|Thursday, 15 April 2021|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-01-08
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Water Level Reached 5.70m River Evros on the Brink08 Jan 2006 11:38:00
By Athina Saloustrou
The water level of the River Evros at the Pythio measuring station reached the levee resistance safety level of 5.70m, after large volumes of water flowed into the riverbed from Bulgaria. The agencies of the Region Eastern Macedonia Thrace, of the Prefecture of Evros and other municipalities bordering on the river, are on alert, while the Prefectorial Coordinating Body started implementing emergency plan Xenokratis as of this morning and will be working around the clock. Furthermore, a rift was created in the rivers levee in the area Psathades, Didymoticho, yesterday and more than 200 hectares of cultivable land were flooded. The Civil Protection Authority of the Prefecture of Evros also implemented emergency measures over the last 24 hours, while it asked the citizens living close to the river to avoid risky areas and move away their livestock and farming equipment.
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
Cultivable Land in Evros Flooded
 H5N1 at Europe's Threshold WHO and EU Sound the Alarm08 Jan 2006 10:23:00
By Athina Saloustrou
Two new cases of avian flu were reported in Turkey, close to the borders with Armenia, where the first human victims outside SE Asia and China were detected. Two children, a girl aged 8 and a boy aged 5, are being hospitalised with flu-like symptoms. The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that they have been infected with the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus, however, their conditions seems to be improving. "It is positive that their condition has improved and everything is well at the moment," noted the Turkish doctor who is monitoring the children, while he added that the hospital has been notified on the results of the test conducted by Turkish and British labs, whereby the children had in fact been infected by the H5N1 virus. The scientists are putting fears to rest, attributing the new outbreaks to the direct contact of humans with sick poultry and claiming that there is no evidence demonstrating a possible mutation of the virus so that it can be transmitted from humans to humans. However, both the WHO and the EU health authorities have sounded the alarm. Furthermore, the Greek authorities are also on alert, but the scientists believe that it would be hard for the virus to reach Greece, since it was detected in an area of Turkey where raising public awareness on matters of hygiene and prevention is precarious. Naturally, the avian flu-related deaths in Turkey have given rise to concerns among the citizens of the EU. The tests performed by a British lab showed that the three children who died last week in Van, eastern Turkey, within five days from one another, had been infected by the deadly H5N1 strain. Experts are describing the human cases in Turkey as expected due to the direct contact with birds. Moreover, domestic poultry farming is responsible for the vast majority of the 74 avian flu victims in Asian countries.
WHO Experts in Turkey
Many areas close to the Turkish borders with Armenia have been placed under quarantine, while it is estimated that more than 12,000 chickens have been culled. A crew of WHO experts, which has already arrived in the country to examine the possibility of the virus being transmitted from humans to humans, remains stranded in Ankara, due to the adverse weather conditions.
At the same time, Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the citizens not to hide any poultry that might be infected with avian flu, while he promised compensation to poultry farmers.
The European Union has banned the import of live birds and poultry from Turkey since October.
"I think it is the same thing as is going on in Southeast Asia," said National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr Tony Fauci.
The virus infected 142 people in eastern Asia and was responsible for killing 74, before the three children in eastern Turkey last week. A WHO expert declared that the last two cases, aged 5 and 8, come from the same area as the three children who died last week.
Furthermore, additional tests will be conducted at the WHO labs to establish whether the virus was transmitted directly from infected birds and not from one child to the other.
The H5N1 strain mainly targets poultry, but scientists are claiming that the virus can mutate and possibly develop into a threatening form of flu for humans. In this case scientists fear a pandemic.
"From the first appearance of H5N1 influenza in migrating birds in Asia, we have recognised - and called attention to - the possibility that they could carry the virus to other continents," stated US Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.
Turkish officials said that in the family where three children died, they had been playing with the severed heads of chickens slaughtered after they became ill.
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
Read the story on other sources:
CNN: Turkish bird flu is deadly strain
Reuters: Turkey struggles with bird flu as children fall ill
BBC: Fresh cases of bird flu in Turkey
Hurriyet: Critical results to be revealed within 36 hours
Third Victim in Turkey
Two Deaths in Turkey