Tuesday, 23 June 2015

South Africa: Investigators to Exhume Bodies From Mass Grave On South Coast Farm

The police have confirmed that an operation to exhume bodies believed to be buried in a mass grave at a former prison labour camp on a South Coast farm began on Monday.

SAPS provincial spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said he could "confirm" officials were on site as of on Monday.

"We are assisting the Missing Persons Task Team of the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] who are leading the investigation. Therefore we will not be able to comment further on the investigation," said Zwane.

The search is believed to get under way properly on Tuesday.

The Witness was told that the police had dispatched an SAPS Search and Rescue team complete with excavation gear and "four sniffer dogs" while several officials from various government agencies were also on site.

The Missing Persons Task Team were established in the Priority Crimes Litigation Unit (PCLU) in the NPA in 2004. The task team have since been conducting investigations into cases of missing persons who disappeared in political circumstances between March 1, 1960 and May 10, 1994.

The existence of the graves on a sugar plantation called Glenroy Farm in the Dududu area just outside Amanzintoti was first announced in March by the Office of the Premier.

The site was apparently found by local sangoma Gogo Bongekile Nonhlanhla Nkomo and was first brought to the province's attention in August 2014.

KZN Premier's spokesperson Thami Ngwenya said that Premier Senzo Mchunu will give feedback to his cabinet on Wednesday on progress made.

"The premier had referred the matter to the Presidency who confirmed they had tasked the Department of Justice to take the matter further. The premier wants a full inquiry into this matter. There are several agencies involved, including our office," said Ngwenya.

KZN Department of Arts and Culture communications head Lethukuthula Mtshali said they could not comment "due to the sensitivity of the Glenroy Farm case".

Tuesday 23 June 2015


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Karachi heat wave kills about 400 people, death toll still rising

A scorching heat wave across southern Pakistan's city of Karachi has killed more than 400 people, authorities said Tuesday, as morgues overflowed with the dead and overwhelmed hospitals struggled to aid those clinging to life.

The majority of the deaths occurred in the port city of Karachi, Pakistan's economic hub of around 20 million people.

Temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) began scorching Pakistan's port city of Karachi over the weekend. Hourslong power outages, typical in Pakistan, also struck the city, leaving fans and air conditioners inoperable as the majority of people in this Muslim country abstain from food or water during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The power outages also affected the sporadic water supply in the city, where those who can afford it rely on tankers of water being delivered to their homes. Some men cooled themselves off Tuesday under the pouring water of a broken water pipe.

Most of the dead are the elderly, said Seemi Jamali, a spokeswoman for Karachi's Jinnah Hospital. Hundreds more are being treated for heat-related ailments, including fever and dehydration and stomach-related illnesses, she said. Mortuaries were running out of space, with local television stations showing bodies stacked inside of cold storage rooms of morgues.

Provincial Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah ordered schools and public offices closed Tuesday until the heat wave ends.

Semi Jamali, a doctor at Karachi's largest hospital said they had treated about 3000 patients.

"More than 200 of them were either received dead or died in hospital," Jamali told AFP.

Pakistan's largest charity, Edhi Welfare Organisation, said their two morgues in the city had received more than 400 corpses.

"More than 400 dead bodies have so far been received in our two mortuaries in the past three days," Edhi spokesman Anwar Kazmi told AFP. "The mortuaries have reached capacity."

Electricity shortages have crippled the water supply system in Karachi, hampering the pumping of millions of gallons of water to consumers, the state-run water utility said.

Pakistan's Meteorological Office said temperatures remained at around 44.5 Celsius in Karachi on Tuesday but forecast thunderstorms for the evening.

"Due to a low depression developing in the Arabian sea, thunderstorms will likely begin this evening and might continue for the next three days," a Meteorological official told AFP.

The provincial government meanwhile announced a public holiday to encourage residents to stay inside, an official said. Many of the victims have been labourers who toil outdoors.

Some residents also took to hosing each other down with water on Tuesday to avoid collapsing from heat stroke.

Tahir Ashrafi, a prominent Islamic cleric, urged those who were at risk of heat stroke to abstain from fasting.

"We (religious scholars) have highlighted on various television channels that those who are at risk, especially in Karachi where there is a very serious situation, should abstain from fasting," he said.

"Islam has drawn conditions for fasting, it is even mentioned in the holy Koran that patients and travellers who are not able to bear fasting can delay it and people who are weak or old and are at risk of falling sick or even dying because of fasting should abstain," he added.

An official from the National Disaster Management Authority told AFP heat stroke treatment centres would be established at all hospitals across the province to provide " emergency medicines for heat stroke victims".

The deaths come a month after neighbouring India suffered a deadly heatwave, with more than 2,000 deaths.

Hundreds of mainly poor people die at the height of summer every year in India, but this year's toll was the second highest in the country's history.

Tuesday 23 June 2015



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At least 6 immigrants drown as boat sinks in Aegean Sea

At least six illegal immigrants were drowned on Tuesday morning as a boat sank in Aegean Sea off western Turkey, private Dogan news agency reported.

The boat, which were carrying a total of 62 immigrants heading for Istankoy Island of Greece, sank in the Aeagean off Bodrum town of Mugla province of western Turkey due to the strong storm, according to the report.

Turkish Coast Guards have discovered six bodies of immigrants and rescued some others, said the report, adding that an investigation was underway.

They were apparently sailing for the Greek island of Kos, about 3.2 kilometers from the resort city of Bodrum, according to the source.

The coastguard and a helicopter are still searching for survivors and bodies, the source added.

In the first five months of 2015, over 42,000 people arrived by sea to Greece, most of them refugees, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

Turkey is geographically positioned between Asia and Europe, and has become a major transit point for Middle Eastern and Asian migrants and refugees fleeing from poverty or conflict in their home countries.

Tuesday 23 June 2015



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Tbilisi flood: Three missing people feared dead

Three people remain missing following the June 13 deadly flash flood that tore through Georgia’s capital city Tbilisi.

Today the country’s Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri said there was almost no hope the three missing people would be found alive and efforts now focused on finding and recovering the bodies of the victims.

The natural disaster hit Tbilisi overnight on June 13 and claimed the lives of 19 people. Hundreds more lost their homes. Four days after the disaster, a local man was attacked and killed by a tiger that had escaped from Tbilisi Zoo in the flood.

Specialist crews now operated heavy machinery on affected Tbilisi streets to clean the city after the flooding.

Minister Gomelauri said there one rescue officer stood at each vehicle to monitor the recovery process. These officers were tasked with stopping the machinery and continue working with their hands if any of the missing bodies appeared under the debris.

Tuesday 23 June 2015


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