From:The Q Continuum
To:*Galactic-Enquirer
Stardate:20090505.1552
Subject:Betazed: Week 3

BETAZED, Alpha Quadrant.

Now in the fourth week since the disastrous OOR attack which left Betazed orbiting a black hole, the surface temperatures of the planet have dropped to -20 degrees Celsius. Now covered in a layer of permafrost, 85% of the planet's vegetation has died, with all but the heartiest of trees succumbing to the bitter cold and the loss of photosynthesis. And even those trees will evetually succumb within decades as their sugar stores are depleted.

The current death toll stands at an estimated 1.5 billion, with over half a billion deaths attributed to the initial hysteria and rioting alone. With the loss of vegetation also comes the loss of crops, and starvation is a concern second only to exposure to the bitter cold. Routine shipments of raw foodstuffs are carted in on every freighter inbound to ferry more evacuees and massive replicator complexes are being erected in major population centers, and though the United Federation of Planets is putting forth its best effort to keep the remaining populous fed, an additional half a billion deaths are expected within the next week alone as food stockpiles dwindle and overcrowding and exposure continue to be a constant battle.

To date 30 million refugees have been evacuated to the Krellix Sigma III terraforming colony and the planet Seldakor, guaranteeing the survival of the species in the face of a dark future. Efforts at the construction of large habitation domes around the major metropolitan centers has begun, and a dozen of Betazed's largest cities are expected to be permanently habitable within a month. However, it is unlikely that the planet's population will ever be sustained at its current levels.