Wednesday, 5 August 2015

20 more bodies recovered from Langtang landslide site

Twenty more bodies have been recovered from Langtang in Rasuwa district three months after the Great Earthquake on April 25. The bodies, retrieved from the landslide debris, have badly decomposed are waiting to be airlifted to Kathmandu for DNA testing, the Home Ministry said on Tuesday.

Chief District Officer (CDO) of Rasuwa Shiva Ram Gelal said the bodies could not be transported to the Forensic Unit of the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital on Tuesday due to (TUTH) as the helicopter could not fly in due to adverse weather conditions.

Locals of the Langtang VDC informed the authorities after they discovered the bodies, according to police. Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Prabin Pokhrel of the district said the locals have claimed that the bodies were that of their family and relatives.

More than 100 complaints of missing people had been lodged in the wake of the massive earthquake that devastated Rasuwa district, a major tourist destination. Out of them, 21 are locals, 61 are not native of the district, while 22 are foreigners.

A Home Ministry record shows 660 people were killed by the April 25 quake in Rasuwa district. A total of 8,898 people lost their lives in the earthquake across the country.

The bodies or other human remains of the earthquake victims that could not be identified have been undergoing DNA testing at the Central Police Forensic Science Laboratory (CPFSL) of Nepal Police.

A total of 53 samples have been tested for a DNA match, police said. People can apply for a DNA test to identity the body or mortal remains of their kin by depositing their blood sample at the district police office. The samples will be then forwarded to the CPFSL where they are put through test for a DNA match.

Of the total 12 blood samples of foreigners sent for such tests, the CPFSL has so far identified body parts of five foreigners. No blood samples have been collected from Nepali people, police said.

Samples are collected and processed in bulk for DNA tests because of the cost factor, according to DSP Singh. “We collect at least 50 samples before we put them through the test. The test results will arrive after a month to three months,” he said.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

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Naupada building collapse kills 12, injures 7

Around 2.30am on Tuesday, while residents of Krishna Niwas were asleep, the 50-year-old building in Naupada collapsed, killing 12 and injuring seven.

An earth-shattering thud awoke everyone in the building as well as vicinity, with locals rushing to the spot and informing local corporator Sanjay Waghole. He alerted the fire brigade and Thane Municipal Corporation's (TMC) disaster management cell. A team of 50 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officials from Andheri reached the spot around 4.15am and began rescue operations.

With NDRF's help, fire brigade officials and locals completed the rescue work within eight hours. The injured were taken to Thane civil hospital.

"We used various equipment, including sniffer dogs, who helped us locate victims stuck in the rubble. We also used were air-lifting bags and victim location camera," said Sachidanand Gawde, deputy commander-in-chief, NDRF.

"It was the moral support from locals, some of whom helped us identify where the victims could have been stuck. Our sniffer dogs identified such locations efficiently."

Even before the rescue teams arrived, locals had managed to rescue an 80-year-old, who stayed on the third floor and was recognised by the locals. Nene has suffered head injuries and is recuperating at the hospital.

Interestingly, the three-storey building, located in the heart of the city, was due for redevelopment and, hence, the TMC had not served any evacuation notice to the residents, who were staying here on Pagdi system. This is the second incident of building collapse in a week, the first being the Thakurli collapse in Dombivli on July 28, which killed nine and injured 11.

Sanjay More, mayor (TMC), said, "The building was constructed in 1962. It was due for redevelopment and appropriate steps were taken by owner Hemant Patil. However, due to family disputes of ownership, the matter was sub judice and, hence, no notice was issued to this building. Many residents were saved as the building tilted left and collapsed. Thus, no other building in the vicinity was damaged."

Minister of state for urban development Ranjit Patil, who visited the site, said, "Buildings that have completed more than 30 years should get a structural audit done. All civic bodies need to be alert and take appropriate measures."

Wednesday 5 August 2015

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Lake Victoria accident: At least 30 feared dead after boat capsizes near Remba Island, Kenya

At least 30 people are feared dead after a boat carrying 200 passengers capsized in Lake Victoria according to Citizen TV Kenya, a local television network. The accident reportedly occurred early Wednesday.

Three bodies, of which two are children, have been recovered so far, local media reported. However, local fishermen at Nyandiwa Beach said that nine people were killed, Daily Nation newspaper reported. The cause of the accident is not clear, however, some local media reports said two boats collided resulting in the accident.

Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake and its waters spread across Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. About 5,000 fishermen die each year due to storms on Lake Victoria, according to a report last month in New Vision, a Ugandan daily, citing a survey by Makerere University School of Public Health in Kampala, Uganda.

The Kenya Red Cross Society tweeted saying that it has sent a rescue team to Lake Victoria where a boat carrying 200 passengers capsized early Wednesday.

The accident happened near Remba, a tiny island in the middle of Lake Victoria, is known as “Slum Island”.

A few thousand people, mainly fishermen, make their home on this busy outpost on the border between Uganda and Kenya. One-room shacks are the norm here, and the fishermen almost literally live on top of each other: they share shacks, with one group sleeping in the day while the other fishes, and then they swap at night.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

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More than 2,000 migrant deaths in Mediterranean in 2015

More than 2,000 people have died so far this year trying to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe, the International Organisation for Migration said on Tuesday, making it the world's most dangerous migrant route.

"Unfortunately, we have now reached a milestone whereby over 2,000 migrants and refugees have died as of this past weekend," IOM spokesman Itayi Virri told reporters in Geneva.

The organisation said around 188,000 people had been rescued so far this year trying to cross the Mediterranean, and warned the 200,000-mark could be crossed by the end of the week.

IOM said the latest toll confirms "this route as the deadliest for migrants in search of a better life," and warned the situation was worsening.

During the same period last year, 1,607 migrants had perished trying to make the journey, with 3,279 dying in all of 2014.

Nearly all of the people flooding across the Mediterranean so far this year, often in rickety boats and at the mercy of human traffickers, have landed in Italy (97,000) and Greece (90,500), the IOM said.

Virri said the so-called central Mediterranean route had proved by far the deadliest, with just over 1,930 people dying trying to cross from Libya to Italy so far this year, while only about 60 had died trying to reach Greece.

The IOM said that traffickers taking people to Italy tended to use more unseaworthy vessels, leading to the higher death toll.

While lamenting the tragic milestone of more than 2,000 deaths, Mr Virri pointed out that increased European Union efforts since April to rescue migrants at sea meant "a lot of people have been saved who otherwise would have lost their lives."

Nineteen people had lost their lives in the Channel of Sicily last week alone, with the bodies of 14 migrants brought to the Sicilian port of Messina on July 29. They had been travelling with 456 others who were rescued.

And on Monday, 550 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean over the weekend arrived in Sicily aboard a ship operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which also carried the bodies of five people who died at sea.

The migrants who were brought to safety in Palermo had been travelling on several different boats and were rescued over the weekend, the aid group said.

The victims, four women and one man, were found dead on a boat that was rescued on Saturday with 112 people on board. They died, according to initial tests, as a result of dehydration.

Shocked survivors said their rickety boat had only left Libya's shores for Italy 13 hours before they were rescued. In that short time, five of the children on board lost a parent.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

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Death toll rises to 29 as Kamayani, Janata Express trains derail in Madhya Pradesh

At least 29 people, including 11 women and 5 children, have been killed after the Kamayani Express from Mumbai to Varanasi and the Mumbai-Jabalpur Janata Express derailed near Kudawa railway station, about 30 kilometres from Harda district in south western Madhya Pradesh, late on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, according to PTI, has said that 12 people have been killed and 25 others injured in the accident.

Those killed include nine men, eight women and five children. Two of them reportedly died after being electrocuted during the rescue effort in the twin tragedy.

Both Mumbai-Varanasi Kamayani Express and Jabalpur-Mumbai Janata Express, got derailed while crossing a bridge on Machak River, near Khirkiya and Harda station, about 160 kms from Bhopal.

Kamayani Express was the first to get derailed at around 11:30 pm and Janata Express met with the accident just a few minutes later.

Railway authorities said the sudden flow of water on the tracks caused the derailment.

"We think tracks were breached because of the flow of excessive water," said an officer.

Meanwhile a section has been closed for any train movement. The accident relief train has reached the spot and several passengers have been brought to a nearby station, Sinha added.

More than 300 people have been rescued after the two trains derailed while crossing a swollen Machak river, said officials. According to officials, six coaches of Kamayani Express and three coaches plus the engine of Janata Express were derailed late last night as the base material on the tracks got washed away. “The mishap took place around 11.30 PM on Tuesday as base material of the tracks got washed away in heavy rains.”

Harda district collector Rajnish Srivastava said that incident took place near Khirkiya and Harda station on Machak River in which seven coaches of Kamayani Express and three coaches with the engine of Janata Express got derailed.

"It seems that base material on the tracks got washed away following heavy rains when the two trains coming from opposite directions on the Up and Down tracks met with the accident almost simultaneously," he said.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

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