Local Daily News 2nd September
The risk of storms by DANA moves from the north to the south of the province
The meteorological autumn, which runs from the 1st of September to the 30th of November, has begun with the entry of an Isolated Depression at High Levels (DANA) that has altered the atmospheric weather in the Peninsula. But the southern half will suffer the least from this episode of torrential rains. Regarding the province of Alicante, the expected situation is quite mixed since the main rainfall will be concentrated in the interior and the north, although both its quantity and intensity will be conditioned to the erratic movement of the cold air that, according to the forecasts of the agencies, will swing to the north of the center of the peninsula until it is incorporated into circulation.
Everything points, according to the climatologist geographer Lluís Francés, to the fact that the regions of Marina Alta and El Comtat will be the ones in the province that will receive the highest accumulated rainfall of this new episode that will last until Friday. For the early hours of today storms are expected in the north and interior of the province, leaving the southern half with the probability of irregular rains on the sidelines. In fact, Aemet kept the yellow warning for rain and storms in the interior of Alicante active all Wednesday. For today, everything indicates that the rains will lessen in the north of the province. However, they could be accentuated in the rest of the Alicante regions, especially in the afternoon and even in the early hours of Friday.
Despite experiencing an episode of Gota Fría or DANA, widespread and abundant rainfall is not expected in the province similar to other episodes influenced by this phenomenon. It is important to remember that, DANA or Gota Fría are not synonymous with exceptional rains, floods and catastrophes. This is how César Donado Mazarrón, climatologist geographer, explains, pointing out that the phenomenon does not always imply heavy rains or floods and the reason is that a DANA must be combined with other factors in order to develop situations that involve a certain danger.
One of the most important factors is position. Specifically, for it to be dangerous in Alicante, it must be located around the Alboran Sea in order to ensure that the instability generated by the large thermal gradient interacts with a component from the Mediterranean, specifically, SE or E mainly. “But this combination of factors does not occur this week in the province so, although isolated storms are not ruled out, they will not acquire an exceptionally high level of danger,” concludes the expert.
Aemet activated the orange alert this Wednesday throughout the province of Valencia due to storms with “big hail”, heavy rainfall and a large amount of lightning that, according to predictions, could discharge more than 40 liters per square meter in an hour. The emergency ended at five in the morning today. In fact, the worst was expected for Wednesday night and the early hours of this morning.
The PAT of the Vega Baja advances in the preparation of the territory in the face of natural catastrophes
The Generalitat, through the Department of Territorial Policy, Public Works and Mobility, advances in the work of preparing the Vega Baja Territorial Action Plan (PAT Vega Baja), with the aim of arranging the rural land of the region jointly and coherently.
In this sense, in the coming weeks the preliminary version of this document will be released to public information, a territorial planning instrument that, after the floods suffered in the Vega Baja in September 2019, obtained outstanding support in the participatory process framed in the Plan Vega Renhace.
“The PAT of this region” highlighted the regional secretary for Territorial Policy, Urbanism and Landscape, Imma Orozco, “is one of the projects aimed at better preparing this territory threatened by various natural hazards and achieving a resilient framework for sustainable development of the area”.
“One of the challenges in the drafting of the PAT has been to combine the management of the uses and activities necessary for the economic and social development of the region with respect for the natural processes that occur in the environment,” explained Orozco.
“For this,” the regional secretary continued, “it has been essential to previously identify and mark off the so-called green infrastructure and place it at the base of urban design.”
The Vega Baja PAT, which carries out a more flexible planning capable of adapting to social and territorial changes, comprises several strategies for the active preservation of the territory and for the establishment of a regional structure that can be supplemented later by the municipalities.
Thus, the objective is to overcome the strictly municipal vision of the zoning of undeveloped land in order, on the one hand, to avoid inconsistencies and incompatibilities of use between consistories and, on the other, to guarantee equitable treatment and optimal use of the opportunities of the territory while preserving their values.
The first of these strategies has been to opt for a double categorization of the soil in a basic rural situation by zoning and regulating the actions allowed in each of the 6 proposed areas based on the nature and natural processes that occur in them.
In addition, some territorial conditions are superimposed on said zones that would limit or qualify the general regime or the intensity of permitted uses or activities, adjusting them to detect territorial vulnerabilities.
The non-developable land areas – protected by environmental legislation – are the heads and are representative of the territorial identity of the region; the coastal soils; the historic orchard of the Vega Baja; the terraced drylands, and the area of the new irrigation.
These areas are complemented by the river and territorial corridors, the fringes of protection of the valuable spaces and the critical zones in the face of climate change that are seriously threatened by the rise in sea level next to the mouth of the Segura river and Hondo of Amorós.
In just eight months, Spain hit the target of fully vaccinating 70% of the population
Spain has reached the main objective that governments from all over the world had set to tackle the coronavirus pandemic: fully vaccinating 70% of its population. The country was due to have broken this barrier on Tuesday, although it will not appear in the daily report on the campaign until Wednesday, given that these data cover the previous day.
According to the available figures, Spain finished Monday with fewer than 200,000 people fully vaccinated left before it hit the target, while forecasts – based on the first doses administered in recent weeks and the speed of the campaign in the last few days – suggest that around 300,000 full doses will have been completed by Tuesday.
This is a total of 33.24 million citizens with the full protection offered by the vaccines being used in Spain: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen and Oxford-AstraZeneca. It represents an unprecedented effort by the country’s central and regional health systems, and a campaign that has been among the most successful in the world. With 47.5 million inhabitants, Spain is the 27th most-populated country in the world. No other nation with a similar or greater number of residents has managed to vaccinate people against Covid-19 so quickly, according to information on Oxford University’s Our World in Data website. The only other country that has come close is Canada, with 67%. Next is the 60th most populous country, Chile, if you are to find a nation with more than 10 million inhabitants that has a similar percentage of the population with protection against Covid-19. And from there to the 83rd state on the list, Portugal, to find a country of that size with a greater percentage of residents protected (73%).
All of the other countries that have reached this milestone have much smaller populations, such as Denmark, Uruguay, Iceland and Malta. The closest countries for comparison, meanwhile, such as Italy, France and Germany, have barely managed to fully vaccinate 60% of their populations. Countries that began to vaccinate much earlier, thanks to their agreements with pharmaceutical companies – United States, United Kingdom and Israel – are moving more slowly due to the reticence of part of their populations to get vaccinated.
“Spain began with some advantages compared to neighboring countries, such as greater confidence in the healthcare system and better acceptance of the vaccines,” explains sociologist Josep Lobera, professor at Madrid’s Autonomous University (UAM) and one of the experts who, week after week, has designed and adapted the vaccination strategy from an advisory board for the Health Ministry.
The greater trust among Spaniards in the health system and vaccines has its roots in the Franco dictatorship, when polio continued to affect children while north of the Pyrenees the disease had already subsided. “That delay compared to other countries and the importance of public health is a generational reminder that lives on among our seniors,” Lobera explains.
The experts, however, insist that there is still work to do – there are still more than five million people in Spain who are yet to be vaccinated, and there may be a need for a third vaccine dose in order to combat the spread of the more contagious delta variant. There are no guarantees that this initial success will be repeated. The appearance of the delta strain, which was first identified in India, has meant that vaccinating 70% of the population will not be enough to achieve herd immunity. Experts are now divided between those who believe it will be impossible to reach such a situation and those who think it can be possible if vaccine coverage exceeds 85%.
Benidorm installs air purifiers in the classrooms of all schools and nurseries
The Benidorm City Council has begun to install air purifiers in the classrooms of all the educational centers supported with public funds in the town, with special effort in the Infant and Primary schools, where the bulk of the school population is concentrated that has not yet been vaccinated. In addition, two air purifiers per center will also be delivered to serve the school canteens, so that in these spaces, where children remove their masks to eat, the machines will also help improve air quality.
In total, there will be 237 devices with HEPA filters that will reach the classrooms of all schools, municipal nursery schools, institutes and other educational centers, such as the Municipal Dance Conservatory, or that serve children and young people with special needs, such as the La Torreta early care center, the pre-employment workshop for social insertion (TAPIS) or the Doble Amor center for the disabled, according to the Councilor for Education, Maite Moreno.
The Consistory has invested around 90,000 euros in the acquisition of these equipment, the purchase of which began to process last January, in the bulk of the third wave, and which will now receive students for the start of the new year. In addition, the action of these purifiers will be reinforced with the distribution of another 88 CO2 meters in all centers, so that teachers can check the quality of air inside the classrooms at all times.
The councilor of the area has explained that part of the equipment had already been installed during the summer in all educational services that had not ceased their activity. That is, in municipal nursery schools, the Nanets Early Childhood Care Service (SAPI), the Dance Conservatory or the Vasco Núñez de Balboa and Ausiàs March public schools, which have hosted the Summer School and the Support Program Summer Educational. This Wednesday they began to distribute the 170 purifiers that still remained to be installed in different schools, secondary schools and other centers, with the aim that they can be already underway by next Wednesday, the 8th, when the school year starts.
Last year, the Ministry of Education already distributed 58 purifiers among all the educational centers in the town. The figure, however, was insufficient to cover all educational units, so the City Council announced that it would fill these quotas with its own funds. Now, in addition to implementing these filters in the 220 Infant and Primary classrooms, Mayor Toni Pérez points out that the Town Hall has “attended to Secondary and post-compulsory education, despite the fact that in these centers we do not have any competition, doubling in all these centers the quantity of purifiers supplied by the Conselleria, and also providing a CO2 sensor for every six classrooms”.