China says it’s building islands and airstrips in the South China Sea for better weather forecasts


Originally posted on Quartz:

China’s recent island-building spree, the focus of tensions with its neighbors as well as the United States, is all for the sake of better weather forecasting, Chinese officials say.

Over the past two years, China has dredged up over 2,000 acres of land from what was once open sea and constructed brand new islands that will house airstrips and helipads. Critics say the construction, at an estimated seven sites near the disputed Spratly Islands, is an attempt to bolster Beijing’s territorial claims as well as provide a base for potential military operations against its rivals.

“The construction of infrastructure for observation and communication is the first step towards enhancing and improving marine meteorological monitoring, warning, forecasting, prediction and scientific research,” Ding Yihui of the Chinese Academy of Engineering told the People’s Daily over the weekend. The head of China’s Meteorological Administration, Zheng Guoguang, said the facilities were for the benefit of a region…

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10 charts that capture how Nepal is struggling to survive after the earthquake


Originally posted on Quartz:

On April 25, Nepal was devastated by a massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the richter scale, which killed thousands and displaced millions.

Now, the Nepalese need to rebuild what was lost—most importantly, their homes and key facilities like healthcare and education. And that is the toughest part.

According to the Nepal government, the tiny Himalayan country is staring at losses estimated at about $10 billion—nearly half of its gross domestic product of $19.2 billion.

Two organisations—Global Shelter Cluster and the REACH Initiative—surveyed about 1,680 households in the 14 districts that were worst affected by the earthquake, about their living conditions after the earthquake.

The preliminary results are staggering. Around 68% of displaced households are living in areas adjacent to their damaged  homes, where access to sanitation, education, healthcare and clean drinking water is severely curtailed.

Here are the results from the survey, which show how the citizens of one of…

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