– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community
Ecuador: The death toll from Ecuador’s biggest earthquake in decades soared to 272 on Sunday as survivors cobbled together makeshift coffins to bury loved ones, lined up for water and sought shelter beside the rubble of their shattered homes.
The 7.8 magnitude quake struck off the Pacific coast on Saturday and was felt around the Andean nation of 16 million people, causing panic as far away as the highland capital Quito and destroying buildings, bridges and roads.
“Ecuador has been hit tremendously hard… This is the greatest tragedy in the last 67 years,” said a shaken President Rafael Correa, who rushed back to Ecuador from a visit to Italy.
“There are signs of life in much of the rubble and that is the priority,” Correa said in a televised address to the nation.
He confirmed 272 deaths and 2,068 injured and said he feared those figures would increase.
Coastal areas nearest the epicenter were hit hardest, especially Pedernales, a rustic tourist spot with beaches and palm trees now laden with debris from its pastel-colored houses.
Dazed residents recounted a violent shake, followed by a sudden collapse of buildings that trapped people in wreckage.
“You could hear people screaming from the rubble,” Agustin Robles said as he waited in a line of 40 people for water outside a stadium in Pedernales. “There was a pharmacy where people were stuck and we couldn’t do anything.”
Authorities said there were more than 160 aftershocks, mainly in the Pedernales area. A state of emergency was declared in six provinces.
The quake has piled pain on the economy of OPEC’s smallest member, already reeling from low oil prices, with economic growth this year projected at near-zero.
RUBBLE, RAIN, PRISON BREAK
As darkness set in and rain began to fall, survivors bundled up to spend the night next to their destroyed homes. Many had earlier queued up for food, water and blankets outside the blue-and-white stadium.
Inside the stadium, tents housed the dead and medical teams treated hundreds of survivors. About 91 people died in Pedernales and some 60 percent of houses were destroyed, according to Police Chief General Milton Zarate.
“We heard the warning so luckily we were in the street because the entire house collapsed. We don’t have anything,” said Ana Farias, 23, the mother of 16-month-old twins, as she collected water, food and blankets from rescuers.
“We’re going to have to sleep outside today.”
Other survivors hammered together shelters in empty lots. Police patrolled the dark town, where power remained off, while some rescuers plowed on.
Locals used a small tractor to remove rubble and also searched with their hands for trapped people. Women cried after a corpse was pulled out.
In Portoviejo, around 180 kilometers (112 miles) south of Pedernales, authorities said some 130 inmates escaped from the El Rodeo prison after its walls collapsed. More than 35 have been recaptured.
In Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, rubble lay in the streets and a bridge fell on top of a car
“It was horrible. It was as if it was going to collapse like cardboard,” said Galo Valle, 56, who was guarding a building in the city where windows fell out and parts of walls broke.
“I prayed and fell to my feet to ask God to protect me.”
About 13,500 security force personnel were mobilized to keep order around Ecuador, and $600 million in credit from multilateral lenders was immediately activated for the emergency, the government said.
REFINERY SHUT, GALAPAGOS UNSCATHED
It has been decades since the government dealt with an earthquake of this magnitude. In a 1979 disaster, 600 people were killed and 20,000 injured, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
According to the country’s Geophysics Institute, 230 aftershocks have been registered after the subduction, an event in which one tectonic plate goes under another.(goo.gl/smIFMb)
Venezuela, Chile and Mexico were sending personnel and supplies, the left-leaning Correa government said. The Ecuadorean Red Cross mobilized more than 800 volunteers and staff and medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said it was sending a team from Colombia.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter that two Canadians were among the dead and that the “scope of the devastation in Ecuador is shocking.” [L2N17L008]
The U.S. State Department said in an email that it was working to confirm reports of Americans injured in the quake, although it had no reports of any U.S. citizens killed.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry offered assistance.
Although tsunami warnings were lifted, coastal residents were still urged to seek higher ground in case tides rise.
The government said oil production was not affected but closed its main refinery of Esmeraldas, located near the epicenter, as a precaution. It was likely to restart soon.
Residents on the Galapagos islands far off Ecuador’s coast, home to numerous rare species, said they had not been affected by the quake.
The Ecuadorean quake followed two large and deadly quakes that struck Japan since Thursday. Both countries are located on the seismically active “Ring of Fire” that circles the Pacific, but according to the U.S. Geological Survey large quakes separated by such distances would probably not be related.
— Phuket Gazette EditorsKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
More than four million guests stayed in an Airbnb on August 10, 2019
“Airbnb has created an opportunity to meet people from all around the world.” – Pim, an Airbnb Host in Thailand
Exactly 11 years since Airbnb was founded, the home-sharing hospitality company and ‘accommodation disrupters’ celebrated its biggest night ever, with more than 4 million people spending the night in an Airbnb listing on August 10, 2019.
To date, there has been more than half a billion guest arrivals at unique homes and properties all over the world since the company was founded in August 2008.
To work towards bringing the world closer, Airbnb has created the Airbnb Connection Index, which reflects the pairings of countries and regions between hosts and guests. For example, when a guest from Thailand becomes the first to stay with a host in Iceland, a new connection is made. In return, when an Icelandic guest becomes the first to stay with a host in Thailand, another new connection is made.
In 2010, the Airbnb platform had facilitated more than 1,300 connections. By 2015, that number had increased to more than 16,500.
Today, approximately 26,000 connections have been made via the Airbnb platform, and by the end of 2019 more than 30,013 connections are expected to be made as the platform grows even further.
With the current presence of the Airbnb platform in 245 countries and regions, it is mathematically possible for there to be 60,025 place-to-place connections. By the year 2027, Airbnb predicts that there will be in excess of 50,000 connections.
As outlined in a recent report, much of Airbnb’s fastest growth is occurring in emerging destinations, propelled by a rising demand for travel to places across Asia Pacific, Africa, and Latin America.
Pim, an Airbnb Host in Thailand, shared, “Airbnb has created an opportunity to meet people from all around the world. It makes me understand that different cultures can live together. We can be happy, we can share, we can have good memories together no matter where you come from.”Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Bangkok to Hong Kong the world’s second most popular flight, what’s the most popular?
The world’s top five flying routes are all in the Asia Pacific region, according to an International Air Transport Association (IATA) report. Aviation writers say the growth can be attributed to the addition of flights operated by low-cost carriers in the region.
Passenger traffic between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Hong Kong airport is Number Two on the list of the airports with the world’s busiest air traffic. The trip between Hong Kong and Taipei Taoyuan, Taiwan, is the most popular route in the world carrying 5.4 million passengers per year.
Passenger traffic between Suvarnabhumi and Hong Kong reached 3.4 million in 2018, up 9% from 2017.
The report of IATA world airline traffic for 2018 also shows that airlines in the Asia Pacific carried the largest number of passengers in the world.
Global passenger traffic results for 2018 showed that demand rose by a healthy 6.5% compared to full-year 2017. Although this represented a slowdown compared to the 2017 annual growth of 8.0%, it was another year of above-trend growth. Full year 2018 capacity climbed 6.1%, and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage point to a record 81.9%, exceeding the previous high set in 2017.
“Airlines are connecting more people and places than ever before. The freedom to fly is more accessible than ever. And our world is a more prosperous place as a result,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director-general and CEO.
In terms of pure numbers of flights for 2018, here are the results. Eight out of ten of the routes are all in the Asia-Pacific.
- Kuala Lumpur – Singapore: 30,187 flights
- Hong Kong – Taipei: 28,447 flights
- Jakarta – Singapore: 27,046 flights
- Hong Kong – Shanghai: 20,678 flights
- Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur: 19,741 flights
- Seoul Incheon – Osaka: 19,711 flights
- New York LaGuardia – Toronto: 17,038 flights
- Hong Kong – Seoul Incheon: 15,770 flights
- Bangkok – Singapore: 14,698 flights
- Dubai – Kuwait: 14,581 flights
- Bangkok – Hong Kong: 14,556 flights
- Hong Kong – Beijing: 14,537 flights
- New York JFK – London Heathrow: 14,195 flights
- Tokyo Narita – Taipei: 13,902 flights
- Dublin – London Heathrow: 13,855 flights
- Osaka – Shanghai: 13,708 flights
- Hong Kong – Singapore: 13,654 flights
- Chicago O’Hare – Toronto: 13,503 flights
- Seoul Incheon – Tokyo Narita: 13,517 flights
- Osaka – Taipei: 13,325 flights
Which flight route makes the most money in the world?
The world of aviation now has its first billion dollar route. That’s a flight route that makes more money for an airline than any other. And for the first time that route has breached the one billion dollar ceiling – British Airways’ service between London Heathrow and New York’s JFK.
OAG has come up with a list of the routes and airlines that generate the highest revenue around the world.
The Heathrow to JFK route pockets British Airways more than $1.15 billion in the 12 months up to April 2019. With 600+ flights per month, that equates to an hourly revenue of $27,159, a 10% increase on last year’s revenue. British Airways operates the venerable Boeing 747 and Boeing 777-200s on its Heathrow to JFK services.
So where is the second most profitable flight route in the world? QANTAS Airways’ domestic service between the southern cities of Melbourne and Sydney generates more than $861 million a year for Australia’s national airline.
Number 3 and 4 were also flights out of London’s Heathrow – Emirates’ service to Dubai and Singapore Airlines’ route to Singapore Changi. The Heathrow flights to Doha with Qatar Airways was number 7 and Cathay Pacific’s flights to Hong Kong were Number 8.
North American domestic routes also figured in the top 10. United Airlines’ San Francisco to Newark route delivered annual revenue of $689 million dollars and Air Canada’s Vancouver to Toronto route was Number 9 with annual revenue of $541 million dollars.
Highest-revenue flight routes: April 2018 – March 2019
1. British Airways: New York JFK – London Heathrow
(Total revenue: $1,159,126,794 / revenue per hour: $27,159)
2. Qantas Airways: Melbourne – Sydney
(Total revenue: $861,260,322 / revenue per hour: $23,773)
3. Emirates: London Heathrow – Dubai International
(Total revenue: $796,201,645 / revenue per hour: $24,926)
4. Singapore Airlines: London Heathrow – Singapore Changi
(Total revenue: $735,597,614 / revenue per hour: $18,771)
5. United Airlines: San Francisco International – Newark
(Total revenue: $689,371,368 / revenue per hour: $12,882)
6. American Airlines: Los Angeles LAX – New York JFK
(Total revenue: $661,739,788 / Revenue per hour: $13,099)
7. Qatar Airways: London Heathrow – Hamad International
(Total revenue: $639,122,609 / revenue per hour: $20,415)
8. Cathay Pacific Airways: Hong Kong International – London Heathrow
(Total revenue: $604,595,063 / revenue per hour: $13,887)
9. Singapore Airlines: Sydney – Singapore Changi
(Total revenue: $549,711,946 / revenue per hour: $20,821)
10. Air Canada: Vancouver YVR – Toronto Pearson International
(Total revenue: $541,122,509 / revenue per hour: $11,936)
SOURCE: CNN Travel
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