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Earthquakes in Central New Zealand

Friday, April 24, 2015
Another earthquake shook Wellington at 3:37 p.m. local time on Friday. The earthquake caused only minor damage, but the IFSA-Butler office in New Zealand verified the safety of all students in the area and also sent earthquake safety reminders to students in Wellington, Palmerston North and Christchurch.

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Two moderate earthquakes struck the northern tip of New Zealand's south island, near the town of Seddon, approximately 50 miles south of Wellington. The first earthquake with a magnitude of 4.4 hit at 10:36 a.m. local time and a second, slightly stronger earthquake with a magnitude of 5.1 was recorded at 10:42 a.m. According to local media reports, buildings shook in Wellington, but no structural damage or injuries occurred as a result.

The IFSA-Butler resident staff in New Zealand reached out to students in Wellington via text and posted safety instructions on the New Zealand program Facebook page. Additionally, earthquake safety instructions were discussed with students upon arrival in New Zealand during the program orientation. IFSA-Butler New Zealand staff are available 24/7 to students in case of emergency, and students received a cell phone number to call for emergency assistance at any time.

IFSA-Butler will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as necessary. For further information, please see the following media outlets:

Channel News Asia

New Zealand Herald


Tropical Cyclone Nathan

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
IFSA-Butler is monitoring the progress of Tropical Cyclone Nathan, currently a category 1 storm, just off the northeastern coast of Queensland, Australia. The storm is expected to increase in intensity to a category 2 or 3 storm by the time it makes landfall on Friday morning, March 20. The northern tip of Queensland is under a Tropical Cyclone warning, including the city of Cairns.

Students studying on the IFSA-Butler programs at James Cook University in both Cairns and Townsville have been notified of this storm, as well as precautions to take should it make landfall. The IFSA-Butler student services coordinator for the region, who lives locally, will remain in contact with students and provide any follow-up instructions. Safety instructions were also discussed during the IFSA-Butler program orientation. James Cook University is well prepared for tropical cyclones, and they too will be providing safety instructions to students.

IFSA-Butler has provided students with a 24/7 emergency contact number that students can call for assistance at any time. For further information about Tropical Cyclone Nathan, please see the following:


Fires Near Valparaíso, Chile (Update)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

IFSA-Butler is currently monitoring the fires that have broken out in the hills of Valparaíso, Chile. At this time, the fires pose no risk to IFSA-Butler students who are living in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, as they are located around 6 miles from where students live. The IFSA-Butler resident director confirmed today that all students are accounted for and safe. As of this morning, the air quality in Viña and Valparaíso was improving as the wind had shifted to a different direction. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide any updates as necessary.

Volcanic Eruption in Costa Rica

Friday, March 13
On Thursday, March 12, the Turrialba Volcano in Costa Rica erupted around 1:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. ET), ejecting a large amount of smoke and ash throughout the Central Valley of Costa Rica. This volcano is located around 35 miles east of Heredia, therefore posing no significant danger to Heredia or San José. The San José international airport was closed on Thursday, and it reopened early this morning, March 13.

The large amount of smoke and ash combined with the very windy weather in the region has left a light blanket over San José and Heredia, but the wind is causing the atmosphere to clear very quickly. IFSA-Butler has advised students with asthma or respiratory issues to stay inside or wear a mask when outdoors.

For more information about Turrialba Volcano, please see the following resources:

Israeli Car Attack

Friday, March 6, 2015
A car attack in Jerusalem on Friday injured four police officers and a bystander. The incident occurred in East Jerusalem, which is far from the Hebrew University campus and other areas of the city where our students would normally visit.

All IFSA-Butler students in Jerusalem have been contacted and accounted for by our on-site staff. Coordinators at Rothberg International School are available to provide help and to answer questions about this situation. IFSA-Butler's Manager of Student Services in Israel, Monica Wasserbach, is also available for student support.

IFSA-Butler students receive extensive safety training from Max Security Solutions during orientation. Max Security and IFSA-Butler staff in Israel also closely advise students on specific situations, as well as guidance to avoid certain spots in Jerusalem that are frequent targets for attacks.

For more information:

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