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Major 7.7 Quake Strikes Off Papua
New Guinea, Tsunami Warning Issued
SYDNEY, (Reuters) - A major earthquake with a magnitude 7.7 struck
off Papua New Guinea on Monday, official monitors said, and a
tsunami warning was issued soon after.
The epicenter of the 33 km (22 mile) deep quake was near the town of
Rabaul in the northeast of Papua New Guinea, The U.S. Geological
Survey (USGS) said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said "hazardous tsunami
waves are possible for coasts located within 1,000 km (620 miles) of
the earthquake epicenter along the coasts of Papua New Guinea and
the Solomon Islands."
Tsunami waves reaching 1-3 meters (3-9 feet) above the tide level
are possible along some coasts of Papua New Guinea, said the center.
No destructive, Pacific-wide tsunami was expected, it said.
"Persons located in threatened coastal areas should stay alert for
information and follow instructions from national and local
authorities," it added.
Rabaul, a town on East New Britain Island, lies in the shadow of
Mount Tavurvur, an active volcano. Rabaul was destroyed in 1994
during a severe eruption.
(Reporting By Jane Wardell; Editing by Paul Tait and Michael Perry)
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Wars and Rumors of Wars
Syria: UN agency warns violence
near refugee camp endangering thousands of Palestinians
UN News Center
1 April 2015 – Fierce fighting has erupted between armed groups in
the area of Yarmouk, a camp of Syrian and Palestinian refugees,
putting thousands of people in danger, warned the spokesperson of
the United Nations agency tasked with the ensuring the well-being of
Palestinians across the Middle East.
“UNRWA is extremely concerned about the safety and protection of
Syrian and Palestinian civilians in the Palestinian refugee camp of
Yarmouk in Damascus, where since early afternoon today, intensive
armed conflict has been ongoing between armed groups present in the
area,” Chris Gunness, spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works
Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said in a
UNRWA is demanding all parties respect and comply with their
obligations to ensure the protection of civilians in the camp and
called for an end to the fighting and a return to conditions that
will enable its staff to support and assist Yarmouk's civilians.
Some 18,000 civilians, including some 3,500 children, reside in
Yarmouk and are at extreme risk of death, serious injury, trauma and
displacement, said Mr. Gunness.
“The intense armed clashes put these children at risk of serious
injury and death. The lives of these children must be protected,” he
added, emphasizing that people have “suffered enough during Syria’s
Earlier this week, on Tuesday at a donors’ conference in Kuwait,
governments pledged a total of $3.8 dollars to help the millions of
people affected by the four-year Syria war, including Palestinian
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ISIS threatened by disease
outbreak in capital of caliphate
A disease caused by a parasite and transmitted by the bite of the
sand fly is spreading rapidly in the city of Raqqa, Syria. Raqqa is
the putative capital of the caliphate proclaimed by ISIS in the
territory it controls in Syria and Iraq. The Express, a British
media outlet, reports today that leishmaniasis is becoming
widespread amid the loss of medical personnel and the lack of
Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by a parasite and transmitted
through the bite of a sand fly. It is found, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in parts of the
tropics, sub-tropics and southern Europe where the insect can be
found. The range includes parts of Mexico, Central and South
America. Its two most common forms are cutaneous and visceral.
Cutaneous leishmaniasis produces skin sores, ulcers and if untreated
can result in severe scarring. Visceral leishmaniasis is when the
parasite attacks the spleen and liver. It produces blood
abnormalities and that, combined with damage to the organs, can be
fatal. The CDC estimates that as many as 1.5 million people could be
This is not the first report from the Middle East about the increase
in leishmaniasis cases. In Nov. 2014, a paper titled War and
Infectious Diseases: Challenges of the Syrian Civil War was
published on PLOS. The authors note that the illness has been
endemic in parts of Syria for decades. It is emerging in Lebanon,
with over 1,000 cases reported in 2013. Most were in refugees from
In Jan. 2015, the Independent ran an article titled Washington warns
'perfect storm' of conditions leaves Isis-controlled Iraq and Syria
vulnerable to outbreaks of infectious disease. The piece notes that
nearly half of all Syrian hospitals have been closed or damaged. In
regions controlled by ISIS, health care workers have left and the
supply of critical medicine is dependent upon agencies such as the
Iraqi Red Crescent. Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of
Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, is quoted by
the Independent at describing the Syrian leishmaniasis outbreak as
"out of control."
Treatments exist for leishmaniasis but are highly dependent upon the
species of the parasite and the form the illness takes. In addition,
the various medications used may be affected by supply issues. The
The city of Raqqa lies in ruins, despite its role as the capital of
the Islamic State. A coalition of nations has been using air power
to strike ISIS units and the damage from the ISIS conquest of the
city has never been repaired. The Express report suggests that as
many as 2,500 cases of leishmaniasis may have been contracted in the
city and its environs.
It remains unclear if the illness is affecting ISIS fighters. It is
clear that civilians in the territory of the caliphate, in refugee
camps and along the front lines of this ongoing war have little
access to needed medical care. The growing number of cases of
leishmaniasis are symbolic of all the other medical woes that the
population is suffering.
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underway in FSM after Maysak
Radio New Zaland International
A patrol boat carrying water supplies to devastated islands in the
Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) will leave Pohnpei tonight as
relief efforts get underway in the wake of super-typhoon Maysak.
Maysak, with sustained winds of 260 kilometres an hour, slammed into
islands that make up the state of Chuuk on Sunday night causing five
It then crossed the vast archipelago of 607 islands before battering
the Yap group of islands on Wednesday where homes, crops and
buildings were extensively damaged on Ulithi and Fais.
The official death toll currently stands at five.
Disaster officials in Yap say their assessment team left in a small
plane this morning to find out what's needed.
The national government in Pohnpei is waiting for an official report
from Yap but it has sent a request for international relief to the
UN's aid coordination agency in Suva following the state of
emergency declared in neighbouring Chuuk State.
Andrew Yatilman, director of the FSM's Office of Environment and
Emergency Management, said a good number of people were treated in
hospital in Chuuk for their injuries.
"They did not give us the exact number but they said that a good
number of people were injured from fallen debris, or flying debris
or their houses fell down on them," he said.
Mr Yatilman said the government was being proactive.
"We've got one patrol boat in Chuuk right now delivering water and
essential needs like blankets and kitchen sets. For Yap, we're
waiting for further word from Yap as to how the national government
can respond effectively. Tonight we will be sending a patrol boat
also, and it will be carrying water supplies."
Food supply fears
There are fears that victims of Typhoon Maysak face starvation
unless they receive aid quickly.
The storm has been downgraded from its status as a super-typhoon as
it moves away from the islands of Yap State and Palau and is
expected to continue to weaken during the next few days.
In Chuuk, residents are struggling to clear the roads of huge pieces
of debris and return to damaged homes.
In a statement yesterday, FSM President Manny Mori indicated foreign
aid would be needed to support relief efforts.
He said there was extensive damage to schools, health facilities,
public utilities, private residences as well as the sinking of
several fishing, passenger and dive ships.
Crops were ruined and water supplies contaminated after the violent
The Executive Director of the Micronesian Red Cross, Isao Frank,
said there would be significant humanitarian needs and volunteers
were already helping to distribute relief.
"We have teams on the ground who are doing assessments and sharing
bits of information here and there," he said. "There's definitely a
lot of damage to crops and facilities such as schools and buildings.
We have buildings with rooves completely blown away. There's still
places where people are not able to get to. Trees and derbis all
over the place."
University of Guam Telecommunication and Distance Education
Operation associate director Manny Hechanova told the Pacific Daily
News in Guam that the immediate need was food, water and clothing.
"These islands are on their own, with limited food supplies. They
may have to wait for three to five days and they may not be ready to
wait that long. Starvation is a real possibility," she said.
Rapid response team dispatched
The local government in Yap State in the Federated States of
Micronesia said a rapid response team was being dispatched to get a
fuller picture of damage caused by Typhoon Maysak.
Yap Lieutenant Governor James Yangetmai said the local islands that
took the full brunt of Maysak appeared to have been the small atolls
of Fais and Ulithi, as expected.
"We are going to send out a plane to two of our neighbouring
islands, the ones that got the brunt of the super-typhoon, the
islands of Fais and Ulithi. We're sending our rapid response team
out there to see what assessment they come up with."
The storm swept past a number of Yap islands including Satawal,
Lamotrek, Elato, Italik and Eauripik.
Mr Yangetmai said these islands were likely to have sustained
extensive damage to crops and some homes, although they were yet to
get the full picture of damage from the typhoon.
"Maybe 50 percent of our assessment, maybe 65 percent. And the
assessment that we have thus far is from the outer islands, or the
neighbouring islands of Yap, and I can tell you it's not a pleasant
In its latest advisory (11am NZT), the US National Weather Service
in Guam said Maysak's maximum winds have decreased to 225 kilometres
The Philippines is now on alert for the typhoon, which they call
Chedeng, with intense rain, flash flooding and landslides expected
when it makes landfall late on Saturday or early Sunday.
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