Puerto Rico Braces for Tropical Storm Dorian
Puerto Rico, still recovering from 2017's devastating Hurricane Maria, is now facing down Tropical Storm Dorian.
This visible satellite animation from NOAA’s #GOES16 shows #TropicalStormDorian moving closer to the #VirginIslands… https://t.co/J7rWKxxWps— NOAA Satellites - Public Affairs (@NOAA Satellites - Public Affairs)1566997385.0
The storm is expected to reach the island at near hurricane strength Wednesday, CNN reported. In preparation, the governor declared a state of emergency Monday. President Trump also approved a request for a federal emergency declaration, which will enable federal agencies to coordinate relief, The New York Times reported.
"There's already so much damage on the ground from (Maria) that this isn't going to take a lot to make a significant amount of damage, especially flooding," CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. "Some of these power lines are not held up by very much—70 mph would bring them back down."
Even if the winds don't reach hurricane strength, the storm could dump more than six inches of rain on the island, causing potentially severe flooding, The New York Times reported.
Puerto Rican authorities have worked to assure the island's residents that they are prepared for the storm and have enough emergency supplies. The former governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló, was toppled by protests sparked partly by his inadequate response to Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people and left some parts of the island without power for up to 11 months. Current Gov. Wanda Vázquez only assumed power three weeks ago.
"I am confident that the people of Puerto Rico are prepared," she said at a press conference reported by The New York Times. "We are going to move forward."
The government has around 360 shelters ready with a capacity of 48,500, CNN reported. They have also prepared around 70 hospitals to deal with emergencies. But island residents are still nervous, and some are leaving the island ahead of the storm.
"I'm so insecure here with the power, the food, the security—so I'm leaving," one person told CBS News.
Others stocked up on bottled water, as Krystle Rivera tweeted.
This is crazy! Ridiculous shouldn't there be some type of limite so everyone can get some #PuertoRico #water #crazy https://t.co/aU5f9YLb6q— krystle rivera (@krystle rivera)1566750638.0
The Department of Homeland Security came under fire Tuesday for transferring more than $150 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief fund to temporary immigration courts on the southwest U.S. and Mexican border, The New York Times reported.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the move a "brazen theft" and "stunningly reckless," HuffPost reported
.@realDonaldTrump’s brazen theft of disaster relief funding to pay for an inhumane family incarceration plan is cru… https://t.co/2XXHAF5gNG— Nancy Pelosi (@Nancy Pelosi)1566958694.0
In addition to striking Puerto Rico, Dorian could bring wind and rain to the eastern Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands, according to The New York Times. It is also expected to make landfall as a category 1 hurricane on the east coast of Florida Saturday, CNN further reported.
"Based on the current track of Tropical Storm Dorian, all residents on the East Coast should prepare for impacts, including strong winds, heavy rain and flooding," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday, as CNN reported.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that 64 high-income nations have joined an effort to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine fairly, prioritizing the most vulnerable citizens, as Science reported. The program is called the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, and it is a joint effort led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
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Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria was likely responsible for more than 300 elephant deaths in Botswana this year, the country's wildlife department announced on Monday.
How Did Cyanobacteria Poison the Elephants?<p>Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil. Some cyanobacteria produce neurotoxins.</p><p>The cyanobacteria "was growing in pans" or watering holes, the principal veterinary officer of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mmadi Reuben, told reporters.</p><p>Reuben said the deaths had "stopped towards the end of June 2020, coinciding with the drying of pans."</p><p>"However we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only? We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating," added Reuben.</p><p>Similar elephant deaths have also been recorded in neighboring Zimbabwe.</p>
Climate Change to Blame?<p>Not all cyanobacteria are toxic but scientists say varieties dangerous to humans and animals are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.</p><p>Southern Africa's temperatures are rising at twice the global average, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.</p>
Elephant Paradise?<p>Africa's overall elephant population is declining due to poaching. But Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent's elephants, has seen numbers grow to around 130,000.</p><p>Botswana's government said it was continuing studies into the occurrence of the deadly bacteria. In the winter, elephants hydrate themselves mainly by eating roots and bark, especially of the baobab tree.</p>
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