Thursday, 1 October 2015

Missing body of June 13 Tbilisi flood victim found, identified

A body found in Tbilisi last month has been identified as one of the three missing victims of June 13 Tbilisi flash flood.

DNM tests revealed the remains, found by Georgian police near Tbilisi’s Ponichala area on August 23, were of Elizbar Baghashvili.

The body – found more than two months after the disaster - was spotted in Mtkvari River kilometers from where the taxi he was in was swept away by raging flood waters.

Authorities have continuously been searching for Baghashvili and three others victims who remain missing following the June 13 disaster.

Baghashvili returned to Tbilisi from Moscow only hours before the natural disaster struck. He was in a taxi returning home from a meeting with a friend when the car he was in was swept off the road.

Twenty-two people, including Baghashvili, lost their lives in June 13 flash flood. Of these, three bodies still remain missing.

Furthermore, about 400 people from up to 80 families lost everything they owned as a result of the flood.

On a wider scale, an initial evaluation estimated flood damage on Tbilisi infrastructure exceeded 100 million GEL. Roads linking Tbilisi and several nearby villages and summer settlements still remain blocked.

Thursday 1 October 2015

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More remains of MH17 victims found (article in Dutch)

In het oosten van Oekraïne zijn opnieuw stoffelijke resten gevonden van slachtoffers van vlucht MH17. De stoffelijke resten worden met een lijnvlucht van Charkov overgebracht naar Schiphol, maakte het ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie vrijdag bekend.

Tot dusver gingen stoffelijke resten met een militair toestel naar Eindhoven waarna ze in een konvooi werden overgebracht naar de Korporaal van Oudheusden Kazerne bij Hilversum voor identificatie. De ceremonie is gewijzigd ,,omdat het identificatieproces grotendeels is afgerond''.

Een achtkoppig Nederlands team is in Oekraïne om de stoffelijke resten, persoonlijke bezittingen en resten van het vliegtuig op te halen. De overblijfselen zijn gevonden nabij de plek waar het toestel neerkwam, in de buurt van Hrabove, en werden sinds 1 mei verzameld door de plaatselijke autoriteiten. Inwoners van de dorpen rond het rampgebied kunnen op vaste punten gevonden spullen blijven inleveren.

Medewerkers van het Landelijk Team Forensische Opsporing brengen de stoffelijke resten naar Schiphol. Wanneer dat gebeurt, is nog niet bekend. Daar vindt - zonder media - een gedenkmoment plaats. De marechaussee zorgt voor de ceremoniële ontvangst. Daarvoor is de familie van de twee nog niet geïdentificeerde Nederlandse slachtoffers uitgenodigd.

Op 2 mei vloog een militair toestel voor het laatst kisten met stoffelijke resten naar Eindhoven. Dat was de tiende keer dat er menselijke resten werden overgevlogen naar Nederland. De officiële bergingsmissie was in die week afgerond.

Thursday 1 October 2015

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Anniversary of Austin Dam disaster today

Today marks the 104th anniversary of perhaps the single greatest disaster in the history of this area of the Twin Tiers — the failure of a concrete dam and subsequent destruction of the towns of Austin and Costello on Sept. 30, 1911, in Potter County, Pa.

Pressure from about 250 million gallons of water broke the dam, which was built two years before to supply water for the Bayless Pulp and Paper Co. The dam stood 50 feet high and was more than 500 feet long — it had been dubbed by some as “the dam that could not break.” The water from the dammed-up Freeman Run swept up logs and other debris, creating a grinding wall of devastation. A total of 78 people are officially reported killed in the disaster, although it is believed by historians that more people — possibly traveling businessmen, visitors to the town, lumbermen who had brought in logs to the Bayless Co. — perished in the disaster and their bodies were not found.

Austin was a small city of 3,000 people in 1911.

Indeed, newspaper dispatches even two days after the flood reveal how murky information was in the aftermath, given the communications abilities and the state of emergency management response of that day.

A headline on the front page of the Oct. 2, 1911, edition of the Olean Evening Times (the dam broke on a Saturday; the Evening Times was not printed on Sundays) stated: “Official Count Gives Death List as 250, But Citizens Claim It Will Reach 550.”

Rescuers at the scene expressed certainty that the death toll would be in the hundreds, and it was feared that great piles of debris would have to be burned — along with the bodies it was assumed they covered — because of concerns about disease.

An editorial in the Evening Times read:

“The nation stands appalled at the fearful calamity that has overwhelmed Austin. Not since the fateful Johnstown flood of 1889 has there been such a holocaust of death in a single accident in this country. Coming so close to Olean, this catastrophe brought with a terrible shock to all residents of this city. Many of them had relatives in the stricken city, and many more of them had friends whose safety has not yet been established.

“The suspense here yesterday was poignant, and every additional report but added to the grief of the waiting people. Practically no definite information could be secured and only such news as filtered in from Keating Summit and other nearby places, inadequate in respect to the names of the dead or the survivors, came to relieve their anxiety. But in most cases, this but added to the suspense.

“Everything that can be done to relieve the situation is being done. Nothing that can mitigate the sorrow and horror of the calamity is being left undone. All the necessary medical aid is upon the scene, the homeless people are being placed in the homes of hospitable neighbors, and at present there is food amply sufficient to meet the needs of the sufferers.”

A permanent memorial was dedicated in September 2013 to the people who lost their lives in the flood. The memorial marker, in Austin Dam Memorial Park, is made of light-colored stone with the names of the deceased etched in black upon its face. The monument stands directly in front of the dam as a solemn memorial to those who lost their lives that day.

Thursday 1 October 2015

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