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SHAKE AND BLOW
S. Korea quake leaves dozens injured, 1,500 seeking shelter
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Nov 16, 2017


Turquoise waterfalls dry up after Mexico quakes
San Cristóbal De Las Casas, Mexico (AFP) Nov 17, 2017 - The Agua Azul waterfalls in southern Mexico are a playground of bright turquoise water cascading over limestone steps.

But after a powerful earthquake hit the country, they dried up -- and the area's once-booming tourist economy along with them.

The state of Chiapas, where the falls trickle near the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque, was the epicenter of the 8.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Mexico on September 7, killing 96 people.

Besides flattening houses and buildings across a broad swathe of southern Mexico, the quake, along with thousands of aftershocks, also altered the bed of the Agua Azul river.

The tremors -- together with the normal erosion of the limestone whose minerals give the water its bright color -- collapsed a portion of the river's left bank, said Mexico's National Water Commission.

That shifted the flow of water to another branch of the river and caused the water level to drop by nearly a meter (three feet), leaving the falls completely dry in many places.

Locals watched in alarm this month as the water dried up from one day to the next, making them fear for the future of a tourist attraction that draws thousands of visitors a day from around the world.

"If there are no tourists, there are no jobs," local businessman Juan Manuel Hernandez told AFP.

The government vowed to study the problem and seek a solution.

But not content to sit back and wait, locals have taken matters into their own hands.

Using shovels and pickaxes, they partially restored the riverbed to its original course, bringing back a trickle of the famously bright blue water.

After moving as much stone and sediment as they could by hand, they have asked the authorities for heavy machinery they hope will help them bring the falls back to their full flow.

Mexicans have a tradition of springing into action after earthquakes, stepping up when overwhelmed authorities don't.

After the September 7 quake and another on September 19 that leveled dozens of buildings in Mexico City, killing 369 people, volunteers flooded the streets to pull survivors from the rubble, bring emergency supplies and even provide free legal services and psychological counseling.

More than 50 people were injured and 1,500 taken to shelters in South Korea after a rare 5.4-magnitude quake hit the southeastern port of Pohang on Wednesday, officials said Thursday.

The second-most powerful quake recorded in the South hit at a shallow depth of nine kilometres (six miles) on Wednesday afternoon, sparking alarm in a country that rarely experiences significant tremors.

The quake, which was felt across the country including in the capital Seoul, damaged nearly 1,100 homes and more than 100 schools, the safety ministry said in a statement.

Roads and public and military facilities were also damaged, while 57 people were left injured and 1,536 seeking shelter outside their home, it said -- adding no deaths had been reported.

It came about a year after the country's most powerful quake to date, a 5.8-magnitude tremor that struck another southeastern city, Gyeongju, in September 2016.

Photos of the aftermath of Wednesday's quake showed damaged homes, shattered storefronts and cars smashed by fallen bricks.

One video posted on social media showed dozens of students screaming and fleeing in panic as a large brick facade crumbled and fell off the top of a campus building.

As dozens of aftershocks continued to rattle Pohang, Seoul late Wednesday announced the unusual decision to postpone the country's all-important nationwide college entrance exam -- scheduled for Thursday -- by a week.

The annual event is closely watched by the whole nation, which falls silent on the day to help teenagers focus on the test whose result could define their future in the hyper-competitive society.

It was the second time the test has been postponed since 1992, when several test papers were found missing a day before the exam, forcing authorities to delay the event by several weeks.

The Korean peninsula, unlike its neighbour Japan, rarely experiences significant quakes but seismic activity is closely monitored because a spike in activity is often the first indication that North Korea has staged a nuclear test.

SHAKE AND BLOW
Iran hunts for survivors as quake kills 400 near Iraq border
Tehran (AFP) Nov 13, 2017
Teams of Iranian rescuers dug through rubble in a hunt for survivors Monday after a major earthquake struck the Iran-Iraq border, killing at least 421 people and injuring thousands. The 7.3-magnitude quake rocked a border area 30 kilometres (20 miles) southwest of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan at around 9:20 pm (1820 GMT) on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said. Many people would have been ... read more

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
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