Derna death toll expected to rise to over 20,000 in dam disaster

Engineers blame years of neglect for the failure of the two dams above Derna.

Libyan authorities limited access to the flooded city of Derna on Friday to make it easier for searchers to dig through the mud and hollowed-out buildings for the more than 10,000 people still missing and presumed dead following a disaster that has already claimed more than 11,000 lives.


The staggering death toll could grow further due to the spread of waterborne diseases and shifting of explosive ordnance that was swept up when two dams collapsed early Monday and sent a wall of water gushing through the city, officials warned.

The disaster has brought some rare unity to oil-rich Libya, which after years of war and civil strife is divided between rival governments in the country’s east and west that are backed by various militia forces and international patrons. But the opposing governments have struggled to respond to the crisis, and recovery efforts have been hampered by confusion, difficulty getting aid to the hardest-hit areas, and the destruction of Derna’s infrastructure, including several bridges.

Aid groups called on authorities to facilitate their access to the city so they can distribute badly needed food, clean water and medical supplies to survivors. Four days into the crisis, the lack of central oversight was apparent, with people receiving supplies and resources in some parts of Derna but being left to fend for themselves in others.

Manoelle Carton, the medical coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in Libya, described waiting in line for hours to get into the city and, once inside, finding volunteers from around the country who had flocked to Derna getting in the way of humanitarian workers at times.

“Everybody wants to help. But it is becoming chaotic,” she said. “There is an enormous need for coordination.”

Teams have buried bodies in mass graves outside the city and in nearby towns, Eastern Libya’s health minister, Othman Abduljaleel, said.

But officials worried that thousands more have yet to be found.

Bodies “are littering the streets, washing back up on shore and buried under collapsed buildings and debris,” said Bilal Sablouh, regional forensics manager for Africa at the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“In just two hours, one of my colleagues counted over 200 bodies on the beach near Derna,” he said.

Divers are also searching the waters off the Mediterranean coastal city.

Carton said later Friday that most of the dead bodies had been cleared from the streets in the areas of the city the Doctors Without Borders team visited, but there were other grim signs, including that one of the three medical centres they went to was out of service “because almost all of the medical staff died.” Thousands of people displaced by the flooding are staying in shelters or with friends or relatives, she said.


Adel Ayad, who survived the flood, recalled watching as the waters rose to the fourth floor of his building.

“The waves swept people away from the tops of buildings, and we could see people carried by floodwater,” he said. Among them were neighbours.

Salam al-Fergany, director general of the Ambulance and Emergency Service in eastern Libya, said late Thursday that residents would be evacuated from Derna and that only search-and-rescue teams would be allowed to enter. But there were no signs of such an evacuation on Friday.

Health officials warned that standing water opened the door to disease — but said there was no need to rush burials or put the dead in mass graves, as bodies usually do not pose a risk in such cases.

“You’ve got a lot of standing water. It doesn’t mean the dead bodies pose a risk, but it does mean that the water itself is contaminated by everything,” Dr. Margaret Harris, spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, told reporters in Geneva. “So you really have to focus on ensuring that people have have access to safe water.”


Land mines warning

Imene Trabelsi, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross, warned that another danger lurked in the mud: landmines and other explosives left behind by the country’s protracted conflict.

There are leftover explosives in Libya dating back to World War II, but most are from the civil conflict that began in 2011. Between 2011 and 2021, some 3,457 people were killed or wounded by landmines or other leftover explosive ordnance in Libya, according to the international Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor.

Even before the flooding, Trabelsi said the ability to detect and remove mines from areas was limited. After the floods, she said, explosive devices may have been swept to “new, undetected areas” where they could pose an immediate threat to search teams and a longer-term threat to civilians.

Carton echoed the concerns about an outbreak of water-related diseases in the city. Beyond that, she said, there is a “huge need in mental health support” among survivors, witnesses and medical workers.

According to the Libyan Red Crescent, there were 11,300 flooding deaths in Derna as of Thursday. Another 10,100 people were reported missing, though there was little hope many of them would be found alive, the aid group said. The storm also killed about 170 people elsewhere in the country.


The United Nations launched an appeal to raise more than $71 million to help a quarter of a million survivors of the floods.

Libyan media reported that dozens of Sudanese migrants were killed in the disaster. The country has become a major transit point for Middle Eastern and African migrants fleeing conflict and poverty to seek a better life in Europe.

Flooding often happens in Libya during the rainy season, but rarely with this much destruction. Scientists said the storm bore some of the hallmarks of climate change, and extremely warm sea water could have given the storm more energy and allowed it to move more slowly.

Officials have said that Libya’s political chaos also contributed to the loss of life. Khalifa Othman, a Derna resident, said he blamed authorities for the extent of the disaster.

“My son, a doctor who graduated this year, my nephew and all his family, my grandchild, my daughter and her husband are all missing, and we are still searching for them,” Othman said. “All the people are upset and angry — there was no preparedness.”

Source link

#Derna #death #toll #expected #rise #dam #disaster

Burning Man flooding strands tens of thousands as authorities investigate one death

 An unusual late-summer storm turned a week-long counterculture fest into a sloppy mess with tens of thousands of partygoers stuck in foot-deep mud and with no working toilets in the northern Nevada desert. But some Burning Man revelers said Sunday that their spirits remained unbroken.

Organizers closed the festival to vehicles after one death was reported. Officials provided no details of the fatality.

The annual gathering in the Black Rock Desert about 110 miles (177 kilometers) north of Reno attracts nearly 80,000 artists, musicians and activists for a mix of wilderness camping and avant-garde performances. Disruptions are part of the event’s recent history: Organizers had to temporarily close entrances to the festival in 2018 due to dust storms, and the event was twice canceled altogether during the pandemic.

More than a half an inch (1.3 centimeters) of rain fell at the festival site on Friday, disrupting this year’s festival.

“We are a little bit dirty and muddy but spirits are high. The party still going,” said Scott London, a Southern California photographer, adding that the travel limitations offered “a view of Burning Man that a lot of us don’t get to see.”

More than half an inch (1.3 centimeters) of rain and possibly close to 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) fell this weekend in parts of northwest Nevada, which includes the area where the Burning Man festival was being held, said Mark Deutschendorf, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno.

For the Reno area, which is about 141 miles (227 km) south of the festival, the average rainfall for the whole month of September would be 0.21 inches (0.53 centimeters), Deutschendorf said.

“Already, everywhere from Reno up to the Burning Man area, Black Rock, we’ve already exceeded that — and it’s only three days into the month,” he said. Rainfall for the area around the festival was ending on Sunday, he said.

The road closures came just before a large wooden effigy was supposed to have been burned Saturday night. Organizers said that all burning had been postponed, and authorities were working to open exit routes by the end of the Labor Day weekend.

Officials said late Saturday they didn’t yet know when the roads would “be dry enough for RVs or vehicles to navigate safely,” but they were hopeful vehicles could depart by late Monday if weather conditions improved.

President Joe Biden told reporters in Delaware on Sunday that he is aware of the situation at Burning Man, including the death, and the White House is in touch with local officials. Biden said he did not know the cause of death. 

With their party closed to motorized traffic, attendees trudged through mud, many barefoot or with plastic bags on their feet. Revelers were urged to conserve supplies of food and water, and most remained hunkered down at the site.

A few, however, managed to walk several miles to the nearest town or catch a ride there.

Celebrity DJ Diplo posted a video to Instagram on Saturday evening showing him and comedian Chris Rock riding in the back of a fan’s pickup truck. He said they had walked six miles through the mud before hitching a ride.

“I legit walked the side of the road for hours with my thumb out,” wrote Diplo, whose real name is Thomas Wesley Pentz. 

The event is remote on the best of days and emphasizes self-sufficiency — meaning most people bring in their own food, water and other supplies.

Those who remained Sunday described a resilient community making the most of the mucky conditions: Many posted selfies of themselves covered in mud, dancing or splashing in the makeshift lakes.

“We have not witnessed any negativity, any rough times,” organizer Theresa Galeani said. “Some people … were supposed to leave a few days ago, so they’re out of water or food. But I am an organizer, so I went around and found more water and food. There is more than enough here for people. We just have to get it to everyone.”

London, the Southern California photographer who was attending his 20th Burning Man and just published a book on the festival, “Burning Man: Art On Fire,” spent much of Saturday walking barefoot across the site, which is about 5 square miles. He said that the biggest challenge was logistics because no vehicles could traverse the site, supplies could not be brought in and most people could not leave.

“Usually it’s very crowded with art cars, bikes and people all over the place. But yesterday it was like an abandoned playground,” he added.

Rebecca Barger, a photographer from Philadelphia, arrived at her first Burning Man on Aug. 26 and was determined to stick it out through the end.

“I’m not leaving until both ‘The Man’ and ‘The Temple’ burn,” Barger said, referring to the wooden effigy and wooden structure that are traditionally torched during the event’s last two nights.

She said one of the biggest concerns has been the lack of toilet options because the trucks that normally arrive to clean out the portable toilets multiple times a day haven’t been able to reach the site since Friday’s rainstorm. Some revelers said trucks had resumed cleaning on Sunday.

To prevent her shoes from getting stuck in the muddy clay, Barger says she put a plastic bag over each of her shoes and then covered each bag with a sock. Others were just barefoot.

“Everyone has just adapted, sharing RVs for sleeping, offering food and coffee,” Barger said. “I danced in foot-deep clay for hours to incredible DJs.” 

Ed Fletcher of Sacramento, a longtime Burning Man attendee, arrived in Black Rock City over a week ago to start setting up. When the rain hit, he and his campmates threw a party and “danced the night away” in their muddy shoes.

“Radical self-reliance is one of the principles of Burning Man,” he said. “The desert will try to kill you in some way, shape or form.”

The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office did not release the identity of the deceased person or the suspected cause of death but said it is being investigated.

On their website, organizers encouraged participants to remain calm and suggested that the festival is built to endure conditions like the flooding. They said cellphone trailers were being dropped in several locations Saturday night and that they would be briefly opening up internet overnight. Shuttle buses were also being organized to take attendees to Reno from the nearest town of Gerlach, a walk of about five miles (eight kilometers) from the site.

The event began on Aug. 27 and had been scheduled to end Monday, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the Black Rock Desert, where the festival was held. 

John Asselin, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management, said he had seen “a steady stream” of vehicles leaving the festival site.

“People are getting out,” he said. 


Source link

#Burning #Man #flooding #strands #tens #thousands #authorities #investigate #death

View Q&A: Crisis caused by Kakhovka dam destruction is still evolving

As the vast and far-reaching consequences of the Kakhovka dam destruction become clearer, Euronews View spoke to Vsevolod Prokofiev, Save the Children’s Media Manager in Ukraine, who was among the first responders to the affected areas.

The true scale of the flooding caused by the breach of the southernmost dam on the Dnipro River reservoir cascade on Tuesday is slowly becoming clear.

Officials said more than 6,000 people have been evacuated by Thursday from dozens of flooded cities, towns and villages on both sides of the Dnipro River, which has become part of the front line since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February last year.

Some 40,000 in total need to leave, according to Ukrainian authorities.

The collapse of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam and the emptying of its reservoir — which the locals sometimes refer to as the Kakhovka Sea due to its immense size —has added to the misery that the region has suffered for more than a year from artillery and missile attacks.

The city of Kherson, which was liberated by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on 11 November 2022, was again shelled by the Russian troops on Thursday amid ongoing evacuations, compounding the terror felt by both the local population and Ukrainians who fled from other areas of the country in search of safety elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin has been slammed for the destruction of the dam after Western intelligence sources claimed the Russian forces committed a deliberate attack.

A number of EU officials, including European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen, condemned the act as a “war crime” and “an outrageous attack on civilian infrastructure”. Moscow has, in turn, laid the blame on Kyiv.

Since the dam’s collapse and the resulting flooding, domestic and international humanitarian aid organisations have been working tirelessly together with local authorities to help those in imminent need of assistance.

Euronews View spoke with Vsevolod Prokofiev, Save the Children’s Media Manager in Ukraine, who was among the first responders to the affected areas.

Euronews View: You are currently a part of the effort to help those who have been affected by the destruction of the dam. Could you tell us a little bit more about what you encountered on the ground there?

Vsevolod Prokofiev: The situation on the ground is changing rapidly. It’s quite unpredictable. The flood wave seems to be no longer arriving, but still, vast areas are flooded — about 30% of the right bank of the Kherson region, as pointed out by local administrations. 

We have seen around 2,000 people get evacuated, and more than 100 children among them. Most of them are residents of Kherson city itself. 

But what we see with the displacement is that people are not willing to move too far.

They are definitely tired of the displacement because many of them had to flee when the war unravelled in February last year, and now they are not ready for another long-term movement.

They tend to move to different accommodations inside Kherson city or to the nearest villages where they have friends or relatives or are just able to find spare housing.

They are not even going to the neighbouring oblasts like Mykolaiv. We have seen only like 100 people or 50 families arriving there and not many children at all. 

So the whole picture of displacement is that it’s been very, very difficult, and people tend to stay where they are, just moving to a safer place within one town.

Euronews View: Could you describe the scale of the devastation that you’re witnessing?

Vsevolod Prokofiev: It’s hard for me to draw comparisons, but in the most flooded areas, you would see houses literally completely covered with water and only the roof sticking out.

So basically, we have seen pictures and videos popping up on social media that people, families with children, at some point were rescued from the rooftops of their houses.

We also heard from families that were alarmed by their neighbours early in the morning, basically rushed from their beds, picked up only a few belongings picked up only basic documents like IDs for them and their children, and fled to safer places because the water had already started coming to their homes. 

And that is not only including those detached houses that were submerged by the water completely, but the multi-story buildings as well that in some locations have almost entire first stories covered in water.

Euronews View: Speaking of Kherson, the city has been the epicentre of very intense and destructive fighting followed by constant attacks by the Russian troops. And. now this happened. How do people who live in Kherson perceive this disaster?

Vsevolod Prokofiev: It is quite a peculiar thing about not only this particular situation with flooding in constant shelling going on only in Kherson and its neighbourhood, but people are being very resilient. They are helping one another. 

It is almost every time a collective effort of local volunteers, international organisations, and people themselves to be able to rescue themselves, their neighbours, and their friends. 

One family I talked to personally told me they were able to escape only because an unknown girl offered them a ride in her car. That’s how they moved out of the flat.

People have experienced gruesome crimes, these gruesome events, starting with shelling, active fighting and now this dam catastrophe, but they are holding up; they’re not losing strength. 

They’re not losing hope that the situation is going to become better very soon. Many of them expect in a week or so when the water goes down to return to their original homes.

And this is when we will probably see this crisis with the dam destruction unravel in a slightly different way because we will see people’s housing or conditions therein and whether people are able to return or will they need to stay in a different place. 

Will they be basically displaced once again, will they need assistance with renting accommodation, livelihood, food and water? 

Euronews View: What kind of needs are you and other humanitarian aid organisations registering and responding to at the moment?

Vsevolod Prokofiev: We are right now in a village just 20 kilometres away from Kherson. 

It is not yet directly affected by floods, but people are very worried about the fact that water might come or the after-effects of this whole flood. 

And the big thing is that there is no major water pipeline because almost 90% of all housing and essential facilities here are literally completely destroyed, and so people are surviving only with food brought by volunteers and humanitarian workers.

The same situation is with water. The very best they might get is 12 litres per household for an entire week. 

So now we are bringing a truck full of water able to cover each and every household here, and this is the refillable option. We will now hand out bottles, people will empty them, and bring them back to the local administrations. We will then recollect them, refill and bring them back out again.

Aside from water delivery, we are also doing cash registration. So basically, those people who have been displaced by this flood, we are about to give them cash assistance to cover basic needs like for water and also a separate payment for accommodation purposes. 

So if they are going to be displaced long term so they could afford one or two months of rent for their new place. 

We are in constant communication with our humanitarian colleagues and local administrations, and as the situation is changing rapidly, the response might expand as well. 

Euronews View: What are some of the more hidden dangers of the flooding that came after the destruction of the dam that the people might not be aware of outside of Ukraine or outside of that region?

Vsevolod Prokofiev: Well, the hidden dangers are quite obvious, and people here, the locals, know them very well. 

Number one, I’ve just talked to the father of two children, who told me that the water basically washed away all courtyards. 

Not only the ones used by people but for cattle as well, so everything that was under the ground is now being brought up to the surface. 

Once the water levels subside, this debris will stay on the ground and potentially become a source of infection and of diseases. People are very worried about this here. 

Another problem is the mines and unexploded ordinance. Water is bringing them up with the flood, so already highly contaminated areas are becoming even more dangerous. 

Also, the most vulnerable communities that are at the bank of the river — the humanitarian access there with evacuation efforts and humanitarian aid like food and water are impaired. 

We were going to visit one village on the bank of the river, and the road there is currently washed away and filled with mines brought by water, so we were not able to reach it.

The lack of drinking water is another potential threat because we see now the Kakhovka reservoir rapidly swallowing. 

So at some point, there might just not be enough water for pump stations to be able to transport it to the cities, and we know that a lot of towns and villages in the Dnipro region, the Zaporzhizhia region and the Kherson region, they drew water precisely from this reservoir. 

So essentially, mass water shortages are another major concern.

At Euronews, we believe all views matter. Contact us at [email protected] to send pitches or submissions and be part of the conversation.

Source link

#View #Crisis #caused #Kakhovka #dam #destruction #evolving

Rochester netballers come up with inventive way to keep 2023 season on track

The bitumen netball courts in Rochester — a Victorian town ravaged by flood waters late last year — are a metaphor for the women who run netball there: Bloody tough.

Located just a few hundred metres from the Campaspe River, the courts and surrounds sat under contaminated floodwater for days.

Fences, signage, seating and children’s play equipment were destroyed or damaged, and the small wooden netball club rooms — which sit more than 1 metre above ground level — were inundated, ruining the flooring, toilets, showers and netball gear inside.

Once the water subsided and the sludge, silt and debris had been cleaned away, the courts — which are home to the Tigers, the netball club attached to the local football club, and a junior association — were “spongy and soft”, like a gymnastic mat.

After floods inundated the Rochester netball courts, the surfaces turned spongy and soft.()

Rochester Football/Netball Club netball president Katie Rasmussen and her sister-in-law, Jac Rasmussen, the president of the Rochester Netball Association, feared the worst.

“Almost every single person in Rochester was in disaster mode in the immediate aftermath — because all but a handful of houses were flooded, along with every business — but, as soon as the water went down, we headed to the courts and it looked bad … really bad,” Katie explained.

“I didn’t think there was any chance we’d be able to play netball here in the 2023 season, it was such a mess. You couldn’t even tell they were netball courts really.”

Once “outsiders could get into town again”, representatives from Netball Victoria and Emergency Recovery Victoria started co-ordinating the heavy-duty clean-up, which included calling in local volunteer CFA brigades. Next, a call was put out to the community on social media.

Myla Whipp and Remi Rasmussen observe the flood damage.()

“Even though people had so much going on in their own lives, trying to find somewhere to live, people turned up to help,” Katie said.

“There were a couple of volunteers there that day who I didn’t even know. They just rocked up with shovels and gloves. It was incredible.”

A race against the clock

Once cleaned, the extent of the damage to the playing surface was evident.

“We knew we’d have to replace lots of infrastructure, but the courts were our main concern,” Katie said.

“When you walked on them, they were really spongy, soft and bouncy. It was very strange.

A lot of infrastructure needed to be replaced at the courts, after it was covered in debris.()

“It felt like a worst-case scenario. Not being able to play at home would have been so hard. Everyone had been through so much.”

However, amazingly, the courts dried out in the days and weeks following the disaster and a recent audit by Netball Victoria gave the courts the tick of approval, meaning the Tigers were able to train on them and start their season. 

Rochester then hosted Kyabram in round one of the Goulburn Valley Football/Netball League, winning in three of five netball grades.

Loading Instagram content

“It’s kind of amazing to think the courts survived like they did,” said Jac, who heads up the junior association that feeds into the Tigers.

“The fences have been replaced, lots of damage is still visible, but they build stuff tough around here.”

Road to recovery

What didn’t survive the flood was the huge, pre-season tournament Rochester’s junior and senior clubs usually host in early March.

Attracting teams from across Victoria, the two-day event usually raises more than $5,000.

With key tournament organisers such as Katie, Jac and committee member Meagan Keating either not living in town after being made homeless by the flood or in caravans, and the rooms not being usable, it just proved too difficult.

The football/netball committee came up with a new membership category, to help raise money and keep the club afloat.()

“We were all stretched really thinly with what was going on in our own lives. So, while we had lots of offers of support and even to host the event somewhere else, we just decided to call it,” Katie said.

That left a huge hole in the netball budget. To help fill it, the joint football/netball committee came up with a new membership category for 2023 called “My Shout”, a way for those living outside Rochester to help.

Source link

#Rochester #netballers #inventive #season #track

The world hitting ‘peak baby’ and other stories you might have missed this year

From Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, 2022 was full of big stories. 

After two years dominated by COVID-19, these headlines took attention away from a pandemic that stubbornly rages on.

We’ve compiled a list of your 15 most-read for the year.

Anthony Albanese led Labor back from the political wilderness in 2022. (AP: Rick Rycroft)

After almost a decade in the political wilderness, Australian voters returned Labor to office in 2022, led by Anthony Albanese.

While self-described “bulldozer” Scott Morrison had made a last-ditch pitch to voters to keep him in power, his unpopularity would play a key role in a raft of Coalition seat losses.

Former treasurer Josh Frydenberg was just one of those high-profile candidates sent packing, amidst a so-called “teal” (independent) wave.

A disgruntled-looking Novak Djokovic spreads his arms wide as he looks down at the court  after a point during a match.
The federal government spectacularly deported Novak Djokovic ahead of the Australian Open. (AP: Kamran Jebreili)

Confusion reigned in January when nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic was granted an exemption to travel to Australia without being vaccinated against COVID-19.

With Melburnians having spent more than 260 days in lockdown, there was also a fair share of public anger at the seeming double standard.

The federal government subsequently stepped in, announcing that it would deport the 34-year-old, with Djokovic spending the night in immigration detention as his lawyers appealed.

The fiasco made headlines around the world, with the world number one eventually deported on the eve of the tournament. 

A man in a suit stands in front of a red backdrop.
At least 6,702 civilians have died since Russia invaded Ukraine. (AP: Sergei Bobylev/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo)

News first broke in February that Russian President Vladimir Putin had authorised a military operation in the Eastern European country.

As of December, war still rages in Ukraine, with scores of civilians dead and millions displaced.

A recent UN report, released on December 4, estimated that 6,702 civilians had died, with Russian forces killing at least 441 in the first weeks of the invasion.

All is not going to plan for Putin, however, with discussion recently turning to the possibility of Ukraine recapturing all of its southern territory — even liberating Crimea.

A huge grey cloud rises from a submarine volcano, as a forked bolt of lightnight hits the left side of the rising ash plume.
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupted off Tonga in January, causing widespead chaos.(Reuters: Tonga Geological Services)

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption came to a powerful climax in the middle of January, causing tsunamis locally as well as in New Zealand, Japan, the US, Russia and Peru, to name a few.

Australia’s east coast and islands were also issued tsunami alerts, while at least six people were reported dead.

NASA later declared that the Tongan tsunami was hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima during World War II.

Constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold smiles with the police badge behind them.
Constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold were killed in a deadly siege in rural Queensland in December.(ABC News: Lewi Hirvela/Supplied: Queensland Police Service)

Two police officers and a member of the public lost their lives in horrific circumstances in December, after police were called out to a property in Wieambilla, west of Brisbane, searching for a missing Dubbo man.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said Constable Rachel McCrow (29), Constable Matthew Arnold (26) and neighbour Alan Dare (58) were killed in a “ruthless, calculated and targeted execution”.

“Just such a tragedy, this should never happen,” Leavers said.

“They’re both under 30, they’ve hardly lived life and their lives have been cut short.”

Rapid antigen test kits for detecting COVID-19
Should you be asking for an antibody test to see if you’ve been infected with COVID-19?(ABC News: Tara Cassidy)

This article starts with a scene from the start of the year that could well describe the situation today.

Omicron cases are much higher than official numbers, and it’s increasingly difficult to access a PCR test to find out whether or not the scratch in your throat is COVID or hayfever.

So how do you know if you’ve actually been infected with COVID-19?

Antibody tests can answer that question (depending on the time frame in which the test is done, and whether you mounted a detectable response to infection), but experts like AMA vice-president Chris Moy say there should be a clear clinical reason for conducting them.

A good example of when an antibody test might be appropriate is if someone is experiencing symptoms consistent with long-COVID.

hundreds of little human models in a big crowd
The world is now inhabited by over 8 billion people, but there may never be more children alive than there are today. 

By the time you read this paragraph, the world’s population grew by around 20 people, writes Casey Briggs.

That’s about the best way to wrap your head around what it means for the world to be inhabited by eight billion people.

But while population growth has been rapid — increasing by seven billion in the last two centuries — we are now at “peak baby”, meaning there will never again be more children alive than there are today.

That’s in part because fertility rates are plummeting across the globe, although trends differ geographically: just eight countries are projected to be responsible for more than half the world’s population increase by 2050.

a young girl smiling and holding an umbrella
Charlise Mutten, 9, was on holiday in the Blue Mountains before she was allegedly murdered by her mother’s fiancé.(Supplied)

Five days after nine-year-old Charlise Mutten was last seen in the Blue Mountains, police charged 31-year-old Justin Stein with her murder.

Police alleged Stein, who was engaged to Charlise’s mother, acted alone, after Charlise’s remains were found in a barrel in the bush near the Colo River.

A number of inconsistencies in Stein’s story raised suspicions, including his purchase of 20 kilogram sandbags from a hardware store, and fuel for his boat.

Charlise lived with her grandmother in Coolangatta in Queensland, but had been holidaying in NSW with her mother and Mr Stein.

Stan Grant speaks about not being seen as a human being image
Stan Grant wasn’t afraid to talk about the big issues facing First Nations people in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death. (Four Corners )

In the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Stan Grant’s analysis focused on the stuff “we aren’t supposed to talk about”: colonisation, empire, violence, Aboriginal sovereignty and the republic.

He wrote of his anger at the ongoing suffering and injustice of First Nations people — in particular those “languishing in cells. Those who take their own lives. Those who are caught in endless cycles of despair”.

He also reflected on the inevitable online abuse he and his family would receive in the wake of his column, before resolving not to be scared into silence.

“Why? Because a voice is all we have. Because too often that voice is silenced.”

A framed photograph of Shane Warne on the cricket pitch says 'THANK YOU SHANE'.
The news that 52-year-old Shane Warne had died of a heart attack prompted a global outpouring of grief. (AAP: Joel Carrett)

For many, “Warnie” was larger than life, a once-in-a-generation cricketer famous for reinvigorating the art of leg spin, as well as his embodiment of the “Aussie larrikin” trope.

So it was with great shock that many responded to the news that he had died of a heart attack in Thailand, aged just 52, leaving behind the three children he had with his former wife Simone Callahan.

It led to an outpouring of grief around the world, with Premier Daniel Andrews offering a state funeral and the MCG rebranding the Great Southern Stand the “Shane Warne Stand” in the Victorian’s honour.

The Foo Fighters lead singer and guitarist, Dave Grohl, with drummer, Taylor Hawkins.
Taylor Hawkins (left) had been the Foo Fighters’ drummer for the last 25 years.(AP: Kevin Winter)

The announcement that Taylor Hawkins had died at age 50 came just hours before the Foo Fighters were due to take the stage at a Colombian music festival in Bogota.

Hawkins had been the band’s drummer for the last 25 years, taking over from original drummer William Goldsmith in 1997.

Apart from founder Dave Grohl (formerly of Nirvana), he was arguably the most recognisable face of the band, and is survived by his wife Alison and their three children.

Water rises over a riverfront restaurant precinct, making the restaurants look like part of the river
South-east Queenslanders were hit with “unrelenting walls of water” in February. (Supplied: Shae Laura)

In February, south-east Queensland was battered by what Premier Anastacia Palaszcuk described as “unrelenting walls of water”.

Multiple lives were lost as thousands of homes flooded, tens of thousands were evacuated, schools were closed and businesses were left without power.

It was just the start of a series of floods that would occur in Queensland and New South Wales over the coming months, devastating communities in both states.

A woman with long brown hair and a green blouse smiles while looking at the camera.
Julia Hunt wants to destigmatise public housing in Australia.(Supplied: Julia Hunt)

Victorian Liberal MP Wendy Lovell offended many in March when she told parliament that social housing should not be placed in affluent suburbs.

This article explores the stigma of growing up in social housing, and its increasing association — from the 1970s onwards — with “crime and criminality, disorder, anti-social behaviour [and] welfare dependency”.

Author Bridget Judd explores the efforts of youth worker Julia Rudd and others to combat “postcode discrimination”, writing: “For those living in public housing, it’s not an abstract policy discussion, it’s home.”

Rain on the lense
BOM didn’t have good news for us about the long-term weather outlook. (Matt Grbin)

Natural disasters (and the ongoing effects of climate change) were in the headlines again in October, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) releasing a long-range forecast — until April 2023 — for Australia’s “upcoming severe weather season”.

The state-by-state forecast warned of an increased risk of widespread flooding for eastern and northern Australia, as well as an increased risk of an above-average number of tropical cyclones and tropical lows.

None of it read like great news, as many of us are experiencing currently.

The Queen shaking hands with Liz Truss in a living room
Liz Truss was sworn in by Queen Elizabeth II just two days before the monarch died. (Reuters: Jane Barlow)

Liz Truss’ prime ministership might have lasted just 44 days, but it will be remembered for the most dramatic series of events.

Truss was famously sworn in by Queen Elizabeth II on September 6, just two days before the monarch died.

She then implemented a raft of economic measures that saw the world’s sixth-biggest economy abruptly crash, saved only by extraordinary interventions from the Bank of England.

After a series of humiliations and U-turns, the British tabloid the Daily Star then set up a live feed of an unrefrigerated iceberg lettuce, asking who would last longer, the lettuce or Truss.

The lettuce won. 

Source link

#world #hitting #peak #baby #stories #missed #year