Death Toll In Kenya Landslides Rises To 29

 

At least 29 people were killed in Kenya when their homes were swept away in landslides during ferocious overnight rainstorms, the government said Saturday.

Their homes were hit in the early hours of Saturday amid torrential rains in the Pokot region, 350 kilometres (220 miles) northwest of the capital Nairobi.

“We are saddened to confirm that 12 people from Tapach and Parua in Pokot South, and 17 from Tamkal in Pokot Central lost their lives,” Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i said in a statement.

“Our profound sympathies go to the families and friends of those who have been affected.”

Army and police helicopters have been sent, Matiang’i said, with rescue efforts delayed because roads have been cut and bridges closed after streams turned into raging torrents.

“Massive landslides reported in various areas of West Pokot County following heavy downpour,” Kenya Red Cross said in a message, adding its emergency response teams had deployed to help.

Devastating Floods

West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello said that two children were pulled out alive from the smashed wreckage of their mud-covered homes.

“They have been rushed to hospital,” he said.

Rescue efforts to dig bodies out of the dirt continued.

“The challenge we are facing is the heavy rains, but we are trying our best,” he added.

It is not only Kenya that is affected. The landslides come amid weeks of destructive rains and flooding across East Africa.

Violent downpours have displaced tens of thousands in Somalia, submerged whole towns in South Sudan and killed dozens in flash floods and landslides in Ethiopia and Tanzania too.

Close to a million people in South Sudan alone are affected with growing fears of disease and starvation.

Floods hit East Africa regularly, but scientists say that it has been exacerbated by a powerful climate phenomenon in the Indian Ocean stronger than any seen in years.

The extreme weather is blamed on the Indian Ocean Dipole — a climate system defined by the difference in sea surface temperature between western and eastern areas of the ocean.

The ocean off East Africa is currently far warmer than usual, resulting in higher evaporation resulting in rain over the continent.

At Least 12 Killed In Kenya Landslide

 

At least 12 people were killed in Kenya when their homes were swept away in a landslide during ferocious rainstorms, local government officials said Saturday.

Their homes were hit overnight Friday amid torrential rains in Kenya’s West Pokot region, 350 kilometres (220 miles) northwest of the capital Nairobi.

“Twelve bodies have been recovered, and a search for more is going on,” West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello told journalists on Saturday.

“The challenge we are facing is the heavy rains, but we are trying our best.”

Okello said that two children were pulled out alive from the smashed wreckage of their mud-covered homes.

“They have been rushed to hospital,” he said.

Rescue efforts have been delayed because roads have been cut and bridges closed after streams turned into raging torrents.

“Massive landslides reported in various areas of West Pokot County following heavy downpour,” Kenya Red Cross said in a message, adding that its emergency response teams had deployed to help.

But police officers on the ground said they feared the toll could rise. Rescue efforts to dig bodies out of the dirt continued.

It is not only Kenya that is affected. The landslides come amid weeks of destructive rains and flooding across East Africa.

Violent downpours have displaced tens of thousands in Somalia, submerged whole towns in South Sudan and killed dozens in flash floods and landslides in Ethiopia and Tanzania too.

Close to a million people in South Sudan alone are affected with growing fears of disease and starvation.

Floods hit East Africa regularly, but scientists say that it has been exacerbated by a powerful climate phenomenon in the Indian Ocean stronger than any seen in years.

The extreme weather is blamed on the Indian Ocean Dipole — a climate system defined by the difference in sea surface temperature between western and eastern areas of the ocean.

The ocean off East Africa is currently far warmer than usual, resulting in higher evaporation resutling in rain over the continent.

Woman Found Dead In Landslide After Storm Batters France

French firemen search for a 71-year-old woman following a landslide after heavy rains in Nice, southern France, on November 3, 2019.
Yann COATSALIOU / AFP

 

A 71-year-old woman was found dead Monday after being engulfed by a landslide in the French city of Nice, as the south of the country counted the cost from a brutal storm.

Storm Amelie brought freak winds, downpours and monster waves to southern France over the weekend. The woman, 71, who died in her own back yard, was the only reported fatality.

The storm dropped trees on roads and railway tracks and ripped loose live electrical wires, leaving tens of thousands of people without power for hours on end, authorities said.

About 60 rescuers worked through the night in search of the woman, who was reported missing after a landslide buried her back garden as she was sweeping during a brief respite of heavy rains over Nice, said emergency services spokesman Eric Brocardi.

They moved more than 80 m3 of soil mixed with concrete blocks from a collapsed retaining wall before finding her body.

Sixteen residents of the same neighbourhood, where other landslides have since occurred, have been evacuated as a precaution.

Weather service Meteo France said winds as strong as 163 km/h (100 mph) were recorded in the southwest coastal departments of Gironde and Landes Sunday, and 121 km/h in Bordeaux.

Six people sustained minor injuries as Amelie pummelled the Atlantic coast.

Several trains were cancelled and several delayed for hours after about 50 trees came down on the lines, said rail operator SNCF.

Landslide Kills 22 In Southern Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Flag

 

Rescue workers on Tuesday used excavators to dig out bodies after a landslide in southern Ethiopia washed away homes and killed more than 20 people, a local official said. 

The landslide in the remote district of Konta occurred Sunday following 10 hours of heavy rains, said the official, Takele Tesfu.

“There are 22 people dead and we have only been able to dig up 17 using manpower and machine power,” Takele told AFP.

“So far, we cannot get the others, so tomorrow we will continue to dig.”

He said the victims included nine women and six children.

While the district — located in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region — sees landslides with some regularity, Takele said this was the deadliest he could remember.

“The area where this occurred is very mountainous, and this means the landslide was very dangerous,” he said.

Ethiopia is nearing the end of its rainy season, but security forces are nonetheless relocating some families for fear that more rain in the coming days could lead to similar disasters, Takele said.

AFP

Landslide Leaves 17 Missing In China

This photo taken on August 15, 2019 shows a landslide which covered railway tracks in Ganluo in China’s southwestern Sichuan province.

 

 

More than a dozen workers remained missing Friday after a landslide in southwest China buried a section of railway that was under repair, according to state media. 

The 17 missing people were carrying out maintenance work on the track Wednesday when the hill above them gave way, China Daily reported.

The landslide in Ganluo county in Sichuan province happened very quickly, a witness told the newspaper.

“I spotted a strange movement on the mountain slope after a truck passed. And I shouted, telling everyone to run away,” said Chen Kun, an official from the China Railway Chengdu Group.

“The rocks and mud fell within two or three seconds…while we were running, we could feel rocks chasing us,” Chen told China Daily.

Rescue operations are under way with 11 workers pulled from the rubble that buried 70 metres (yards) of track, the newspaper said.

The area has been hit by several landslides this summer as massive rains cause hills in the mountainous region to collapse.

Elsewhere in China a wet summer has claimed lives.

Last week at least 18 people were killed in a landslide triggered by torrential downpours in the coastal city of Wenzhou as Typhoon Lekima pounded cities along China’s eastern seaboard.

In July, at least 42 died in a landslide which buried a village in Guizhou province, with a thick torrent of mud burying 22 houses.

AFP

13 Killed In Myanmar Monsoon Landslide

People look at a hole in a road caused after flooding in Mawlamyein, Mon state on August 9, 2019. A landslide caused by heavy monsoon rains killed at least 13 people and injured dozens more in eastern Myanmar, officials said on August 9, as floods forced tens of thousands across the country to flee their homes.
CHIT Ko Lin / AFP

 

A landslide caused by heavy monsoon rains killed at least 13 people and injured dozens more in eastern Myanmar, officials said Friday, as floods forced tens of thousands across the country to flee their homes.

The deluge of mud engulfed 16 homes and a monastery early Friday in Thae Pyar Kone village in Mon state, district administrator Myo Min Tun told AFP.

“Thirteen people have so far been found dead and 27 taken to hospital in Mawlamyine (Mon state’s capital),” he told AFP by phone.

Emergency teams are set to continue the search and rescue operation into Friday night in the hunt for more survivors or to retrieve bodies.

Workers were also trying to unblock the main highway from Yangon to Mawlamyine, buried under up to six feet (1.8 metres) of debris, Myo Min Tun added.

Torrential downpours have caused rivers to burst their banks across the country while coastal communities have been warned of looming high tides.

AFP aerial images showed how the town of Shwegyin in eastern Bago region had turned into a vast lake after the Sittaung river burst its banks.

Just the rooftops of some buildings could be seen as residents grabbed all they could before fleeing in rescue boats.

Officials say at least 30,000 people, mainly in Bago region and Mon and Karen states, were seeking refuge from the floods, many in monasteries.

The UN’s Office for Coordinated Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has estimated around 89,000 people have been displaced in recent weeks, although many have since been able to return home.

Vietnam has also experienced heavy flooding this week with at least eight people killed in the country’s central highlands.

Rescuers used a zipline to take dozens of victims to safety in Lam Dong province.

At Least 13 Killed In Myanmar Mine Landslide


 

At least 13 jade mine workers and security guards in northern Myanmar were killed in a landslide Sunday, authorities said, as rescuers frantically searched for more victims.

Dozens die each year in landslides caused by jade mining, a dangerous and poorly regulated industry in Kachin state between the country’s borders with China and India.

Myanmar’s fire services department said in a Facebook post the accident happened in the early morning in Hpakant township.

“We have sent two injured men and the dead bodies of 13 men” to a local hospital, the department said.

A police officer on the scene told AFP that the upper part of a mine collapsed and fell around 200 metres (700 feet) onto those sleeping below.

Though new regulations suspend mining during the wet season peak from July through September, some workers stay on site.

Heavy rains pounded the area over the last week, according to the officer, who said the search for those missing is ongoing.

The deadly landslide is the latest to hit Hpakant, the epicentre of a multibillion jade trade fueled by insatiable demand in China.

In April more than 54 people were killed when a massive landslide buried workers along with dozens of vehicles.

Many miners are from impoverished ethnic minority communities who risk their lives hunting the translucent green gemstone.

Drug addiction among workers is also a major problem in Hpakant, which has been turned into a vast moonscape-like terrain by years of mining.

Watchdog Global Witness estimated that the industry was worth some $31 billion in 2014.

But corruption means very little reaches state coffers.

Jade and other abundant natural resources in northern Myanmar including timber, gold and amber have helped finance both sides of a decades-long civil war between ethnic Kachin insurgents and the military.

China Landslide Death Toll Rises To 26

This photo taken on July 25, 2019 shows rescuers searching for survivors at the site of a landslide in Liupanshui in China’s southwestern Guizhou province. STR / AFP

 

The death toll in a landslide that buried a village in southwest China rose to 26 on Friday following the discovery of two more bodies, state media said.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said 25 people were still missing three days after the disaster which struck in Shuicheng county, Guizhou province.

Two children and a mother with a baby — who were unearthed on Thursday — were among the dead, according to official news outlets.

Eleven people have been found alive since the side of a hill collapsed on 22 homes late Tuesday, covering them in thick mud.

CCTV broadcast footage of rescue workers trying to reach survivors on a huge mound of earth, with workers in orange overalls carrying a victim on a stretcher.

Landslides are a frequent danger in rural and mountainous parts of China, particularly after heavy rain, and the country has suffered severe flooding this year.

In August 2017 at least 30 people were killed in two separate landslides in the same rural province of Guizhou.

AFP

Modi Set For Landslide Victory In Indian Election

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Amit Shah gesture as they celebrate the victory in India’s general elections, in New Delhi on May 23, 2019.  Money SHARMA / AFP

 

Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed an “inclusive” future for all Indians on Thursday after a landslide election victory that crushed the Gandhi dynasty’s comeback hopes once again.

“Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again!,” Modi tweeted as delirious supporters of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrated nationwide.

“The faith placed in our alliance is humbling and gives us the strength to work even harder to fulfil people’s aspirations,” he said before arriving at BJP headquarters flashing victory signs with both hands and being showered in petals.

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Although final results were yet to be published, a rolling vote count by the election commission showed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) increased its majority with 302 out of 543 elected lower house seats.

The BJP’s main rivals Congress were on just 51 seats, with Rahul Gandhi — the great-grandson, grandson and son of three premiers — conceding defeat and congratulating Modi.

In an added personal humiliation Gandhi, 48, also admitted he had lost Amethi, a seat long held by his famous family, to a former television star running for the BJP.

The BJP’s headquarters in Delhi erupted in celebration with drummers, firecrackers, dancing and singing as hundreds of party faithful thronged the yard and nearby streets waiting for Modi.

“Modi will make India great again. Modi is the strongest prime minister India has ever had and will get. We need to support his policies to prosper,” said one supporter, Santosh Joshi.

At Congress headquarters, a handful of dejected supporters sat in groups under the shade of trees.

“We are sad but we will rise again. Modi won because of his lies and false promises. The country is in danger now,” Rajesh Tiwari, a Congress supporter, told AFP.

India’s main Sensex index breached the 40,000-point level for the first time as the count pointed to a Modi win, following strong gains since Monday.

 Fake news 

The vast size of India — stretching from the Himalayas to the tropics, taking in polluted megacities, deserts and jungles — made the world’s biggest election a marathon six-week endeavour.

The campaign, estimated to have cost more than $7 billion, was awash with insults — Modi was likened to Hitler and a “gutter insect” — as well as fake news in Facebook and WhatsApp’s biggest markets.

Gandhi tried several lines of attack against Modi, in particular over a French defence deal and high unemployment and saying Modi was dividing the officially secular country.

Lynchings of Muslims and low-caste Dalits for eating beef and slaughtering and trading in cattle have risen, with critics saying extremists have been emboldened by the BJP coming to power.

Several cities with names rooted in India’s Islamic Mughal past have been renamed, while some school textbooks have been changed to include references to Hindu right-wing ideology, culture and history.

The watchman 

But Modi, 68, managed to deftly turn the election into a referendum on his rule while depicting himself, often in the third person, as the only one able to defend India.

In this he was given a major boost when a suicide bombing, claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group, killed 40 Indian paratroopers in Indian-administered Kashmir on February 14.

Doubts abound about the efficacy of India’s subsequent air strikes on Pakistan, but the action enabled Modi to style himself the “chowkidar” (“watchman”).

“We have shown the world that India is a great country. We have shown Pakistan that they cannot mess with us,” said Vishal Sharma, a BJP supporter in Delhi.

“Congress sold the country for all these decades. Now is the time to rebuild the nation.”

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday congratulated Modi and said he looked forward to working for “peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia”.

His message came just hours after Pakistan’s military said it tested a surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads — a day after an Indian missile test.

But while Pakistanis consider Modi a hardliner, analysts say his victory could improve relations between the arch foes.

“The expectation in Pakistan is that there will be an incremental improvement in Pakistan-India relations as Modi’s attitude would be more relaxed,” retired Pakistani general Talat Masood told AFP.

AFP

BREAKING: At Least 15 Dead In Mudslide At Hotel In Peru

Map of Peru

 

An avalanche of mud and rocks crashed into a hotel during a wedding celebration in southeastern Peru, killing at least 15 people, authorities said Sunday.

“The avalanche broke through the walls of the hotel, entering into it with force,” the mayor of the city of Abancay, where the hotel is located, told RPP radio.

The mayor, Evaristo Ramos, said about 100 guests had been invited to the wedding party and “there are 15 dead and 34 injured.”

AFP

Rescuers Search For Survivors In Deadly Indonesian Landslide

Residents evacuate their homes as rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a landslide triggered by heavy rain in Sukabumi, West Java province on January 1, 2019.AFP

 

Rescuers are searching for survivors after a landslide triggered by heavy rain left at least nine people dead and dozens missing in western Indonesia, an official said Tuesday.

The landslide occurred shortly before sunset on Monday in West Java province. Search and rescue teams have found nine people dead and are scouring the area for at least 34 missing people according to the national disaster agency.

Pouring rain, electricity cuts and rough roads are preventing heavy machinery from accessing the area in Sukabumi regency, disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

“Relief efforts have also been hampered by a lot of people who want to get to the disaster,” he said.

“The roads are narrow which has caused rescue teams, logistics and ambulances to be stuck in traffic jams.”

The search operation was halted overnight but continued Tuesday morning.

Four people have been injured in the disaster and 60 others evacuated from the area, Nugroho said.

Landslides are common in Indonesia, a vast tropical archipelago prone to natural disasters and torrential downpours.

More than 20 people died in October when flash floods and landslides hit several provinces on Sumatra island, western Indonesia.

In June 2016, nearly 50 people died when floods and landslides struck Banjarnegara regency, Central Java province.

AFP

Five Dead In DR Congo Landslide

 

Four women and a child died when a landslide flattened their houses after heavy rain in Bukavu in eastern DR Congo, local sources said Saturday.

“Five dead bodies have been found in Kadutu commune after a landslip following torrential rain” overnight, local civil representative Hypocrate Marume told AFP.

He said the victims were four women and a small boy — a tally confirmed by mayor Munyole Kashama — adding searches for further bodies were underway.

Kashama said at least four people had been injured.

A landslide last year killed 40 people in a fishing village in the northeastern region of Ituri.

AFP