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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bravery Awards: Mountain men honoured in deadly blizzard rescue

LSAR Bravery Awards: Mountain men honoured in deadly blizzard rescue

"Six years ago Hugo Verhagen and his Search and Rescue colleagues, Shaun Campbell and Kerry Palmer, faced some of the most punishing conditions experienced on the Kaimanawa Ranges.

But the thought of three stranded trampers perishing from hypothermia - atop an exposed ridge more than 10km away - trumped any idea of turning back for their own safety.

"I'm pretty pleased we made that call to continue," Mr Verhagen told the Weekend Herald soon after learning of his award for bravery."

Friday, October 13, 2006

Search launched for Downs Syndrome man

LSAR Search launched for Downs Syndrome man

"A search and rescue team, park rangers and volunteers are scouring the Waitakere Ranges for a Downs Syndrome man.

The 26-year-old was last seen by his caregivers just before midday. The man was on the Auckland City walk in the Cascade Park area.

He is wearing glasses and hearing aids in each ear. He is about 175 centimetres tall and of solid build.

Police say he is wearing a white tee-shirt with a circle motif, long trousers and running shoes. If anyone has seen this man or has taken him under their care they should contact Henderson police.

The search will continue until the 26-year-old is found."

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Flip of coin may decide if you'll get treatment for flu

CD Flip of coin may decide if you'll get treatment for flu

"A flip of the coin may decide who gets medicine, ventilators or hospital beds if a flu pandemic ever takes grip here.

In an article in the New Zealand Medical Journal today, Michael Ardagh, professor of emergency medicine at the Christchurch School of Medicine, proposes a string of criteria to prioritise scarce resources in a time of disaster - and that's where a flip of the coin comes in.

Professor Ardagh says when potential patients cannot be separated on a "first come, first served" basis then access may have to be determined by "a process of equal and unbiased chance, such as tossing a coin or use of a ballot".

Crisis Centre Launched To Combat Bird Flu

CD Crisis Centre Launched To Combat Bird Flu

"Rapid response specialists will be on deck around the clock seven days a week to fight bird flu outbreaks and other major animal health or food health-related emergencies anywhere in the world at a new Crisis Management Centre (CMC) launched by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today.

“One of the lessons FAO has learned in three years of leading the international fight against Avian Influenza is that speed is of the essence,” FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said at the CMC’s inauguration at the Agency’s Rome headquarters. “Alert must be lightning-quick. Reaction must be immediate in combating a disease which can move across borders and continents terrifyingly fast."

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Earthquake causes Second nuclear test fears to escalate

CD Earthquake causes Second nuclear test fears to escalate

"An earthquake off the coast of northern Japan on Wednesday added to the confusion over a possible second nuclear blast, but the quake came after NHK's report about a tremor in North Korea."

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Kiwi chook farms given all clear

CD Kiwi chook farms given all clear

"A study of New Zealand chicken farms has given the all clear to highly pathogenic bird flu.

Biosecurity New Zealand has completed its first survey of commercial broiler and layer farms.

The study is the first phase of an on-going surveillance programme to meet the country's international reporting obligations regarding avian influenza.

The highly pathogenic virus of worldwide concern is an Asian strain of the N5H1 type which has never been found in New Zealand.

The virus can transmit from birds to humans. Since 2003, 246 people have contracted the virus in 10 countries, and 144 people have died.

But the main concern for authorities is the potential for the virus to mutate into a form that can be passed easily from human to human, resulting in a pandemic that could kill millions.

So far, neither New Zealand nor Pacific Island nations have suffered any cases of bird flu, but the virus has spread from Asia to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Ron Thornton says the risk of the virus affecting birds here is low."

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NZ schools prepared for disaster reduction day

CD NZ schools prepared for disaster reduction day

"A programme teaching children about natural hazards is well underway in the New Zealand schools, says the Ministry of Civil Defence (CD).

United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan recently called for education about disasters in all schools worldwide ahead of today's International Day for Disaster Reduction.

Mr Annan said children were especially vulnerable during disasters, but were powerful agents of change if they had the right information."

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Council's aerial plan puts radio hams on different wavelength

Council's aerial plan puts radio hams on different wavelength

"A North Shore City Council plan to impose controls on radio and television aerials has provoked an outcry from amateur radio operators.

The council is looking at a raft of controls to reduce the effects that all utility structures have on the environment.

But it is the proposals to control the size, number and location of new television aerials, antennas and satellite dishes that have drawn the most protest.

Amateur (ham) radio operators have sent a message loud and clear to the council they should be exempt from the "excessive" controls."

"Milford operator John Wilson said the moves would deter people from a legitimate hobby and deprive the community of an asset in times of civil defence emergencies."

Abandoned tramping pack puzzles Police SAR

LSAR Abandoned tramping pack puzzles Police SAR

"Wellington Police Search and Rescue Squad are mystified by an abandoned tramping pack they have recovered in the Tararua Forest Park.

Sergeant Jo Holden, SAR coordinator, says the maroon coloured MacPac brand pack containing a sleeping bag, orange pack liner, some food, clothing and cooking equipment and other items was found on the Block XVI track above the Tauherenikau River.

"Ownership of the pack is a real puzzle as we're unaware of anyone reported overdue in the area," she says. "Weather conditions in the Tararuas over the past fortnight have at times been extreme. This gives us concerns for the welfare of anyone who may be lost or requiring help.

"We're very keen to hear from anyone who recognises the pack or from people who haven't heard from friends or family members who intended tramping in the area in recent weeks."

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Ruapehu rumblings one off

CD Ruapehu rumblings one off

"The rumblings of Mt Ruapehu are thought to have been a one-off, rather than the beginnings of a major eruption.

The Department of Conservation has downgraded the risk warning from high to medium after last week's hydrothermal eruption.

DOC scientist Harry Keys says the event and its effects were contained to the crater basin. He says seismic activity is back to normal and there are no signs of magma movement or an imminent eruption.

Dr Keys says it must be remembered that Ruapehu is an active volcano and climbers should be careful in the region."

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It's Disaster Reduction Week - Make a start now to get ready

CD It's Disaster Reduction Week - Make a start now to get ready

"Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker today urged New Zealanders to treat Disaster Reduction Week as a call to action to prepare for the impacts of a disaster or emergency.

“Recent disasters and emergencies in New Zealand and around the world have highlighted the need to look after ourselves and our families by preparing for the unexpected", said Rick Barker.

“It is easy to put preparedness off until tomorrow but unfortunately that maybe too late”.

Lost trampers guided to safety by helicopter light

LSAR Lost trampers guided to safety by helicopter light

"Police and a rescue helicopter were called in to guide two lost trampers out of rugged bush after it proved too dangerous to winch the pair to safety."

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pakistan mourns quake anniversary

CD Pakistan mourns quake anniversary

"Pakistan united in mourning on Sunday to remember the 73,000 people killed in an earthquake a year ago.

A week into Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month, Pakistan's mosques have been even more crowded than usual. On Sunday worshippers prayed in unison for the dead and survivors alike to mark the first anniversary of the nation's worst disaster.

"This day has revived my sorrows because I have lost many loved ones," said Abdul Rahim in Muzaffarabad."

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The Earth Rocks! @ Te Papa This Labour Weekend


"An exciting weekend of displays, demonstrations and activities for all the family focusing on various disasters and raising awareness about what New Zealanders can do to protect themselves should natural disaster strike.

The Earth Rocks! @ Te Papa is a biennial event presented by Te Papa in conjunction with founding sponsor EQC (The Earthquake Commission) and a number of other agencies such as GNS Science, Wellington’s civil-defence experts, the Police, the Fire Service, Urban Search and Rescue, and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter."