Hundreds Dead as 7.9-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Nepal

Originally posted on TIME:

A powerful earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale struck central Nepal on Saturday morning, damaging buildings in the country’s capital, Kathmandu, and sending tremors across northern India, Bangladesh and as far afield as Pakistan. At least 449 people were reported to have died.

The epicenter of the earthquake was located about 50 mi (80 km) northwest of Kathmandu, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which said the quake struck Nepal just before noon at a shallow depth of only about 9 mi (15 km) belowground.

More than 6.6 million people are in the area affected by the earthquake, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Bangkok.

In Kathmandu, residents congregated on streets and other open areas as the USGS reported a series of powerful aftershocks. Buildings and temples collapsed, and roads across the city were cracked open by the quake

View original 200 more words

Vanuatu Faces Food Shortages After Cyclone Pam Devastates Crops

Originally posted on TIME:

Survivors of Cyclone Pam on the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu are bracing for a lack of food over the coming months because crops were destroyed in the recent storm.

Much of the archipelago’s population relies on subsistence farming and when the monster cyclone ripped through the country last week it wiped out livelihoods as well as homes.

“There’s always a lot of attention in the beginning, the first few weeks of a big disaster. But now, we’re looking at a hunger gap over the next three to six months,” said World Vision’s Emergency Operations Manager in Vanuatu, Alex Snary.

Aid agencies are rushing to deliver desperately needed supplies, especially to communities on the remote outer islands, which are still out of contact.

At least 11 people were killed in the disaster and 3,3000 displaced.

“It’s almost miraculous [on Tanna Island] that there isn’t a large number of casualties, given…

View original 226 more words

Aid Agencies Struggle to Reach Affected in Vanuatu After ‘Monster’ Cyclone Pam

Originally posted on TIME:

Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale says the tiny South Pacific island nation has lost much of its development due to the havoc wreaked over the weekend by “monster” Cyclone Pam.

“It’s a setback for the government and for the people of Vanuatu. After all the development that has taken place, all this development has been wiped out,” he told the Associated Press in Japan attending a U.N. conference on disaster-risk reduction. “We will have to start anew again.”

Lonsdale went on to say that climate change contributed to the devastation as the low-lying islands of the Pacific are suffering from rising sea levels.

International aid agencies along with military personnel from Australia, France and New Zealand have arrived in Vanuatu to assess the damage and deliver much needed aid and supplies.

Oxfam, who led coordination efforts in preparing for the storm, said 90% of housing in the capital, Port Vila, has…

View original 402 more words

Flight 370 Report Shows Underwater Beacon Battery Had Expired

Originally posted on TIME:

The first comprehensive report into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 showed that the jet’s underwater locator beacon’s battery had expired — but offered few other clues on the one-year anniversary of the plane’s disappearance.

Malaysia’s prime minister said Sunday that the country remains committed to finding MH370, which disappeared with 239 people aboard.

“The lack of answers and definitive proof — such as aircraft wreckage — has made this more difficult to bear,” Najib Razak. “Malaysia remains committed to the search, and hopeful that MH370 will be found.”

The Malaysian team investigating the disappearance of MH370 released a 584-page interim report …

Read more from our partners at NBC News

View original