‘Afghan patients burned in their beds in United States air force attack’, nurse tells

This 3 October 2015 video is called Nineteen dead, dozens missing in air strike on Kunduz hospital.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Afghanistan Kunduz hospital air strike: MSF nurse describes ‘patients burning in their beds’

MSF nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs was in the hospital during the series of bombing raids – here’s what he saw

Lajos Zoltan Jecs

Sunday 4 October 2015 13:19 BST

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs was in the charity’s Kunduz trauma hospital when the facility was struck by a series of aerial bombing raids in the early hours of Saturday morning. He describes his experience.

It was absolutely terrifying.

I was sleeping in our safe room in the hospital. At around 2am I was woken up by the sound of a big explosion nearby. At first I didn’t know what was going on. Over the past week we’d heard bombings and explosions before, but always further away. This one was different – close and loud.

At first there was confusion, and dust settling. As we were trying to work out what was happening, there was more bombing.

After 20 or 30 minutes, I heard someone calling my name. It was one of the Emergency Room nurses. He staggered in with massive trauma to his arm. He was covered in blood, with wounds all over his body.

At that point my brain just couldn’t understand what was happening. For a second I was just stood still, shocked.

He was calling for help. In the safe room, we have a limited supply of basic medical essentials, but there was no morphine to stop his pain. We did what we could.

I don’t know exactly how long, but it was maybe half an hour afterwards that they stopped bombing. I went out with the project coordinator to see what had happened.

What we saw was the hospital destroyed, burning. I don’t know what I felt – just shock again.

We went to look for survivors. A few had already made it to one of the safe rooms. One by one, people started appearing, wounded, including some of our colleagues and caretakers of patients.

We tried to take a look into one of the burning buildings. I cannot describe what was inside. There are no words for how terrible it was. In the Intensive Care Unit six patients were burning in their beds.

We looked for some staff that were supposed to be in the operating theatre. It was awful. A patient there on the operating table, dead, in the middle of the destruction. We couldn’t find our staff. Thankfully we later found that they had run out from the operating theatre and had found a safe place.

Just nearby, we had a look in the inpatient department. Luckily untouched by the bombing. We quickly checked that everyone was OK. And in a safe bunker next door, also everyone inside was OK.

And then back to the office. Full – patients, wounded, crying out, everywhere.

It was crazy. We had to organise a mass casualty plan in the office, seeing which doctors were alive and available to help. We did an urgent surgery for one of our doctors. Unfortunately he died there on the office table. We did our best, but it wasn’t enough.

The whole situation was very hard. We saw our colleagues dying. Our pharmacist – I was just talking to him last night and planning the stocks, and then he died there in our office.

The first moments were just chaos. Enough staff had survived, so we could help all the wounded with treatable wounds. But there were too many that we couldn’t help. Somehow, everything was very clear. We just treated the people that needed treatment, and didn’t make decisions – how could we make decisions in that sort of fear and chaos?

Some of my colleagues were in too much shock, crying and crying. I tried to encourage some of the staff to help, to give them something to concentrate on, to take their minds off the horror. But some were just too shocked to do anything. Seeing adult men, your friends, crying uncontrollably – that is not easy.

I have been working here since May, and I have seen a lot of heavy medical situations. But it is a totally different story when they are your colleagues, your friends.

These are people who had been working hard for months, non-stop for the past week. They had not gone home, they had not seen their families, they had just been working in the hospital to help people… and now they are dead. These people are friends, close friends. I have no words to express this. It is unspeakable.

The hospital, it has been my workplace and home for several months. Yes, it is just a building. But it is so much more than that. It is healthcare for Kunduz. Now it is gone.

What is in my heart since this morning is that this is completely unacceptable. How can this happen? What is the benefit of this? Destroying a hospital and so many lives, for nothing. I cannot find words for this.”

Afghan conflict: MSF demands Kunduz hospital inquiry: here.

United States deathly attack on Afghan hospital condemned

This video says about itself:

Nineteen people killed after Kunduz hospital allegedly bombed by coalition
3 October 2015

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders says 19 people were killed and dozens more injured or missing when its facility in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was bombed on Saturday by possibly the US-led coalition.

‘Possibly’? Who else could have done it? The Taliban don’t have any warplanes.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Afghanistan air strikes: US faces global condemnation after attack on hospital kills 19 people

The airstrikes continued for more than 30 minutes even though military officials had again been informed of the hospital’s location after staff became aware of the attacks

Serina Sandhu

Saturday 3 October 2015 21:35 BST

The United States is facing international condemnation after its airstrikes devastated a hospital in Afghanistan. The attack, an effort to eject Taliban Islamists from the city of Kunduz, killed at least 19 people at the hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), including 12 staff and three children. It has also emerged that officials in Washington and Kabul had been made aware of the hospital’s location, leading to claims by human rights groups that the strikes could amount to a war crime. A US forces spokesman confirmed the strikes “may have resulted in collateral damage”, although there was no immediate public apology.

More than 100 patients and 80 staff members were at the clinic when it became engulfed in flames in the early hours of 3 October. It was reported that, on top of the fatalities, 40 people were seriously hurt including 19 MSF staff, some of whom were taken to a hospital two hours away in Puli Khumri.

Many people remain unaccounted for and the death toll is expected to rise. The attack was deplored by MSF, which said it had repeatedly told authorities of the hospital’s GPS location.

The airstrikes continued for more than 30 minutes even though military officials in Washington and Nato officials in Kabul had again been informed of the hospital’s location after staff became aware of the attacks.

Colonel Brian Tribus, speaking for the US forces, said: “The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility. This incident is under investigation.” Ash Carter, US Defence Secretary, confirmed the “tragic incident” was being investigated with the Afghan government.

Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, said in a statement the commander of Nato’s Resolute Support mission had “explained and [apologised] for the attack”. The Kabul mission said it was unaware of the apology.

Meinie Nicolai, MSF’s president, called the attack “abhorrent” and a “grave violation of international humanitarian law”. She said: “We demand total transparency from coalition forces. We cannot accept this horrific loss of life will simply be dismissed as ‘collateral damage’.” …

Nicholas Haysom, the UN special representative in Afghanistan, said: “Hospitals accommodating patients and medical personnel may never be the object of attack, and international humanitarian law also prohibits the use of medical facilities for military purposes.”

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN human rights chief, said the event needed to be independently investigated and the results publicised, adding that a deliberate airstrike on a hospital could be a war crime. The trauma centre was caring for almost 400 people wounded as a result of the violence that followed the insurgent attacks on 28 September.

Speaking to The Independent on Sunday, Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan researcher, said: “Amnesty [believes] the deliberate attack of civilian and civilian targets, hospitals and medical facilities … is in violation of international humanitarian law and [a] deliberate attack may amount to war crimes. Attacking medical facilities, and especially a surgical hospital, could have a grave human cost because this hospital was dealing with a countless number of people, especially in the past few days when the war started in Kunduz.”

Ms Mosadiq added: “We are calling on the Afghan government and others to conduct an independent investigation into this incident and to … bring [those] responsible to justice.”

Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Afghanistan, said: “This is an appalling tragedy. Such attacks against health workers and facilities undermine the capacity of humanitarian [organisations] to assist the Afghan people at a time when they most urgently need it.”

Euro Birdwatch 2015, Dutch Top Ten

This video from Britain is called Amazing starlings’ murmuration.

Dutch NOS TV reports on birds counted during Euro Birdwatch 2015 today, in the Netherlands.

The Top Ten of bird species is:

1. Starling 50.990
2. Chaffinch 27.325
3. White-fronted goose 25.032
4. Meadow pipit 15.575
5. Northern lapwing 12.747
6. Grey lag goose 9250
7. Black-headed gull 8592
8. Common linnet 6834
9. Tundra bean goose 6221
10. Siskin 5208

Rare birds were counted as well: red kite 13 times, yellow-browed warbler six times, red-throated pipit four times, Eurasian penduline tit two times.

Texas hummingbird migration news, video

This video from the USA says about itself:

28 September 2015

In case you missed the show this morning, here’s about 60s of the hummingbird feeder frenzy that happens when most of the Perky-Pet Grand Master feeders are covered up for hummingbird banding at the site (look for the blue plate on the feeder in the background).

The hummingbirds are concentrated at the feeders that are still open (like our cam feeder and the feeders that have traps), which makes them easier to catch and band. 75 individuals were banded this morning by researchers from West Texas Avian Research, and we’ll post some highlights from the report later this week. Special thanks to Perky-Pet for sponsoring the cam and for WTAR’s assistance and enthusiasm in hosting it. Watch live here.

Planet Pluto’s moon Charon, new images

This video from the USA says about itself:

1 October 2015

Images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft were used to create this flyover video of Pluto‘s largest moon, Charon. The “flight” starts with the informally named Mordor (dark) region near Charon’s north pole. The camera then moves south to a vast chasm, descending from 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) to just 40 miles (60 kilometers) above the surface to fly through the canyon system. From there it’s a turn to the south to view the plains and “moat mountain,” informally named Kubrick Mons, a prominent peak surrounded by a topographic depression.

New Horizons Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) photographs showing details at up to 400 meters per pixel were used to create the basemap for this animation. Those images, along with pictures taken from a slightly different vantage point by the spacecraft’s Ralph/ Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), were used to create a preliminary digital terrain (elevation) model. The images and model were combined and super-sampled to create this animation.

Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Stuart Robbins

From Space.com:

October 01, 2015 04:29pm ET

Amazing new images show the enormous canyon system on Pluto‘s big moon Charon in unprecedented detail.

The photos were captured by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its historic flyby of Pluto on July 14. Mission team members combined some of the images into a new video that lets viewers fly over Charon’s tortured surface.

Charon’s huge chasm snakes across the moon’s surface for more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers). It’s at least four times longer than Arizona’s Grand Canyon, and twice as deep in places, New Horizons team members said. (Some parts of the Grand Canyon are more than 1 mile, or 1.6 km, deep.) [See more Pluto photos by New Horizons]