The world news daily digest for August 1 through August 6 includes the top stories over the past five days. As Taiwanese citizens finally return to their homes, investigation into the deadly gas explosion continues. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, many worry over the safety of the ferry system in the country. The biggest concern however, lies with Ebola as the deadly disease reaches Nigeria and sparks world-wide panic.
Evacuees Return Following Taiwan Gas Explosion
The second largest city in Taiwan was split in half following a massive gas explosion on Thursday evening. The explosion killed at least 28 people and injured 260 others, sparking fires and creating holes in the city streets. It quickly became one of the worst gas explosions in Taiwan’s history when four streets were ripped by five different explosions. The explosions started around midnight on Thursday, catapulting cars into the air and blasting people with cement rubble, of whom, most were out late shopping at a nearby night market.
It is believed that the gas leak may have emanated from an underground propane pipeline owned by LCY Chemical Corporation, who has agreed to cooperate with the investigation. As crews continue to clean up the area, investigators are determined to find out the cause of the blasts. Meanwhile, the densely populated area has been declared safe from any further explosions.
Deadly Ferry Disaster in Bangladesh
A ferry carrying over 200 passengers capsized in the Bangladesh river of Padma, near the Munshiganj district. The survivors of the accident described the incident, saying that the ferry had overturned about midway through the journey. Khokon Mia, one of the survivors, told the media that there were no life jackets or lifeboats and passengers were left to save themselves or wait for rescuers.
Some of the passengers were able to swim to shore, many remained in the ferry, awaiting rescue. So far, at least two passengers have been confirmed dead and at least 100 are still missing. While relatives hope for the rescue of their loved ones, dozens of missing passengers are presumed dead. In Bangladesh, incidents like this are common as ferries are frequently overloaded. On May 15, a ferry capsized in the same general area and took the lives of 54 passengers.
Ebola Outbreak Death Toll Nearing 900 as Disease Reaches Nigeria
As Nigeria confirms five cases of Ebola in the country and braces itself for more, Africa’s most populous nation is facing concerns as the total regional death toll for the outbreak has grown to 887 dead. Patrick Sawyer is a Liberian-American, who died on July 25, just days after arriving to Nigeria from Liberia. Sawyer was the first confirmed case of the disease in Nigeria. Also confirmed that the nurse who treated Sawer has also died from the disease. Authorities are working hard to track down and quarantine those who may have also come in contact with Sawyer during his stay in the Nigerian city of Lagos. The largest city in sub-Saharan Africa has a population of 21 million.
As it can take up anywhere between two and 21 days for the symptoms to appear, it is still unknown if there will be any additional cases in Nigeria. The symptoms include muscle pains, headaches, fever, and sore throat. As the condition gets worse, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea are common. In the most advanced stages of the disease, severe internal and external bleeding are likely. Ebola is not airborne, only transmitted through contact with body fluids such as blood, vomit, saliva, or feces.
Sawyer was traveling to Nigeria when he became ill while aboard a flight. Once informed, Nigerian authorities immediately took him into isolation upon his arrival to Lagos. However, they did not quarantine his fellow passengers, as it was believed at the time that the risk of additional cases was minimal. Gregory Hartl, who is a World Health Organization spokesman in Geneva, described Sawyer’s case as typical. “Either someone gets sick and infects their relatives, or goes to a hospital and health workers get sick.” said Hartl, noting the unfortunate circumstances of the case.
World Commentary by Ivelina Kunina
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