Hurricane Florence: Prisons in hurricane’s path not evacuated – BBC News
Your guide to hurricane Florence
“Almost 1,000 inmates were left to die in Orleans Parish Prison during hurricane Katrina,” said PhD student Bedour Alagraa in a widely shared tweet, which was also popular on Facebook.
“The [prison officers] evacuated themselves and inmates spent five days in chest-high water, with no food or water.
“The generator had blown leaving them in pitch blackness – 517 were never found.” What did happen to inmates in Katrina?
Hurricane Katrina was the third deadliest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in the US, causing more than 2,000 deaths and catastrophic flooding and wind damage. Image copyright AFP Image caption Flooding in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina in 2005
New Orleans was particularly badly hit but prisoners locked in cells in the city’s jail were not moved to another facility. A third of the inmates had been awaiting trial – not convicted of any crime.
Power cuts and broken generators caused ventilation and lights to fail and electric cell doors to remain shut. One guard reported that officials had fled as the waters had risen.
Prisoners were abandoned in cells without food or water for days as [toxic] floodwaters rose towards the ceiling, according to reports by the ACLU and Human Rights Watch based on more than 1000 eyewitness accounts. Prisoners of Katrina
Orleans Parish Prison was eventually evacuated four days after the storm hit. Some inmates say they saw dead bodies and Human Rights Watch claimed that 517 prisoners had gone missing.
In 2006, Sheriff Marlin Gusman maintained no prisoners had died and none had escaped. Later, it emerged that arrest warrants had been issued for 14 escaped inmates. Why are prisons not evacuated?
South Carolina has not evacuated prisons in response to hurricanes since 1999, according to local media. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption People have left homes and taken precautions ahead of the hurricane
A prison official told the Post and Courier last year: “In most cases, it is safer for the public, officers, and inmates for a facility to hold in place rather than transfer and hold in a secondary location.”
Evacuation can also be expensive and resource-intensive at a time when supplies are stretched or running out.
Instead, extra staff can sometimes be deployed to manage conditions within the prison.
“These aren’t tiny facilities. It’s an operation to get buses and make sure you have the staff there to transport offenders from one facility to another,” a North Carolina prison communications officer told Vice News .
During a prison evacuation in Puerto Rico, when hurricane Maria hit last year, 13 inmates escaped. What about other hurricanes?
Last year during hurricane Irma, 4,500 people were left in a correctional institution in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Guards later described cells covered in mould, urine and faeces , as well as leaking cells and power cuts during the storm. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Houston residents are rescued after flooding caused by heavy rain during hurricane Harvey in 2017
In Texas, four county jails were evacuated before hurricane Harvey made landfall last year. Built to withstand the most severe hurricanes, they were evacuated as a precaution and sustained some structural damage.
In 1992, hurricane Andrew slammed Florida, causing huge damage to one prison in Miami, after which about 4,000 prisoners were moved out.
By Georgina Rannard, UGC and social news Related Topics
California shootings: Six dead in Bakersfield – BBC News
These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright Reuters Six people have been killed in linked shootings in the city of Bakersfield in California, police say.
A man and his wife drove to a trucking business in the city, where the man shot dead two men and his wife.
The man then drove to another residence where he shot dead two more people.
After hijacking a vehicle with a woman and child in it, the man was then confronted by a deputy and shot himself dead. Police are still investigating the motives behind the killings.
Donny Youngblood of the Kern County Sheriff’s Department said deputies were called to the trucking business after reports of shots being fired at 17:20 local time (00:20 GMT) .
Authorities were working to determine “why this started and why so many players were involved and the connection because obviously these are not random shootings,” he said.
The entire incident took place over 10 to 15 minutes, he said.
“This is the new normal, if you look across the country,” he said, describing the incident as a mass shooting.
“Six people lost their lives in a very short period of time.”
The deputies learned that the husband had confronted a man and then shot both him and his own wife. Another man then appeared at the scene and the husband shot at him, before pursuing him and shooting him dead.
The husband then drove to a residence on Breckenridge Road and shot dead two people.
After being carjacked in their car, the woman and child inside managed to escape.
The man pulled over after a deputy confronted him with a firearm and then shot himself dead.
The names of the victims have not been released, but they were all from the Bakersfield area, some 90 miles (145km) north of Los Angeles, police said. Related Topics
Can cold water swimming treat depression? – BBC News
Can cold water swimming treat depression? By Dr Chris van Tulleken The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs 13 September 2018 These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Jumping into the sea in winter is the most alive and present I ever feel. I get in fast – a dangerous approach if you’re a beginner – when the cold shock response provokes an uncontrollable urge to inhale.
Underwater, I feel an intense mixture of burning pain and, even after doing this for years, a little panic. But it’s the only time the anxious negative chatter in my head is truly silenced.
After two minutes, as my skin reaches the same temperature as the water, I start to feel comfortable and my breathing slows. After even a brief swim, I feel elated for hours and calm for days.
Like many other people who swim in cold water regularly, I love it, but I also believe it has mental health benefits.
And the first case report on cold water swimming published in British Medical Journal Case Reports shows that it may be an effective treatment for depression. Diving in
The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs, a series broadcast on BBC One in 2016, which I developed and presented, followed Sarah, a 24-year-old who had been taking antidepressants since the age of 17.
Her symptoms had started earlier in her teens. When we met, she was desperate to stop her antidepressants, saying they put her in a “chemical fog”.
She loved swimming and, because of my own experience, I approached Prof Mike Tipton and Dr Heather Massey, both scientists at the extreme environments laboratory at Portsmouth University.
I also spoke to their collaborator Dr Mark Harper, a consultant anaesthetist at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals, to see if there was any scientific basis for trying out cold water swimming on Sarah. Image caption Sarah wanted to stop taking antidepressants, which she started at 17 Stress response
Outdoor exercise and the companionship of fellow swimmers can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. But the team at Portsmouth believed there might be an effect of cold water immersion itself.
There is a convincing, biologically plausible, theory about how this might work.
Immersion in cold water evokes a stress response: a set of physiological and hormonal reactions that evolved millions of years ago to cope with a wide range of potential threats.
Animal attack, jumping in cold water and sitting an exam all elicit a similar response.
Heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all increase and stress hormones are released.
But, if you immerse yourself only a few times in water of 15C or less, this stress response is reduced.
However, it is not only the stress response to cold water that reduces with repeated immersions. Cold water swimming – how to do it safely Approach it with the same caution you would exercise – if you have heart disease, start slow and warm Make sure you can swim and go with a friend who can swim Start in summer/early autumn when UK sea temperatures are 15-20°C Start shallow – a gently shelving beach, or somewhere with a ladder Go on a calm day – the initial two to three-minute period gasp when you can inhale water is the risky bit. Relax, do as little as possible and keep your head above the water for this period Time yourself for two to three minutes. Once your skin reaches the same temperature as the water you’ll feel warm Six three-minute swims will have an effect on your cold shock response that will last for months. As for your mood – you’ll have to be the judge until there are more studies
Check out the The Outdoor Swimming Society website for safety advice and more.
Prof Tipton and Dr Massey have shown that the response to the stress of exercising at altitude is also diminished.
This is called “cross-adaptation”, where one form of stress adapts the body for another.
There is increasing evidence linking depression and anxiety with the inflammation that accompanies a chronic stress response to the physical and psychological problems of modern life.
Through cross-adaptation, cold water swimming may be able to reduce this chronic stress response together with the inflammation and mental health problems that affect so many of us. Image caption Sarah and Dr van Tulleken go cold water swimming
The theory is sound, but the evidence it works is all anecdotal, apart from this case report.
Cold water swimmers describe many benefits: they never get colds and never turn the heating on in winter. Many have stories of how they came to outdoor swimming in times of grief or bereavement and found comfort, even joy, in the water.
The team at Portsmouth are starting to test these stories. A preliminary study supports the claims made about colds and further reports are being prepared about patients with a range of conditions. ‘Life is good’
Since 2006, prescriptions of antidepressants have more than doubled and, while patients may take these drugs for many years, there is debate about their effectiveness.
New approaches which attempt to tackle the multiple causes of depression are badly needed.
Dr Mark Harper is cautiously optimistic. He says: “Our observations so far support the hypothesis that cold water swimming may have a range of benefits.”
More than two years later, Sarah is still swimming and off all medication.
“Life is good. I still have counselling but the swimming is something I’ll never turn my back on,” she says.
“It helped me so much in a time of need.”
Do not stop antidepressants or any other medication without discussion with your prescriber first. Related Topics
Spectacular super bloom transforms South African desert – BBC News
Image copyright Tommy Trenchard Each spring, for a few short weeks, kaleidoscopic carpets of wild flowers transform vast swathes of arid land along South Africa’s western seaboard into a vivid explosion of colour. These “super blooms” occur in deserts and arid landscapes around the world, but few are as consistent or diverse as South Africa’s flower season.
Typically lasting for just a few weeks between late July and late September, the flowers are annuals and will die with the first hot winds of the year, their seeds then lying dormant through the baking heat of summer until next year’s rains.
Photographer Tommy Trenchard captured this natural phenomenon.
“It’s was a pretty surreal sight” said Trenchard, who stumbled across the flowers by chance on an anniversary getaway with his wife in South Africa’s Biedouw Valley.
“And the short-lived, ephemeral nature of this natural display just makes it all the more special. People tend to think of South Africa as a destination to view wild animals, but its wild flower blooms rival anything you might see on a typical safari.”
Image copyright Tommy Trenchard Image copyright Tommy Trenchard Image copyright Tommy Trenchard Image copyright Tommy Trenchard Image copyright Tommy Trenchard Image copyright Tommy Trenchard Image copyright Tommy Trenchard Image copyright Tommy Trenchard Image copyright Tommy Trenchard Photographs by Tommy Trenchard.
Typhoon Mangkhut: Millions in Philippines braced for storm – News
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption People in Aparri are tying down their roofs ahead of Typhoon Mangkhut Thousands of people have begun evacuating from coastal areas of the Philippines as a super typhoon heads towards the country.
Typhoon Mangkhut, which is currently a Category 4 hurricane, is due to make landfall on the northern tip of the main island of Luzon by Saturday.
Schools and offices are being closed and farmers are racing to save crops.
Ten million people are in the path of the storm, along with millions more in coastal areas of southern China.
Reality Check: Are hurricanes getting worse? A guide to the world’s deadliest storms How windy is a hurricane? The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and storms a year. Forecasters say Mangkhut is the strongest so far in 2018 – 900km in diameter, with sustained winds of at least 209 km/h.
The storm, which was earlier packing winds of 255km/h (160mph) as a Category 5, has already blasted through the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Advertising billboards in Quezon City were dismantled in preparation to the strong winds and heavy rains Authorities in the Philippines say they expect storm surges of up to 7m (23 feet) and are warning that heavy rains could trigger landslides and flash floods.
“We are really frightened,” said Delaila Pasion, who has fled her home. “They say it is so strong, we were too scared to remain.”
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Typhoon Mangkhut barrels towards Philippines “During previous monsoon rains, half of our house was destroyed so I wanted to take my grandchildren to safety,” she told journalists.
Calm before the storm Howard Johnson, BBC News, Arparri, Luzon
Residents of this small, low-rise town say they’ve been through this before, they’ve seen other storms.
Farmers are working around the clock to harvest their rice paddies. They say the rice is still not ripe, but want to salvage what they can before this storm comes in and potentially devastates their fields.
Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Residents are attempting to secure the roofs of their homes in preparation for the super typhoon Authorities have told people to move on, and there is an evacuation centre just 500m down the road.
Some cars, seen with bedding on the roof, are leaving the area, but some people say they want to stay inside their homes to prevent thieves entering and taking their belongings.
Others have been tying down their roofs with rocks and heavy boulders, in an attempt to prevent them from flying off.
Given everything I have seen, it’s somewhat alarming that there isn’t a bigger presence of police and local authorities telling people to move on.
People seem to be very relaxed with the idea that a super typhoon is coming their way.
The country’s deadliest storm on record is super typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 7,000 people and affected millions in 2013.
In Hong Kong preparations are already under way for the storm, though the latest forecasts suggest Mangkhut will pass to the south of the territory later in the weekend.
Image copyright AFP Image caption Typhoon Mangkhut is about 900km wide Ask a question