Gov’t of Australia warns its citizens against polio outbreak in PH

Marje Pelayo   •   September 25, 2019   •   503

The Australian National flag is seen flaming on the paddock in Melbourne, Australia, 25 March 2010. EPA/DIEGO AZUBEL

MANILA, Philippines – The Australian government on Tuesday (September 24) issued a travel advisory to its citizens warning them against the health risks of polio virus.

Australians are also advised to make sure they get polio vaccine to keep protected from the disease.

“The Philippines Department of Health has reported a polio outbreak. Make sure you’re vaccinated against polio,” the Australian government said in its latest travel advisory posted on its official website, Smartraveller.

“We haven’t changed the level of our advice ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ in the Philippines. Higher levels apply in the southern parts of the country,” the advisory concluded.

One man and his dog: Rescuing koalas from Australia’s bushfires

UNTV News   •   January 16, 2020

A handout image provided by animal trainer Ryan Tate showing Taylor, an English Springer Spaniel that is helping to locate and rescue koalas in danger in the Australian bushfires. EFE/RYAN TATE

Sydney, Australia – A dog trained to track down animals has been helping Australian forest guards find koalas in danger amid the huge bushfires razing the land and claiming the lives of millions of animals in the process.

Taylor, a four-year-old English Springer Spaniel, puts her nose to the ground and sniffs around the wooded terrain in order to detect the iconic marsupial native to Australia, which has become one of the main victims of the vicious fires.

Accompanied by her trainer Ryan Tate, the animal stops in her tracks next to trees where she detects the scent of a koala.

The koalas are usually found clinging to a trunk several meters off the ground, and once Taylor has located one the forest guards are able to rescue and move it out of harm’s way.

The white and brown spotted pooch has helped rescue at least 15 koalas in the eastern state of New South Wales since the forest fires broke out in September, razing an area of land larger than the size of Ireland.

“In optimum conditions we have seen her recognize and hone in on a koala from 125 meters away,” Tate, who owns an animal training center, told Efe on Thursday.

The animal has been trained to “prioritize the scent of the live animal and sit as close to it as she can.”

She comes from a litter of dogs who all work “professionally” to find animals, including turtles, lizards and snakes.

The pair is able to cover between 10-35 kilometers of forest each day.

Since September, the bushfires have swept across an area of ​​more than 80,000 square kilometers, claiming the lives of 28 people.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said Thursday that heavy rains that would alleviate the dry climate that fuels the fires were not forecast until March.

According to estimates by protectionist groups, forest fires have killed over 8,000 koalas, a species already classified as “vulnerable” and under threat from drought, diseases and deforestation.

The severity of the forest fires has stoked fears over the disappearance of the koala – whose population stands at around 80,000, according to the NGO Koala Australia Foundation – if the situation continues and the remaining eucalyptus stock is not protected.

Up to 1 billion animals, mainly mammals, birds and reptiles, are estimated to have been affected by the devastating fires, according to Australian ecologists. EFE-EPA


Australians demand PM’s resignation amid bushfires

UNTV News   •   January 10, 2020

Sydney – Thousands of Australians on Friday protested in several cities demanding Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s resignation over his failure to act on raging fires and his lack of commitment to the climate crisis.

The protests were organized by the student-led organization, Uni Students for Climate Justice and members of the Extinction Rebellion movement.

Anneke De Manuel, one of the organizers, told EFE that they were demonstrating because unprecedented fires were burning since September and urgent action against the wildfires and climate change was required.

She also emphasized the need for an immediate and complete transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies as well as Morrison’s resignation.

The bushfires that have been raging since September have claimed the lives of 26 people, destroyed more than 2,000 homes and an area twice the size of Belgium, and have killed or destroyed the habitats of one billion wild animals.

The police authorities in the southeastern state of Victoria said they have insufficient resources as the majority of personnel are fighting bushfires affecting the southeastern region of the country.

During wildfires, Morrison has refused to acknowledge the connection between the climate crisis and wildfires by arguing that attention should be on casualties and on controlling the flames.

According to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, climate change is influencing the frequency and severity of dangerous fire conditions in Australia and other parts of the world.

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and Morrison, before becoming the prime minister, gave a speech in Parliament with a piece of coal in his hand to defend mining companies against appeals to reduce production.

The demonstrators have also demanded for subsidies to polluting industries to be canceled and used instead to finance firefighters, to help in controlling bushfires and to care for communities affected by the flames.

Despite Morrison publicly apologizing for having gone on holiday to Hawaii with his family as fires tore through forests and property in his country, citizens have criticized his handling of the crisis. EFE-EPA


Comedienne Celeste Barber launches fund raising campaign for Australia

Marje Pelayo   •   January 9, 2020

Celeste Barber

AUSTRALIA — Comedienne Celeste Barber initiated a fund raising effort in support of the firefighters battling the raging wildfire across the country.

So far, her campaign has generated US$30-M.

About 3,000 firefighters are risking their lives to extinguish the flames.

The inferno has already burned millions of hectares of forest land, hitting News South Wales the hardest.

The Australian commediene, who has 6.6-M followers on Instagram, is attracting a number of inviduals and groups to join her campaign.

To date, about 1.3 million people from across the globe has signified their support to Barber’s efforts.

Meanwhile, Australian authorities have again warned residents of the impending rise in temperature and calls for preparation for mandatory evacuation. – MNP (with reports from Correspondent Erly Briones)


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