Monday, 11 May 2015

Fresh avalanches in Nepal force workers to call of search for bodies in buried village

Fresh avalanches forced rescuers in a village buried by a landslide in northern Nepal to stop searching for bodies in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, officials said Sunday.

The avalanches on Friday and Saturday made the work dangerous for police and army rescuers, and they moved to higher and safer ground, said government administrator Gautam Rimal.

Weather conditions also deteriorated with continuing rainfall and fog, he said.

The April 25 earthquake killed more than 8,000 people and injured more than 16,000 others, as it flattened mountain villages and destroyed buildings and archaeological sites in the Himalayan region.

So far, 120 bodies have been recovered from Langtang Valley, a scenic village on a popular trekking route located about 60 kilometres (35 miles) north of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

Among the bodies were those of nine foreigners, and it was still not clear how many people were buried in the village that was covered by a mudslide set loose by the magnitude-7.8 quake.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless and are still living in tent camps scattered across central and northern Nepal.

Sunday 10 May 2015

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May 11, 1985: Triumph turns to tragedy as football fans perish in Bradford City stadium fire

The worst-ever British football stadium fire happened on this day in 1985 at Valley Parade, home of Bradford City, claiming the lives of 56 fans and injuring at least 265 others.

Hundreds more were taken into hospital suffering from burns and smoke inhalation after flames engulfed the stadium’s main stand, a mainly wooden structure that had not been altered since its creation in 1911.

Over 11,000 supporters were in the ground – nearly double the season’s average crowd – to see Bradford lift the Third Division trophy, and the mood among them was one of celebration before their final game of the season against Lincoln City.

But at 3.40pm flames were spotted at the back of the main stand. The cause of the fire has never been definitively proved, but it is generally accepted that a supporter stubbed out a cigarette in a polystyrene cup, which smouldered then ignited an accumulation of rubbish underneath the stand.

Strong winds circulating around the ground fanned the flames, spreading them with terrifying speed; within four minutes, the whole stand was ablaze. Its wooden roof also caught fire, sending burning timber and molten asphalt and bitumen down onto spectators.

Fans flee the fire in the stand at Valley Parade.

Those near the front of the stand jumped onto the pitch to avoid the flames, but many others tried to escape through exits at its rear – only to find them shut, and in some cases locked. 27 of those who died were found by exit K and turnstiles six to nine at the rear centre of the stand.

An inquiry into the disaster chaired by Sir Oliver Popplewell introduced new legislation to govern safety at sports stadia in the UK, including the banning of any new wooden stands, the banning of smoking in existing stands, and a requirement for stewards to undergo safety training.

Monday 11 May 2015

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