Friday, 19 June 2015

Flood victim identified 62 years after Zeeland disaster

A second victim of the Zeeland flood disaster, which happened 62 years ago, has been identified based on a DNA match. The victim is 38 year old Maartje Verhelst from Nieuwerkerk. The announcement was made at a meeting for survivors in Ouwerkerk on Thursday night, Omroep Zeeland reports.

Last year human remains were exhumed at various cemeteries in an effort to identify 32 unidentified victims of the disaster. The victims’ DNA was compared to that of people who lost relatives in the disaster that were never found or identified. Thursday night’s meeting for survivors was the conclusion of the project.

Maartje Verhels was identified based on DNA material from two nieces. This identification is quite extraordinary, as identification with 100 percent certainty can usually only be done with DNA matches with first-degree relatives – parents, siblings, children. Maartje Verhelst was buried at the cemetery in Ouwerkerk, beneath the flood monument.

The first victim was identified in February this year. Magdalena Cornelia Koter from Kruiningen was identified by a DNA match with her now 77 year old child Ad de Bel from Wezep, Gelderland. She was 41 years old at the time of the disaster and was buried in Yerseke.

Friday 19 June 2015

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Over 400 Victims Still Missing in Tragedy of MV Princess of the Stars

Seven years after the tragedy, relatives of those who perished in the sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars cling to hope that justice will still be served. Families of the victims and survivors shed tears as they marked the seventh anniversary of the maritime tragedy yesterday. Father Robert Reyes led the viewing of 133 skeletal remains which have been kept inside wooden boxes at the main office of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) which is headed by Chief Public Attorney Persida V. Rueda Acosta.

A memorial ceremony of the seventh anniversary of the tragedy in Quezon City, the Philippines was held on June 18, 2015. Relatives looked at skeletal remains of unidentified victims of the capsized MV Princess of the Stars during the ceremony. The Philippine Public Attorney's Office (PAO) said that from over 850 passengers of the submerged MV Princess of the Stars, only 300 of the retrieved bodies were identified, while more than 400 victims are still missing seven years after the mishap

Fr. Reyes gave spiritual encouragement to the victims’ kin by saying that, “God will give you justice!”

The commemoration of the seventh anniversary of the tragedy was scheduled to be held on June 21. However, the group opted to hold it yesterday.

On June 21, a simple prayer will be offered by families of the victims from Cebu.

Friday 19 June 2015

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Tbilisi flood recovery: Two bodies found in past 24 hours

Authorities have discovered the bodies of two more flood victims.

This news comes five days after the natural disaster, bringing the total death toll to 21. As of this afternoon, three people remain missing and six others are receiving treatment in local hospitals.

After rescue workers assessed the situation today, they discovered more local families had suffered in the flood.

This evening officials confirmed 457 people from 106 families, including 119 children, 56 elderly and five pregnant women, were affected by the June 13 flood.

An unidentified body was recovered yesterday while the body found today at Tbilisi Zoo has been identified as Liza Zarandia. Liza, 25, was a sister of 22-year-old Indira Zarandia, the youngest victim of the flood whose body was found on June 15 at Mziuri Park.

Indira and Liza Zarandia were in a taxi together with their friend Sergo Kapanadze when the flood hit Tbilisi. Kapanadze remains missing.

The two recovered victims were earlier named on the missing list, while another person deemed missing has returned home safely.

All day today special teams have cleaned Tbilisi Zoo, Mziuri Park and Svanidze St territory to remove the debris and find the remaining three missing victims.

Epidemic threat

Due to possible risks of epidemic threats or predator attacks, volunteers who have been actively working at disaster zones in recent days were forbidden to get involved in the clean-up works without wearing protective clothing and using special equipment.

"The volunteers will continue working in the suburbs. The Health Ministry will take appropriate measures in the ‘at risk’ areas. There are special rules and conditions that need to be taken into account by all,” Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania said.

The Patrol Police closed off the natural disaster zones to traffic so volunteers could freely access the site.

After visiting the Vake Meat Products factory today Georgia’s Health Minister Davit Sergeenko said: "there are no epidemic treats in Tbilisi”. The factory is completely destroyed. Today the factory was cleaned of its spoiled meat products, which could potentially illness.

Meanwhile the Health Ministry is providing tetanus shots for people who are injured during the cleaning works. People can visit the Centre of Immunization and Prevention to receive this vaccine. Tbilisi Zoo director Zurab Gurielidze was one of several citizens who have received this medication.

Furthermore, Catholicos-Patriarch of all Georgia Ilia II has blessed the volunteers working at Mziuri Park. The Patriarch visited the affected area with clergymen to familiarise himself with the volunteer efforts.

Monitoring the tunnels

The Patrol Police and Crisis and Emergency Management Council representatives are continuing to work on recovery operations.

Today Crisis and Emergency Management Council envoys and geologists monitored the tunnels that were full of water and mud after the severe flood in Tbilisi. Using boats they managed to creep into the clefts that appeared between the old and new river tunnels.

Council director Zviad Kanashvili said the tunnels were checked as part of the search for the missing victims as well as to check the integrity of the tunnels.

Geologist Zurab Tsintsadze said the tunnels were in "normal” condition. "The only problem is the adhesion point of the tunnels which will be fixed,” Tsintsadze said.

US Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland promised American forest experts, geologists and seismologists will visit Georgia to help their counterparts.

Be careful: Tiger and hyena still missing

A handful of wild animals that escaped from the Zoo during the flood in Tbilisi are still walking freely in the city’s streets. The whereabouts of one tiger and a striped hyena remain unknown. The Zoo director called on the Tbilisi public to be careful.

Gurielidze did not rule out that the lost predators were dead, but said enclosures in the Zoo were still filled with mud, making it impossible to enter and check if the missing predators’ bodies were there.

He said once the enclosures were cleaned then Zoo staff would know what the true situation is.

Friday 19 June 2015

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27 graves of cemetery damaged in a landslide in Mizoram

At least 27 graves of a cemetery were damaged in a rain-triggered landslide in Muanna locality here, officials said today.

Locals joined the rescue officials in removing and shifting bodies and skeletons from the cemetery, besides helping in the restoration work which resumed today, district SP C. Laldina today said.

Majority of the damaged graves in the burial ground were recently dug ones, he said.

Friday 19 June 2015

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Yogyakarta cliff collapses, kills four, 11 still missing

Eleven people were reported missing as of Thursday morning after a cliff collapsed at Sadranan Beach in Sidoharjo village, Tepus district in Gunungkidul regency, Yogyakarta, on Wednesday, says a local police chief.

“The number of people who have not yet returned home from the beach as of now is 11, as reported by relatives,” said Gunungkidul Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Hariyanto told on Thursday morning.

He added that police had secured a Toyota Avanza minibus at the parking lot of the beach area. “The car is probably owned by one of the victims. It is locked from the outside,” said Hariyanto.

Seven victims had been found as of early Thursday. “Four of them have died; two were injured and one survived,” he said.

A joint team from the Gunungkidul and Yogyakarta Search and Rescue agencies, police and Indonesian Military (TNI) is working around the clock to recover victims by using two excavators.

“The recovery method is to break the cliff material sandwiching the victims,” Yogyakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD Quick Response team coordinator Pristiawan said, adding that the recovery was halted at around midnight while waiting for the tides to ebb.

“It resumed immediately at 2 a.m. local time and is still ongoing until now,” said Pristiawan.

Police said relatives who wished to collect the bodies of the deceased need not ask for permission from the institution, provided that the bodies have been identified and a letter issued by the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team.

Later in the evening, Hariyanto said the search had been stopped as no more victims had been found.

“Based on observations made by many parties, we decided to stop the search,” Hariyanto was quoted by Antara as saying on Thursday evening.

The rock fall took place as hundreds of people were carrying out the local padusan ritual of cleansing themselves before Ramadhan, when suddenly the cliff collapsed and crashed onto dozens of visitors who were sheltering in its shade.

Dwi Ripto, an eyewitness from Salaman, Magelang, Central Java, said he went to Sadrana Beach with seven members of his family. After taking a dip in the sea, they took turns rinsing in fresh water.

“I was watching over the family’s belongings in the shade under the cliff and I even fell asleep,” Dwi told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Dwi was spared from the disaster when two of his relatives woke him up. “They asked me to take a dip in the sea,” he added.

After moving just a few steps away, the rock fall dropped on top of dozens of people.

As it located on the coast, the evacuation process was hampered by high tides.

As of Thursday afternoon, four bodies were picked up by relatives for burial.

Two victims who are still getting treatment are Karwati of Bulu hamlet, Bejiharjo village, Karangmojo, Gunungkuidul, and Ahmad Taufik, 30, of Logendeng hamlet, Ngablak village, Srumbung district, Magelang. Both are suffering from bruises, head injuries and fractures in several parts of their bodies.

The padusan tradition is practiced in several areas in the country to welcome the fasting month.

Friday 19 June 2015

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