Friday, 29 December 2017

New York apartment fire: at least 12 people killed in Bronx

At least 12 people, including a child, have died in a blaze at a Bronx apartment building on a frigid night, New York City’s mayor has said.

Calling it an “unspeakable tragedy”, Bill de Blasio said one of the victims was an infant and four other people were critically injured. Visiting the scene, the mayor said: “This will rank as one of the worst losses of life to a fire in many, many years.”

He praised firefighters for saving 12 people from the blaze, which is now under control after breaking out just before 7pm at a five-storey building a block from the Bronx Zoo.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro called the fire, “historic in its magnitude”, because of the number of lives lost. “Our hearts go out to every person who lost a loved one here and everyone who is fighting for their lives,” he said.

Nigro said the fire started on the first floor and quickly spread upstairs. People died on multiple floors, and ranged in age from one to over 50.

More than 160 firefighters worked in bone-chilling cold, just 15 degrees, to rescue people from the building as the fire quickly spread. A nearby school has been set up to shelter evacuees on a bitterly cold night. Water sprayed from hoses froze into ice on the street.

Witnesses recounted their ordeal. Fifty-nine-year-old Thierno Diallo said he was asleep in his ground-floor apartment when he heard banging on the door. He said he heard people screaming, “There’s a fire in the building!”, prompting him to run out in his bathrobe, jacket and sandals.

Ana Santiago, who lives in an adjoining building, told the New York Times she fled when she smelled the smoke and saw young girls who had escaped the fire standing on the fire escape in bare feet with no coats.

Neighborhood resident Robert Gonzalez, who has a friend who lives in the building, said she got out on a fire escape as another resident fled with five children. “When I got here, she was crying,” Gonzalez said.

Windows on some upper floors were smashed and blackened. “The smoke was crazy, people screaming, ‘Get out!,” a witness, Jamal Flicker, told the New York Post. “I heard a woman yelling, ‘We’re trapped, help!”

According to city records, the building had no elevator. Fire escapes were visible on the facade of the building.

One of New York’s deadliest fires in recent memory happened elsewhere in the Bronx in 2007. Nine children and one adult died in a blaze sparked by a space heater.

Friday 29 December 2017

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Huge fire at Mumbai restaurant kills at least 14

At least 14 people were killed when a huge blaze tore through a popular restaurant in Mumbai early on Friday, police said, in the latest disaster to raise concerns over fire safety in India.

Many of the victims were young women who were attending a birthday party on the rooftop when the fire broke out. Doctors said they died of asphyxiation, apparently as they tried to flee the burning building.

Local media reported that a false ceiling had collapsed in the four-storey building in the Indian financial capital, trapping people inside as they tried to escape.

The fire was extinguished in the early hours but an AFP reporter at the scene said the rooftop where the party was taking place had been gutted, with charred ice buckets and ashtrays strewn around.

“Fourteen people have succumbed to their injuries and remaining victims have been discharged from the KEM hospital. Most of the deaths were due to asphyxiation,” Avinash Supe, dean of local KEM hospital told AFP.

Police said they were investigating the cause of the fire, and had filed a preliminary case against the restaurant’s owners.

Eleven of the victims were female partygoers, according to authorities.

One woman who said she was in the building at the time told of the desperate scenes as people tried to escape.

“There was a stampede and someone pushed me,” Sulbha Arora said on Twitter.

“People were running over me even as the ceiling above me was collapsing in flames. Still don’t know how I got out alive. Some powers were definitely protecting me.”

Television footage of the latest disaster showed fire engines and emergency teams rushing to the scene as the building was being consumed by flames and dark plumes of smoke rose into the night sky.

Firefighter Sanjay Hiwarle told reporters the blaze was brought under control during the night and a “cooling operation” was under way.

The restaurant was in the city’s Kamala Mills compound, which also houses hotels and offices.

Friday 29 December 2017

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Tanzania: Boat Disaster Toll Rises to 19 After Recovery of Six Bodies

Six more bodies of passengers who drowned in Lake Tanganyika after two boats collided in Uvinza District early on Friday were recovered yesterday.

The recovery took to 19 the number of people confirmed dead in the accident, according to the Principal Officer of the Surface and Marine Transport and Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) in Kigoma Region, Mr Amaniel Sekulu.

The boats - MV Atakalo Mola, which was carrying 65 passengers, and MV Pasaka, which had 137 passengers on board - collided, with MV Pasaka capsizing at around 3am on Friday.

Many of the passengers on board MV Pasaka were worshipers from the Pentecostal Church of God (PCG), who were heading to join neighbouring church congregations for Christmas celebrations.

Authorities said 22 passengers were feared to have drowned after the accident.

Mr Sekulu said a recovery operation was still going on.

"There are passengers who are still missing, and that is why the recovery operation is still going on. If nobody else is found alive, then we at least have to find the bodies of the missing passengers," he said.

The operation involved divers from the Police Marine Unit, Tanzania People's Defence Force and local fishing villages. Most of the passengers who drowned in the tragedy were choir members from the PCG church in Kalilani Village.

A choir member with the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) in Lubengela Village, Mr Kitendo Abasi, told The Citizen on Friday that 30 PCG members were on the boat when the accident occurred.

"Many of the church members boarded the boat on the journey to the villages of Buhingu, Igalula, Mgambazi and Sigunga," he noted.

Mr Abasi added that he had escorted the church members to board the boat.

The accident occurred shortly before the boat was about to dock at Lubengela Village to pick up more church members.

Friday 29 December 2017

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Saturday, 23 December 2017

In past three years, nearly 8,500 unidentified bodies found in Delhi

In past three years, the national Capital have seen more than 8,000 unidentified dead bodies in the different areas. Police claimed that they did everything to identify the bodies and also tried to search the family members of the deceased.

The police data accessed by Millennium Post stated that in last three years (2015 to 2017), 8,486 dead bodies were recovered from different parts of national Capital. The year 2015 witnessed 3,063 dead bodies whereas in the year 2016 more than three thousand dead bodies were recovered.

The current year saw 2,415 dead bodies till November.

The dead bodies were recovered from railway tracks, street, parks, and many other places. The investigation has been a tough ask for the police. In some cases, the police team had to check CCTV footages of the spot where the body was found in real time to know from where the person came.

''In some cases more than two police personnel continuously checked the footage's for several hours in real time if one takes break another came to the seat like that it happened," said a senior police official.

In September a man committed suicide from a building in GTB Nagar area a suicide note was recovered from the possession. Handwriting and the grammar usage in the suicide note were checked.

Police sources claimed that dialect used in the suicide note indicates that the man can be either from Uttar Pradesh or from Bihar. The bodies which are been found in railway track police contact other states in order to check whether any person went missing from there.

In Zonal Integrated Police Network (zip police put the information on the dead bodies and also advertisement is also given in the newspaper to identify the bodies.

After the effort police were able to identify the dead bodies and contact their parents. If the bodies are not identified last rites been done by police and now NGOs are also coming forward for conducting the last rites.

In some cases, police have the unidentified body through tattoo in the body and in some cases the type of clothes what the deceased is wearing help them in the identification of age and also some clues about the person.

Saturday 23 December 2017

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Japan is struggling to deal with the remains of dead North Korean sailors who keep washing up in 'ghost ships'

Nearly 90 boats, suspected to have come from North Korea, have gone adrift this year and Japan is struggling with what to do with the bodies of those found on board.

The so called "ghost ships" are thought to be North Korean fishing boats and have been drifting ashore in Japan for years. This year, 89 boats washed ashore and, since 2013, 345 mysterious boats have found their way to Japan.

And while Japanese officials are not willing to confirm how many bodies have been discovered on the boats — because of unspecified "diplomatic repercussions" — there would easily be dozens of retrieved bodies that need to go somewhere.

In the past, boats have been dismantled and bodies cremated before being sent to shrines, but these processes bear significant costs.

The Japan Times reported this week that the local government in Oga, hopes to eventually be able to return the cremains of eight bodies it cremated to their families. The government kept fingernails and toenails from each of the bodies, that were all found on adrift boats since November, so as to be able to identify each of them by DNA in the future.

The bodies are being kept indefinitely in eight plain white boxes on a table at the back of a Zen temple, according to The New York Times. If they are never claimed they will eventually be buried in a "grave for unknown souls."

Japan Times reported North Korea has lodged a request for several of the cremains in Oga.

Another government in Tsuruoka, south of Oga, has cremated five bodies found on its beaches in December. Cremains from two of those bodies have also been kept alongside badges of the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung that were on the bodies when they were discovered.

Like many countries, Japan does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea. What they do have is a contentious history. North Korea previously admitted to kidnapping Japanese nationals from beachside towns decades ago, and many of North Korea's recent missile tests have landed in the Sea of Japan.

Earlier this year, South Korea's newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported many of the fishermen's remains who arrive in Japan on ghost ships are not returned to North Korea because North Korea won't pay for their repatriation.

Japan charges two to three million yen ($17,000 to $26,000) to cover the costs of destroying the boats and cremating bodies.

While the two countries don't officially communicate, they both have local Red Cross organizations that have coordinated discussions on several occassions.

An official told Japan Times "all we can do is wait for contact from the Japanese Red Cross or others" because of the lack of diplomatic channels.

The North Korean Red Cross has requested the return of some fishermen in the past (Japanese officials reportedly don't actually expect North Korea to pay the fees), and the Japanese Red Cross Society passed on a request from North Korea to return the cremains of the eight bodies in Oga on December 6.

It is not clear if the ashes have yet been sent back to North Korea. If they haven't, they will still be under the care of temple priest Ryosen Kojima.

"They are humans just like us," Kojima told The Times. "But they have no one to look after their ashes."

Saturday 23 December 2017

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32 killed as bus falls into river in western India

At least 32 people were killed on Saturday after a passenger bus veered off a bridge and plunged into a river in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, police said.

Another 10 passengers were injured in the crash in the Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan state, 375 kilometers (235 miles) south of New Delhi, said government official K.L. Katara.

The speeding bus was trying to overtake another vehicle when it rammed through the bridge railing, said B.L. Soni, a top police officer.

Police are investigating what caused the driver to lose control of the bus. It wasn't clear if the driver survived, or how many people were aboard the bus.

Rescuers have so far recovered 32 bodies from the river.

The bus was on its way to Lalsot, a town in Rajasthan, after picking up passengers from the Sawai Madhopur railroad station when it crashed around 6 a.m., said police officer Narain Singh.

Driver fatigue, negligence, poor quality roads and vehicle maintenance are the usual causes of such accidents in India. Police figures show India has the world's highest road accident death toll, with more than 110,000 people dying each year in crashes.

Saturday 23 December 2017

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Nearly 90 feared dead, dozens missing in Philippine mudslide

Nearly 90 people are feared to have been killed and dozens are missing after a tropical storm hit the southern Philippines triggering mudslides and flooding, police and disaster officials said on Saturday.

The casualties were all on the main southern island of Mindanao, they said.

Emergency workers and soldiers rushed to the remote village in the Lanao del Norte province.

"We have no contact with village officials because power and communications lines were down due to a tropical storm," said Roy Secuya, a local official.

The area had been hit by Tropical storm Tembin.

"The river rose and most of the homes were swept away. The village is no longer there," Tubod police officer Gerry Parami told AFP by telephone.

Police, soldiers and volunteers used shovels to dig through mud and debris in a bid to recover bodies in Dalama, a farming village of about 2,000 people near Tubod, Parami added

Boulders brought down by flash floods also buried around 40 houses in the town of Piagapo, killing at least 10 people, civil defence officer Saripada Pacasum told AFP.

"We've sent rescuers but they're making little progress due to the rocks," he said.

The Philippines is pummelled by 20 major storms each year on average, many of them deadly. But Mindanao, home to 20 million people, is rarely hit by these cyclones.

Eight other people were killed by floods elsewhere on Lanao del Sur province, Pacasum said.

Police said three people each died from landslides in the provinces of Bukidnon and Zamboanga Sibugay, while one fatality was also reported in Iligan city.

Four people were listed as missing after being buried in landslides or being swept away by floodwaters, while more than 12,000 have fled their homes, they added.

After slicing across Mindanao on Friday, Tembin sped west over the Sulu Sea with gusts of 95 kilometres an hour.

It was forecast to smash into the tip of the western island of Palawan late Saturday, the state weather service said.

Tembin struck less than a week after Tropical Storm Kai-Tak devastated the central Philippines, leaving 54 dead and 24 missing.

The deadliest typhoon to hit the country was Haiyan, which left 7,350 people dead and destroyed entire towns in heavily populated areas of the central Philippines in November 2013.

Saturday 23 December 2017

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