Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Small plane crashes in Russia killing 10

A small propeller plane crashed in Russia's far east on Wednesday killing 10 of the 14 people on board, Russia's local emergency services said.

The Russian-design Antonov An-28 plane flown by two pilots was taking 12 passengers from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the provincial capital of Kamchatka, to the northern village of Palana when it crashed.

Heavy storm clouds and bad weather may have brought down the plane, a local air traffic control source told Interfax. The agency said one child was among the dead.

"Ten bodies were found at the scene of the crash and four injured passengers were being readied to be airlifted to the hospital," a spokeswoman for the local emergency services said.

Refuse from the plane crash was scattered across the wooded territory, Interfax reported.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

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Overcoming the aftermath of flash floods

PANO – Flash floods, landslide and torrential rains have claimed several lives and damaged local people’s properties and crops from Lao Cai, Yen Bai to the Central region in recent days.
Local troops and militia have been joining hands with locals to overcome the aftermath of the calamities, attempting to help locals return to normal life soon.
Bodies of victims being sanitized before a burial service
Searching for the missing after the landslide in Trong Pao Sang village, La Pan Tan commune (Yen Bai) PANO’s reporters and collaborators have taken some photos of this assistance as follows.

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Unrelenting rains kill up to 37 more in Sindh, eight in Punjab

DERA GHAZI KHAN / SUKKUR: As rains and floods continue to lash Sindh, at least 37 people lost their lives across the province on Tuesday while access to hundreds of coastal villages was cut off as several roads were washed away.

Over the past five days, Sindh has been hit by widespread rains with Jacobabad receiving 481mm, Larkana 215mm, Sukkur 206mm, Chhor 137mm, Badin108 mm and Hyderabad and Dadu recording 90mm of rainfall.

Like the past year, monsoon has left many low-lying areas in Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Thull, Kashmore, Kandhkot, Sukkur, Khairpur, and Larkana submerged.

In Kashmore, 17 people, including women and children, were killed as hundreds of katcha houses collapsed when the flash floods hit the area around midnight. According to the Met office, more rains are expected in parts of lower Sindh and southeast Balochistan over the next 24 hours.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has announced a grant of Rs5 million to each rain-affected district in the province.

Meanwhile, as floodwaters receded from the badly-hit Dera Ghazi Khan district on Tuesday, four bodies were recovered from Choti Zaireen over the last 48 hours. Small amounts of flooding continued to plague Rajanpur, Rojhan, Jampur and Dera Ghazi Khan.

In addition, another four people died in Rajanpur when a clash broke out between panicked residents trying to divert floodwater from a rural area, Sukhera. Police were unable to reach the spot and intervene in time because ground routes were blocked.

Although D G Khan’s urban area has been drained of water, inundated rural areas are still being cleared out by the district administration in coordination with the flood victims themselves. As many as 50,000 people have returned to the city in the last 24 hours after evacuating earlier. Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed that more troops had arrived to rescue people in the flooded regions.

Meanwhile, the D G link canal was in the process of being repaired. Three major breaches have been fixed while the other four are expected to be repaired by today at noon (Wednesday). Agricultural losses are estimated to have affected around 20,000 acres of rice, wheat, cotton, maize and other crops, according to the provincial agricultural minister. Makeshift medical camps have been set up on the National Highway since the major hospitals of the city, including the District Headquarters hospital, remain inundated.

According to district officials, as many as 2,000 houses have been affected in D G Khan, including those which have been completely destroyed – but losses are still building up. Heritage sites, including the mausoleums of Hazrat Bukhari and Jamalallah in Rajanpur, have also been badly damaged.

D G Khan’s tribal area has experienced the biggest devastation, where necessities are being provided via helicopters.

Infuriated residents, however, organised separate protests across the district to demonstrate over not being provided relief items. Demonstrators chanted against political leaders and complained that they needed aid, not statements and visits accompanied by a cohort of security vehicles.

In Balochistan, meanwhile, thousands remain stranded due to the disruption of electricity and communication lines, especially in Naseerabad and Jaffarabad. Blocked routes have led to a massive shortage of food and medicine while crops over thousands of acres have been destroyed and livestock lost. One man drowned in Bolan district’s Machh Nullah.

Moreover, cracks have appeared in the banks of the Pat Feeder canal at five different places which has exacerbated the flooding. The breaches have inundated dozens of low-lying villages, forcing hundreds of families to move to higher ground. The floodwater has also entered the Uch Power Plant due to which half of the plant has been closed, sources told The Express Tribune.

Railway tracks and highways in Jaffarabad and Naseerabad were inundated, cutting off rail links between the province and the rest of Pakistan for the third consecutive day.

While the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has already dispatched some trucks carrying tents and other food items to the affected areas, it is unable to match the needs of the affected people.

“We are stuck in Dera Murad Jamali and there’s water everywhere. We are sitting in the district commissioner’s office in stagnant water that’s two feet deep,” said a PDMA driver talking to The Express Tribune. He added said that some of the PDMA drivers were stranded in Jhal Magsi and contact couldn’t be established with them due to the disruption of phone networks.

According to Inter-Services Public Relation (ISPR) sources, the army has also kicked off relief efforts on a large scale following the orders of the Southern Command.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

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Floods in South Sudan suspected to have killed 15 people

Around twelve people in Western Equatoria State and three people from Awerial County in Lakes State are believed to have died due to floods and fast flowing rivers over the last two days, according to officials.

Western Equatoria State’s minister of information and communications, Charles Barnaba Kisanga, said in a statement on Tuesday that a whole vehicle - registration number CE515R - traveling from Yambio to Juba had been washed away at the at the Luri Bridge crossing of the Luri River at 8pm on Monday. All 12 passengers are believed to have died.

"We are deeply saddened by such event which shows the dangers of driving on our roads these days”, Kisanga said.

Heavy rains across South Sudan are making roads impassable and cutting off commercial activities and supplies from reaching towns and rural areas.

Minister Kisanga explained there was nothing much the state government could do to improve the situation since there was a lack of funds due to the austerity measures introduced after South Sudan stopped oil production in January as part of a transit fee dispute with Khartoum.

The cuts have crippled government plans to link the area to Juba and other towns and areas with well maintained roads.

“They have been cut and we can only advise drivers to take extra care. The Western Equatoria Government is currently mobilizing some resources for the part between Madebe and Ibba but it may not provide any immediate solution”, he said.

“We only advise drivers to exercise maximum care especially if deciding to use the Jambo-Juba Road. The advice is to use [the] Yei-Juba Road even though this is also in bad state and takes longer. Luri has become very hazardous”, he explained.

“The driver Joseph Peter survived the accident. We are still waiting on news update from Juba on the recovery of bodies. Our condolences to all relatives and friends of those who might have perished in the accident”, he said.

In Lakes State, the Awerial County commissioner David Mayom Riak, has reported that more than 2,000 people have been displaced and three people, including a nine-year-old child have died due to flooding.

Heavy rain caused the Gel River, which is located at the eastern part of the county, to overflow, Mayom said, adding that the floods had been a surprise.

Commissioner Mayom said that Dor, Bunagok, Alel and Magok payams [districts] were affected, asking humanitarian organizations, the state government as well national government in Juba to quickly intervene.

This is the first time serious floods have hit the county since South Sudan became independent last year.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

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Pakistan factory fires kill 125

Factory fires have broken out in two major cities in Pakistan, killing 125 people and injuring dozens more, including some who had to break through barred windows and leap to the ground to escape the flames.

Workers recounted how their colleagues were trapped behind blocked exits, and firefighters said that one reason why the blazes were so deadly is that the buildings a shoe factory in the eastern city of Lahore and a garment factory in the southern port of Karachi lacked clear escape routes.

Such safety issues are common throughout Pakistan, where buildings also lack emergency equipment like alarms and sprinklers and municipal rules are rarely enforced.

The most deadly blaze came in Karachi, the country's economic heart, killing at least 100 people.

Firefighters could be seen pounding on the metal grates covering some of the windows and pulling out smoke-covered bodies. Many of the workers were injured when they jumped from the burning building, said a doctor at the Civil Hospital in Karachi, Karar Abbasi.

An injured factory worker, Mohammad Ilyas, speaking from the hospital, said he was working along with roughly 50 other men and women on one of the floors when suddenly a fireball came from the staircase.

"I jumped from my seat as did others and rushed toward the windows, but iron bars on the windows barred us from escaping. Some of us quickly took tools and machines to break the iron bars," he said. "That was how we managed to jump out of the windows down to the ground floor."

Fire fighters were still trying to subdue the deadly blaze that broke out on Tuesday evening, and senior police official Amjad Farooqi.

"There were no safety measures taken in the building design. There was no emergency exit. All the people got trapped," Farooqi said.

In Lahore, the fire swept through a four-story shoe factory and killed 25 people, some from burns and some from suffocation, said senior police officer Multan Khan. The factory was illegally set up in a residential part of the city.

It broke out when people in the building were trying to start their generator after the electricity went out. Sparks from the generator made contact with chemicals used to make the shoes, igniting the blaze. Pakistan faces widespread blackouts, and many people use generators to provide electricity for their houses or to run businesses.

One of the workers, Muhammad Shabbir, said he had been working at the factory for six months along with his cousin. He said all the chemicals and the generator were located in the garage, which was also the only way out of the building. When the fire ignited, there was no way out. Shabbir said he had just gone outside the factory when the fire started, but his cousin was severely burned and died at the hospital.

A firefighter at the scene, Numan Noor, said the reason most of the victims died was because the main escape route was blocked.

"The people went to the back side of the building but there was no access, so we had to make forceful entries and ... rescue the people," said Noor.

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in a statement expressed his shock and grief over the deaths in both cities.

Woensdag 12 September 2012

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