Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Landslides in Rio mountains kill 24

Landslides triggered by heavy rains killed at least 24 people in the mountains above Rio de Janeiro and prompted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to call for tougher action to eradicate precarious dwellings.

Firemen on Friday recovered the bodies of three children who were swept away by floods in the worst hit neighbourhood called Quitandinha, a suburb of Petropolis, where dozens of homes were demolished by the landslides.

Most of the dead, including two civil defence rescuers, were buried under landslides caused by 17 inches (420 mm) of rain that fell on the mountainous region in just 24 hours, almost double the rainfall average for the month of March in the area.

Rousseff, who is in Rome for the investiture of Pope Francis, said Brazilian authorities will have to take "more drastic" measures to stop people building homes in dangerous places.

"We have offered people conditions to move away from areas that are at risk, but they always refuse to move," Rousseff told reporters in Italy. "So we will have to be tougher."

Floods and landslides killed about 1,000 people in the mountain region north of Rio de Janeiro in 2011 in the worst natural disaster on record in Brazil.

Works promised by local authorities to prevent new disasters have not materialized, though sirens installed in the region helped reduce the number of deaths this year, officials say.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

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Boat Carrying 166 Passengers Sinks in Calabar

David Akate, the Assistant Director, Information, Cross River Emergency Management Agency, confirmed the incident to National Mirror.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Nigeria had earlier reported nine people dead and two survivors however eyewitnesses told our correspondent that the passengers were traveling in a massive wooden boat that took off from Oron, Akwa Ibom State, and headed for the French-speaking west African nation of Gabon. The boat capsized off the waters in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

A source at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) confirmed that the corpses of 45 victims of the disaster had been deposited at the hospital’s morgue. He added that the hospital and other hospitals in the area were getting ready to receive more bodies as they were discovered.

David Akate, the assistant director for information at the Cross River Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), also confirmed the incident, but did not give further details.

But a correspondent of SaharaReporters spoke to several eyewitnesses. One of them said the boat was carrying 168 passengers. The source added that frantic efforts were underway at the scene of the disaster. “We are trying our best to rescue any of the passengers and to recover corpses,” the source said.

Official sources said the victims’ corpses were brought to the the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital instead of Malabo, where the mishap occurred, because they were believed to be Nigerians. One source revealed that some corpses were also taken to hospitals in Oron, Akwa Ibom.

A Marine Transporter at the Calabar Inland Waterways, Ikechukwu Egwu confirmed the incident to National Mirror adding that the passengers of the boat were mostly Igbo traders who were travelling to Gabon. He said they boarded the wooden boat because it was cheaper.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

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