Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Rescuers search for Rohingya migrants after boat accident

The boat, which was carrying over 100 people, sank off Pauktaw Township in Rakhine State late on Monday after hitting rocks in a coastal waterway.

The United Nations said that eight bodies have been recovered and 42 others rescued.

Reports also added that 50 people were still missing and feared dead.

The Rohingyas were trying to flee Cyclone Mahasen, which is expected to hit the area on Thursday and Friday. India and Bangladesh are also at risk.

In 2008, Cyclone Nargis killed more than 13,000 people in Myanmar.

Cyclone Sidr claimed in 2007 the lives of 3,500 people in Bangladesh and destroyed thousands of homes.

The UN has begun the evacuation of Rohingyas living in some areas of Rakhine State such as Pauktaw.

Nearly 20,000 Rohingyas were taking shelter in makeshift camps in Pauktaw, according to UN data.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

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Six dead in Rwanda building collapse as rescue ends

Six people died and more than 30 people were injured after a building collapsed in northeastern Rwanda, police said Wednesday as they called off rescue efforts a day after the accident.

“Six people working on the site died as the result of the building collapse,” Rwanda’s police said in a statement. “The search and rescue mission…has been completed and the site is clear.”

Wednesday 15 May 2013

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Four bodies recovered, dozens still trapped in Freeport Grasberg mine tunnel collapse

Rescuers have recovered four bodies and rescued 10 of the dozens trapped underground after a tunnel caved in at a giant US-owned gold and copper mine in eastern Indonesia.

The search continued for around 27 other workers a day after the cave-in, Papua police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Gede Sumerta Jaya said on Wednesday.

The collapse occurred on Tuesday morning at the Grasberg mine in remote Mimika district in Papua, the easternmost province in the vast archipelago nation.

"We don't want to be careless because the terrain surrounding the old tunnel is prone to collapse," he said, adding the cause of the cave-in remains unclear. All of the workers are men, and many of those rescued suffered cuts and broken bones, Sumerta said.

The mine is owned by Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. A statement from PT Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary that runs the mine, said a tunnel in an underground training area located outside the entrance to the mine collapsed. The company believed some 40 employees and contract workers were in a classroom in the tunnel when the accident happened, and three workers managed to escape unhurt on their own.

"The rescue process is difficult and will take some time to complete," the statement said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow employees and their families as we proceed with rescue efforts."

More than 20,000 workers are employed at the mine. In 2011, production was crippled when 8,000 unionised employees walked off the job after demanding higher pay. The strike ended after the company agreed to a 37 per cent wage hike and improved benefits.

The restive province holds some of the world's largest gold and copper reserves

Wednesday 15 May 2013

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Aizwal landslide: All bodies recovered, clearing work on at site

With the last remaining body being recovered from under the debris, the workers were now busy clearing the site here that was hit by the massive landslide on May 11 leaving 17 people dead.

SP (Traffic) Lallianmawia on Wednesday said the body of Vanlalrema of S Lungpher village was recovered last night.

This was the last of the 17 bodies that had been recovered from under huge chunk of concrete slabs.

Members of the state Disaster Response Force, assisted by workers of the Young Mizo Association worked round the clock to recover the bodies, Lallianmawia said.

He said work to clear the debris would continue.

The massive landslide at Laipuitlang area in northern part of the state capital early on May 11 was triggered by a cyclonic storm and heavy pre-monsoon rainfall.

A PWD office building, which had been vacated about a year ago after a crack developed on it, collapsed under the impact of the landslide and fell on nine houses below killing 17 people.

The government on Monday ordered a magisterial inquiry and Aizawl DC Dr Franklin Laltinkhuma was appointed to enquire into the incident and submit report within seven days.

Opposition parties slammed the government and demanded resignation of Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla who holds the PWD portfolio.

Mizo National Front and Zoram Nationalist Party demanded a judicial inquiry and not a magisterial probe.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

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Floods in Somalia kill 7, displace thousands

Floods in many parts of Somalia have claimed the lives of seven children and displaced thousands others according to figures released by the UN humanitarian office for Somalia (OCHA).

The UN has listed the towns of Baidoa, Jowhar, Miido areas of southern Somalia as the worst affected by the recent floods. Other areas which have also been affected include Wanlaweyn in Lower Shabelle, Hudun district in Sool and Dharoor in Sanaag as well as Abudwaq in the Galgadud region of central Somalia.

Safety concern posed by stagnant water in some of the affected regions was also raised. The UN warned of major health risks, including increased incidents of cholera, diarrhoea and malaria.

“As floods continue to wreak havoc in most parts of the country, the UN and its humanitarian partners hope to come up with a long term strategy that would increase the preparedness of the people so that Somalis can cope with shocks such as drought, flood and food insecurity in the future”.

In his recent visit to Somalia, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Philippe Lazzarini said that communities in Somalia will continue to be exposed to flooding and drought.

Farmers were not spared either as the torrential rains affected large swathes of their farms. Flood water also destroyed the farm produce leaving the farmers food insecure.

However the UN now says that it hopes better preparedness can help Somalis cope with future crisis

This, the UN says, it hopes to achieve by building resilience that will move away from the cycle of recurring crises as Somalia has become prone to drought and floods among other natural calamities.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

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Heavy rains kill 19 in southern China, one missing

Heavy rains that have been hitting southern China over the past week have resulted in the deaths of 19 people and left one person missing, officials said.

Continuous rains since May 6 and resulting floods have affected more than 3.47 million people in south China, with 187,000 people in need of resettlement and other aid, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

About 5,00 houses have been destroyed and 46,000 others have been damaged. The rains have also destroyed about 66,471 acres of crops. Economic losses are estimated at $290 million, said a statement released Monday by the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the National Committee for Disaster Reduction

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the provinces of Hunan and Guizhou were the hardest-hit regions, the statement said.

The ministry has issued disaster management instructions for relief officials in affected regions and relief materials, including cotton tents, quilts, folding beds and sleeping bags, are being are being disbursed in those areas.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

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At least 10 Killed, 10 Injured in road cccident in Russia's Penza Region

At least 10 people died and another 10 were injured Tuesday morning in a serious traffic accident in the Penza region, regional police said.

A minibus carrying 18 passengers collided with a Toyota off-road vehicle and then hit a large truck, but police have so far been unable to give the exact cause of the crash, Interfax reported.

The police are considering different versions of events, the mostly likely being that the minibus driver performed a dangerous overtaking maneuver, pulling out into oncoming traffic and colliding with a vehicle moving in the opposite direction, the report said.

However, police have not ruled out the possibility that the accident was caused by the minibus driver falling asleep behind the wheel and losing control of the vehicle.

"According to preliminary reports, the minibus driver was tired, could not stay alert and may have fallen asleep, which could have caused the accident," a police source said.

The large number of casualties may also have resulted from a collision with a third vehicle -- a Freightliner truck.

There were conflicting information about the identifies of the dead. Regional police said in a statement that the passengers were Tajik nationals traveling from Sochi to work in Chuvashia. But the Emergency Situations Ministry told Interfax that the dead passengers were residents of Chuvashia and the minivan's owner, also from Chuvashia, had died as well.

Earlier, police reported that 11 people had died, but one of the people previously presumed dead started to show "signs of life," Interfax said.

Police were working at the scene of the incident to determine exactly what happened.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

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2 bodies found after Indonesia mine collapse

Two workers were killed and 31 others were trapped underground after a tunnel caved in Tuesday at a gold and copper mine in remote eastern Indonesia, its US operator said.

The accident happened at Freeport-McMoRan's huge Grasberg mine, and was the latest in a string of problems at the operation including a major 2011 strike that crippled production.

"Rescuers at the scene have reported that they have rescued four workers and found two bodies," Freeport Indonesia, the local subsidiary of the mining giant, said in a statement.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased," said Freeport Indonesia president Rozik B. Soetjipto.

Thirty-seven workers were initially believed to have been trapped in the underground training facility when part of a tunnel collapsed, the company said.

A total of 40 Freeport employees and contract workers were in a classroom at the facility when the accident happened at 7:30 am, but three managed to escape immediately.

Local police chief Jermias Rontini told AFP those evacuated had been taken to hospital but he did not know their conditions.

The tunnel is 500 metres away from one of the mining areas, high in the mountains of rugged, resource-rich Papua province.

Freeport said rescue operations were "difficult and will take some time to complete" but added "it would spare no effort" to save the trapped workers. The company said it did not expect production to be affected.

The company has not identified the nationalities of those involved in the accident, although the vast majority of the more than 24,000 workers at the mine are Indonesian.

Neither police nor Freeport gave a cause for the accident.

The 2011 strike lasted three months and crippled production at Grasberg, one of the world's largest gold and copper miners. The strike only ended once the firm agreed to a huge pay rise.

The industrial action sparked a wave of deadly clashes between police and gunmen around the mine, with at least 11 people, all Indonesians, killed.

Earlier this month, some 1,100 workers employed by Freeport contractors staged a three-day strike over pay but it caused only minimal disruption to production.

Wednesday 14 May 2013

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