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New Zealand Earthquake on South Island on August 16

Friday, August 16, 2013

IFSA-Butler is closely monitoring a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand at 12:31 p.m. on Friday, August 16 (New Zealand time), followed by a strong 5.7 magnitude aftershock. The epicenter of the earthquake was located at the top of the South Island, approximately 40 miles south-east of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. The earthquake was felt in Wellington; however, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported at this time. Additionally, only minor damage to buildings in Wellington has been reported.

IFSA-Butler resident staff in New Zealand followed all safety protocols, contacting students to determine their status as well as contacting Indianapolis headquarters to report the event. As a result, IFSA-Butler has accounted for all students, and everyone is doing fine. The scheduled cultural events for Saturday, August 17 and volunteering event for Sunday, August 18 are still running as planned.

Due to New Zealand’s location in the Pacific, earthquake activity is a normal part of daily life. Most earthquakes are small in magnitude, yet students will still frequently feel tremors. Because of this, IFSA-Butler staff teach students how to prepare for and respond safely to earthquakes during the mandatory program orientation at the beginning of the semester. IFSA-Butler staff follows the advice laid out by New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence (sic) and Emergency Management (www.civildefence.govt.nz). The basic safety message is to “drop, cover, and hold (on)” (www.getthru.govt.nz/web/GetThru.nsf/web/BOWN-7GY5TP?OpenDocument). Additionally, building codes in New Zealand are of a very high standard and strictly enforced to maintain public safety.

All students in New Zealand are also provided a card with emergency contact information for the IFSA-Butler New Zealand resident staff. Students can call this number 24/7 should they need assistance or guidance for any emergency situation.

We will continue to monitor this situation in New Zealand and provide any updates as needed. For further information, please see the following media outlets:

ABC
www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-16/earthquake-strikes-south-of-wellington-nz/4892248

New Zealand Herald
www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10913399

BBC
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23721969

 
July 21 earthquake in New Zealand

New Zealand Earthquake near Wellington New Zealand on July 21

A magnitude 6.5 earthquake occurred 35 miles south southeast of Wellington, New Zealand, on Sunday morning local time. There was no tsunami warning issued and no major structural damage reported, but there were two injuries reported. While isolated power outages have occurred, most residents do have power and other utilities.

Guy Ferguson, IFSA-Butler's student services coordinator in Wellington, has contacted all IFSA-Butler students in the area to ensure that they are safe. Because earthquakes can be unsettling, students are urged to call him if they want to talk. Local university staff will also be available to speak to our students about any safety concerns.

Both of IFSA-Butler's affiliated universities in Wellington, Victoria University and Massey University Wellington, are closed on Monday July 22, to ensure that no structural damage occurred to campus facilities. Classes will likely resume on Tuesday.

Train and air travel are suspended until further notice. Wellington authorities are asking residents not to go into the central business district on Monday, July 22, so that engineers and authorities have the chance to check the city for damage.

As a nation that is part of the earthquake zone known as the Ring of Fire, residents of New Zealand and its government are prepared for responding to earthquakes. Buildings and infrastructure are built under strict standards to withstand earthquakes. In addition, all IFSA-Butler students in New Zealand are prepped about earthquake safety during orientation, and the IFSA-Butler New Zealand Student Handbook contains additional information about earthquake safety.

There will be an update to this message on Monday, July 22.

Resources:

Victoria University: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/home/default

Massey University Wellington: http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/about-massey/news/article.cfm?mnarticle_uuid=085C780B-F49C-E889-7998-DDC4E153D448

http://www.getthru.govt.nz/web/GetThru.nsf/web/BOWN-7GY5TP  Instructions about how to prepare for an earthquake as well as what to do when one occurs and what to do afterwards.

http://www.google.org/publicalerts/alert?aid=648ba36324a7131a&hl=en&gl=US&source=web Update from the US Geological survey with map showing distance from land and Wellington city.

New Zealand Local News Sources:

http://m.tvnz.co.nz/news/top_stories/5516106

http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/894538/Big_quake_shakes_central_New-Zealand

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Student Strikes in Chile

Students at some universities in Chile have been on strike since early May, demanding lower tuition costs and other education reforms. These strikes have been relatively peaceful, but are expected to last into semester 2 (fall semester). Click here to read our FAQs about university strikes abroad.

Strikes have been much more widespread in Santiago than in Valparaíso, so our office in Valparaíso has been coordinating academic options for our students with university partners. Because of these strikes, our semester 2 students in Valparaíso have been informed of the following updates:

Students will still take courses at our host institutions, but these courses will likely be taught for international students only.
IFSA-Butler program courses, including the internship option in Valparaíso, will not be affected by these strikes.
As it appears that students will not be able to take classes with Chileans, we will be focusing on additional ways they can get involved in the community, including volunteering and local cultural activities.
It is illegal for non-Chilean students to take part in student demonstrations or protests.
We believe that even with the challenges presented by these strikes, students will have a full study abroad experience, and at the same time gain a unique perspective on history in the making and the way democracy unfolds in Chile. However, we are also giving our Valparaíso students the option of changing to IFSA-Butler programs in Santiago, Lima, Peru, or in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Students, parents and advisors are welcome to contact Erika Ryser-Garcia, Director for Programs in Latin America and Spain, about this situation. She can be reached via email or at 317-940-4220.

 

 
IFSA-Butler Cancels Fall 2013 Egypt Program

IFSA-Butler has decided to suspend its fall 2013 programs in Egypt. This was a difficult decision made only after multiple conversations with our resident director in Cairo, U.S.-based staff and our security agency. We believe that Egypt's political upheavals and potential for violence over the coming months would place our students' academic development, cross-cultural experiences and personal safety at risk.

Our fall semester Egypt students have already been informed of our decision. We are allowing them to transfer their enrollment to fall semester IFSA-Butler programs in Israel or the United Arab Emirates, or they can defer their enrollment in Egypt programs until spring 2014. For those who choose to withdraw from our programs entirely, we are issuing a full refund of fees.

We regret that we must make this decision, but IFSA-Butler remains committed to helping students learn about the culture and people of the Middle East. We plan to reopen our Egypt programs for spring semester 2014. Our Egyptian colleagues are in our thoughts and we wish them all the best for Ramadan and for a swift end to the conflict there.

 

 
IFSA-Butler Monitoring Egypt Protests

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Today the Egyptian military announced the removal of President Morsi from power, with Adli Mansour serving as interim president until new elections are called. IFSA-Butler staff in Egypt and in the U.S. continue to monitor the situation, and we have communicated these new developments to fall semester students, their parents and home college study abroad advisors. We will continue to update our audiences as appropriate.

Please note that IFSA-Butler's U.S. office is closed on Thursday and Friday, July 4 and 5, for the Independence Day holiday. We will reopen on Monday, July 8.

Monday, July 1, 2013
IFSA-Butler extends its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Andrew Pochter, as well as to the entire Kenyon College community. Losing a student is always a tragedy, especially when pursuing educational and professional goals abroad. Our thoughts are with Mr. Pochter’s family, friends and fellow study abroad students.

IFSA-Butler continues to monitor the current political situation in Egypt. Protests are slated to continue throughout the week, specifically on July 2 and July 5. Since Ramadan begins on July 9, it is believed that protest activity will subside during the holiday.

At this time, IFSA-Butler does not have any students in Egypt, as our spring program concluded in June 2013.

Currently all fall semester 2013 programs in Cairo and Alexandria are set to begin on August 26, 2013. IFSA-Butler will closely watch as events unfold in Egypt and maintain regular contact with our resident staff in Cairo and Alexandria. Additional updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

Since the U.S. Department of State issued a Travel Warning for Egypt on June 28, 2013, we are advising all fall semester 2013 Egypt program participants to contact their home university study abroad advisors. IFSA-Butler can help students that may need assistance completing a travel waiver form or petition to study abroad in a Travel Warning destination. We have detailed contingency plans in place along with comprehensive security evacuation insurance policies.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns about the IFSA-Butler Egypt fall 2013 programs. Please note that IFSA-Butler will be closed July 4-5, 2013 in observance of Independence Day, and the office will reopen Monday, July 8 at 8:30 a.m. ET.

For more information, please see the following resources:

 
 
 
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