#HamiltonFire; #Ontario; #HousesDestroyed
Hamilton, Jul 27 (Canadian-Media): A multiple-alarm fire early morning of July 27 in Winona, a suburban area of Hamilton, Ontario resulted in engulfing and completely destroying eleven townhouses, media reports said.
Massive fire. Image credit: Wikimedia commons
David Cunliffe, chief of Hamilton Fire Department, said that the fire to a three-storey townhouse was quite advanced when firefighters arrived, after they received a call around 2:41 a.m. with reports of a structure fire at 49 Edenrock Dr.
"We had fire venting from the roof and out the rear of the building," he said and added damages could be in the multiple millions of dollars.
In spite of more than 60 firefighters on scene, the wind caused the fire to spread to a neighbouring block of eight townhomes, and nearly spread to another before firefighters were able to stop it.
No injury was reported and a displacement centre has been set up at a local hotel.
There's been a structure or roof collapse in "pretty much all of the 11 units," Cunliffe said.
Investigation is being done by the fire marshal's office.
Crews will be on scene for the majority of the day.
#Texas; #US; HurricaneHanna; #NHC; #HeavyRains
Washington, Jul 26 (Canadian-Media): Heavy rains and life-threatening flooding is expected in Texas on July 26 due to Hurricane Hanna's landfall in Texas on July 25, US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a statement.
Hurricane Hanna. Image credit: Twitter handle
"The eye of Hurricane Hanna made landfall on Padre Island, Texas, at 5:00 PM CDT (22:00 UTC) about 15 miles (20 km) north of Port Mansfield, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 km/h)," NHC said on Saturday.
According to NHC, the center of Hanna, which was to move inland over south Texas on July 25, will move into northeastern Mexico on Sunday.
"Hanna is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 6 to 12 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 18 inches through Monday in south Texas and into the Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and northern Tamaulipas. This rain will produce life-threatening flash flooding, rapid rises on small streams, and isolated minor to moderate river flooding. Hanna is also expected to produce 3 to 5 inches of rain along the upper Texas and Louisiana coasts," NHC said.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Douglas continues to move northwest toward Hawaii, according to NHC.
Ahead of Hurricane Hanna's landfall, an emergency declaration was issued July 25 for Hawai, by US President Donald Trump, in anticipation of hurricane Douglas, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
On July 25 Texas Governor Gregory Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 32 counties in Texas.
#Ontario; #ForProfitLongTermCareHomes; #NonProfitCareHomes
Ottawa, Jul 23 (Canadian-Media): Significantly worse outbreaks of COVID-19 and more related deaths were experienced by for-profit long-term care homes in Ontario than their non-profit or municipally run counterparts, according to a new study released in the peer-reviewed Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) July 22.
Long Term Care Homes. Image credit: Wikipedia
Questions were raised by this paper about the ownership status of nursing homes, and quality of care.
All the 623 long-term care homes in Ontario housing more than 75,000 seniors, from March 29 — the date of the first reported case of coronavirus in a home — until May 20 were looked at by the research.
Most of the seniors suffered from multiple health conditions, both physical and cognitive.
Of more than 5,200 residents contracted COVID-19 during the study period, 1,450, more than one quarter of those infected, died.
57 percent of nursing homes in Ontario are set up to be profit-making, the highest rate in the country, 26 percent are non-profit, and 16 percent are run by municipalities.
“We did find evidence that for-profit LTC homes have larger COVID-19 outbreaks and more deaths of residents from COVID-19 than non-profit and municipal homes,” the study said.
“Those with older design standards appear to show worse outcomes.”
The study, co-authored by Dr. Nathan Stall with the Sinai Health System and University Health Network in Toronto, also found that chain-operated for-profit homes -- 85 percent of the commercial facilities -- run a significantly higher risk of worse COVID outcomes.
Many beds are at or below 1972 standards.
Dr. Samir Sinha, a Toronto-based geriatrician not involved in the study, said 30,000 long-term care beds in Ontario are in dire need of upgrades.
"Many of these older multi-bedded homes happen to be owned by for-profits," Sinha said. "The study really speaks to the need to redevelop that."
Ontario Premier Doug Ford's had initially promised to build 15,000 beds in five years and redevelop another 15,000, Sinha said.
But, only a relative handful have been built or redeveloped.
Last week, it was announced by Ontario government that it is changing the way it funds long-term care home expansions in a bid to spur construction, while conceding it would now pay for 8,000 new beds, and 12,000 renovated beds in the same five-year period.
It has also limited room occupancy to two, further increasing bed shortages.
The Ontario Long Term Care association, responsible for nursing homes and has complained about underfunding, did not respond to a request for comment on the study.
The Ontario Health Coalition said on July 22 that 95 percent of staff in Ontario's nursing homes reported basic care needs of residents -- such as bathing, oral care and emotional support -- were not being unmet due to staff shortages.
Others said they didn't have enough time to properly feed residents, get them to the washroom on time, or make sure they didn't develop pressure ulcers -- a situation especially problematic at night and on weekends. Most respondents reported the situation had worsened since the pandemic hit in March.
In response, Ford said the survey findings show why his government passed ongoing emergency powers to be able to "flow staff from the hospitals into long-term care."
Previous research has shown staffing levels play a key role in COVID-19 outcomes, with one California study finding under-staffing doubled the chances of residents' becoming infected.
"If requirements to fund adequate levels of staffing affect the bottom lines of for-profit facilities, then it might be time for this care to be turned over to public and non-profit entities," the journal commentary says.
#Alberta; #NationalJasperPark; #BusCrash
Alberta, Jul 20 (Canadian-Media): A bus crashed near the Columbia Icefield in the National Jasper Park in Alberta on Saturday afternoon killing three people and injuring 24 others, many of them critically, media reports said.
Image : Columbia Icefield, Brewster Inc.
A witness to bus crashed said he was surprised anyone survived after the glacier sightseeing vehicle rolled four or five times, CBC News reported.
The cause of the rollover could was not confirmed, said Jasper RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Rick Bidaisee on July 20.
The investigation is in progress, said Bidaisee and added that the work was in progress to remove the bus from the crash site so it can be examined.
Identities of the victims in the crash, said Bidaisee, could not be shared at that time as investigators are still trying to notify next-of-kin.
It was shown in the photos and video that the red-and-white bus flipped onto its roof on a rocky slope near the Athabasca Glacier, which is one of the toes of the Columbia Icefield about 100 kilometres south of Jasper.
Vanja Krtolica and his family, he said were on an earlier bus tour and after visiting the glacier, were waiting for a later tour bus when Krtolica heard gasps as people on his bus watched the oncoming bus gain speed, careening down the hill.
"That's when the bus hit the embankment sideways, flipped and probably rolled about four or five times, from what I could tell," he said.
"My gut feeling was that it was very, very bad," Krtolica said. "The initial impression of the accident was that I don't know if anybody made it out," CBC News reported.
#UN; #UNOCHA; #Bangladesh; #MonsoonAffectedRiver; PeakFlooding; #UNFPA; #NGOs
Bangladesh/UNOCHA, Jul 19 (Canadian-Media): In an innovative approach to dealing with the effects of severe flooding in Bangladesh, the United Nations is using the latest in data and predictive analytics to forecast the next major monsoon floods, gauge likely impacts – and take action – before possible disaster hits, UNOCHA reports said.
Women receive dignity kits from UNFPA, distributed by CARE Bangladesh and local partners, in Kurigram District, Bangladesh, 13 July 2020. Image Credit: UNFPA
On 4 July, a high probability of severe flooding was forecast for mid-July along the Jamuna River in Bangladesh, with one third of the area’s total population likely to be affected. That warning was the trigger for the UN to immediately release $5.2 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help communities urgently prepare and protect themselves.
On 11 July, the activation trigger was reached when forecasting predicted the floods would reach critical levels in five days. At this point, aid workers began distributing the aid. This was the fastest CERF allocation in history – within four hours of the trigger being activated, the delivery agencies had been given authority to spend the money.
The CERF money went to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to enable them to prepare to distribute cash, livestock feed, storage drums, and hygiene, dignity and health kits.
“Innovations like this are the bright spots in a bleak humanitarian outlook. Advances in data and predictive analytics mean we can predict many crises and take action as soon as we know the problem is coming. If disasters take us by surprise, it’s because we weren’t looking,” said Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to climate-related shocks and stresses, including monsoon flooding. In an average year, approximately one quarter of the country is inundated.
“Working alongside government, staff from the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the three UN agencies and implementing partners began giving communities at risk in the Bogura, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Jamalpur and Sirajgonj districts the means to protect themselves and their livelihoods from the worst effects of the floods," said Mia Seppo, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh.