UN agency delivers more aid to quake survivors in Turkey

Two flights at the weekend delivered 1,000 tents and 20,000 blankets, Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.A third flight landed in the city of Erzurum earlier today with more tents and blankets, and the final flight is due to land within the next 24 hours with additional relief items from the agency’s stockpile in Dubai, according to Mr. Mahecic.The aid is likely to be distributed in and around the badly damaged town of Ercis, which is located close to the epicentre of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit the area on 23 October. More than 600 people were killed and 4,000 were injured in the earthquake, according to official figures.In total, UNHCR plans to donate 4,000 tents, 50,000 blankets and 10,000 sleeping mats for the neediest families. The agency is focusing on the well-being of some 2,000 refugees and asylum-seekers known to have been living in the area. Most are Iranian or Afghan nationals.They are in need of food, water and shelter as autumn and winter in that part of Turkey are harsh, with night temperatures dropping to below freezing.Relief assistance in the stricken city of Van is increasing with three aid distribution points now operational, according to the UNHCR, which, along with its partners, has been providing updated information to refugees and asylum-seekers.On Friday, UNHCR sent additional teams to support staff who were present during the quake and who volunteered to remain there.The Turkish Government and local authorities in Van are working on a plan to relocate some people away from the disaster zone. Relocations of registered asylum-seekers and refugees are being organized on a voluntary basis, and UNHCR teams in Van are offering counselling and advice to the people concerned. 1 November 2011The United Nations refugee agency reported today it has airlifted more than 100 tons of relief materials into Turkey to assist survivors of last week’s devastating earthquake in the country’s southeast. read more

New Brock research examines forgetfulness in preschoolers

In spite of their best intentions, three- and four-year-old kids often struggle with remembering what they were supposed to do.Prospective memory, or the memory of future intentions, is the focus of a new Brock University study by Caitlin Mahy, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, and her research team, student Lydia Lavis and lab manager Amanda Krause.The researchers are exploring two possible reasons why children forget, and whether these reasons differ depending on a child’s age.“Children forget either because of memory failure, when they can’t remember what they have to do, or because they don’t detect a cue to trigger the behaviour, even though they can remember and report what they had to do,” Mahy says.“Our prediction is that three year olds fail to carry out their intentions because they forget what they had to do, whereas four year olds forget to carry out their intentions because they don’t detect the cue at the right time — but can still remember what they had to do.”In order to collect a high volume of data in a short period of time, the research team collaborated with the Ontario Science Centre (OSC) through its Research Live! program.There is a growing trend of developmental research being conducted in public learning spaces like museums, and Mahy and her team understand why. With a high volume of visitors, the team was able to collect the same amount of data in seven days as they typically would have in a year if restricted to the lab.Data collection was less controlled than in a lab, because of noise and distractions. But Mahy’s team found that the children were surprisingly focused.The OSC also provided a diverse group of subjects from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Families from Canada, the U.K., United Arab Emirates and the U.S. all agreed to participate.Mahy found it moving to see so many children from diverse backgrounds getting excited about participating in science, and enjoyed discussing the research with parents who want to better understand their children’s behaviour.“Caitlin’s approach to developing novel ways to undertake data collection is a fine example of the innovative efforts made by junior faculty in the Social Sciences,” says Diane Dupont, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the Faculty. “It not only improves their own research, but also showcases the breadth of research inquiry undertaken by Brock faculty.”Mahy’s study is ongoing. Data will be used for Lavis’s honours thesis project, and eventually published. For more information on the study, visit brockdmclab.com read more