January 2013 Current Events: Disasters & Science News
Here are the key events in Science and Disasters news for the month of January 2013.
Flu, Whooping Cough Hits U.S. Hard (Jan. 1): Three epidemics spread through the United States at the beginning of 2013. First there is the flu virus, more aggressive than in recent years. There is also the worst whooping cough outbreak in decades and a new type of norovirus. (Jan. 9): The flu outbreak in Boston, Mass., becomes so bad that Mayor Thomas M. Menino declares a public health emergency for the city. So far this year, Boston has had four flu-related deaths and 700 confirmed cases of the flu compared to 70 cases the city had at this time last year. The state of Massachusetts has had 18 flu-related deaths so far this winter.
Wildfires and Record High Temperatures Strike Australia (Jan. 1): In January 2013, summer for Australia, wildfires spread throughout the southeastern part of the country. National parks are evacuated as temperatures reach 113 degrees Fahrenheit. The extremely high temperatures mix with dry and windy conditions combine to raise the threat level to catastrophic, the most severe rating. The country is having its hottest summer on record. So far there are no confirmed deaths due to the wildfires, but 100 people are missing after a fire rages through Dunalley, Tasmania, and destroys approximately 90 homes. Thousands of sheep and cattle are killed after the fires race through some of the country's biggest farming regions.
Club Fire Kills 233 People in Brazil (Jan. 27): In the early morning hours, a fire breaks out in a nightclub in Santa Maria, a southern city in Brazil. The cause of the fire is a flare from pyrotechnics used by a band performing on stage at the club. At the time of the fire, the club is packed with hundreds of students from nearby universities. According to officials, at least 233 people are killed. The fire stuns the nation. President Dilma Rousseff immediately leaves a summit meeting in Chile and travels to Santa Maria to console the victim's families. As she leaves Chile, in tears, she says to reporters, "This is a tragedy for all of us."