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The malaria mines of Venezuela

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Miners sleep right next door to the standing water of the mines – perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes


Venezuela used to be a world leader in managing malaria, but is now the only country in Latin America where incidence of the disease is increasing. Around 75,000 people were infected last year, and according to government figures, 60% of cases were in Sifontes, a tiny region of the country where gold mining – where workers drill for gold in mosquito-friendly standing water – is booming, and healthcare is scarce.

Malaria mines

But in the past 20 years, thousands of miners have come from all over the continent, generating an environmental impact that helps the mosquitoes breed.

Most don’t have permits to work  or even remain in the country, causing an over population in a remote region were the access to healthcare was already scarce. Local centres don’t have the capacity to cope with all the patients

It is the surge of malaria cases in Bolivar that puts the whole country at risk, says Jose Felix Oletta, a former Health Minister who is now director of Red Defendamos la Epidemiologia

Because of it, says Oletta, there are other endemic regions where the mosquito can thrive again

The Venezuelan government says around 10 people die a year from malaria, but Oletta’s organisation counted 80 deaths last year.

So far this year, this country of 30m people has registered more than 45,000 cases of malaria, according to government statistics.

In the wild state of Bolivar, the municipality of Sifontes is the ground zero of the malaria surge.

The environmental impact of mining has, as locals put it, made mosquitoes angry

However, the mosquitoes are not the ones to blame. The boom of illegal mines means more people eroding the rainforest, cutting trees and creating stagnant waters to extract gold. A perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Here, residents work either as miners, or as service providers to those who risk their lives at the mine.

There are shops around every corner where miners sell their gold, as well as pool bars and motels.

There is also a brand new government hospital, where every morning hundreds of ill-looking people queue to get tested for malaria.

Those who test positive receive a seven day treatment, paid for by the government, which includes rehydration drinks to combat vomiting and diarrhoea, and pills that target the specific malaria parasite they’ve been infected with  vivax or falpicarum

Around 70% of the cases in Sifontes are vivax and the rest are falciparum says Jorge Moreno, an entomologist who coordinates malaria research for the Bolivar’s Health Ministry.

Vivax is not fatal but has the strongest symptoms, whereas falciparum goes unnoticed but can suddenly kill you

One of the hospital’s six doctors is Ralph Brown, who comes from one of the dozens of indigenous communities in the region.

The problem is that only two days after feeling okay, patients abandon the treatment, he says

Then they start drinking, partying, they don’t eat well, they have sex he says.

Many of the patients in Sifontes, however, complain that they don’t always get adequate treatment – shortages of medicine all over the country are one of the effects of Venezuela’s current economic crisis and this hospital is not an exception.

However, proper treatment is essential for controlling malaria.

Visiting the mine where Jesus works, it’s easy to see how mosquitoes thrive here in the humidity, wildlife and mud.

The miners drill for gold in large pools of stagnant water. They often sleep right next to the mine, in sheds made of black plastic bags, with zinc sheeting for roofs.

There’s garbage, and stagnant, black waters surrounding just outside every tent. When the motors from the mine are off, you can hear the mosquitoes buzz in your ear.

I have a mosquito net, says Jesus, as he shows me the hammock where he sleeps.

But that doesn’t really avoid the bite, as you can get it any time

Doctors say the best way to protect yourself from malaria is to use repellent, cover up and stay inside at dawn and dusk advice Jesus and his fellow miners largely ignore.

The mining conditions, poor infrastructure, and ever swelling numbers of people for mosquitoes to feast on, have created perfect conditions for malaria to spread

The government says it’s doing what it can to control malaria

Dr Armando Ortega, director of environmental health at the Institute of Public Health in Bolivar, and responsible for controlling malaria in the state, told the BBC Environmental conditions like rainfall, humidity and hydrostatic pressure make the mosquito well adapted to the region

But human intervention has played a major role in the surge of malaria here, he adds

This is one of the biggest gold reserves in the world, which means that many people have migrated here from many parts of Latin America to become richer

We try to control the mosquitoes with fumigation, we give out insecticide treated mosquito nets, and we have quick diagnosis and treatment programs

But we also think the solution is structural – there must be a national programme to regulate mining

Critics say the government has allowed illegal mining to grow in the last 15 years

Jose Felix Oletta was Health Minister in the 1990s, with the government party Copei which is today part of the opposition

He is one of the main critics of the malaria surge in Venezuela

As the gold price goes up, so does malaria

We’re going backwards, and malaria threatens to spread to regions where the disease had been eradicated

Perhaps unsurprisingly he lays the blame firmly at the government’s door

They’ve been in power for the last 15 years, have stopped spending in health, and permitted illegality all over the country and at every level

Nonetheless, both critics and government agree that it’s the hunt for gold that causes malaria

A miner here can easily earn as much in a week as a professional in the capital Caracas earns in a month

As Dr Ortega puts it, as the gold price goes up, so does malaria

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İçişleri Bakanlığı’ndan yeni koronavirüs genelgesi! Oteller sadece müşterine yemek hizmeti verebilecek

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Son dakika: İçişleri Bakanlığı 81 il valiliğine “Konaklama Tesislerindeki Restoranlar” konulu genelge gönderdi. Genelgeye göre, otel ve konaklama tesislerindeki lokanta veya restoranlar sadece konaklama yapan müşterilerine yemek hizmeti verebilecek. Ayrıca bu işletmeler saat 22.00’den sonra müzik yayını yapamayacak.

İçişleri Bakanlığı, denetimler ve ihbarlar üzerine otel ve konaklama tesislerinin restoran ile lokantalarına yönelik valiliklere genelge gönderdi.

SADECE KONAKLAMA YAPAN MÜŞTERİLERE HİZMET VERİLECEK

Genelgeye göre, otel ve konaklama tesislerindeki lokanta veya restoranlar sadece konaklama yapan müşterilere yemek hizmeti verebilecek.

OTELLERDEKİ RESTORANLAR PAKET SERVİS YAPAMAYACAK

Otel ve konaklama tesislerindeki lokanta veya restoranlar dışarıya paket servisi yoluyla satış yapamayacak.

22’DEN SONRA MÜZİK YAYINI YAPILAMAYACAK

Otel ve konaklama tesislerinde bulunan restoran, lokanta ve diğer salonlarında saat 22.00’den sonra her türlü müzik yayını yapılamayacak.

Bu doğrultuda;

1. Yeme-içme yerleri için getirilen kısıtlamalardan istisna tutulan otel ve konaklama tesislerindeki lokanta veya restoranlar sadece konaklama yapan müşterilerine yönelik yemek hizmeti verebilecek.

2. Otel ve konaklama tesislerindeki lokanta veya restoranların dışarıya paket servisi yoluyla satış yapmalarına müsaade edilmeyecek.

3. Bu yerlere yönelik denetim faaliyetleri yoğunlaştırılacak ve etkinliği artırılacak.

4. Kolluk kuvvetlerince yapılan denetimlerde, otel ve konaklama tesislerindeki lokanta veya restoranlarda bulunan müşterilerin Kimlik Bildirme Kanunu çerçevesinde bildirimde bulunulan kişiler arasında olup olmadığının muhakkak kontrol edilecek.

5. Kimlik Bildirme Kanunu çerçevesinde yapılan bildirimlerle otel ve konaklama tesislerinin kendi kayıtları arasında tutarsızlık olup olmadığının denetlenecek.

6. Otel ve konaklama tesislerinde bulunan restoran, lokanta ve diğer salonlarında saat 22.00’den sonra müzik yayınına (canlı müzik, kayıt dinletilmesi vb. her türlü yayın dahil) hiçbir şartta yapılamayacak.

Vali ve kaymakamlarca yukarıda belirtilen esaslar doğrultusunda Umumi Hıfzıssıhha Kanununun 27’nci ve 72’nci maddeleri uyarınca İl/İlçe Umumi Hıfzıssıhha Kurulları kararlarının ivedilikle alınması ve uygulamada herhangi bir aksaklığa meydan verilmeyecek.

İDARİ İŞLEM TESİS EDİLECEK

Belirlenen esaslara aykırı uygulama yaptığı veya eğlence yeri şeklinde faaliyetlerde bulunduğu tespit edilen otel ve konaklama tesislerine Umumi Hıfzıssıhha Kanununun ve Turizmi Teşvik Kanununun ilgili maddeleri gereğince idari işlem tesis edilecek.

ADLİ İŞLEM BAŞLATILACAK

Konusu suç teşkil eden davranışlara ilişkin Türk Ceza Kanununun 195’inci maddesi kapsamında gerekli adli işlemler başlatılacak.

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Egypt victim rights centre files appeal

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An Egyptian center that can help alleged torture sufferers and documents their cases has vowed to carry on to operate despite a purchase for this to seal lower

Authorities had because of the Nadeem Center until Monday to cease activities saying it had breached rules

The audience has filed a sudden appeal from the decision

Privileges groups have criticised Egypt because of its attack on dissent among an outburst of reported torture of detainees Authorities deny the accusations

El Nadeem Center for Rehab of Sufferers of Violence has operated since 1993 supplying support and guidance to sufferers of torture

The organisation was because of be closed last Wednesday charged with breaking unspecified health ministry rules But government bodies decided to delay an order allow it time for you to contest the choice

Aida Seif alDawla the particular groups director stated the proceed to close it had been political

Human privileges groups have criticised the measure saying it comes down at any given time when enforced disappearances are rising and among growing worry about accusations of torture through the police and intelligence services

Activists accuse security forces of torturing detainees as well as detaining suspected activists or militant Islamists without confirming their busts accusations declined through the government

Egyptian Leader Abdul Fattah alSisi brought the militarys overthrow of Islamist Leader Mohammed Morsi in 2013 following mass protests

Since that time as much as 40000 individuals are believed to possess been detained The USbased Human Privileges Watch describes the attack as ferocious

Greater than 1000 protesters mostly Islamists happen to be wiped out around the roads

Egyptian authorities deny the Arab mobile phone industry’s most populous nation has came back towards the repression of history

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Extinct plant discovered in amber

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Biologists have referred to a brand new types of extinct plant according to two fossil flowers which were held in portions of amber not less than 15 million years

Strychnos electri goes towards the genus whose tropical bushes trees and vines are renowned for creating the deadly contaminant strychnine

The United States scientists referred to it as following the Greek word for amber (elektron) – the fossilised resin of lengthy-dead trees

Their discovery seems within the journal Character Plants

The 2 flowers were among 500 fossils collected on the 1986 area visit to Professor George Poinar of Or Condition College

Prof Poinar is really a famous entomologist and many of these individuals were bugs But after nearly 3 decades focusing on the bugs his eye chosen the flowers

These were remarkably complete – unlike most plant fossils present in amber that are usually just fragments

In 2015 he sent high-resolution photos to Professor Lena Struwe at Rutgers College

Most likely poisonous

These flowers appeared as if they’d just fallen from the tree stated Prof Poinar I figured they could be Strychnos and that i sent these to Lena since i understood she was a specialist for the reason that genus

Prof Struwe go about evaluating the physique from the flowers to any or all 200 known Strychnos species brushing the collections of multiple museums and herbaria

The figures mostly accustomed to identify types of Strychnos are flower morphology and thats what we should fortunately have with this fossil stated Prof Struwe

I checked out each specimen of ” New World ” species captured pics of and measured it and in comparison it towards the photo George sent me I requested myself How can the fur around the flower petals look? Where would be the fur situated? and so forth

For that creatures from the late cretaceous S electri was most likely not so good eating

Types of the genus Strychnos are nearly all toxic in some manner stated Prof Poinar

Each plant features its own alkaloids with different effects Many are more toxic than the others also it might be that they are effective as their poisons offered some defence against herbivores

The favourite such alkaloid strychnine is really a contaminant that when created the foundation of numerous rat poisons – in addition to being certainly one of Norman Batess murder weapons within the Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho

However these plants also fall inside the asterid family including greater than 80000 flowering plants including most of the ones humans eat from taters and mint to sunflowers and coffees

The brand new discovery is an important accessory for the fossil record of the family that is very poorly understood

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