Tuesday, 5 June 2012

All-out chaos engulfs Lagos neighborhood after plane crash

LAGOS — Chaos broke out in the densely-populated Lagos neighbourhood where a passenger jet crashed Sunday, as rescue workers faced heavy crowds and aggressive soldiers while trying to access smoldering wreckage. All 153 people on board the Dana Air flight were presumed dead and more were believed to have been killed on the ground after the plane plowed into the impoverished neighbourhood near the airport in the city of some 15 million. Thousands of onlookers had partially blocked access to the crash site, prompting soldiers to try to clear the area out. They used rubber whips, their fists and even threw a wood plank at those crowded around. The strong-arm tactics likely did more harm than good. Looking to evade the troops’ aggression, people took off in several directions, trampling their neighbours as they tried to avoid being crushed themselves. Some locals snaked a fire hose hoisted on their shoulders from a truck parked on the road towards the impact area. But this effort was also interrupted by the security forces, whose aggression eventually broke up the human chain. Some reacted by throwing stones at the troops, creating a crossfire of hailing rocks over the narrow street adjacent to the site. The area also plunged into all-out pandemonium when a helicopter tried to land amid the crowd, kicking up clouds of ash and light debris that again scattered people in various directions. After the crash, it appeared only a handful of rescue vehicles had managed to fight through the chaos to reach the site. People in the neighbourhood near the airport are used to seeing planes flying low overhead, but they said it was immediately clear that the Dana Air Boeing MD83 flight was imperiled. “The pilot was struggling to control it,” said Yusuf Babatunde, 26, who mimicked wings recklessly swaying from side to side when asked to describe what the plane looked like as it went down. The impact caused an immediate fire and sent people running, but they quickly returned, and within hours of the crash the roofs and balconies of the surrounding ramshackle buildings were flooded with those surveying the damage. Some, according to one 50-year-old resident, sought to gain financially from the disaster. “The looting started right away,” said Tunji Malomo, who told AFP he locked up his nearby bar as soon as he heard news of the crash. “This is busy, busy area,” said Martin Ajebayo, 38, a local who said he witnessed the plane go down. “People are living there,” he added, while gesturing to the area where the plane crashed, which locals said included a printing business, a church and a two or three story residential building. Rescue workers said several people had been pulled out alive, but few believed there would be many survivors following a high impact crash in a contained, urban area. “Nobody can rescue them,” Gift Onibo, 23, told AFP. Sunday 3 June 2012 http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/06/03/all-out-chaos-engulfs-lagos-neighborhood-after-plane-crash/

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Heavy rains slow search in Nigeria plane crash

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Heavy seasonal rains and strong winds in Nigeria have torn through the site where a commercial airliner with 153 people onboard crashed, slowing rescue and investigation efforts. The heavy rains began Tuesday morning before dawn, flooding roads and bringing down power lines and trees in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency, said the rains had stopped searchers from returning to the crash site near Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International Airport. Shuaib said rescuers also were worried a three-story apartment building struck by the MD-83 aircraft might collapse. The plane crashed Sunday, killing all 153 people onboard. Rescuers worry more people likely were killed on the ground. Tuesday 5 June 2012 http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gHmjSdl8Uk9xPfxY3zJOlzkLiLkA?docId=7c9fd5e22a454c959ee8a77504f4d508

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Lagos to conduct DNA on crash victims for identification

FOLLOWING the manner bodies of the victims of the DANA Airline plane crash was burnt beyond recognition, the Lagos State government, on Monday, said it will conduct DNA test on some of the recovered bodies for identification purposes. The development came even as the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Muhammad Sani-Sidi, said most of the passengers in the business class were still trapped in the topmost floor of the two-storey building hit by the aircraft. The state government said the evacuation exercise would have come to an end by the end of operations on Monday, while those not much mutilated as a result of the burnt would be taken to mortuary. Speaking at the crash site, the Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA), Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said the bodies would be taken to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) for specialised test. Also, Oke-Osanyintolu said the state government had prepared an emergency place for residents of the building at Agbowa area of Lagos. He lauded all the security agencies, including the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Red Cross, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Nigerian Police and the military, for their cooperation. While appealing to well-meaning Nigerians to cooperate with the government in the area of disaster and emergency control; the LASEMA officer declared; “We are evacuating them to LASUTH where they are going to conduct a specialized test on them. However, the residential people are being treated at the hospital. Four of them have been discharged while those who are critically ill are being treated by the state government and it is free of charge. “We want to make this place safe and as you can see, we are taking all the debris to another place. So far so good, the operation is safe and well coordinated with little challenges, but we have been able to conquer that. I’m the incident commander, we want to save lives and properties here.” The NEMA boss who also confirmed the movement of the bodies to LASUTH, however, most of the economy passengers were burnt beyond recognition. He could not however give specific numbers of the recovered bodies in the crash site, but explained that substantial bodies had been recovered by all the security agencies at the site. “The exercise will come to an end today (yesterday) because we have made a lot of progress so far. As you can see, all the concerned agencies are all here, but the violation of the accident scene by the residence is a bad a bad thing. It is the responsibility of the media to help enlighten and inform these people about their role in a situation like this. it is a collective responsibility.” Besides, the Comptroller General of Fire Service, Mr. Olusegun James said that his men have been up to the task in the recovering of the bodies through the dousing of the inferno, which enveloped the whole building. “All the security officers on ground are carrying out the recovery of the dead bodies. Although, it is taking them time to do it and I’m sure they will soon be through with it. More so, when there is no serious life that is being threatened for now. “I won’t be able to give you the numbers, but you know a lot of reports have gone that all the passengers of the plane were said to have died. So, I think they are trying to recover all the bodies and identify them too. “I think by the end of today (Monday), we should have come to a close of the whole thing. The corpses would be taken to the mortuaries and the one that are not totally mutilated would be taken by their relatives.” Tuesday 5 June 2012 http://tribune.com.ng/index.php/news/42049-lagos-to-conduct-dna-on-crash-victims-for-identification

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SAR efforts end, while Sukhoi crash investigation begins

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The search and rescue efforts with regard to the Sukhoi Superjet 100 victims` remains and the ill-fated aircraft`s wreckage were declared to be completed, after the finding of the plane`s flight data recorder (FDR) on May 30 and the transferring of the victims` remains to their families on May 23, 2012. "As we have found the FDR, I declare that the evacuation process is completed. Concerning the plane`s debris, I leave it to the Sukhoi company," the chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), Vice Marshal Daryatmo, stated at Halim Perdanakusuma air force base, East Jakarta, on May 31, 2012. The Russian-made SSJ-100 crashed into Mount Salak, between Sukabumi and Bogor districts, West Java, on May 9, 2012, during a demonstration flight. All the 45 passengers and crew members on board the plane were killed in the accident. The terrain of the crash site was extremely difficult. The plane had hit a steep cliff and its wreckage and the victims` remains were scattered across a deep ravine of Mount Salak. After painstaking search for the victims` remains and reconstruction of their body parts, Transportation Minister EE Mangindaan led a ceremony to symbolically hand over the victims` remains to the respective families at Halim Perdanakusuma airport in Jakarta, two weeks after the air crash. The minister, on behalf of the Indonesian government, expressed his deepest condolences to the victims` families. Mangindaan also conveyed his appreciation to everyone, including the military, students, nature lovers and locals, who helped find and recover the victims. He said the evacuation of the crash victims on the slopes of Mount Salak took some time because the location was very difficult to reach and the terrain had an inclination of about 85 degrees, not to mention the adverse weather conditions. "We also wish to express our appreciation to the identification team for their ward work in obtaining data of the victims` fingerprints, DNA, teeth, and other relevant information," Mangindaan added. However, several days later, the public was rather surprised when 13 residents of Cicurug sub-district, Sukabumi district, claimed to have found more remains and several identity cards of the SSJ-100 victims at the area around the crash scene. "The villagers, who are members of the Non-Timber Forest Product Society (AMPHHBKI`s Sukabumi chapter), discovered an intact body of a Caucasian man, believed to be a Russian crew member, several body parts, as well as several business cards, ID cards (KTP), and flight ID cards," AMPHHBKI Sukabumi branch chairman Junaidi Abdullah told ANTARA on May 28. "We found the remains during our week-long stay near the location of the air crash in Mount Salak, to be exact, at about 500-700 meters from the crash site," he said. On the first day of their stay (May 20), the group spotted body parts such as fingers and hands around the location, and several days later, they discovered an intact human body and several identity cards. The villagers did not evacuate the remains, but they collected the ID cards, because they went down to the ravine not for evacuation, but as part of their routine activities. After receiving the news from the local villagers, a joint SAR team was dispatched to the crash site for further evacuation. "The search and evacuation of the remains of the Sukhoi victims is led by Sukabumi`s district military command 0607, Captain Sanusi, who will be assisted by 29 personnel," the Commander of the military resorts, Colonel AM Putranto, told reporters on May 29. The SAR team - comprising personnel from Indonesia`s national defense forces, the national police, the mountain and jungle explorer association, as well as several residents - first focused on the location where some residents of Cicurug sub-district found the body parts of the victims. Putranto explained the remains and belongings might have been washed away by a mudslide to another location, thanks to the downpour that occurred when the national SAR team ceased its operations. The team found more body parts and carried those in two body bags to Keramat Jati Police Hospital for identification by Indonesia's Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team. "We have received two body bags containing more remains for identification," Executive Director of DVI Indonesia Senior Commissioner Anton Castilani said on May 30. He explained that since the body parts were almost decomposed, it would take a long time to identify them. The DVI team had earlier completed the identification process of the victims` body parts, which had arrived in 30 body bags. After the finding of more body parts, local residents of Cijeruk found the FDR at the crash site on Mount Salak, on May 30, 2012. The plane`s cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was found on May 15, 2012. The FDR and CDR, which constitute the plane`s black box , are important because they may hold vital clues about what really happened on the afternoon of May 9, 2012. Daryatmo previously said although the joint Indonesian and Russian team had officially stopped the search operation on May 21, a small team of the agency was still looking for the FDR. "The radius of the search has been expanded at the crash site. The FDR is small, weighing only around 4.5 kg. It might be somewhere inside the bushes. Although the terrain is very difficult, we don`t give up," Daryatmo said at a hearing in the parliament. When the nine Cijeruk residents found the FDR, the device was buried in a location around 20 meters away from the plane`s tail. They later handed it over to the joint SAR team, which was led by Colonel AM Putranto of the Suryakencana Military Command 061. The Basarnas chief handed over the FDR to the head of the National Committee for Transportation Safety (KNKT), Tatang Kurniadi. Tatang said KNKT already had the device needed to read the FDR`s data, which would include information about the plane`s speed and altitude. It would take around three to four hours to open the FDR, while its data analysis process would require around 20 hours, he added. Indonesia`s House of Representatives (DPR RI`s Commission V), summoned on May 28, among others, Minister of Transportation EE Mangindaan, the Basarnas chief, the KNKT chief, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), PT Angkasa Pura II, and PT Trimarga Rekatama to a meeting regarding the air accident. Minister Mangindaan said Sukhoi`s demonstration flight was conducted after the necessary permits were obtained, which include Diplomatic Clearance from the Foreign Affairs Ministry (on April 20, 2012), the Security Clearance from the National Defense Forces (TNI), and the Flight Clearance from the Air Transportation Directorate General (on May 7, 2012) with regard to its route (Saigon-Halim Perdana Kusuma-Vientiane). The Commission demanded faster results from the investigation of the accident, in which 35 Indonesians, eight Russians, one Frenchman and an American were killed. Commission Chairman Yasti Soepredjo Mokoagow and Deputy Chairman Mulyadi urged the KNKT chief to announce the results of the investigation at a press conference within the next six months. In his response, Tatang explained the accident report could not be done in a rush because the KNKT`s credibility was at stake. He asked the public to be patient and wait for the investigation to be completed. The Parliament has planned to set up a working group to investigate into the cause of the air crash. The group will also monitor the insurance compensation payment for the victims` families and work towards improved regulations in the aviation industry in order to minimize accidents. (*) Tuesday 5 June 2012 http://www.antaratv.com/en/news/82681/sar-efforts-end-while-sukhoi-crash-investigation-begins

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Two dead, 32 displaced as mudslide sweeps through Sironko

Residents say unusual torrential rains pounded the area for about three hours, destroying seven houses, gardens and animals and burying two people under the rubble. The Bugimwera LCI chairman, Mr Stephen Makwasi, identified the dead as Francis Wamboga, 42, and Zita Nafuna, 72, whom he said were reportedly in their house at the time of the disaster. Rescue measures The Sironko RDC, Mr Hussein Matanda, said from the assessment carried out, about 130 homesteads also need to be evacuated from the areas of Bugimwera and Gombe at the slopes of Mt. Elgon as the rain intensifies. “It is sad that the two people who were buried under the rubble were in their house at about 3am when the mudslides rolled down. Our appeal is that people be evacuated from the slopes of Mt. Elgon to the lowlands for safety,” Mr Matanda said yesterday. Ms Diana Nandawula, the eastern regional police spokesperson, confirmed the deaths and asked residents to relocate. The Uganda Wildlife Authority warden in-charge of tourism, Mr Richard Matanda, said the disasters at the slopes of Mt. Elgon have become common because of the growing population which is putting pressure on the land. He revealed that most people living at the slopes of Mt. Elgon have cut down trees on the mountains and destroyed vegetation as they search for land to cultivate and settle. This is the third time in the recent past that mudslides are occurring in the Mt. Elgon area. In March 2010, a mudslide buried about 355 people in Bududa District. While in September another mudslide struck Bulambuli and killed about 32 people, a disaster that forced the government to relocate residents around the Mt. Elgon area to Kiryandongo, in Western Uganda. Environment experts have warned that there is a growing crack across the Mt. Elgon that has since deepened to 30 centimetres, a sign of a great damage for the settlers. Sironko LC5 Chairman James Nabende says the heavy rain is likely to cause a lot of disasters in the district because of the poor cultivation methods that have left the ground bare. Monday 4 June 2012 http://in2eastafrica.net/two-dead-32-displaced-as-mudslide-sweeps-through-sironko/

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EULEX to Exhume Suspected Mass Grave in Mitrovica

EULEX is waiting for a green light from a court in order to start exhuming a suspected mass grave in northern Kosovo, after local residents found two bodies during construction works. Mortal remains of at least two people were discovered during construction works at a private property in the southern part of Mitrovica, near former Yugoslav Army barracks. EU rule of law mission to Kosovo, EULEX, experts from the Department of Forensic Medicine, together with investigators of the War Crimes Investigation Unit, visited the site in Mitrovica on Saturday. Local inhabitants and associations of the families of missing persons, suspect that the two bodies found wrapped up in a blanket at the site, are victims of the Kosovo war. Blerim Krasniqi, EULEX spokesperson, told Balkan Insight on Monday that EULEX is waiting for the detailed analysis. “Bone samples were taken in order to determine if they are of forensic interest, meaning if they belong to people who died between 1 January 1998 – 31 December 2000, as a consequence of the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo,” confirmed Krasniqi. The period is determined by the Kosovo Law on Missing Persons, based on which the Department of Forensics Medicine operates. Six months ago, close to the same area in the vicinity of the former Yugoslav Army barracks, 55 bodies were recovered. But the forensic teams found that the remains are from World War II, and not the 1999 Kosovo-Serbia war. Some 1,400 victims of the Kosovo war are still missing. The associations of families of missing persons and Pristina authorities have recently called upon Belgrade to reveal what happened to their loved ones who went missing during the 1999 war, who are presumed to have been killed by the Serbian security forces. The same call has been made to the international community to urge Serbia to reveal the information. Monday 4 June 2012 http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/eulex-to-exhume-suspected-mass-grave-in-mitrovica

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Mass grave discovered in southern Colombia

Colombian authorities discovered at least 300 unidentified body remains in what they believe to be a graveyard belonging to the FARC in the southern department of Caqueta, independent newspaper La Nacion reported Monday. The mass grave was discovered May 30, when a committee from the Prosecutor General's Office found at least 100 graves, each containing the remains of three bodies. The site, in Caño Gafas, in the jurisdiction of Cartagena del Chaira, is the largest of its kind to ever be discovered in Colombia. Authorities believe there are likely many more mass graves in the department which they have been unable to search thoroughly due to the high risk of attack. The Prosecutor's Office sent in a team anthropologists, photographers, surveyors and field assistants to try and identify the bodies which they believe are former FARC guerrillas killed in combat, government soldiers and civilians. Exhumation will likely continue for many weeks. The authorities assume that at least 300 unidentified remains rest in a land located in Caño Eyeglasses jurisdiction of Cartagena del Chaira. THE NATION, Florence Staff Attorney General's Office, managed to reach Caño Glasses in Cartagena del Chaira (Caquetá), where they say that there may be more than 300 bodies buried in mass graves. Glasses Cano, a point located within the vast territory of the municipality of Cartagena del Chaira, has been one of the closed areas for the authorities to carry out exhumation of remains of missing persons. However, on 30 May, a committee of the Attorney General's Office was able to enter the site and check what was suspected by intelligence information, that were located on the site at least a hundred mass graves are presumed dozens missing. According to judicial sources, the authorities have also identified various points in the jurisdiction of the Union Peneya, Milan, Cartagena del Chaira, El Doncello, Paujil, Puerto Rico, San Vicente del Caguan or Solano, where it is virtually impossible to enter at the risk of an attack of the FARC. However, for the search committee from entering to Caño glasses are required at least 2 or 3 groups of counter-insurgency, backed by aircraft and helicopters, to move to the site that has been called the largest mass grave from the FARC . In August 2010, Cano Glasses, army units were heavy clashes with the FARC and managed to recover the area. The operations were in charge of Counterinsurgency Battalion 25 'Héroes de Paya'. The place has strong gang presence Ismael Mejia "of the FARC, which is part of the Southern Bloc of the FARC. Meanwhile, it was found that six bodies have been exhumed from two mass graves. THE NATION was established that the site would be at least 100 graves in which they would be mortal remains of three each. Thus, it is expected that the operation later exhumation at least every week. This finding has been called the largest mass grave of the FARC, above which was located in the Union Peneya and where lay the remains of 'El Mocho Cesar. However, it would be different because the cases in Caño glasses have buried the guerrillas not only guerrillas, but also soldiers and civilians. In this sense, military sources said that the bodies located in Caño glasses belong to guerrillas, soldiers and civilians "executed" by the FARC or killed in action. Similarly, the authorities are handling the hypothesis that within the nasal military bodies would also disappeared in the guerrilla takeover of El Billar Caquetá, which occurred in 1998 and where 64 soldiers were killed, 19 wounded and 43 kidnapped. To determine with certainty what would be the identities of the missing, the prosecution and Glasses Cano sent a team of anthropologists, photographers, surveyors and field assistants escorted by command of Joint Task Force Omega, with strong presence in the area. Although Cano glasses, has been called the largest mass grave of the FARC, not forget that there are still closed areas in the department to reach the authorities to verify intelligence reports that account for the existence of more cemeteries underground, where they would be missing the last decades of arduous military confrontation in the Caquetá. Monday 4 June 2012 http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/24398-farc-cemetery-discovered-in-souther-colombia.html http://www.lanacion.com.co/2012/06/04/descubren-cementerio-de-las-farc/

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