Aid is beginning to arrive in Vanuatu after the Pacific island nation was hit by a cyclone which President Baldwin Lonsdale described as a "monster". Air force planes arrived with supplies from Australia and New Zealand, and other countries have pledged to help. Aerial images of the capital Port Vila show many houses completely flattened. A communications blackout means little is known about conditions beyond the capital but a pilot saw similar devastation in outlying islands. His voice breaking, President Lonsdale told the BBC that Cyclone Pam had destroyed most buildings in Port Vila, including schools and clinics.
A state of emergency has been declared in the tiny state of 267,000 people, spread over 65 islands. More form BBC News: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31895231
From the Huffington Post: The crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) is now entering its third year. Despite the deployment of a new United Nations peacekeeping mission in 2014, violence continues. In recent weeks armed groups have targeted humanitarian workers and resurgent sectarian violence has led civil society actors to warn of the possibility of genocidal violence.
In the midst of this deteriorating security environment, a massive humanitarian crisis continues to develop. More than 2.7 million civilians are in need of humanitarian assistance; almost 1 million have been internally or externally displaced from the fighting. The situation in CAR has been declared by the UN as a "Level 3 Emergency" -- a rating it currently shares with Syria, South Sudan and Iraq.
Children are the hardest hit by this crisis. The Central African Republic already has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Damaged infrastructure and interrupted government services have had a devastating impact on youth health and education. Declining rates of vaccination contribute to resurgent rates of polio and measles. The threat of cholera or other waterborne illnesses have climbed due to the severely limited access to clean water and proper sanitation. The lasting impact on the youngest generation of CAR is yet to be realized. More at http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/...
Dallas startup accelerator Tech Wildcatters is launching a program focused on wearable technology for police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel. The unique public-private experiment will be announced Wednesday. The pilot program is funded by the Department of Homeland Security’s research and development arm, and Tech Wildcatters is one of two U.S. accelerators tapped to run it. The program is being managed by the Center for Innovative Technology, a Virginia-based nonprofit. This is the first time Homeland Security’s research division has experimented with accelerators. The federal agency is interested in wearable technology such as advanced sensors, smart voice and data communication chips embedded in gear, and health-related monitors: http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Wearable-Technology-Change-Emergency...