A fire broke out Monday in Kuwait’s largest oil refinery, causing several injuries but no interruptions to site operations or petrol exports.
Plumes of smoke rose above the Mina Al-Ahmadi facility, located on the Gulf coast just opposite Iran, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of the capital Kuwait City, according to an AFP photojournalist.
The Kuwait National Petrol Company, after initially stating that there were no casualties, later tweeted that there were a number of injuries and cases of smoke inhalation among workers.
It said that those injured had received first aid at the site, or been transported to a hospital and were in a “stable condition”.
Approximately two hours after the company reported firefighters were at the scene, it tweeted that the blaze was under “full control”.
The Mina al-Ahmadi refinery, on a 10.5 square kilometre site, began operating in 1949.
It is the largest of three refineries of the state petrol company, producing about 466,000 barrels of petrol per day.
A fourth refinery with a production capacity of 615,000 barrels per day is under construction and set to begin operation by the end of the year.
The oil-rich Gulf emirate produces about 2.4 million barrels of petrol per day, most of which is exported.
An overnight fire tore through a building in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung on Thursday, killing 46 people and injuring dozens of others, officials said.
The blaze broke out in the 13-storey, mixed-use building in the small hours of Thursday morning, according to officials, raging through multiple floors before firefighters finally got it under control.
“The fire caused 41 injuries and 46 deaths,” Kaohsiung’s fire department said in a statement to reporters.
The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State has been set ablaze by yet-to-be identified persons.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, confirmed this via a statement on Sunday.
The attack, which took place in the early hours of the day, resulted in extensive damage to the stores section where election materials are kept.
He said that all movable election materials had been evacuated following recent attacks on the commission’s offices in the state, adding that there were no casualties in the incident.
“The identity or motives of attackers are unknown while the incident has been reported to the Nigeria Police Force for investigation,” the statement added. “This unfortunate incident is the first since the last attack on our facilities four months ago in May 2021.”
Okoye commended the prompt response of the security agencies comprising the police, the Army, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps as well the Enugu State Fire Service and the Awgu Local Government Neighbourhood Watch.
Sunday’s incident is the latest in a series of attacks on INEC offices especially in the South-East and South-South regions.
In May, the commission’s headquarters in Enugu was burnt down, three days after another office in Obollo-Afor, Udenu LGA of the state, was razed.
INEC had earlier warned that repeated attacks on its offices will affect its preparations for the 2023 general election.
The commission had said sensitive and non-sensitive materials, including generators and card readers, were lost to the attacks.
Wildfires fanned by blistering temperatures and tinder-dry conditions have killed at least 38 people in Algeria, authorities said on Tuesday, adding that the fires had criminal origins.
Photographs posted on social media show huge walls of flame and billowing clouds of smoke towering over charred trees in the forested hills of the Kabylie region, east of the capital Algiers.
Algeria joins a string of countries to be hit by major blazes in recent weeks, including Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and the western United States.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune tweeted his condolences for 25 soldiers who were killed as they rescued people in the areas of Bejaiea and Tizi Ouzou, the epicentre of the blazes.
“It is with great sadness that I have learned of the martyrdom of 25 soldiers after they were successful in rescuing around 100 citizens from the flames in the mountains of Bejaia and Tizi Ouzou,” the president said.
The defence ministry said the actions of the soldiers had “saved 110 people — men, women and children — from the flames”.
State radio said three “arsonists” had been arrested in the northern district of Medea and another in Annaba, in relation to other fires.
More than 70 fires have broken out in 14 states across the north of the country, including 10 particularly around Tizi Ouzou, one of the most populous cities in Kabylie.
An AFP photographer in Tizi Ouzou saw medics carrying away bodies of people killed in the fire.
Meteorologists said the temperature would hit 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday in a North African country that is also struggling with severe water shortages.
The APS news agency said 13 civilians had died, 12 in the Tizi Ouzou region, raising an earlier interior ministry toll.
Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud, on a visit to the northern city, told television that “50 fires starting at the same time is impossible. These fires are of criminal origin.”
The civil protection directorate said 12 northern urban centres were hit by fires.
Public radio reported the arrest of three suspected arsonists in Medea.
Arson has been blamed for several major fires in recent years in Algeria.
Last month, President Tebboune ordered a bill to stiffen punishments for starting a forest fire, with sentences of up to 30 years in prison — and possible life imprisonment, if the fire results in death.
In July, three people were arrested on suspicion of starting fires that devastated 15 square kilometres (six square miles) of forest in the Aures mountains.
In 2020, nearly 440 square kilometres (170 square miles) of forest were destroyed by fire, and several people were arrested on suspicion of arson.
On Monday, the UN released a major report showing how the threat from global warming is even more acute than previously thought.
It highlighted how scientists are quantifying the extent to which human-induced warming increases the intensity and/or likelihood of a specific extreme weather event, such as a heatwave or a wildfire.
Hundreds of Greek firefighters fought desperately Sunday to control wildfires on the island of Evia that have charred vast areas of pine forest, destroyed homes and forced tourists and locals to flee.
Blazes also raged in the Peloponnese region in the southwest, but fires in a northern suburb of Athens have subsided.
Greece and Turkey have been battling devastating fires for nearly two weeks as the region suffers its worst heatwave in decades. Officials and experts have linked such intense weather events to climate change.
So far, they have killed two people in Greece and eight in neighbouring Turkey, with dozens more hospitalised.
But while rains brought some respite from the blazes in Turkey over the weekend, Greece continued to suffer amid soaring temperatures.
The rugged landscape and thick pine forests on Evia which made it appealing to tourists have turned in into a nightmare for firefighters.
The inferno on the Greece’s second largest island, which lies east of the capital, has turned thousands of hectares into ashes and destroyed homes.
Thousands have been evacuated, and hundreds of locals and tourists have fled on ferry boats.
Some 260 Greek firefighters with 66 vehicles were battling the blazes on Evia, helped by 200 more from Ukraine and Romania with 23 vehicles and seven aircraft.
One fire service official told the Eleftheros Typos newspaper that the heat from the fires on Evia and elsewhere was so intense that “the water from the hoses and the water-dropping aircraft was evaporating” before reaching the blazes.
Flames were devouring houses in the villages of Ellinika, Vasilika and Psaropouli.
Nine people were evacuated from a beach surrounded by flames by the coastal village of Psaropouli, the ANA news agency reported on Saturday.
Ferry boats and navy war ships were on alert off the coast to evacuate people.
– ‘Living dead’ –
Local officials were critical of the efforts to control the fires, which erupted on the island on August 3.
“With what we have seen so far the fire won’t be under control any time soon. I have no more voice left to ask for more aircraft. I can’t stand this situation”, Giorgos Tsapourniotis, mayor of Mantoudi in Evia told Skai TV on Saturday.
He added that many villages were saved because young people stayed there despite the evacuation order and kept the fires away from their homes.
“40,000 people will be living dead in the next years because of the destruction in the area”, Iraklis, a man from Istiaia town in northern Evia told Open TV on Sunday, as people’s homes and livelihoods were wiped out.
Greek deputy minister for civil protection Nikos Hardalias said late Saturday that provisional shelter was provided to 2,000 people who have been evacuated.
Meanwhile, in the Peloponnese region in the southwest, fire fronts in the towns of East Mani, Ilia and in Messinia remained active with many villages and settlements evacuated.
In a northern suburb of Athens, where blazes have raged for several days, there was no longer any active front though firefighters were tackling flare-ups.
In the previous 10 days, 56,655 hectares (140,000 acres) have been burnt in Greece, according to the European Forest Fire Information System. The average number of hectares burnt over the same period between 2008 and 2020 was 1,700 hectares.
Because of this situation deemed the worst in decades, Greece requested help through the European emergency support system, and reinforcement were sent from several countries.
A fire that broke out on a container ship in Dubai’s main port following a blast has been bought under control with no casualties reported, the emirate’s media office said Thursday.
At least three residents in the area of the blast, the cause of which remains unknown, reported windows and doors in their homes were shaken as a result of the incident.
“A fire caused by an explosion within a container on board a ship at Jebel Ali Port has been brought under control; no casualties have been reported,” the Dubai Media Office wrote on Twitter.
The post was accompanied by video of firefighters tackling the blaze on a large vessel stacked with containers, identical except for their logos, as the flames scattered detritus over the quayside.
An AFP correspondent at the scene said there was a helicopter circling overhead as smoke rose from the tightly secured facility.
The port is capable of handling aircraft carriers and was the US Navy’s busiest port of call outside of the United States in 2017, according to the US’ Congressional Research Service.
Such events are a rarity in the ultra-secure Gulf emirate, one of seven which make up the wealthy United Arab Emirates.
– ‘Saw the windows shaking’ – “I was outside on my balcony. My friend saw something yellow coming (like) the sun. I took the picture and after (there was) a sound,” said intern Clemence Lefaix, who is staying near the blast site and posted a photo of a bright orange light against the night sky in front of apartment buildings.
A resident of Dubai’s Marina district, close to the Jebel Ali port, told AFP they “saw the windows shaking”.
“I have been living here for 15 years and this is the first time I’ve seen and heard this,” they said.
The port of Jebel Ali handled 14.1 million TEU in 2019, a 5.6 percent decline, but still leaving it among the top 10 globally.
There are 8,000 companies based at the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) which contributed a whopping 23 percent of Dubai’s gross domestic product last year. It is the Middle East’s largest trade zone.
The glitzy Gulf emirate of Dubai transformed itself over 50 years from a sleepy port town to a regional travel, trade and financial services centre.
The city state is now home to more than three million people, mostly foreigners, compared with only 15,000 inhabitants in the 1950s.
Unlike Abu Dhabi, the leading member of the UAE that sits on a large wealth of petroleum, Dubai has dwindling oil resources and has worked to develop non-oil industries, diversifying into services.
Six vehicles have been razed with two others damaged following an attack on the Enugu State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by hoodlums.
INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye who disclosed the attack via a statement on Monday said the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, reported that the incident happened on Sunday night.
“Some unidentified persons overpowered the security personnel on duty around 9.00 pm and tried to set the entire building ablaze. The attention of the security agencies, as well as the Federal and State Fire Services in Enugu, was drawn to the unfolding situation and they responded swiftly,” he said.
INEC offices have been witnessing series of attacks by unknown persons lately with the most recent happening a few days ago.
On Thursday, INEC’s office in Enugu was also involved in a fire incident. However, the remote cause of the inferno is yet unclear.
Also last week, the Commission’s office in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State was set ablaze by hoodlums on Sunday night, a week after the Commission’s Headquarters in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State was also razed by unknown persons.
The Commission has lamented the spate of attacks on its facilities, noting that it portends danger to national electoral activities.
Following the ugly incidents, INEC said it would hold an emergency meeting with all Resident Electoral Commissioners across the states over attacks on its offices.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will hold an emergency meeting with all Resident Electoral Commissioners across the states over attacks on its offices.
INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made this known in a statement issued on Friday, adding that all RECs would be summoned in Abuja on May 19.
The Commission’s office in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State was set ablaze by hoodlums on Sunday night, a week after the Commission’s Headquarters in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, was also razed by unknown persons.
On Thursday, INEC’s office in Enugu was also involved in a fire incident. However, the remote cause of the inferno is yet unclear.
The commission had decried the unfortunate incidents, describing the situation as worrisome.
“Following the attack in Abia State, the commission resolved to convene an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security next week to discuss this disturbing trend. The latest destruction of the commission’s physical infrastructure and electoral facilities in Enugu State calls for an immediate review of the measures necessary to secure INEC’s assets across the states,” the statement partly read.
“Consequently, the Commission is convening an emergency meeting with all the Resident Electoral Commissioners on Wednesday, 19th May 2021, in Abuja ahead of the meeting of ICCES.
“Meanwhile, the commission is determined to continue to discharge its responsibilities, including the conclusion of the expansion of voters’ access to Polling Units, resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration, capacity-building activities, the review of the draft Strategic Plan 2022-2026, engagement with stakeholders as well as all scheduled and pending elections.”
The Enugu office of the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been gutted by the fire.
The spokesman of the state police command, Daniel Ndukwe confirmed the incident in a statement on Friday.
Mr. Ndukwe stated that preliminary investigation suggests that the fire, which was eventually put out before it could spread to other offices may have been caused by a power surge.
According to him, It’s not certain the level of damage this may have caused but the state Police Commissioner has ordered the cordoning off of the scene and launch of a thorough investigation to further ascertain the actual cause of the fire and damages incurred.
Read Full Statement Below:
FIRE INCIDENT AT INEC OFFICE IN OBOLLO-AFOR: CP ORDERS THE CONDUCT OF THOROUGH INVESTIGATION TO ASCERTAIN CAUSE OF THE FIRE OUTBREAK AND DAMAGES INCURRED
Following a distress call received at Udenu Police Divisional Headquarters of Enugu State Command on 13/05/2021 at about 2140hrs, alleging that there was a fire outbreak at the Obollo-Afor Office of the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Udenu L.G.A. of the State, Operatives attached to the Division immediately raced to the scene, while contacting Fire Service Office in the area to promptly put out the fire.
2. Preliminary investigation suggests that the fire, which was eventually put out before it could spread to other offices around the building, through the combined efforts of the State Fire Service, the Police, and law-abiding citizens, may have been caused by a power surge due to sudden power supply to the building.
3. Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Ndatsu Aliyu, psc, has ordered the cordoning off of the scene and launch of a thorough investigation to further ascertain the actual cause of the fire outbreak and damages incurred.
ASP DANIEL NDUKWE, Anipr Police Public Relations Officer FOR: Commissioner of Police Enugu State Command