Saturday, February 27, 2016

Weather and Consequences

The weather locally  over the past few days has  broadly been frosty but sunny. One can sometimes forget in a frosty chill, how the UK weather in the past  cold though it may be at times, has protected us from the dreadful mosquito borne diseases that ravage warmer climes. Swathes of the world's populations are affected by malaria for example, about which Bill Gates' charity states:
Malaria occurs in nearly 100 countries worldwide, exacting a huge toll on human health and imposing a heavy social and economic burden in developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. An estimated 207 million people suffered from the disease in 2012, and about 627,000 died. About 90 percent of the deaths were in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 77 percent were among children under age 5.
 Malaria is preventable and treatable, and history shows that it can be eliminated. Less than a century ago, it was prevalent across the world, including Europe and North America. Malaria was eliminated in most of Western Europe by the mid-1930s; the United States achieved elimination of the disease in 1951.
Zika fever is the latest mosquito borne health concern which again affects hot climes but hopefully the current sad publicity especially about risks to those expecting babies in affected areas, will at least mean that antidotes will be found as speedily as possible.

On a far happier note is the report in today's Indy that:
Two sisters separated 30 years ago when an avalanche tore through their Colombian town have finally been reunited thanks to a foundation dedicated to the tragedy. Jacqueline and Lorena Sanchez Vasquez had each long assumed the other was dead after the avalanche destroyed their home in the small town of Armero on 13 November 1985. The city was buried beneath 10 metres of earth, mud and rock when part of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano collapsed following an eruption. 
In the UK cold winter weather in the past at least has meant that  mosquito borne diseases have never been a difficulty. Indeed the current cold spell probably  also means that  fewer rats and other vermin survive the winter to the hidden but considerable advantage to the human population of these islands. However in the past few days some mountain climbers died in  dreadful UK weather so natural disasters can sadly affect anywhere and everywhere. A key of course are the local and international responses.

The UK is not immune from climate changes as recent rains and flooding amply illustrate but  despite that, good news still comes forth. McVitie's biscuit factory in Scotland having been flooded by the deluge of rain a few weeks back then advertised:

 “Flooding in water biscuit factory. Oh the irony.”
Now however, their Water Biscuits not to mention, Ginger nuts and other treats, are to return to the shops as the restoration of the production lines proceeds apace.

McVities apparently decided that they could not make their biscuits including the famous Water Biscuits, elsewhere because of the special qualities of the local water - hence their ad above - too much of a good thing!

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