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extraordinary warning as volcanic ash begins to fall on parts of Britain

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by MIUNDOMBINU, Apr 16, 2010.


    MIUNDOMBINU JF-Expert Member

    Apr 16, 2010
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    Stay inside': Health chiefs' extraordinary warning as volcanic ash begins to fall on parts of Britain
    Last updated at 1:07 PM on 16th April 2010
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    People have been told to stay indoors if ash from the volcanic eruption in Iceland begins to settle on the ground in an extraordinary warning from health chiefs.
    Officials from the World Health Organisation (WHO) said they did not know the exact risks presented by the cloud, which is currently moving south across the UK.
    But David Epstein, a spokesman for the UN agency, said the microscopic ash is potentially dangerous to people if it starts to 'settle' on the earth as inhaled particles can reach the lungs and cause respiratory problems.
    He added that the cloud was still mostly high in the atmosphere but that the UN is monitoring the situation closely.
    Health officials in Britain have limited themselves to less strident advice, instead stating that only people with breathing difficulties should stay inside if the ash settles.

    Ashes to ashes: A car in Iceland which has been coated in dust after the volcano eruption

    Lunar landscape: The ash cloud is now over Britain and health officials have warned people to stay indoors if the dust starts to settle on the ground
    Dust has fallen in northern parts of Britain, including Shetland and Aberdeen, and is expected to progress southwards later today.
    It has already blanketed the ground in parts of rural southern Iceland. The ash is not toxic.
    Last night, health bosses in Britain said that people with breathing conditions should stay inside
    The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the ash should not cause serious harm but could cause irritation, particularly to those with respiratory conditions.

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    It advised people with conditions including asthma and chronic bronchitis to carry inhalers and medication with them and those who noticed symptoms, including itchy or irritated eyes, runny nose, sore throat or dry cough, should either return to their homes or 'limit their activities outdoors'.
    But the Met Office said any ash which did reach ground level would be barely visible and the public should not be concerned.
    The HPA said weather patterns indicated a 'small fraction' of the volcanic plume in the UK's airspace, which could include low levels of sulphur dioxide, was likely to reach the ground.

    Eerily quiet: A near-deserted Terminal Two at Birmingham International Airport where passengers stayed away

    Exhausted: Passengers stranded at Stansted resort to sleeping on the floor after all flights were cancelled for a second day

    In a statement, the HPA said: 'It is important to stress that the concentration of particles which may reach ground level is likely to be low and should not cause serious harm.
    'If people are outside and notice symptoms such as itchy or irritated eyes, runny nose, sore throat or dry cough, or if they notice a dusty haze in the air or can smell sulphur, rotten eggs, or a strong acidic smell, they may wish to limit their activities outdoors or return indoors.
    'Those with existing respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma may notice these effects more than others and should ensure they have any inhalers or other medications with them.
    'Any such health effects are likely to be short term. The Health Protection Agency, Health Protection Scotland and the Met Office will continue to monitor the situation and issue any further advice or updates as necessary as the weather changes.'
    'Low concentrations of volcanic dust, which may contain low levels of sulphur dioxide, are also expected to ground with the plume, although this is not expected to be a significant threat to public health,' the spokesman added.
    Met Office forecaster John Hammond: 'There's always been a small chance of it reaching the ground.
    'Over the next few days or so, with winds as they are, there is a chance we will see some small deposits but these will be quite difficult to see.
    'It might be easiest to see anything that comes out of the sky on cars because the amounts will be very small.'

    Airports remained deserted today after the unprecedented lockdown across Britain and much of northern Europe.
    The National Air Traffic Service (NATS) has now grounded flights in and out of the UK until at least 1am tomorrow.
    But with the source of the ash - a volcano 700 miles away in Iceland - still spewing smoke into the atmosphere, there are already fears the chaos could go on for days if not weeks.
    Some experts said there could be disruption for six months as a result of contaminated air drifting over northern Europe.
    NATs will review the situation at 1pm today and put out a statement about services tomorrow at 2.30pm.
    No jet planes can fly except in an emergency because the dust causes their engines to fail.
    The cancellations have already caused the greatest mayhem to air travel since the Second World War.
    This morning there were few passengers at UK airports - which usually cater for 500,000 people a day - with most chosing to stay home.
    At 7am, which is normally one of the busiest times of the day, Newcastle International Airport was deserted.
    Check-in desks were unstaffed and the only people waiting around appeared to be airport employees, police or air crew.
    Only a limited number of flights could run to and from Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland but most of the nation's airports were at a standstill.

    Spread: A satellite image shows the grey plume of ash (centre) travelling from Iceland, over the Faroe Islands and towards Shetland
    A spokesman for Heathrow confirmed staff were coming into work as usual but said passengers were still being advised to keep away.
    Some turned up only to sit with their luggage. Others had slept on the green seats in the arrivals hall overnight.
    Debbie Eidsforth, 36, who had been visiting family in Preston, Lancashire, was trying to head home to Adelaide, Australia, via Hong Kong.
    Her journey started yesterday morning when she travelled from Manchester to Heathrow by train - her flight having been cancelled.
    She said: 'I just stayed here, because my friend in Preston called around hotels for me but they were all full.
    'I just slept here on the seats, and there were quite a few other people dotted around. They should really have bought blankets and coffee around for us.
    'At the end of the day, this is nobody's fault but it's very frustrating when there's no communication.'
    Aberdeen airport also remained open but was 'very quiet'.
    Glasgow Airport, meanwhile, was preparing to deal with a handful of flights made possible by a 'window of opportunity' in the volcanic ash.
    Three flights diverted from Gatwick are expected to land at the site where conditions are better than further south.
    An Air Transat flight from Glasgow to Toronto in Canada left this morning.
    The three services due to land at Glasgow are Thomson Airways flights from the Dominican Republic, Orlando Sanford and Cancun in Mexico.
    BAA Glasgow spokesman Donald Morrison said: 'The vast of majority of flights will not be operating, however between 1am and 1pm today there is a window of opportunity that might allow for some flights between Glasgow, the western isles, Northern Ireland and the North Atlantic if weather conditions permit.
    'We have staff on stand-by to allow for flights to operate. We've got check in and security staff on the ground to facilitate that.'
    He advised passengers to check with their airline before leaving for the airport as most flights are still suspended.
    A limited number of flights are also running to and from Northern Ireland.
    Last night the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) lifted restrictions on flights to and from Cork and Shannon Airports and some of the regional airports, but restrictions would remain in force in Dublin until late this morning.
    But the services will do little to help hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded by the chaos.
    Families returning from the Easter break will be particularly affected with many children due to return to school on Monday.
    Reports from Iceland indicated there were little signs of the eruption at Mount Eyjafjallokull abating after two days of activity.

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    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk
  2. PakaJimmy

    PakaJimmy JF-Expert Member

    Apr 16, 2010
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