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USAID and Colombian firefighters join rescue efforts in quake-stricken Mexico

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Members of a Colombian crew loading a plane with equipment and aid for Mexico (from Reuters video)

Rescue workers working against the odds in Mexico City on Thursday received reinforcements from USAID amidst a rising death toll and dwindling hope of finding people alive more than 48 hours after a deadly quake.

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto reported that there could still be people alive in 10 collapsed buildings in Mexico City.

Concentrating efforts on these areas, 67 U.S. search and rescue experts and five dogs will work alongside local rescue crews.

Colombia is also sending 31 individuals and tons of technical equipment that will be dispersed in quake-stricken areas in Mexico City, Puebla and Morelos.

“For all the women firefighters from Bogota and in the name of the unity, this group is ready to move forward and to do good work. We’ve been training for a long time. It’s been almost ten years that we’ve been getting ready for these kinds of emergencies,” said Cabo Yadira Piamonte, a Colombian firefighter.

This was Mexico’s deadliest earthquake in 32 years, with the death toll currently standing at 233. Parts of Mexico City, home to some 20 million people, are built on an ancient lake bed that trembles easily in a quake. — Reuters


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Experts examine Nyingchi quake

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, November 20th, 2017

Experts gathered for an emergency meeting to probe into the magnitude 6.9 earthquake that struck China’s Tibet Autonomous Region on Saturday.

Jiang Haikun, director of the Forecast Department of China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC), said the earthquake took place in a very volatile fault zone, called Chayu fault zone, which saw an 8-magnitude quake back in 1950. It was caused by the thrust of the Qinghai-Tibet tectonic plate.

“This place, we can see here on this map, has a complicated tectonic structure. In 1950, an 8-magnitude quake shocked Chayu county. This earthquake actually happened at the northern end of the aftershock area of Chayu quake. These represent the location of earthquakes in the past. We can see this area is very volatile. The earthquake happened in the fault zone from Ihari to Chayu, which is the Chayu fault zone, a huge fault zone. It is a thrust earthquake,” said CENC Forecast Department Director Jiang Haikun.

He said that no direct evidence yet that would establish any link between the Nyingchi quake to the Iran-Iraq border earthquake, and possibilities of double earthquakes are slim.

Meanwhile, firefighters and soldiers on Saturday morning headed to Jiala village, the epicenter of the earthquake, by helicopter, as the roads leading to the village were blocked by landslides.

No casualties have been reported so far.

Local authorities have conducted house-to-house checks and put up tents for villagers in Maiba village. They also carried out psychological counseling to drive away fears of local residents.

After the earthquake shook Nyingchi, the local rescue force has been on call, ready for actions. So far, local people’s life remains normal, and transportation and communication facilities have not been disrupted. — Reuters




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Twenty countries join global alliance to phase out coal by 2030

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, November 17th, 2017


Since signing the Paris agreement in 2015, which aims to wean the world off fossil fuels, several countries have made national plans to phase out coal from their power supply mix before 2030, environment ministers said on Thursday.

The Powering Past Coal Alliance brings together many of these countries and others that will commit to phasing out coal, sharing technology to reduce emissions, such as carbon capture and storage, and encouraging the rest of the world to cut usage.

Coal is responsible for more than 40 percent of global emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

“Coal is literally choking out cities and our people. Around the world, we see close to a million deaths a year from air pollution created by burning coal. Not only is there a human cost, there is also a huge economic cost totaling billions of dollars a year,” Catherine Mckenna, Canadian environmental minister.

The alliance includes Angola, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, The Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Portugal, and Switzerland.

“Actually, I tried to ban in my country by a new law two new authorization to try to find fossil energy, and specifically coal, and we will ban production of electricity by 2022. The production of coal, so of course, we are close to you and congratulations for this coalition,” said French environment minister Nicolas Hulot.

The US States of Washington and Oregon, as well as five Canadian provinces, have also signed up.

The alliance, which is not legally binding, aims to have at least 50 members by the next U.N. Climate Summit in 2018 to be held in Poland’s Katowice, one of Europe’s most polluted cities.

But some of the world’s biggest coal users, such as China, India, the United States, Germany and Russia, have not joined. — Reuters

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Earthquake prompts South Korea to defer college entrance exam

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, November 16th, 2017

South Korea postponed its annual university entrance exam by a week on Wednesday after a rare earthquake rattled the country, shaking buildings and causing damage but no deaths.

Minister of Education Kim Sang-Kon said the hugely competitive exam, scheduled for Thursday would be postponed for the first time ever because of a natural disaster.

It was the country’s second-biggest earthquake on record. The exam would now be held on November 23 to ensure conditions were fair for everyone.

“The ministry decided to postpone the university entrance exam in 2017 to November 23, considering the fact that the safety of students is the most important and the need to ensure fairness in carrying out the test,” said the minister of education.

The 5.4 magnitude quake struck about 9 km (5 miles) north of the southeastern port city of Pohang, the Korea Meteorological Administration said.

“A fair amount of damage was reported. Due to the continued aftershocks, we are seeing many citizens in Pohang, including students, unable to return home,” said Kim Sang-Kon.

The university entrance exam is taken very seriously.

Commercial airliners do not fly during listening portions of the exam, while financial markets open later in the day to ensure light traffic for students to get to their exam centers. — Reuters

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