Death toll from 7.2 earthquake in Haiti soars to 1,400

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 17, 2021   •   473

Death toll from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on August 14 has reached 1,400.

In addition to the fatalities, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that as of Monday, the number of injured from the incident stands at 6,900 while hundreds more are still missing.

The organization also noted there is a lack of medical supplies and hospital spaces to tend to the injured.

“The dire health situation remains the most pressing concern, as several hospitals have been damaged or destroyed, while those still operating are completely overwhelmed, lacking sufficient personnel and medical supplies,” the OCHA said.

Haitian Civil Protection also reported that more than 37,300 homes have been destroyed and 46,000 have sustained damages, leaving thousands homeless. The agency said the numbers will continue to grow over the coming days and weeks, creating significant shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs.

Search and rescue operations and relief operations continue. USAID deployed a 65-member search and rescue team and the Coordinating Unit (CU) of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) will provide operational assistance. AAC

UN releases $12-M humanitarian assistance for typhoon-stricken Phl

Maris Federez   •   December 24, 2021

The United Nations (UN) through the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) pledged US$12 million (approximately Php600 million) as additional assistance to the Philippines severely ravaged by Typhoon Odette (international name Rai).

UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths on Thursday announced the allocation of the rapid response initiative that will be taken from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF).

“I am releasing USD12 million from UNCERF (Central Emergency Response Fund) to help deliver urgent humanitarian assistance to support the Government-led response to Super Typhoon Rai (Odette) in the Philippines,” Griffiths said.

The assistance will reach out to individuals in the hardest-hit areas in the Caraga region and Region VIII, providing them food, water, and other basic needs such as sanitation hygiene kits, as well as shelter, logistics, and communication.

In a briefing before the body, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator to the Philippines, Gustavo Gonzalez, on Thursday underscored how typhoon Odette has been devastating, emphasizing the “serious impact of the typhoon on infrastructure, on houses, and on livelihood” in the region.

“I saw roads covered by debris, houses without roofs, and people on the border of Butuan and Surigao begging for water and food,” he said.

“This super typhoon evoked memories of [Typhoon] Haiyan (Yolanda),” added Gonzalez. “While the Government was more prepared for a typhoon of this magnitude this time around, the needs remain overwhelming.”

He also highlighted the fact that the devastation came amid the country’s fights against the coronavirus pandemic.

“The response set out in the plan will also prioritize COVID-19 protective measures,” said Gonzalez. “This is a crisis within a crisis. It happened at the end of the year when the Government has been able to keep down COVID-19 infections and inoculated a significant number of the population. We will work with the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure that these hard-won gains are not lost.”

In a Twitter post, OCHA Philippines said the United Nations and humanitarian partners are calling for $107 million to support the Philippine government in responding to the calamity.

Gonzales said the life-saving assistance will target “530,000 vulnerable people most affected by the devastation of the typhoon”.

Magnitude 5.1 quake rattles Occidental Mindoro

Robie de Guzman   •   December 21, 2021

A magnitude 5.1 quake jolted parts of Occidental Mindoro and nearby areas on Tuesday, the Philippine Institute of Seismology and Volcanology (PHIVOLCS) said.

In a bulletin, PHIVOLCS said the epicenter of the quake was located 15 kilometers northeast of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. It occurred at 12:08 p.m.

The temblor was a tectonic in origin and had a depth of 15 kilometers.

PHIVOLCS said the quake was felt at the following areas:

• Intensity IV – Sablayan and Rizal, Occidental Mindoro
• Intensity III – Abra De Ilog, Santa Cruz and Calintaan, Occidental Mindoro; Calapan City and Bansud, Oriental Mindoro
• Intensity II – Makati City; Batangas City; Baco, Oriental Mindoro
• Intensity I – Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro; Tingloy, Batangas;

“This is an aftershock of the October 03, 2021 M5.3 Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro Earthquake event,” the agency noted in its report.

Damage and aftershocks are to be expected following the quake, PHIVOLCS said.

Elon Musk offers to sell Tesla stock if UN shows how it would solve world hunger

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 3, 2021

Elon Musk has offered to sell Tesla stocks and donate the proceeds if the United Nations (UN) can show in detail how it would use the money to solve world hunger.

His statement came after  UN World Food Program director David Beasley called on billionaires, specifically Musk and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, for a “one-time” donation to help prevent millions of people across the globe from dying of starvation.

“$6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don’t reach them. It’s not complicated,” Beasley said.

Musk agreed on the said proposal and asked Beasley about the process on how $6 billion can help end the global hunger crisis.

“If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it,” Musk said.

Beasley then offered to meet with Musk to discuss things further. He said $6 billion can prevent geopolitical instability, mass migration and save 42 million people on the brink of starvation. AAC

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