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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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UNTV to launch 3rd Rescue Summit to boost preparedness skills for the ‘Big One’

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, February 26th, 2018

Signing of Memorandum of Agreement for the 3rd Rescue Summit

MANILA, Philippines — Massive damages in Metro Manila are expected in case a 7.2 magnitude earthquake or the “Big One” occurs.

Aside from the possible destruction of thousands of infrastructures and buildings, there is a fear of a mass casualty.

To better prepare for this possible catastrophe, UNTV will hold a broader Rescue Summit in cooperation with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“Ang preparation is, of course, kasama iyong enhanced training, iyong mga skills development at iyong upgrading ng equipment. Nandiyan lahat iyan and makikita natin iyan. Lilitaw lahat iyan pagka nagawa na natin itong ating rescue summit na pinaplano ngayon,” said BMPI President and CEO Kuya Daniel Razon.

(The preparation includes enhanced training, skills development and equipment upgrade. All these will emerge when we finalize the rescue summit.)

The third Rescue Summit will feature National Capital Region (NCR) Local Disaster Risk Reduction, management capability display and the disaster preparedness and information dissemination demonstration.

The event will also highlight a friendly rescue competition among rescue groups from various provinces that are expected to be affected or those that may be able to respond should “The Big One”rock the country.

“Lahat ng mga kalapit na probinsya and hopefully mas marami pang mga provinces ang magjo-join dahil alam naman natin iyong preparedness na ito for the ‘Big One’ hindi lang naman isang area o hindi lang naman sa National Capital Region ang ating tinitignan dito kundi talagang malawakan talaga iyang pinaghahandaan nating ‘yan,” said the public service advocate.

(Nearby provinces and more will hopefully join because as we know, in terms of preparedness for the Big One, we are not only looking at the National Capital Region but nationwide.)

DILG officer-in-charge Sec. Eduardo Año, meanwhile, lauds this concept of UNTV.

“This is a very noble idea, very noble project. Makakaasa ang ating publiko na magiging mas prepared ang ating mga emergency response teams kasama na iyong ating mga kapatid sa media. Hinahangad ko na tuloy-tuloy itong project na ito at marami pa tayong mahikayat na sumali sa ating adhikain para magkaroon ng ligtas na Pilipinas,” said Año.

(This is a very noble idea, very noble project. The public can count on the preparedness of our emergency response teams in partnership with media. I wish for the continuity of this project and that we will be able to convince more sectors to join our advocacy for a safer Philippines.)

The Rescue Summit is just one of the many projects of UNTV that aim to help save lives.

UNTV pioneers news and rescue in the country, with Mr. Public Service Kuya Daniel Razon leading this innovative concept. — Leslie Longboen | UNTV News and Rescue

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Family of Filipino caregiver who died in quake to receive financial aid

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Filipina caregiver Melody de Castro’s family and that of the two others who died in the earthquake while working, will be entitled to at least NT$ 1.19 million or more than P2 million in compensation and financial assistance, according to the Bureau of Labor Insurance.

The bureau said the families of the three individuals: Melody and two other Taiwanese helpers, are entitled to 45 months of individuals’ monthly pay based on laws governing compensation for employees who die on the job.

Melody, as a caregiver, received around P38,000 a month. Based on a conservative estimate of her case, her family will receive 45 months of her monthly salary, or more than P1.7 million plus an additional P350,000 in financial assistance and consolation money.

Meanwhile, the search and rescue operations were already discontinued though there is still one body left unaccounted for.

The relatives of the Chinese family of five have consented to the local government’s plans to stop the search and to deploy heavy excavators at the site.

As of this moment, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office is still working on the process of repatriating the body of Melody and the needed travel documents of her family for them to claim her remains. — Amiel Pascual |UNTV News & Rescue


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At least five killed, 60 missing after quake rocks Taiwan tourist area

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Rescue workers are seen by a damaged building after an earthquake hit Hualien, Taiwan February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

HUALIEN, Taiwan (Reuters) – Rescuers combed through the rubble of collapsed buildings on Wednesday, as they searched for about 60 people missing after a strong earthquake killed at least five near the popular Taiwanese tourist city of Hualien overnight.

The magnitude 6.4 quake, which hit near the coastal city just before midnight (1600 GMT) on Tuesday, also injured 243 people and collapsed four buildings, officials said.

Hualien Mayor Fu Kun-chi said the number of people missing was now close to 60, although an exact figure was not provided. As many as 150 were initially feared missing.

Many of the missing were believed to be still trapped inside buildings, some of which were tilting precariously, after the quake hit about 22 km (14 miles) northeast of Hualien on Taiwan’s east coast.

At the city’s Marshal Hotel, rescuers trying to free two trapped Taiwanese pulled out one alive, but the other person was declared dead, the government said.

Among the injured were mainland Chinese, Czech, Japanese, Singaporean and South Korean nationals.

(For a graphic on Taiwan earthquake click tmsnrt.rs/2BJCdQ2)

Aftershocks with a magnitude of at least 5.0 could rock the island in the next two weeks, the government said. Smaller tremors rattled nervous residents throughout the day.

Residents waited and watched anxiously as emergency workers dressed in fluorescent orange and red suits and wearing helmets searched for residents trapped in apartment blocks.

Hualien is home to about 100,000 people. Its streets were buckled by the force of the quake, with around 40,000 homes left without water and around 1,900 without power. Water supply had returned to nearly 5,000 homes by noon (0400 GMT), while power was restored to around 1,700 households.


Emergency workers surrounded a badly damaged 12-storey residential building, a major focus of the rescue effort. Windows had collapsed and the building, which is around 17 years old, was wedged into the ground at a roughly 40-degree angle.

Rescuers worked their way around and through the building while residents looked on from behind cordoned-off roads. Others spoke of the panic when the earthquake struck.

“We were still open when it happened,” said Lin Ching-wen, who operates a restaurant near a damaged military hospital.

“I grabbed my wife and children and we ran out and tried to rescue people,” he said.

A Reuters video showed large cracks in the road, while police and emergency services tried to help anxious people roaming the streets. A car sat submerged in rubble as rescue workers combed through the ruins of a nearby building.

President Tsai Ing-wen went to the scene of the quake early on Wednesday to help direct rescue operations.

“The president has asked the cabinet and related ministries to immediately launch the ‘disaster mechanism’ and to work at the fastest rate on disaster relief work,” Tsai’s office said in a statement.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest contract chipmaker and major Apple supplier, said initial assessments indicated no impact from the earthquake.

Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China considers part of its territory, lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is prone to earthquakes. An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 struck nearby on Sunday.

More than 100 people were killed in a quake in southern Taiwan in 2016, and some Taiwanese remain scarred by a 7.6 magnitude quake that was felt across the island and killed more than 2,000 people in 1999.

Additional reporting by Jeanny Kao and Jess Macy Yu in TAIPEI; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Paul Tait

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