Sunday, 16 September 2012

11 dead, 6 injured in bus crash in NW China

Eleven people have been confirmed dead after a bus drove through a road barrier and fell into a ravine in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region on Saturday, authorities said Sunday.

Officials from the county government of Longde said two survivors died in hospitals, and six others were still being treated for injuries in local hospitals.

The accident occurred at about 8 p.m. on a state-level road in Longde county, Guyuan, when the bus carrying 17 people overturned and fell into a ravine.

The bus, registered in neighboring Gansu Province, had a designed capacity of 41 passengers. It was heading from Lanzhou, provincial capital of Gansu, to Pingliang, Gansu Province, at the time of the accident.

Sunday 16 September 2012

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Uttarakhand cloudburst: Death toll up to 45, 18 more feared missing

Dehradun: The death toll from a series of landslides and floods has gone upto 45 in Uttarakhand on Saturday as rescuers pulled 17 more bodies from the debris, a state government minister told AFP. 18 people are still feared trapped in debris after cloudburst wreaked havoc in the state two days ago.

Most of the deaths occurred in the early hours of Friday after heavy downpours in Rudraprayag and Bageshwar districts of the scenic Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, Disaster Management Minister Yashpal Arya said.

"Seventeen bodies were found on Saturday from the affected areas of Rudraprayag," Mr Arya said, adding that army personnel were helping local rescuers hunting for more bodies in four affected villages.

"We fear that up to 18 more bodies could be still buried in the debris in Rudraprayag," he said in the state capital Dehradun, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) from the district.

The latest figure took to 36 the number of people killed in Rudraprayag while nine others were found dead on Friday in Bageshwar, he said.

Uttarakhand has experienced heavy and constant rainfall since Wednesday. The landslides also stranded around 100 pilgrims travelling to an ancient Hindu temple atop the Garhwal Himalayan range.

In Himachal Pradesh, the police evacuated people along the river as flash floods hit Solang Valley. As river water levels rose, many vehicles were stranded on the Manali-Rohtang Pass. One death was reported.

The Chandigarh-Manali National Highway was closed. Border Roads Organisation personnel, with the help of local authorities, were providing relief to the affected people.

In Uttar Pradesh, two children drowned in the Ghaghra in Azamgarh. The Saryu and the Ghaghra were rising. Houses in villages of Barabanki and Faizabad districts were washed away.

In the worst-hit Uttarakhand, 28 persons including two children and three firefighters were killed and others went missing after being washed away by flash floods in Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts. Hundreds were left homeless. A dozen bridges were washed away and debris from landslips blocked most roads including national highways leading to Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Hemkunt Sahib.

The Uttarakhand government suspended the Char Dham Yatra and initiated steps for the return of the over 1,500 stranded pilgrims.

Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel, local police and civil officials were at work. The efforts were, however, hampered by rain, landslips and slippery mountain tracks, the State Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre said.

Generation came to a halt as silt in the powerhouses choked the turbines.

The Bhagirathi soared above the danger level in Uttarkashi and the Ganga was just short of the danger mark at Haridwar. An alert was sounded in areas along the Ganga and its tributaries. Those living in low-lying areas were asked to shift.

In Uttarkashi, bodies of seven labourers were recovered, while at least 20 others went missing after a flash flood washed away part of the power house of Assi Ganga power project Phase I. Phase II was also damaged. Some 73 houses were destroyed and large tracts of agricultural land washed away.

The Gangori fire station was destroyed and a fire tender and some private vehicles were washed away. The administration evacuated 200 families from the area and lodged them in government buildings. Tents were erected for people stranded in inaccessible areas.

The Gangotri highway was washed away to a length of several kilometres, as was the Gangori hanging bridge. Three firefighters were killed while rescuing people.

In Chamoli, two children were killed and two injured when their house collapsed in Karnaprayag. The injured were admitted to the Government Health Centre at Karnaprayag.

India has suffered from a variable monsoon season this year that has been too intense in some parts of the country and too feeble in others.

Excess rainfall in the northeast triggered destructive floods that displaced six million people, while much of the rest of the country sizzled without regular rainfall.

Sunday 16 September 2012

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Factory fire: DNA test results could take two weeks, says govt

KARACHI: The 41 bodies, burnt beyond recognition in the fire at the garment factory on September 11, will not be handed over to the families till the DNA test results are available, announced the Sindh government on Saturday.

“There will be more chaos if families take the wrong body by mistake,” said Dr Imdadullah Siddiqui, director of medical services at the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation. “To avoid such errors, the most reliable and scientific method is DNA testing.”

None of the bodies kept at the Edhi mortuary could be identified by relatives. The government has already taken samples from the bodies, said Siddiqui. The DNA samples of the relatives of people who are still missing from the fire are being collected at camps set up at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Civil hospital and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

Siddiqui said that the test results could take around two weeks and will be handed over to the police surgeon, Dr Kamaluddin Shaikh, who will share it with the families. The Edhi Foundation representative said that they have volunteered to keep the bodies for as long as it takes. He said that keeping a body costs around Rs500 per day but Abdul Sattar Edhi wanted to offer as much assistance as he could. “At the time of the Nooriabad accident, we stored the bodies for almost six months and eventually arranged their burials too.”

Around 72 samples have been collected from relatives till now, including the one family which showed up at Abbasi Shaheed on Saturday, said the hospital’s spokesperson.

Sunday 16 September 2012

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Body formed for DNA lab, provision of two snorkels, 20 fire tenders for Karachi

KARACHI: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Saturday formed a committee to look into the financial aspects of setting up a DNA lab in Karachi and the provision of two snorkels and 20 fire tenders to the metropolis to control the recent Baldia Town garment factory-like tragedies in future and address the anxiety of relatives who feel difficulty in identifying their near and dear ones, it was learnt by The News.

The premier made this decision in a high-level meeting at the Governor’s House. Ashraf arrived here after visiting China and took an aerial view of the garment factory in Baldia where a devastating fire claimed the lives of over 250 labourers. Informed sources told The News that the prime minister chaired two separate meetings at the Governor’s House attended by Governor Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ebad, Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and others. In another meeting attended by the governor, the chief minister and chief secretary Sindh Raja Muhammad Abbas, the prime minister was briefed about the factory tragedy in Karachi and destruction caused by heavy rains in several districts of Sindh province.

The prime minister announced Rs 400,000 compensation for the legal heirs of each victim of the factory fire and floods, respectively. He also announced Rs 100,000 for the wounded.

The sources said that the governor Sindh requested the prime minister to establish a DNA test lab in Karachi as usually it took time to get DNA tests from Islamabad or Lahore, which cause immense sufferings for the relatives. Dr. Ishrat also proposed for provision of two snorkels and 20 fire tenders for the city to tackle growing incidents of fire. The premier formed a committee led by Federal Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh to look into the provision of funds for the said facilities in the country’s economic hub.

The sources said that Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was also briefed about the causes of the factory inferno in the city.

The interim report about the incident was prepared by the police investigating team led by DIG CID Manzoor Mughal.

SSP Niaz Khoso, one of the members of the police probe team told The News that their interim report mainly focused on three things. First, the fire was the result of a short circuit. Secondly, the electricity in the garment factory went off after 30 seconds of the fire. Third, the police report highlighted that the doors of the factory were closed.

Niaz Khoso said that the doors of the factory were locked after the fire incident ostensibly so that the people could not take away the clothes and other goods but as a result of the locking of the doors, the labourers could not escape the building, which claimed more lives.

Sunday 16 September 2012

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