Thursday, April 26, 2007

In the News...

Fire Ravages Sponsorship Community in the Philippines

Fire swept through a shantytown in Quezon City, Philippines, the afternoon of April 26, destroying homes and property as residents fled for their lives. There have been no reports of serious injuries or casualties.

The ravaged community consists of approximately 150 homes. Our staff in Manila rushed to the scene to check on the welfare of the families in the area. They informed us that 39 families of sponsored children – as well as two former sponsored children – have been affected by this disaster.

Sponsored families have been provided with temporary shelters within the Bagbag community by local government agencies.

Since most sponsored families were not able to salvage any personal belongings, Children International immediately provided emergency items such as blankets, pillows and toothbrushes. Additionally, government agencies distributed food to the victims.

We'll keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Photos and information provided by Arlene De Vera, of our Manila agency.

Power returning to Colombia after nationwide blackout

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Colombia's electrical grid collapsed Thursday, causing a nationwide blackout that briefly halted stock trading, trapped people in elevators and left authorities struggling to determine the cause.

President Alvaro Uribe told journalists in the southern city of Cali that the blackout, which began at midmorning, "appears to have affected the entire country."

Luis Alarcon, manager of state-controlled electricity distributor ISA, issued a statement that the power outage apparently began with an undetermined technical glitch at a substation in Bogota and quickly spread to the rest of the country.

He said work crews had re-established power to about 20 percent of the country and hoped to reconnect the rest in a few hours.

Bogota's stock exchange resumed trading around noon as power returned. It said trading would be extended for an hour to make up for the suspension.

RCN television reported that power had returned to central Bogota, and to parts of the city's northern districts, where many companies have their headquarters.

Rosa Ortiz, who runs a cigarette stand at a busy intersection in Bogota, said that with traffic lights knocked out, "we've seen a few near accidents, but so far the drivers seem to be adapting to the situation."

There was no indication of a terrorist attack, though leftist rebels routinely sabotage electric transmission lines as part of their four-decade old campaign to overthrow the government.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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