HAMNET Report 2nd February 2020


Greg Mossop G0DUB, IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Coordinator issued a communique on Friday morning early. In it, he referred to the reports from Aziz, TA1E, on the Turkish 6.9 magnitude earthquake of 24th January.

Aziz said: “As the affected area was very small and the intensity limited, our involvement was also limited. 2 TRAC-Branches in the area stepped in. TRAC, being a “Telecommunication Working Group Solution Partner” in the National Emergency Response Plan, contributed by conducting tactical communication in the affected area and supporting the Ministry of Health by installing and getting operational  their repeater in a mountaintop. Due to the relatively limited scale of the disaster, foreign assistance, therefore also deployment from IARU R-1 was not needed.”

After the 7.7 magnitude earthquake in the Caribbean on 28th January, Greg asked for information on whether Radio Amateurs had responded in Cuba or Jamaica as the two islands closest to the location of the quake. That information is still coming in but even though the earthquake was strong and felt on both islands, there was no significant property damage or injuries so there was no formal request for Amateur Radio to assist. However, that did not stop amateurs in affected areas of Cuba activating on their local repeater networks, which showed that they were ready to assist if needed.

Lastly, Greg announced that the new IARU Region 1 website at www.iaru-r1.org has gone live today. He hopes that it will be stable and ready to use in the next couple of days, and, if you link to any of the emergency communications pages, please make sure and update your links as soon as you can.

Thank you, Greg. This bulletin writer had no trouble accessing the new website on Friday evening, and found that the new page had merely overwritten the old page, so no updating of links was necessary here.

In a report received from Leon Lessing, ZS6LMG, we hear that HAMNET Gauteng South was alerted by Chris Gryffenberg ZS6COG, to a missing girl in the vicinity of Nigel, and requesting the presence of a scent dog. Leon ZS6LMG was briefed by Martin ZS6ISH about the situation, after which, SAPS Nigel issued a directive to enable HAMNET to deploy a scent tracking K9 (canine).

HAMNET as a member of SASAR has access to specialist K9’s and in this instance, K9 Loki was deployed along with handler Marnus Rossouw. The on-scene information brief was as follows: The missing girl went for a jog and did not return. She was last seen jogging at about 18H00 to 18H30. SAPS and the Nigel CPF/community did an extensive search of the area, but found nothing and initial reports from another K9 search was that the trail ended in a body of water.

Johan ZS6DMX did scene backup and managed the night vision equipment, Martin Harris accompanied the search party as an extra set of hands and eyes.

Arriving on scene, it took 5 to 10 minutes to get K9 Loki settled, as the trip from Johannesburg was exciting for him. In K9 terms he had to wait an awful long time to start working. Using proper K9 scent techniques the team introduced a piece of clothing of the missing girl. Loki analysed the scent and indicated that the search could commence. They had a report that the girl crossed a traffic circle. Within 30 seconds K9 Loki found the scent and started the tracking process. After about 3km on the girl’s trail (2 hours+ of tracking and water breaks), K9 Loki seemed to have lost the scent track, and, at first, it was thought he was tired. They are unable to say why he “lost” the scent trail, but it was due to no fault of the dog or handler, rather to other circumstances.

On the way back to regroup and get a third SAR K9 to join the search it was reported that the girl was found alive, and the searchers were overjoyed. HAMNET would like to express their joy to the family, and hope for a speedy recovery of the young lady. HAMNET withdrew from the scene at about 01H00

HAMNET Gauteng South also wishes to thank Marnus Rossouw and K9 Loki for their help.

Thanks to Anette Jacobs, ZR6D, for sending me this report.

More than 75,000 people—ten times the official tally of confirmed cases—have been infected with the coronavirus in Wuhan, ground zero of a global health emergency, according to research published Friday.

“We estimate that 75,815 individuals have been infected in Wuhan as of January 25, 2020,” a team led by Gabriel Leung from the University of Hong Kong reported in The Lancet.

As of January 31, the Chinese government said the number of confirmed cases had risen above 9,700 for all of China, including 213 deaths.

For Hubei Province—including Wuhan, a city in central China of 11 million—the official figure was nearly 6,000 confirmed cases and just over 200 deaths.

The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the outbreak a global health emergency, but said it was not recommending any international trade or travel restrictions.

“The apparent discrepancy between our modeled estimates of 2019-nCoV infections and the actual number of confirmed cases in Wuhan could be due to several factors,” Leung said in a statement.

A time lag between infection and symptom onset, delays in infected persons getting medical treatment, and the time needed to confirm cases with lab tests “could all affect overall recording and reporting,” he said.

The study found that each person infected with the virus, which emerged in December, could have infected two to three individuals on average, and that the epidemic had doubled in size every 6.4 days.

If the virus spreads as quickly on a national scale, “it is possible that epidemics could be already growing in multiple major Chinese cities, with a time lag of one to two weeks behind Wuhan,” said co-author Joseph Wu, a professor at the University of Hong Kong.

“Large cities overseas with close transport links to China could potentially also become outbreak epicentres.”

If the new estimate of cases is accurate, it would mean that the mortality rate of the 2019-nCoV virus is significantly lower than preliminary figures suggested, with well under one percent of cases proving deadly. But a low mortality rate can still result in a large number of deaths if the virus spreads widely.

Let us hope that these statistics are true, because then the proportion of cases that become serious, is much, much smaller than reported, and the epidemic will pass without serious worldwide consequences.

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.