Thursday, 11 June 2015

Post-mortem on 22 bodies from death camps completed so far

22 bodies recovered from the abandoned migrant camps close to the Perlis-Thai border have been completed so far, police say.

Perlis police chief SAC Shafie Ismail said of the 22 bodies, 14 were between the ages of 20 and 40; 12 between the ages of 40 and 60, two aged 17 to 25; and 60 and above, one.

"Of the 22 bodies, 21 are male, but we could not determine the gender of one more body," he said. Without elaborating further, Shafie said the medical forensics team were in the midst of examining 84 other remains at the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Star, Kedah. In a span of three weeks, police officers retrieved a total of 106 bodies from 139 graves found on the higher contours hills on the Nakawan range.

Most of the bodies brought down were skeletal remains and highly-decomposed remains. Police will use the findings by the pathologists to ascertain if there are criminal reasons to their deaths.

On May 11, police found 28 settlements and 139 burial plots deep in the jungles of Wang Kelian. The discovery was made after two weeks of thorough combing through the 50km Malaysia-Thai border in Perlis.

Police learnt about the existence of the camps where traffickers detained large groups of migrants but could not pinpoint the exact location until the discovery of camps in Thailand early last month.

Thursday 11 June 2015

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37 Bodies Recovered, Many Still Missing In Cameroon Boat Wreck

Thirty seven bodies have been recovered after an accident that occurred last Saturday involving two boats carrying over 200 passengers along river Benue in northern Cameroon.

Reports quoted official sources as saying on Tuesday that no fewer than 10 people had been rescued while many other people are still missing. Cameroon’s public broadcaster has reported that the country’s national navy was still searching for survivours and victims of the accident in which two boats collided.

Having left Lagdo region heading to Rey Bouba locality in the same region, the two boats that were said to be overloaded, collided after being swept away by strong winds, security sources said.

Over 200 passengers are thought to have been on board both boats with unknown quantity of merchandise. Some of the victims were identified as traders returning from the Lagdo weekly market, while others were identified as family members coming from a customary Muslim marriage ceremony.

With only 10 survivors rescued four days after the accident, hopes of the rescue teams finding more survivors have continued to fade. As a first measure to prevent such catastrophes from recurring, the governor of Cameroon’s northern region, Jean Abate Edi’i has banned night travels by boat along river Benue.

Official statistics cited by the media indicate that on some days, especially market days, over 500 small boats move between Lagdo and Rey Bouba locality

Thursday 11 June 2015

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China: Morticians volunteer for somber task of preparing the bodies of the 434 Eastern Star victims

More than 100 morticians have gathered in Jianli county, Hubei province, to complete the somber task of preparing the bodies of the 434 Eastern Star victims for cremation or return to their families.

Zhang Wei, who manages a funeral parlor in Hankou and arrived with 15 morticians, said they would provide special care.

"It is the mortician's job to let every deceased depart with dignity," said Zhang, who has 30 years of experience.

"I exhorted every co-worker to move and clean the bodies with extra care. I asked all of them to put their heart and soul into every procedure in their work."

The cruise ship with 456 people aboard capsized in stormy weather on the Yangtze River on June 1 in the country's worst shipping disaster in 70 years. Only 14 people survived and eight remain missing.

Experienced personnel from several cities-including Tianjin, Guangzhou and Wuhan-gathered in Jianli to ensure that the remains are handled with dignity and respect.

Chen Pin, a mortician from Wuhan who volunteered to help, said she and four other colleagues were extremely saddened when they cleaned the body of a 3-year-old girl, the youngest victim of the disaster.

"I burst into tears when I dealt with the body. When I placed the girl on a workbench, I could hardly control the shaking of my hands. I felt truly sorry for the victims, and most of them were elderly people who are supposed to have had a nice trip," Chen said.

"It's hot in Jianli, and the job is not easy," she added. "We usually started work at 5 am and worked until 10 pm. It took two or three hours to prepare each body. On a couple of nights, we worked till midnight."

DNA samples from the bodies have been collected and more than 100 victims had been identified as of Tuesday morning.

Thursday 11 June 2015

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Mount Kinabalu earthquake: Last remaining two missing victims identified

The last remaining two missing victims of Friday’s earthquake in Ranau have been identified by forensic teams.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said the verification was made after DNA samples of the two Singaporeans were identified by the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) teams from Malaysia and Singapore.

“DVI teams were able to identify the identity of the victims through body parts retrieved from the scene,” he told a press conference at the state police headquarters in Kepayan here yesterday.

Their remains would be handed over to the families once the DNA tests had been completed, he told a news conference at the Sabah Police headquarters here.

"The families have sent over blood and tissue samples which we have sent to the Chemistry Department for verification," he said.

Altogether, 18 people, 14 mountain climbers and four guides, were killed when the 5.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the Ranau and Kundasang areas at 7.15am last Friday and sent rocks and boulders crashing down Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia's highest peak at 4,101 metres.

Ten of the dead were Singaporeans; six, Malaysians; one, Japanese and one, Chinese. They were at various stages of climbing Mount Kinabalu when the earthquake struck.

Jalaluddin said 14 of the bodies had been identified and handed over to the next-of-kin.

"The post mortem of the bodies of the Japanese and Chinese will be done after the families arrive here, most probably today," he said.

The dead Singaporeans comprised three teachers and seven pupils from the Tanjong Katong Primary School. They were on an excursion up the mountain.

In SINGAPORE, the Ministry of Education, in a statement, expressed its deep appreciation to the Malaysian police, armed forces, other authorities and the many individuals for their support, assistance and contribution to the search and rescue and recovery efforts "of our students and teachers".

"We will continue to provide support to the families during this difficult time," the ministry said.

Thursday 11 June 2015

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47 die in Nepal landslide

At least 47 people were killed and 80 injured when a landslide swept away a number of villages of Taplejung district in Nepal, officials said.

Many more were reported missing in the disaster on Wednesday evening. Police said 16 bodies had been recovered.

The affected regions are located in a remote area from the district headquarter, Myaglung, and it takes at least nine hours to reach the spot.

"As of now, people have recovered the bodies of 16 people and they told us that 50 others have perished in the landslide," said Surendra Prasad Bhattarai, assistant chief district officer of Taplejung.

At least six villages -- Liwang, Thokling, Thinglabu, Khalung , Khokling and Lingket -- were affected by the landslips.

The number of casualties may rise. Continuous rains and flash floods in the streams have hampered rescue efforts, police said.

Helicopters of the Nepali Army from Kathmandu have not been able to reach the affected site due to bad weather. Locals and police personnel are involved in the rescue work.

Only two of the injured have been ferried to the district hospital. The remaining are yet to receive medical treatment.

Thursday 11 June 2015

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Eastern Star disaster: 342 bodies identified

Forensic experts are using DNA matching to identify bodies from the Eastern Star ship disaster. As of Thursday morning, 342 bodies had been identified, but the forensic experts' work is far from a simple process.

One hundred and seventy specialized medical workers have been working around the clock to match DNA samples with those from the bodies.

The process is taking place in the DNA laboratories of the public security bureaus in the cities of Wuhan and Jingzhou, in central China's Hubei province.

The matching process needs DNA samples from both the victim and their direct family. Many of the families are in different places in China. For those who do not have direct family—or have only one direct family member—experts will try other methods to identify the bodies. In some cases, they will compare the victims' DNA to those collected from items of their daily use.

Eight provinces and cities, including Shanghai, Tianjin and Jiangsu, have begun to collect DNA samples from the victims' homes. And the public security bureaus will continue to work around the clock to identify every victim of the Eastern Star ship disaster.

Thursday 11 June 2015

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