good morning. We cover the aftermath of the earthquake in Afghanistan and the torrential floods in China.
Afghanistan assesses earthquake
Afghan officials said rescue efforts are dwindling after the 5.9-magnitude earthquake early Wednesday morning is believed to have killed more than 1,000 people.
With hopes of finding survivors waning, Taliban officials called for help from aid agencies. The government said some supplies had already arrived from Iran, Qatar and Pakistan. The United States, the United Nations and the World Health Organization have also taken steps to help. South Korea promised $1 million in humanitarian aid.
The rugged terrain, weather and extreme poverty of the hard-hit areas of Paktika province in the remote southeast pose a particular challenge. The area is also far from many clinics or hospitals that can help the wounded. Here are the latest updates and photos.
background: Before the Taliban took power, foreign aid funded 75% of the Afghan government’s budget. The Taliban struggled to attract foreign money: Western donors rejected edicts that prevented girls from attending high school and restricted women’s rights.
Victims: Hawa, a 30-year-old mother, lived with her one-year-old daughter. Four of her other children died, as well as 17 of her other relatives. “I have lost everything, my whole world, my entire family, I have no hope for the future,” Eve told The Times.
What’s Next: The United Nations has warned that a lack of clean drinking water and sanitation could lead to a cholera outbreak.
Zelensky addressed African leaders
After repeated requests to do so, Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, addressed the African Union this week.
Zelensky faced an uphill battle, as he pressed leaders with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Many African governments abstained from condemning Russia, and abstained from voting at the United Nations condemning the invasion as a war that did not directly affect the continent.
A better understanding of the Russo-Ukrainian war
Zelensky focused on the economic fallout for Africa: high food prices caused by the conflict between two of the world’s largest grain producers, exacerbating food insecurity.
“Africa is already being held hostage,” Zelensky said, according to the Associated Press.
Drought in Somalia and growing food insecurity in the Sahel have brought stark focus on the consequences of rising food prices, particularly wheat. The rising cost of fuel has put more pressure on the continent’s nascent middle class and the urban poor.
“They are trying to use you and the suffering of the people to put pressure on the democracies that have imposed sanctions on Russia,” Zelensky said in a video address.
The response was faint. Moussa Faki Mahamat, head of the African Union, renewed the call for dialogue in a tweet published after the meeting.
It was in stark contrast to the enthusiastic audience that was introduced to Putin earlier this month. Pinned to Faki’s Twitter timeline is a take photo Him and Senegalese President Macky Sall meet Putin in Sochi. Speaking as the rotating political head of the African Union, Sall called for an end to sanctions against Russia, referring to Putin as his “dear friend Vladimir”.
severe weather hits china
Heavy floods in southern China disrupted the lives of nearly half a million people, as rising waters inundated cars and homes. State TV in Shaoguan, the manufacturing hub, reported that factories were ordered to halt production as the water level rose to a 50-year high.
In the Northern and Central Provinces, heat waves have pushed the demand for air conditioners to record levels. In Henan, cement roads dented last week as road surface temperatures reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Local media reported that the accident resembled the effects of an earthquake.
Concurrent climate emergencies reflect a global trend of frequent and prolonged episodes of extreme weather driven by climate change.
background: China has transformed farmland into cities in the past decades, lifting millions of people in rural areas out of poverty. But it has also become the world’s largest polluter, with greenhouse gas emissions exceeding those of all developed countries combined.
India’s most famous fashion designer, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, has long dominated the country’s wedding dress industry in an ultra-traditional style.
Now, in his American debut, he’s looking to establish himself as a kind of Indian Ralph Lauren. “He sold the idea of good American living to middle-class Americans, and I sold the idea of good Indian living to middle-class Indians,” Mukherjee said.
arts and ideas
Zen art lessons
My colleague Jason Farago visited Mind Above Command: Zen in Medieval Japan, an exhibit in Washington, D.C., and described it as “a display of enchanting absence: a stark and beautiful exhibition where form sinks into silence, and ego fades into the emptiness of space.”
The display at the Freer Gallery of Art – a branch of the Smithsonian’s National Gallery of Asian Art – is a good introduction to Japanese painting from the 14th to 17th centuries. Jason, an extensive critic, has highlighted its contemporary implications.
He writes: “Now, zen has become a Western abbreviation for peace and quiet, all of which can be reduced to a lifestyle breakthrough.” But Zen is the purest and most austere tradition in Mahayana Buddhism. Practitioners seek to empty the mind through meditation (Zen, in Japanese), until one reaches the highest state of consciousness, known as satori.
Jason writes: “Despite their complete beauty, these perfect, simplified paintings are best understood by the efforts of individual monks to express and stimulate a no-brainer that would even reveal painting as just another part of this life-and-death cycle.” . “They offer no lesson, or rather they offer the lesson of primordial Zen: the lesson of nothingness.”
Play, watch, all
what are you cooking
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. – Amelia and Linsey
PS Yonette Joseph is moving from Seoul to Mexico City to expand our global editorial coverage.
The latest episode of The Daily revolves around a Supreme Court case that could doom America’s climate goals.
You can reach out to Amelia, Lynsey and the team at [email protected].