Thursday, 20 June 2013

Mardan blast victims laid to rest as death toll hits 34

The victims of the Shergarh suicide blast were laid to rest in their respective areas as the death toll reached 34 on Wednesday.

Investigation Office Mumtaz Bacha said that 30 persons were killed while 96 sustained injuries in the suicide blast at the funeral prayer.

However, the locals said that the death toll was higher because some of the families had not shifted bodies of their relatives to hospitals.

Thursday 20 June 2013

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At least 30 dead, 9 missing in Peru bus crash

At least 30 people died and nine are missing after a bus plunged into a river in Peru's central jungle province of Chanchamayo, local police said Wednesday.

Fifteen people are known to have been injured in the crash.

Highway Police chief Col. Rodorico Cubas told RPP radio that so far 30 bodies had been recovered and 15 people were being treated at local hospitals, adding that nine people remain unaccounted for.

"We're still waiting to recover nine bodies or injured people," Cubas said, adding that the injured had been transported to hospitals in communities closest to the accident site.

The police chief said that the bus went off the roadway for unknown reasons before entering a tunnel and ended up plunging into the Tarma River, some 370 kilometers (229 miles) from Lima.

Witnesses to the crash told RPP that the bus went down a 50-meter (163-foot) slope into the river and that the weather conditions at the scene had been making it difficult for emergency crews to attend to the injured and recover the bodies.

Peru's Sutran land transportation and shipping authority said that the vehicle had all the relevant permits and obligatory insurance.

The head of the Chanchamayo Health Network, Hernan Condori Machado, said that his hospital received one dead body and 10 injured people after the accident.

The injured are being treated at the hospital in La Merced, the health center in San Ramon and the Social Security Hospital in Chanchamayo.

Authorities at the morgue in La Merced said that 26 bodies had been received there, but they did not provide the identities of any of the dead.

Bus accidents - some of which result in dozens of dead and injured - are relatively commonplace in Peru's interior, where the geography, the poor state of roadways and vehicles, as well as driver imprudence or error can all be contributing factors.

Thursday 20 June 2013

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Inquest to start into asylum boat sinking

An inquest into the presumed deaths of more than 100 passengers on board an asylum seeker boat that sank north of Christmas Island last year will begin next week.

West Australian coroner Alastair Hope will preside over the inquiry into the sinking of the boat known as SIEV 357, which was carrying 212 people when it sank about 204 kilometres north-west of Christmas Island on June 21, 2012.

Seventeen bodies were taken to Christmas Island, 85 people were reported missing and presumed dead, and 110 were rescued. The passengers were from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.

The WA coroner does not have powers to investigate the missing people but does have jurisdiction for the 17 whose bodies were recovered, and will hold an inquest into how they died.

Two of the bodies have not been identified and one of them may never be identified, a directions hearing previously heard.

The listing comes as findings were finally revealed from an inquest into the SIEV 69, which sank on its way from India to Christmas Island in 2009.

The inquest, which was complete some six months ago, focused on Tharmeswaran Thambiaiya, a 29-year-old Sri Lankan whose body was the only one recovered from 13 who died in the incident.

In his findings, Mr Hope said language barriers and bad phone lines meant distress calls had delayed possible help for hours.

When a Taiwanese fishing vessel, the FV Kuang Win, did reach the floundering ship, it prompted two asylum seekers to swim from their stricken vessel - only to be turned away and made to swim back in dangerous conditions.

The Taiwanese boat then left the area to continue fishing, despite frantic radio messages for them to stay - an act that Mr Hope described as "callous and irresponsible".

"The recorded comments made by someone on the FV Kuang Win ... showed a remarkable disregard for the suffering and deaths of those on board SIEV 69," Mr Hope said.

Thursday 20 June 2013

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102 bodies identified in Bin Jawad mass grave

The Missing People and Martyrs Ministry announced that the remains of 102 bodies in a mass grave in Bin Jawad, near Sirte have been identified.

At a press conference held today, the Head of Laboratories and Investigations Department at the Ministry, Adel Aboud, said that the mass grave had contained 156 corpses, and the department has received 184 DNA samples from families who thought that their missing ones were among them.

Sixty-five percent of the corpses has been identified, Aboud added, remained unknown bodies because none of the 184 DNA samples matched.

On March 2012, some families had identified their missing sons by their photos, clothes, and IDs under supervision of Forensic Department and Public Prosecution Aboud said.

According to the Director of Technical Department for Missing Persons Search, Dr.Essam Zuraiq, there are still 2,516 people listed as missing in Libya.

Thursday 20 June 2013

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Uttarakhand monsoon: evacuations in Kedarnath town, thousands still missing

Rescue and relief operations were intensified on a massive scale on Thursday in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand as multiple agencies evacuated the worst-affected Kedarnath town and other areas even as the death toll is feared to be in several hundreds.

About 50,000 people were still said to be stranded in various parts of the state that was hit by cloudburst and floods in the upper reaches that left several hundreds of homes, rest houses and buildings in ruins and thousands of people missing.

The official death toll still stood at 150 but Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said the casualties could run into several hundreds which will be known only when areas become accessible and water recedes.

The state government’s disaster mitigation and management centre had in the morning said that the causalities could run into thousands with about 90 dharamshalas (resthouses for pilgrims) swept away in the flash floods.

In the wake of poor connectivity and communication, relatives of several pilgrims who came from outside the state were struggling to find the whereabouts of their dear ones.

The upper reaches of the state lay mute witness to the death and devastation caused by nature’s fury due to Saturday’s cloudburst and landslides and a complete estimate of which was still not available.

Uttarakhand Principal Secretary (Home) Om Prakash told reporters here that 1,000 people have been evacuated from different places. There are still around 200 people in and around Kedarnath valley and tomorrow their evacuation will be done.

ITBP chief Ajay Chadha, whose 1,000 men are involved in relief work in Uttarakhand, told reporters in Delhi that the worst affected Kedarnath temple area has been evacuated of people and there could still be about 400-500 people in the upper reaches.

He said Army will launch operations on Friday to bring these people down. The Rambada area around the famous Kedarnath temple was still in slush and debris and there could bodies submerged in it, he said.

Mr. Chadha also said they were not in a position to give the complete death toll in the disaster unless bodies are recovered. There could be a lot of people who could have been washed away but in such situations eyewitness accounts could sometimes be exaggerated, Mr. Chadha said.

Twentytwo helicopters have been deployed to rescue and evacuate over 22,000 stranded people to safer locations through hundreds of sorties. Food, medicines and other essentials were also carried to the needy by the defence forces.

The ITBP DG, who is also in-charge of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), said 17 bodies were recovered by the troops of the specialised force from the Kedarnath area. The state government has been informed.

Gaurikund, the base camp for those going to Kedarnath temple, also witnessed rescue of 250 people today by small helicopters.

Thursday 20 June 2013

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