Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Makkah accident dead laid to rest

The morgue in Mina has begun releasing the bodies of the victims of Friday’s crane crash tragedy, with those conclusively identified by their relatives and consulates buried at a local graveyard on Monday.

“The funeral prayers for 10 of the 11 Indian victims were held at the Grand Mosque in Makkah after Isha prayer,” said Indian Consul General B.S. Mubarak.

Of the two Britons who died in the accident, one, Qasim Akram, from Bolton, was buried in Makkah after Fajr on Monday, said British Consul General Mohammed Shokat.

The second confirmed victim from the United Kingdom, Kamran Khan from Slough, is yet to be buried because his relatives are expected to arrive from their home country.

Meanwhile, Turkey has confirmed that eight of its nationals died in the accident. Ekrem Keles, vice president of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, said the bodies of the Turkish pilgrims would be buried in the holy land as requested by their families.

The Egyptian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Afifi Abdul Wahab, said the Egyptian victims can either be buried in Makkah or their bodies sent back to their relatives if this request was made.

Tuesday 15 September 2015


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At least 22 migrants drown as boat capsizes in Aegean Sea

At least 22 migrants, including four children, have drowned while 211 migrants have been rescued after a Kos-bound boat capsized in the Aegean Sea.

The 20-meter wooden boat, which was also used for boat tours, capsized at around 6 a.m. on Sept. 15 off the coast of Turkey’s southwestern Datça district.

The boat was en route to the Greek island of Kos with an unknown number of migrants.

Five coast guard boats were dispatched to the crash site, and 211 migrants were rescued while the bodies of the 22 drowned migrants were recovered from the sea.

Rescued migrants are being brought to Turkey's Aegean coastal town of Bodrum via coast guard boats, alongside the sunken boat.

Meanwhile, two Syrian migrants attempting to reach a Greek island drowned on Sept. 14 after their dinghy capsized off the coast of İzmir’s Seferihisar district.

A fishing boat spotted the migrants at around 10:55 a.m. and started rescue efforts. Coast guard boats soon joined the effort and managed to rescue 11 migrants while recovering the bodies of two others.

Tuesday 15 September 2015


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Dozens of migrants drown as boat capsizes in Aegean Sea

The Greek Coast Guard recovered the bodies of 34 migrants, including 15 children, on Sunday in the Aegean Sea after their wooden boat flipped over in strong winds as it attempted the short but often perilous crossing from nearby Turkey.

Four babies and 11 young children -- six boys and five girls -- were among those on the stricken wooden boat when it sank off the island of Farmakonisi.

Eight of the victims were found by coastguard frogmen in the hold of the boat.

Rescuers, who were alerted shortly before dawn by a resident of Farmakonisi, found most of the bodies floating near the wreck.

The victims’ nationalities were not immediately known.

A total of 34 people were found dead, while another 68 were plucked alive from the sea and a further 30 managed to swim to safety on a beach on the island, according to latest coastguard figures.

The exact number of those aboard remains unknown but the ANA said the boat was overcrowded and went down because of high winds in the area.

A Greek navy ship was taking the bodies to Rhodes while the survivors were being transported to Leros.

After nightfall, Coast Guard vessels continued to scour the area for survivors. Rescuers were also searching for four children who had been missing since Saturday after their boat capsized off the island of Samos, north of Farmakonisi.

The coastguard was also still searching on Sunday for four children missing after another boat capsized on Saturday off Samos, a Greek island just off the Turkish coast.

The latest tragedies follow the death of a Syrian toddler whose lifeless body was photographed washed up on a Turkish beach last week, becoming a heartwrenching symbol of the plight of refugees fleeing war.

The International Organisation for Migration has said more than 430,000 migrants and refugees had crossed the Mediterranean to Europe so far in 2015, with 2,748 dying or going missing en route.

Sunday’s wreck was the latest in a catalog of drownings that underscored the desperation of thousands of refugees fleeing war and of migrants seeking better lives in Western Europe. For most of those who make it, Greece is just a stop on a journey through the Balkans aimed at wealthy nations like Germany and Scandinavian countries like Sweden known for generous welfare programs.

Tuesday 15 September 2015



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Anthropology in action: Identifying missing migrants

A hairbrush. A bus ticket. A stuffed purple dinosaur. A container of Vaseline.

These are among the many items left in the desert by immigrants who attempt to cross into the U.S. from Mexico. And they are sometimes the best clues authorities have for identifying those who die traversing the rugged terrain.

In Arizona, an average of 170 men, women and children lose their lives crossing the U.S.-Mexico border every year. Because of harsh desert conditions, their bodies often are unrecognizable by the time they are found, making it nearly impossible to identify them and notify their families in Mexico.

Robin Reineke, a UA anthropology doctoral student, is committed to finding out who they are.

"Thousands of families are suffering without answers, and anthropologists have a duty to show up," she says. "These are vulnerable people from places traditionally studied by anthropologists, and they're losing their lives in the city where we live."

Reineke is executive director and co-founder of the Colibrí Center for Human Rights, a family advocacy organization that is working to end migrant deaths.

The center works with families and forensic scientists to collect missing person's reports and to identify those who die in the desert. The organization also works on policy reform, and partners with artists and storytellers to raise awareness of humanitarian issues on the border.

Reineke began her efforts in 2006, during her first year as a graduate student in the UA School of Anthropology. She was interested in how cultural anthropology could be applied in conjunction with forensic anthropology to help in a disaster or conflict.

Aware of the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, she reached out to forensic anthropologist Bruce Anderson in the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner.

Reineke was inspired by Anderson's efforts to identify the bodies of border crossers. It's not typically the job of a medical examiner's office to manage the missing person's side of an investigation, but because immigrants are not U.S. citizens — and therefore local law enforcement doesn't handle their cases — Anderson had taken it upon himself to help families identify their loved ones, using detailed physical descriptions and clues such as jewelry and other personal effects found with bodies.

"I was really motivated to work with him because I recognized him as someone with an intense moral compass," Reineke says. "In addition to having the highest caseload in the country of any forensic anthropologist, he was also taking down information from the family members who were calling his office directly looking for their relatives."

As the number of migrant deaths increased over the years, the job had become too big for one person, so after meeting with Reineke, Anderson enlisted her help. And thus the Missing Migrant Project was born.

Anderson had started the project with a three-ring binder of about 250 hard-copy missing person's reports that had been called in to the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner.

Over the next seven years, Reineke took hundreds more of those calls as the office's in-house missing persons family advocate.

"Robin's a special person, and her drive and intellect and passion for this makes her the best person for this job," says Anderson, a UA alumnus and adjunct assistant professor in the School of Anthropology.

Reineke began managing a digital database of missing migrant reports. As word got out, her caseload grew to a whopping 1,300, and the need for more help became clear.

In 2013, with support of more than $100,000 from the Ford Foundation, Reineke and William Masson, a UA Eller College of Management alumnus, co-founded the Colibrí Center for Human Rights to continue and expand upon the work of the Missing Migrant Project.

The word colibrí is Spanish for hummingbird, which is a common Mexican symbol of safe passage and a messenger between the living and the dead. The center's name was inspired by a man who died crossing the border in 2009; among his remains was a small, dead hummingbird carried in his pocket.

Today, anyone who calls the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner to report a missing migrant is routed through the nonprofit Colibrí Center, which operates two offices — one inside the medical examiner's office and one in downtown Tucson. There, staff, volunteers and interns from the UA Honors College process the information and see if they can make a match to data about unidentified remains produced by Anderson and others at the medical examiner's office.

Call frequency can range from as few as three a week to as many as 15 a day during peak summer months, when deaths in the desert are at their highest, Reineke says.

With so many people missing and often very few clues, making a positive identification is challenging, but when successful, it can help bring families closure, she says.

"Those notification calls are some of the hardest things any of us have ever done in our lives, but in general it's cathartic for the family," Reineke says. "There's a lot of crying, there's a lot of pain, but very often they also express gratitude. For someone to express gratitude when they are hearing such terrible news, you know that that experience of having a missing person must have been torture."

Reineke's work with Anderson on the Missing Migrant Project and with the Colibrí Center has attracted national and international attention from media outlets such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the BBC, among others.

The center now maintains the largest, most comprehensive database of missing migrants in the nation, and Reineke hopes to share the Colibrí Center knowledge and tools with other border communities.

"Part of what we're trying to do at Colibrí is take the knowledge and experience that we've gained working with the exceptional humanitarians and scientists here in Pima County and share that with smaller, less well-funded counties," she says.

For Reineke, the work is far more than just a job.

"There is a mass disaster occurring in our backyard," she says. "I feel very strongly that it's a moral obligation and duty to utilize my expertise and my training as an anthropologist to do the best I can for my fellow human beings who are living a nightmare very close to where I live."

Tuesday 15 September 2015


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13 more Trigana Air victims identified

Using DNA testing, Indonesia’s Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team has identified the bodies of 13 more victims from the Aug. 16 Trigana Air plane crash in Oksibil, Papua, Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw has said.

The team had already identified 27 victims through examining primary and secondary data at Bhayangkara Hospital in Papua’s capital Jayapura.

“Today the DVI team succeeded in identifying 13 more victims’ bodies at the National Police Headquarters’ laboratory through a series of DNA tests,” the Papua Police chief said.

He added that with the addition of the 13 newly identified bodies, the DVI team had now successfully identified 40 out of the 54 people on board the Trigana Air flight.The 13 bodies have now been handed over to victims’ families.

The bodies include two cabin-crew members, Mario Reso Bintoro and Ika Nugraeni Sukmaputri.“So, all cabin-crew victims have been found,” Insp. Gen. Paulus asserted.

Police have also identified all four bodies of the Jayapura post-office workers who were carrying Rp 6.5 billion (US$465,000) in cash on board for delivery to low-income residents of Pegunungan Bintang, Police Commissioner Ramon Amiman, head of medical affairs at Papua Police Headquarters, said.

“DNA identification takes time, but we will never ever give up on identifying all victims,” Ramon said.

Area manager for PT Trigana Air in Papua Bustoni Eka Prayitno said that of 27 identified bodies; the families of only 12 of them have received insurance coverage.“We hope [the remaining] relatives will complete the administrative requirements for making an insurance claim,” Bustoni said.

Tuesday 15 September 2015


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Death toll rises to 7 in rain disaster, 15 missing

The bodies of three men were found in inundated areas in Ibaraki and neighboring Tochigi prefectures on Sunday, bringing the total death toll from recent heavy rain and flooding to seven in the two prefectures and Miyagi Prefecture.

One of the bodies was discovered in a submerged minivehicle in the city of Tochigi in Tochigi Prefecture around 7:30 a.m. The Tochigi prefectural police department identified the man as Osamu Ogura, a 68-year-old nearby resident. He drowned, the police said.

The other two were found in Joso, Ibaraki Prefecture, which has been heavily damaged by floodwaters from the Kinugawa river after a levee of the river collapsed Thursday. The body of a 51-year-old man was detected in a rice paddy about one kilometer east of the breached levee around 11:45 a.m. Sunday, and that of Kanaya Kurita, 71, was found in a rice field about one kilometer southeast of the levee around 2 p.m.

In Joso, areas east of the Kinugawa river have been flooded, and nearly 4,000 people were rescued by Self-Defense Forces helicopters or boats, or by other means, in three days.

Still, 15 other people in the city remained unaccounted for. The Ibaraki prefectural police are working to confirm their whereabouts. A total of 1,880 firefighters, Self-Defense Forces troops and police officers searched flooded areas in the city on Sunday.

The inundated areas in Joso, which had peaked at about 40 square kilometers, shrank to about 15 square kilometers Sunday. But about 2,700 Joso citizens remained evacuated.

In a related move, Joso Mayor Toru Takasugi offered an apology Sunday for not issuing an evacuation order for residents in the city’s Kamimisaka district, which is near the broken Kinugawa river levee, before the breach.

Admitting his mistake, Takasugi said at a press conference: “I didn’t think the levee would collapse. I’m very sorry.” The Kamimisaka district was heavily damaged by the flooding of the Kinugawa river.

The levee breached around 12:50 p.m. Thursday. An evacuation order was issued at 1:08 p.m. for areas east of the Kinugawa river, including Kamimisaka, part of the Misaka area, while such an order was in place by 10:30 a.m. the same day for some other parts of the Misaka area.

Meanwhile, the Japan Meteorological Agency on Sunday issued a warning against heavy rain and thunder for some areas in Ibaraki Prefecture toward late Sunday night.

Flood damage could expand in areas around the swollen Kinugawa river. A flood warning has been issued in Joso and Chikusei, also in the prefecture.

Tuesday 15 August 2015.


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