Sunday, 11 December 2016

At Least 60 killed as church collapses in Nigeria

The roof of the Reigners Bible Church in Uyo, capital of the Akwa Ibom state in Nigeria, collapsed Saturday, killing at least 60 people, and perhaps many more, according to local media and officials.

Some reports put the number much higher, with many people are believed to be still trapped under the debris.

Hundreds of people on Saturday were inside the Reigners Bible Church including Akwa Ibom state governor Udom Emmanuel, who survived the disaster.

The church was still under construction and workers had rushed to complete it for the ordination, witnesses said.

Emmanuel said there would be an investigation into whether safety standards had been compromised.

Pictures from the scene show collapsed metal girders and corrugated iron sheeting.

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed "deep sorrow" over the incident.

A rescue official initially spoke of 60 bodies recovered from the debris, while the state-run Nigerian News Agency said "between 50 and 200" could have been killed. But a hospital director said on Sunday that at least 160 died in the disaster. The toll could mount as a crane removes the debris.

An unnamed survivor quoted by Nigeria's Channels TV said: "Normal church service was going on."

"It was about 20 minutes after the governor arrived. Suddenly, the roof fell on worshippers. The governor was quickly rescued. But others were not that lucky."

Building collapses are relatively common in Nigeria, mainly due to the use of sub-standard materials and the violation of building regulations.

In 2014, 116 people died when a multi-story guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Sunday 11 December 2016

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Hyderabad building collapse: toll touches 11

The death toll in the under-construction building collapse incident rose to 11 on Saturday with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team finding more dead bodies under the rubble.

The six-storied building collapsed like a pack of cards on Thursday night in the busy IT sector of the city, apparently due to structural issues.

A mother and a child were pulled out from the debris on Saturday and were admitted to the Continental Hospital in Gachibowli.

The hospital said that their condition is out of danger. All the deceased belonged to four families living in temporary shelters under the first floor of the building.

Most of the victims belong to Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh, who eke a living as construction labourers in the city.

The Andhra Pradesh government has arranged for free transport of their bodies to their hometowns.

Sunday 11 December 2016

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ATR-42 crash: Nine victims identified, bodies handed over to heirs

Nine more dead bodies of the victims of the ill-fated PIA plane crash have been identified and handed over to the heirs on Saturday while the relatives of the remaining 38 victims are likely to wait for another few days as the DNA tests would take at least seven to nine days.

A PIA plane carrying 47 people crashed Wednesday on a domestic flight from the mountainous northern city of Chitral to Islamabad, killing all on board.

The plane took off from Chitral around 3:50PM and PIA said the plane crashed at 1642 local time (1142 GMT) in the Havelian area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, about 125 km north of Islamabad.

Talking to Pakistan Today, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Administrator Dr Altaf Hussain said that nine dead bodies of the Havelian plane crash victims have been handed over to the heirs after identification.

Dr Altaf made it clear that they would not take rest until the completion of the identification process of the bodies and the process of DNA test would continue even during the weekly holidays because they could feel the agony the relatives of the victims were passing through.

He said that they would not go on weekly and Eid Milad-un-Nabi (SAW) holidays in order to ensure early completion of DNA test so as the bodies of the victims could be handed over to the heirs as soon as possible after identification.

The relatives of Chinese national Han Quiang, who was also among the passengers of the ill-fated plane, arrived on Saturday and the PIA arranged their stay.

He said that Han Wei, brother of Chinese national Han Quiang, gave blood sample for DNA test, adding that relatives of all the victims have given samples of their blood for DNA tests, however relatives of two foreigners Herald Kessler and Herwing Eichelbenger could not reach so far.

Dr Altaf refuted the reports that the blood samples have been sent to other laboratories for DNA tests and added that all the arrangements have been made in PIMS for conducting NDA tests, because the hospital has all the equipment to carry out the tests.

The Safety Investigation Board has formally kicked off its probe into PIA’s plane crash, with authorities expecting outcome of the inquiry not before one-and-a-half month.

Meanwhile, Pakistan International Airline (PIA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bernd Hildenbrand has said that the national airline was taking all possible steps to facilitate the bereaved families and would ensure that remaining dead bodies are also handed over immediately after their identification process is completed.

Speaking during his visit to Saddha Batolni village in the vicinity of Havelian, where ATR 42 aircraft (AP-BHO) had crashed on December 7, Bernd Hildenbrand said that the PIA has nominated focal persons for coordinating with those families keeping them updated in this regard.

The PIA CEO laid a wreath of flowers at the site and observed one-minute silence in remembrance of the martyrs. He also met with local people of the area and thanked them for promptly helping in rescue efforts.

Sunday 11 December 2016

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Oil truck fireball kills at least 42 in central Kenya

A fireball from an oil lorry engulfed vehicles on one of Kenya's main highways, killing at least 42 people late on Saturday, a rescue worker at the scene said.

The tanker lorry rammed into vehicles north of the central town of Naivasha then exploded, an official with the National Disaster Management Authority said.

"More bodies are still trapped inside the burned vehicles," Red Cross volunteer Moha Maris told Reuters.

The government gave a lower death toll. "The information that we have is that 13 vehicles were involved and so far we have retrieved 33 bodies," Irungu Nyakera, Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, told a news conference.

The vehicle went out of control while going downhill on the road from the capital of Nairobi to Naivasha late on Saturday, said Mwachi Pius Mwachi, the deputy director and communications officer for the National Disaster Management Unit.

“This is a serious chemical incident,” Mwachi said. “Police and other rescuers are still on the scene … clearing debris.”

Kenya has struggled to reduce the rising number of road accidents as more people acquire vehicles in the country’s growing middle class.

In 2013 the government reintroduced breathalysers to limit accidents blamed on drunk drivers.

According to the National Transport and Safety Authority 1,574 died in road accidents in the first half of 2016 – 86 more deaths than in the same period of 2015.

An official in Naivasha said 50 people were being treated in several hospitals for burns, eight of them in a serious condition.

In 2009, more than 100 people burned to death near the central town of Molo after a lorry carrying petrol caught fire.

Sunday 11 December 2016

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