Rescuers struggled to reach victims trapped beneath rubble in the aftermath of a February 22 magnitude 6.3 earthquake that killed at least 75 people in Christchurch, New Zealand. Several hundred more are still missing.
Australia & Oceania
The Pacific island nation of Kiribati is generally only 6.5 feet above sea level. That means 6.5 feet above oblivion as sea levels are predicted to rise up to 3 feet by the end of the century. But many islanders remember God's biblical promise to Noah that he would never send another flood.
"The world's second biggest palm oil company has agreed to halt deforestation in valuable areas of Indonesian forest, bowing to pressure from western food processors and conservationists."
"A team of pediatricians has called for a ban on naphthalene, used in mothballs, after the death of a baby and catastrophic brain injuries to two others."
"Governments in the Asia-Pacific region face the risk of unprecedented numbers of people displaced by floods, storms and other impacts of climate change, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in a report on Monday."
"Australia has endured two of its deadliest summers on record, blamed in part on global warming, but record fires, floods and cyclones have not persuaded it to take strong action on climate change. But some experts hope that Wednesday's arrival of giant Cyclone Yasi on the coast of Queensland, already hit by massive floods last month, will help bring more of a sense of urgency to the political debate over climate policy."
"A huge cyclone barrelling towards Australia was Wednesday upgraded to the highest threat level as meteorologists warned it was shaping up to be the most life-threatening storm in generations."
"Climate change has likely intensified the monsoon rains that have triggered record floods in Australia's Queensland state, scientists said on Wednesday, with several months of heavy rain and storms still to come."
"Thousands of residents of Australia's third-largest city evacuated homes on Wednesday as massive floods threatened to inundate the financial district, sparked panic buying of food and left authorities despairing for more than 90 people missing."