The damage from Hurricane Michael is staggering. Georgia’s farms were clobbered and the agricultural industry is reporting “unprecedented generational losses” that are estimated to reach nearly $3 billion in damages.

 

About a million acres of timber has been destroyed as well all sorts of vegetable and nut farms. Lots of sources are still reporting about the Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Fla. The base, if you have not heard, sustained heavy damage from the storm. Most of Tyndall’s planes were flown to safety before Michael hit the coast but 17 F-22 Raptors were left behind because they were undergoing maintenance and were not flight worthy. Each of the Raptors cost an estimated $330 million each. Which means that’s almost $6 billion dollars of fighter jets that may have taken significant damage from Michael.  The Air Force is being a little mom on the subject, which - fair enough. There is no reason to broadcast to enemies how many of our fighter planes were damaged beyond repair.

 

But that isn’t even touching on the personal cost to homeowners up and down the coastline. The NY Times has a “Damage in Pictures” all about Michael and from the look of things it’s as bad as everyone expected. Entire towns are wiped out. Farms are gone. Houses obliterated. It’s apocalyptic looking stuff.

 

If that’s not bad enough there are sheriffs in FL reporting that they are arresting about 10 looters each night since last Wed. Armed looters, it appears, are targeting homes without electricity and taking advantage that first responders are stretched thin. People really suck sometimes, you know?

 

There are even neighborhoods putting up hand made signs that say things like, “You loot. I shoot.”  Which - sounds about right to me.

 

 

 

 

Still, it sounds as if hundreds of thousands of people are still without power and cell phone service has only just recently been (mostly) reinstated.

 

And keep in mind this is all damage from one hurricane. That’s not counting the damage that Florence did just last month. It’s not counting the death toll when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and almost three thousand people died as a result. How about Irma and Harvey - two Hurricane’s that pummeled the south just last year.

 

They keep coming and they seem to keep getting more destructive and more costly. And why is that? Well, last year my co-worker wrote a strongly worded story titled “Hurricanes should blow climate deniers’ eyes, minds open.”  In it he writes:

 

“While I wish the best to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, I also hope climate change deniers affected by the hurricanes realize their denial of climate change contributed to their current situation and will contribute to worse situations in the future.

Mother Earth is doing her best to convince climate denying Americans that global warming is no hoax and that people are responsible for the increasing instances and intensity of weather disasters. She started by flooding the Gulf Coast with category-three hurricane, Harvey, which AccuWeather predicts will cost America more than Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina combined.”

His story makes compelling arguments and he links to more than a dozen reputable sources and studies.  He wrote that more than one year ago and he was correct in predicting that this year the hurricanes would be much, much worse.

And they are. And now all we can do is rebuild and assist those that are in need. And we’ll probably have to do it again. And again. And again.

 

If you can, donate to the Red Cross.

If you can, donate to the Humane Society Animal Emergency Rescue Fund.  

 

Published in U.S.
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Hurricane Michael hits Florida coast

Hurricane Michael, the strongest on record in the U.S. since 2004 hit the Florida coastline this afternoon. It’s too late to evacuate. If you’re there - you’re there. Michael is a Category 4 hurricane with winds at 155 mph. But that makes it that top end of Category 4 because as soon as winds hit 157 it will officially be a Category 5. Not that there is much difference between 155 and 157 mph winds other than the rating system because, either way, enormous damage is about to rain down on Florida.

 

Not even one month after Florence flooded Georgia & the Carolinas and caused $1.5 billion in damages, the E coast is getting hammered again. This time by Hurricane Michael, which meteorologists have rated a Category 4.

 

Folks in Georgia and the Carolinas still have flooded areas in large portions of the coastline and in a few more days will receive more rainstorms as Michael hits Florida today but will move N further inland by Friday. Michael is actually the opposite of Florence which went from a Category 4 down to a Category 1 by landfall while Michael increased in strength as it came closer to the SE coastline. In fact, meteorologists believe that Michael will still be a Category 2 Hurricane when it hits Alabama and southern Georgia.

 

If that’s not bad enough Hurricane Michael, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, could spawn tornadoes anywhere from 50-100 miles outside the hurricane eye. That’s all those folks need, right? Tornadoes to go along with their Category 4 hurricane.

 

Last month, our very own Dr. Daliah wrote a “How You Can Help” column for Hurricane Florence and all of her information is relevant for Michael as well. You can read her column here. Her column also has plenty of links to the Red Cross, the Army Emergency Relief and other sources if you want to donate assistance. The American Red Cross is accepting monetary and blood donations. Financial donations can be given here or on their website at redcross.org. Moreover one can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. More relief numbers in her column.

 

The forecast cone is expected to stretch Michael all the way north to Maryland, which is a lot of damage, and a lot of danger.

 

This is a developing story.

 

Published in U.S.
%PM, %15 %807 %2018 %18:%Sep

Hurricane Florence: How You Can Help

The Category 1 hurricane that hit the Carolinas on Friday is expected to cause “widespread devastation” to multiple states.

Five people, including an infant, have been reportedly killed within the first 12 hours of  Hurricane Florence’s landfall.

Torrential downpours are expected to continue and power outages, floods, raging waters, and the potential for tornadoes threaten coastal and inland residents.

Risks of drowning, crush injuries, infection, malnourishment, chemical exposure, hypothermia are just a few of the grave issues residents are facing.

Malnourishment

 

Many of those who did prepare for the storm may not have stored plenty of food, especially healthy fresh food. Those trapped in their homes may find the food they did store contaminated by flood water.

 

food-bank-flooded-today-tease-161214_549ce953fa05d997cba48dc74ac69a99.today-inline-large.jpg

GREATER BATON ROUGE FOOD BANK 2016

 

Infectious disease

 

The World Health Organization states that floods bring water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, leptospirosis and Hepatitis A. Vector-borne diseases include Zika, malaria, dengue hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, and West Nile.

 

Homepage-Mosquito-1024x689

 

Mosquitos initially get washed away during the storm, but the resulting puddles of water take weeks to dry and make ideal breeding grounds for insects.

The water gets dirty pretty quickly. People touching the flood water need to wash their hands thoroughly before eating or preparing food.

Moreover due to the moisture that seeped into walls and floors of houses, mold can grow and cause a variety of respiratory issues among other physical ailments. Massive disinfecting needs to take place before coming home to flood water contaminated residencies.

 

toxic-black-mold.jpg

 

Chemical exposure

 

Chemicals from garages and fuel seeping into flood water expose victims to many compounds such as benzene, toluene and xylene that can cause a multitude of health effects including those that affect breathing, skin, the gut, balance, thought, and memory.

Safety

 

Multiple looters in North Carolina have already been arrested.  During Hurricane Harvey, a Cajun Navy rescuer told CNN that looters fired shots at him and his comrades, trying to take their rescue boat, which had actually broken down.

Panic fuels dangerous behavior and those without resources may try to take from those who prepared.

Sexual assault crimes can rise as predators find the chaos and lack of video surveillance ideal conditions to find victims who can’t yell for help.

 

Psychological

 

When one loses their home, neighborhood, income, treasured belongings and more, its devastating. Post-traumatic stress disorder may ensue.

To combat these risks, medical personnel and the CDC are preparing. Among food, shelter and clothes, paper products, sanitizer, cleaning supplies, tetanus vaccinations and counselors will be needed is mass quantities.

 

path.jpg

 

Hurricane Florence, although weakening, is expected to hover over the next few days bringing more deadly conditions.

 

How can we help?

 

Army Emergency Relief is taking donations here to help victims of natural disasters.

Save the Children‘s Hurricane Florence Children’s Relief Fund site can be found here.

Blood supplies will be needed as residents who routinely donate have evacuated the area. Donating blood at your local blood bank may be shipped to the area in need.

United Blood Services have locations throughout the country that can accept your blood Donation. Contact UBS here.

The American Red Cross is accepting monetary and blood donations. Financial donations can be given here or on their website at redcross.org. Moreover one can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The Salvation Army is also accepting donations online here and by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769).

The Red Cross and Salvation Army may also need local volunteers to help set up shelters.  Contact the above numbers.

Local volunteers are asked to donate supplies to nearby recreation centers for housing evacuees.

Supply drives in out-of-state locations may not be accepted directly but could help local charities who need to ship supplies to the affected area.

----

 

 

 

Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in U.S.
%PM, %13 %883 %2018 %20:%Sep

Hurricane Florence arrives

Hurricane Florence begins its long assault on the Georgia, Carolina(s) coastline. My understanding of Florence is that it is an anomaly amongst storms, the main reason being - it’s both wide and slow. Florence is much wider than a typical hurricane and is only travelling at about 2-3 miles per hour. Which isn’t even as fast as a regular person can walk.

 

What this means is that the force of the storm will linger twice or three times as long as a typical hurricane. And, perhaps obviously - the longer your area is battered with 100 mile an hour winds, the more damage the storm will potentially inflict.

 

Now, it’s true that in the last several days the storm has dropped from a Category 4 to a Category 3 and now hits the shores as a Category 2. (Go here for a breakdown on the differences between categories of hurricanes) But just because Florence has been downgraded to a C2 doesn’t mean that everyone can now breathe a sigh of relief. The danger is far from over. A C2 hurricane can and will cause significant damage. Again, because the storm is slow it will affect your area much, much longer than a typical storm.

 

Plus, one hundred mile an hour winds aside, there will still be 30 to 40 inches of rain in a large part of the Carolinas and the coastline is expected to have massive flooding of - get this - anywhere from 6-13 feet of water.

 

If you can’t imagine what 100 mph wind feels like, think of this - Hurricane Floyd, which also hit the Carolinas in 1999 brought 60 hours of rain (in some areas), massive flooding, caused 74 deaths and approx. $6 billion in damage. And since $100 in 1999 is equal to $147 today (adjusted for inflation) - that would be approx. $9 billion in damage today.

 

Okay. But Florence is so wide and so damn slow - it’s possible that some areas can expect to be affected by the hurricane twice or three times as long as what happened in Floyd. Imagine that - 120-180 hours of rain! That’s six to seven and a half days of pouring rain!

 

But that’s not all! Meteorologists have tracked waves 20 feet high and up to 80 feet long heading toward the coastline. Earlier reports suggested the waves were 80 feet high but weathermen (and women)  around the country quickly corrected them. I mean, an 80 foot tall wave is 2004 Indonesia Tsunami high and that wiped out entire cities and swept a quarter of a million people into the ocean. Thankfully, Florence does not have 8o foot high waves.

 

But still, an 80 foot long wave has tremendous force and once it hits the shore will push inland for a very long time. That, coupled with the rain means - massive flooding. Probably, unlike the Carolinas (and Georgia) have ever experienced.

 

Florence is expected to be full force from late Thursday until early Sunday. Approx. 36 hours of hurricane gale hitting affected areas. And then - additional rain (for days). I certainly hope most folks heeded their Governor’s warnings to evacuate the area.

 

Of course, I say that and I am not trying to sound glib. There are plenty of reasons where one might not evacuate. Living in poverty with nowhere else to go comes to mind. I understand there are people who might not be able to evacuate and there are always folks who chose to stay for various reasons. I understand.

 

But man, if I had the means I would be so out of there.

 

So, what happens after the storm? Well, as usual the best way that you or I can help is to donate to the American Red Cross. From the Fed side of things there is the Disaster Relief Fund. Of course, President Trump has recently made news because - during the height of Hurricane Florence worry - the President transferred almost $10 million from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement).

 

Now, thankfully, the money President Trump transferred out of FEMA wasn’t part of the Disaster Relief Fund as some have reported. Of course, as reported by Vox.com, this still complicates things. From their Is Trump Using Hurricane Relief Money to fund ICE? Not exactly:

 

“The Trump administration points out that the $9.8 million transferred from FEMA didn’t come out of the Disaster Relief Fund that is specifically appropriated for major disasters. Instead, it came out of the agency’s “operations and support” fund. DHS (Dept. Homeland Security) characterizes that fund as used for administrative expenses: Examples listed by a DHS official included “employee travel expenses, training, basic purchase cards, office supplies, HQ overhead support.”

 

What complicates this slightly is that one of the things funded by FEMA “operations and support” is the agency’s Office of Response and Recovery, which organizes the agency’s emergency operations and rebuilding efforts. About $2.5 million of the transferred funds came out of the response and recovery budgets.”

 

Lovely! So the exact office that organizes the Disaster Relief Fund just had a budget cut of $2.5 million - all during the Florence build up! Think about it this way - what happens in your office when you suddenly lose a significant percentage of your work force and / or work support? You know what happens. Suddenly lots of people double up on jobs that they don’t have any experience in and things are more expensive to process and take twice as long to figure out! Which, is totally what we want to happen when people need the Disaster Relief Fund, right? We all want to make it as hard as possible for people to receive assistance! Right? (Please, note the sarcasm).

 

*sigh* It’s almost like we have a President who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about people.

 

Anyway, all that being said. I wish the best for the folks of the Carolinas and Georgia.

 

 

This is an updating story. We will publish more about disaster relief, where to find it and how best to help, ASAP.

 

Published in U.S.

As Baby Boomers age out of blood donation, younger generations need to help fill the void.

 

Although the process of blood donation and transfusion was discovered in the 1600’s, widespread civilian blood donation became popular during World War II. According to the American Red Cross, 13 million pints were collected for the war effort. And children of this era learned of how significant blood product was for our troops and war effort. Baby Boomers incorporated routine blood donation as part of their culture.



 

blood donation.jpg

 

 

Yet as Baby Boomers age are the younger generations picking up the slack?

 

According to James AuBuchon, president and chief executive of Bloodworks Northwest, “The older generations seemed to have internalized the message that we always have to have an adequate supply of blood on the shelves.”  He continues, “The younger generations just seem less wired toward that message.”

 

Blood banks have, however, made some progress recruiting younger individuals as many are beginning to donate blood on high school and college campuses.

 

According to USA Today:

 

  • 20% of blood donations come from the youngest of age groups 16-18 and 19-22.

  • Less than 10% of blood donations come from 23-29 year olds.

  • Less than 12% of blood donations come from those in their 30’s.

  • This year, the active hurricane season has hampered blood collection efforts.

The White House Can Help

A petition has been started asking the White House to proclaim a National Blood Donation Week to help raise blood supply and awareness. People can easily add their name to the petition here:

 

Petition for National Blood Donation Week

How can I Donate Blood?

 

As long as you are over 17 years old (16 with the consent of parent) and weigh above 110 lbs, you may qualify for blood donation. The blood bank will screen you prior to donation.

 

Local drives can be found going to  American Red Cross Blood Drive Locator.  or United Blood Services/BloodHero.com.

 

One pint of blood can help save up to three lives.  Thank you so much for your support!!

 

LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy.

 

 

Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.    The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in News & Information
%PM, %05 %859 %2017 %19:%Sep

National Blood Donation Week

In 2015, GCN’s very own Dr. Daliah Wachs contacted Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to create a Nevada Blood Donation day to help the state raise blood and awareness.  From Wikipedia:

 

“Uniting with United Blood Services and the American Red Cross, Nevada Blood Donation Day held blood drives across the state and its success prompted the campaign to continue in 2016. During this year, blood shortages were being reported nationally. Dr. Daliah approached Governors in all 50 states to help proclaim state blood donation days, and United Blood Services, the American Red Cross and blood banks across the US joined forces to help bring this national campaign to light. By September 2016, the majority of states had proclaimed state blood donation days.”

 

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, National Blood Donation Week (NBDW) has been declared for September 4th - 10th with most states adopting Friday the 8th as their State’s National Blood Donation Day.

 

Dr. Dahlia writes, “It’s been amazing seeing both Democratic and Republican governors unite, following Governor Sandoval's lead. We're hoping to bring in thousands of pints of blood throughout the country. Thank you!!”

 

Research shows that one pint of blood can save up to three lives. To find a blood drive near you go to the American Red Cross “Find a Drive” link here.

 

And if one pint of blood has the potential to save three lives. Imagine what the whole country can do.

 

 

Published in News & Information
%PM, %29 %807 %2017 %18:%Aug

Hurricane Harvey: How You Can Help

The Category 4 hurricane that hit southeast Texas Friday evening is expected to cause “widespread devastation” to the area.

 

Torrential downpours are expected to continue as power outages, floods, raging waters, and the potential for tornadoes threaten coastal and inland residents.

 

Hurricane Harvey, although weakening, is expected to hover over the next few days bringing more deadly conditions.

 

After the initial flooding and torrential downpour subside, Hurricane Harvey will put thousands of residents at risk for major health issues.

 

In addition to drowning, falls and other deadly injuries, victims of Harvey may endure the following:

Malnourishment

 

Many of those who did prepare for the storm may not have stored plenty of food, especially healthy fresh food. Those trapped in their homes may find the food they did store contaminated by flood water.

 

Infectious disease

 

The World Health Organization states that floods bring water borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, leptospirosis and Hepatitis A. Vector borne diseases include Zika, malaria, dengue hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, and West Nile.

 

Mosquitos initially get washed away during the storm, but the resulting puddles of water take weeks to dry and make ideal breeding grounds for insects.

 

The water gets dirty pretty quickly. People touching the flood water need to wash their hands thoroughly before eating or preparing food.

 

Moreover due to the moisture that seeped into walls and floors of houses, mold can grow and cause a variety of respiratory issues among other physical ailments. Massive disinfecting needs to take place before coming home to flood water contaminated residencies.

 

Chemical exposure

 

Chemicals from garages and fuel seeping into flood water expose victims to many compounds such as benzene, toluene and xylene that can cause a multitude of health effects including those that affect breathing, skin, the gut, balance, thought, and memory.

Psychological

 

When one loses their home, neighborhood, income, treasured belongings and more, it’s devastating. Post traumatic stress disorder may ensue.

 

To combat these risks, medical personnel and the CDC are preparing. Among food, shelter and clothes, paper products, sanitizer, cleaning supplies, tetanus vaccinations and counselors will be needed in mass quantities.

How can we help?

 

Blood supplies will be needed as residents who routinely donate have evacuated the area. Donating blood at your local blood bank may be shipped to the area in need.

 

United Blood Services have locations throughout the country that can accept your blood Donation. Contact UBS here.

 

The American Red Cross is accepting donations. On their website, they ask to visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

 

The Salvation Army is also accepting donations online and by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769).

 

The Red Cross and Salvation Army may also need local volunteers to help set up shelters.  Contact the above numbers.

 

Local volunteers are asked to donate supplies to nearby recreation centers housing evacuees.

 

Supply drives in out-of-state locations may not be accepted directly but could help local charities who need to ship supplies to the affected area.



 

LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy.

 

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

Published in News & Information

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