UN teams respond to deadly earthquake in western Nepal (UN – Asia Pacific)

United Nations teams in Nepal are responding to the devastating earthquake in the west of the country, amid reports that over 150 people have...

‘A mountain of hardship’, as Afghanistan suffers yet another earthquake (UN – Asia Pacific)

A powerful earthquake struck western Afghanistan again on Sunday, making it the fourth to hit the impoverished region since 7 October, causing more suffering...

Libya: Mission chief updates Security Council on flood disaster ‘beyond imagination’ (UN – Africa)

Humanitarians delivering aid in the wake of Libya’s “unprecedented” flood disaster centred on the coastal city of Derna, have reached more than 146,000 in...

UN teams ramp up aid after another earthquake strikes Afghanistan (UN – Asia Pacific)

UN teams have stepped up their response after another strong earthquake struck western Afghanistan early on Wednesday, just days after powerful earthquakes killed over...

500 still missing following Afghanistan earthquake, say UN aid teams (UN – Asia Pacific)

Nearly 500 people are still missing from the worst-affected area of a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that rocked Herat province in western Afghanistan on Saturday,...

Earthquake kills at least 100 in Herat, Afghanistan (UN – Asia Pacific)

A major earthquake struck Herat, Afghanistan early Saturday killing at least 100 people and triggering a spate of rescue and assessment missions by UN...

UN Counter-Terrorism Week: Preventing violent extremism (UN – Africa)

Zeinabou Maata, a Muslim from Mauritania, is one of 50 women serving on the frontlines of preventing the spread of violent extremism in her...

Poverty, inequality and exclusion fuelling terrorism, warns UN chief (UN)

With terrorism posing a complex, constantly evolving and multi-faceted threat, law-enforcement agencies gathered at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday in search...

Ukraine flood disaster: needs grow as long-term impacts loom (UN)

The humanitarian situation following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in Ukraine is still a “moving target”, immediate needs are “huge”, and concerns are...

Haiti: UN deeply saddened as latest earthquake kills three, in wake of floods (UN)

The UN expressed deep sadness as another deadly earthquake claimed the lives of at least three people near the Haitian city of Jerémie in...

Christchurch, New Zealand may never rebuild quake-hit areas (reliefweb.int)

The New Zealand government says thousands of properties may never be rebuilt in the wake of the latest powerful earthquakes to rock the city of Christchurch.

Twin tremors of magnitudes 5.5 and 6.0 hit the city on Monday and overnight there were another 14 aftershocks, the strongest being 4.7-magnitude at about 2:45am.

Monday’s quakes damaged around 50 buildings and dealt further damage to areas of the city already badly hit by February’s earthquake.

Read more: reliefweb.int

Floodwaters rising in northern NSW, Australia (reliefweb.int)

Numerous river communities across northern New South Wales have been isolated by rising floodwaters.

Torrential rain, high winds and big surf are pounding the coast, and flood warnings are in place for much of the coast.

The Bellinger, Orara, Nambucca, Macleay, Hastings and Manning rivers are all rising steadily, cutting off communities as they do.

Read more: reliefweb.int

Hungary chemical sludge ‘threatens Danube’

Hungary is racing to prevent red chemical sludge from a huge spill reaching the Danube river, officials have said.

The alkalinity has risen in the Raba river, which flows into the Danube – Central Europe’s major waterway.

If the sludge enters the Danube the pollution could reach six countries down river, including Croatia, Serbia and Romania.

Hungary’s PM says the worst-hit area will have to be abandoned.
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Clay has been dumped into a tributary of the Danube to try to neutralise the sludge.

The alkalinity in the Raba river was higher than normal, at about pH9 early on Thursday – above the harmless level of between pH6 and pH8, a spokesman for the disaster agency told Reuters news agency.

Hungary says it will take at least a year to clean up the spill from an alumina plant reservoir in the western county of Veszprem.

Police have opened a criminal negligence inquiry into the incident, which has killed four people and led to at least 120 others needing medical treatment.

Source: bbc

Deadly sludge escape kills three in western Hungary

Hungary has declared a state of emergency in three western counties after sludge from an alumina plant killed three people and injured 120.

Red chemical sludge flooded out of a burst dam, affecting at least seven villages and towns including Devecser, where it stood 2m (6.5ft) deep.

The sludge is said to contain caustic material and to be toxic if ingested.

While the cause of the deaths was unclear, most of the people injured had suffered chemical burns.
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Some 600,000-700,000 cubic metres (21m-24m cubic feet) of sludge escaped from the plant, 160km (100 miles) from the capital, Budapest.

The state of emergency was declared in Veszprem, Gyor-Moson-Sopron and Vas.

Troops in protective gear have been helping to clean up the spill, while plaster is reportedly being poured into the Marcal river to bind the sludge and stop further flooding.

Tamas Toldi, mayor of Devecser, told MTI news agency that between 80 and 90 people had been taken to hospital with chemical burns. Six people were reported missing.

Burns caused by the sludge could take days to reveal themselves and what might seem like superficial injuries could later cause damage to deeper tissue, Peter Jakabos, a doctor on duty at a hospital in Gyor where several of the injured were taken, said on state TV.

‘Worst accident’
There has been no official explanation of the cause of the disaster, but weeks of heavy rain are likely to have played a role, the BBC’s Nick Thorpe reports from Budapest.

The sludge escaped from a reservoir at the Ajkai Timfoldgyar plant in the town of Ajka. Police say they have confiscated documents from the company’s headquarters.
BBC map

The sludge entered Devecser and Kolontar, where several hundred houses were flooded and dozens of people were evacuated. Five other localities were under threat.

Rescue workers used an axe to cut through the living room door of Tunde Erdelyi’s house in Devecser, to let the red liquid flow out, the Associated Press news agency reports.

“When I heard the rumble of the flood, all the time I had was to jump out the window and run to higher ground,” she said.

Robert Kis, her husband, said his uncle had been taken to Budapest by helicopter after the sludge “burnt him to the bone”.

Hungary’s disaster agency said 390 residents had to be temporarily relocated and 110 were rescued from flooded localities.

Zoltan Illes, state secretary for the environment ministry, said after visiting Kolontar on Tuesday that it was the worst chemical accident in Hungary’s history.

There were fears, he added, that the sludge could reach the Raba and Danube rivers.

Alumina, a synthetically produced aluminium oxide, is a white or nearly colourless crystalline substance that is used as a starting material for the smelting of aluminium metal.

It also serves as the raw material for a broad range of advanced ceramic products and as an active agent in chemical processing.

Source: bbc

Niger hunger ‘worse than 2005’

Niger is now facing the worst hunger crisis in its history, the UN’s World Food Programme says, with almost half the population – or 7.3 million people – in desperate need of food.

A WFP spokesman said villagers in Niger described the situation as worse than 2005, when thousands died of hunger.

After a prolonged drought, heavy rains have now hit parts of the country, killing at least six people.

The WFP says 17% of children, or one in five, are acutely malnourished.

The figure – based on national surveys in May and June – is well above the WFP’s normal 15% threshold for declaring an emergency.

It is appealing for $213m (£136m) in aid, but is still 40% short of its target, a spokesman said.

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