MALAWI: Africa in general was hit by drought last year, but it was Malawi who bore hardest hit. Due to poor rain, crops have failed 2.8 million people are at risk to go to beds with hungry stomach. The common staple in region for food is Maize and its prices in Malawi have gone record 73 % higher than the average of last three tears.
The price of maize – the staple for most of the region – is
73 percent higher in Malawi than the three-year average for this
time of year, due to drought on the heels of floods, WFP noted.
According to world food agency “Prolonged dry spells in southern Africa, made worse this season by the El Nino phenomenon bringing extreme weather around
the world, mean the window for planting cereals is closing fast
or has already shut in some countries.”
WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin who has just visited drought-prone
southern Zambia said “”I´m particularly concerned that small holders won´t be able
to harvest enough crops to feed their own families through the
year, let alone to sell what little they can in order to cover
school fees and other household needs,”
WFP said it wanted to expand food and cash-based assistance
in the worst-affected southern African countries until the April
harvest, but it is struggling to raise enough money for those
Philippines jolted by 6.3 magnitude quake, 5 dead
MANILA: A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck the Philippines island of Luzon killing five on Monday afternoon.
The quake struck at 5.11pm local time (0911 GMT) at a shallow depth of 40 kilometers (25 miles). Reporters in the capital city Manila said central offices were evacuated and buildings were shaking.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The Philippines is part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from quake-prone Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.
Relevant piece: Five people were killed when at least two buildings collapsed near Manila after a powerful earthquake set skyscrapers swaying and drove terrified locals into the street.
Three bodies have been pulled out of a four-story building in the town of Porac, while a woman and her grandchild were crushed to death in the town of Lubao, Lilia Pineda, governor of Pampanga province told ABS-CBN television.
“We believe there are still people trapped in the four-story building,” Pineda said, adding 20 people have so far been rescued and taken to hospital as night fell.
“It’s difficult because there is no power, so we’re still trying to get hold of a generator to be able to rescue the people inside,” she added.
A strong quake with a magnitude of 6.3 struck the region at 5:11 pm (0911 GMT) according to the US Geological Survey.
The quake that rumbled across the northern Philippines caused skyscrapers to sway, as they are designed to do, in Manila.
It also caused serious damage to the capital’s secondary Clark Airport, which is located on the site of the former US military installation that lies about an hour’s drive north of the capital.
The damage was still being assessed, but residents posted photos on social of media showing cracked walls and light fixtures swinging in the moments after the quake.
Office workers piled out onto the streets as emergency alarms blared, AFP reporters saw.
Feliza Villanueva, 21, a business process outsourcing employee told AFP she and four colleagues were at work when the quake struck.
“This was the second strongest quake I’ve felt in my entire life,” she told AFP as she joined hundreds of others in the courtyard of an office building, waiting for the all clear.
“We were worried but we did not panic,” she said.
“We planned how to evacuate the building. There were too many people going down the stairs, so we waited for our turn. People looked in shock, but no one was shouting or anything like that,” she said.
Int’l Earth Day aims to inspire and appreciation for Earth’s environment
ISLAMABAD: A renowned Environmentalist Taufeeq Pasha on Monday said in connection with International ‘Mother Earth Day’ that this is a day which aims to inspire awareness and appreciation about Earth’s environment.
In an interview, he said April 22nd Earth Day is usually celebrated with outdoor performances, where individuals or groups perform acts of service to Earth,typical ways of observing Earth Day include planting trees, picking up roadside trash, conducting various programs for recycling and conservation, and using recyclable containers for snacks and lunches.
Responding to a question he said some people are encouraged for calling stronger or immediate action to stop global warming and to reverse environmental destruction.
He said television stations frequently air programs dealing with environmental issues adding that this day to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water, and soil pollution.
He said symbols used by people to describe Earth Day include an image or drawing of planet earth, a tree, a flower, leaves, or the recycling symbol. Adding that colors used for Earth Day include natural colors such as green, brown, or blue.
Govt. to assist rain-affected farmers
ISLAMABAD: Government has promised to take all administrative and relief measures to help farmers hit by rain-related incidents, as a special relief package will soon be announced for the farmers whose crops were damaged in rains.
Minister for National Food and Security Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan expressed concern over the problems faced by farmers due to abnormal weather conditions.
He said the government would take all possible measures to facilitate the people related to farming so as to benefit from the potential of this sector.
The government has been successful in bringing about awareness amongst farmers through new initiatives taken for the development of the agriculture sector in the country, he added.
Minister said the PTI led government was doing its best to estimate the damages to the crops as well as human losses in the rains at the earliest.
He said the damage caused to standing crops due to heavy rains is moderate and there is no likelihood of food insecurity or emergency situation thereof.
The met department has been directed to remain vigilant and maintain liaison with provincial agriculture departments for the timely weather forecast, he mentioned.