how the mosquito-borne Zika virus causes a rare neurological condition, and the findings could have implications for companies working on Zika vaccines, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday . . .

 . . . To study the nerve disorder, Dr. Tyler Sharp of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dengue Branch in San Juan and colleagues in Puerto Rico examined the rare case of a 78-year-old man from San Juan who had been infected with Zika in 2016, developed Guillain-Barre and subsequently died.

An autopsy showed inflammation and erosion of the protective sheath known as myelin in two nerves, but no evidence of the Zika virus in nerve cells.

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Scientists Link Hurricane Harvey’s Record Rainfall to Climate Change

           

Evading a wave in Houston after Hurricane Harvey hit on Aug. 25. Credit Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Attributable human-induced changes in the likelihood and magnitude of the observed extreme precipitation during Hurricane Harvey

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Attribution of extreme rainfall from Hurricane Harvey, August 2017

nytimes.com - by Henry Fountain - December 13, 2017

Climate change made the torrential rains that flooded Houston after Hurricane Harvey last summer much worse, scientists reported Wednesday.

Two research groups found that the record rainfall as Harvey stalled over Texas in late August, which totaled more than 50 inches in some areas, was as much as 38 percent higher than would be expected in a world that was not warming.

While many scientists had said at the time that Harvey was probably affected by climate change, because warmer air holds more moisture, the size of the increase surprised some.

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Bat Cave Solves Mystery of Deadly SARS Virus — and Suggests New Outbreak Could Occur

           

Researchers analysed strains of SARS virus circulating in horseshoe bats, such as this one (Rhinolophus sinicus), in a cave in Yunnan province, China.  Credit: Libiao Zhang/Guangdong Institute of Applied Biological Resource

Chinese scientists find all the genetic building blocks of SARS in a single population of horseshoe bats.

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus

nature.com - by David Cyranoski - December 1, 2017

After a detective hunt across China, researchers chasing the origin of the deadly SARS virus have finally found their smoking gun. In a remote cave in Yunnan province, virologists have identified a single population of horseshoe bats that harbours virus strains with all the genetic building blocks of the one that jumped to humans in 2002, killing almost 800 people around the world. 

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