Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Italian Navy rescues 5,200 migrants and recovers three dead in Mediterranean Sea

The Italian Navy and coastguard ships have rescued 5,200 illegal migrants and recovered three bodies from over-crowded boats in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily.

Recent calm seas have led to a wave of migration attempts by people leaving North African and heading to Italy, a navy spokesman told Reuters.

The spokesman added that the rescue efforts are continuing, with merchant ships and a Maltese vessel joining to support the fleet.

"Europe can't just turn its back on us."

Crew members of the merchant tanker Norient Star recovered three dead bodies; however, the cause of the deaths are unknown.

Italy strengthened its patrolling capabilities with the launch of a search-and-rescue mission called Mare Nostrum, or Our Sea, in October 2013, after a boat carrying 366 migrants fleeing African countries capsized near Sicily.

The country has been urging the European Union to join the search-and-rescue mission, but only Slovenia has responded as yet.

Sicilian port city of Porto Empedocle mayor Lillo Firetto said: "Europe can't just turn its back on us."

"This isn't just Sicily's border, but it's Europe's border, too."

The number of migrants that have reached Italy by boat this year has already exceeded last year's total of 40,000.

Last month, the Italian Navy rescued 206 migrants and recovered 17 bodies from a boat that had capsized between the island of Lampedusa and Libya.

Tuesday 10 June 2014


continue reading

Himalayan dam disaster: 5 bodies found, 19 students still missing

Five bodies of students were found in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi district while the fate of 19 others who were washed away in Beas river that saw a flash-flood after the release of water from a hydropower project is still unknown, an official said.

The toll in Sunday's accident has risen to five, Additional Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Rai told IANS over phone on Monday. Rai said one of the bodies was recovered from Pandoh dam, whose floodgates were closed after the accident.

The dam is some 15 km downstream from the accident spot. The accident spot is located some 200 km from state capital Shimla and on the border of Kullu and Mandi districts.

At least 24 students, including six girls of the VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology in Hyderabad, were reported missing after strong currents in the mighty Beas river washed them away.

The chances of survival of the students were bleak, officials said. More than 60 students and faculty members were on an excursion to the picturesque tourist resort of Manali.

Some of them were getting themselves photographed on the banks of the river in Thalaut area near Hanogi Mata temple when they were washed away.

The water level suddenly increased due to release of water in the river without warning from a nearby hydropower project. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh reached the accident spot to oversee the rescue operation.

Singh ordered a probe by Divisional Commissioner Onkar Sharma into the release of water by the project authorities without a warning, said a government spokesperson.

He has ordered the suspension of erring resident engineer of the 126 MW Larji hydropower project being run by the state electricity board. A case of negligence was registered.

A team of the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), headed by Commandant Jaideep Singh, is likely to reach the spot by noon, official sources said. The NDRF team comprises 72 people were dispatched from Delhi.

Tuesday 10 June 2014


continue reading