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Mali: At least 15 killed in Bamako floods

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 17th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

At least 15 people died at the start to the rainy season in Bamako, the capital of Mali, following heavy overnight rain that flooded several parts of the city on Thursday (May 16).

Torrential rain started to fall at around 3a.m. (0300gmt) and stopped around 8a.m. (0800gmt), with residents waking to flooded streets, floating cars and damaged shops.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Internal Security Amadou Sangho said the flooding had caused serious damage and rescue teams were also deployed.

At least 10 people were reported to have died in Niamakoro where a bridge was badly damaged.

There residents blamed local government for not managing the area. They said there was too much rubbish left in the streets and that it blocked the evacuation canals.

“For me this is a warning for the Niamakoro residents. the government only comes after the damage is done. We need to take care not to lose lives. they are talking about 6 to 10 people killed . And we need to be cleaner. Its because of the rubbish that it overflowed (the river),” said Moustapha Doumbia, resident of Niamakoro,

By early afternoon traffic resumed after the flood waters receded leaving behind thick mud, broken buildings and homeless residents left in the street with the few belongings they managed to rescue. (REUTERS)

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Death toll rises to 12 in southwest China earthquake

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Courtesy: China Central Television (CCTV)

Twelve people died and another 125 were injured as of 08:30 Tuesday after two earthquakes hit southwest China’s Sichuan Province on Monday night, according to China’s Ministry of Emergency Management.

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit Changning County of Sichuan’s Yibin City at 22:55 Monday and another 5.1-magnitude earthquake occurred in Yibin’s Gong County at 23:36 Monday, according to local authorities. Ten villages and towns have been severely affected by the earthquakes.

“The earthquakes also damaged some houses, roads, power and communication facilities,” said Secretary General of the Yibin government Li Tinggen at a Tuesday press conference.

Li said Yibin has started an emergency response and 2,016 rescuers have been dispatched to alleviate the disaster.

“The city and counties quickly allocated all kinds of relief supplies from their disaster relief material repositories to affected villages and towns. At the initial stage, 450 tents, 5,300 quilts and 1,500 folding beds have been sent to affected areas,” Li said.

Yibin has started evacuation and relocation of local people and carried out medical aid for injured ones, Li said.

“After the earthquakes, the city and counties quickly dispatched 15 vehicles and 61 medical specialists with first aid equipment to the quake-stricken areas in order to treat the wounded.

All health centers of villages and towns in the epicenters conducted medical treatment for injured ones immediately after preliminary safety check of their buildings,” Li said. (REUTERS)

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More than 150 people killed in apparent inter-ethnic revenge attack

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Displaced families set up camp | Courtesy: Image grabbed from a Reuters video

At least 161 people have been killed in a north-eastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week, with survivors who fled to safety saying on Monday (June 17) that people were killed and homes set of fire.

The violence is an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.

Survivors who spoke to Reuters said they had lost members of the families.

Ngorima Bakambu Godefroid, who fled from the village of Kpatsi-Solenyama said his sister-in-law and her five children were all killed.

Others said some people were burned alive inside houses, while others were killed with machetes

A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation, although the exact identity of the assailants remains murky.

Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo that left millions dead from conflict, hunger and disease. (REUTERS)

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EU calls for independent probe into oil tanker attack in Gulf of Oman

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Fire burning on oil tanker at sea | Courtesy: Image grabbed from a Reuters video

The European Union (EU) Monday called for an independent investigation into two oil tanker attacks in the waters of the Gulf of Oman to avoid any military tension escalations.

It was reported that two oil tankers, identified as Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous, had burst into flames after being attacked by underwater weapons in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz last Thursday.

The United States blamed Iran for the attacks but failed to submit any evidence while Iran said the U.S. accusations groundless.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last Thursday condemned the attacks on two oil carriers, calling for the establishment of facts.

The foreign ministers and defense ministers of the EU member states said at the EU Foreign Affairs and Security meeting in Luxembourg Monday that they supported Guterres’ call for independent probe to find out who should take responsibilities for the incidents. They said before any conclusion is drawn, solid evidence should be presented.

High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said all the members will focus their diplomatic work on trying to avoid any escalation of tensions.

“What I found among the ministers beyond the assessment and the intelligence sharing, is a very strong element of concern for the risk of miscalculation or unintentional escalations that could occur in a region that is already to the limits of the stress test, I would say, and a common approach that all the member states expressed that of trying to focus all our action, all our diplomatic work to try to avoid an escalation, and actually help de-escalating, because what we would not like to see is a military escalation in the region. We think that would be extremely dangerous, definitely not positive neither for anyone in the region nor for Europe, neither for the rest of the world,” she said.

Tensions in the Gulf have been close to boiling point for weeks as the U.S. puts pressure on Iran in an attempt to force Tehran to reopen talks about the 2015 nuclear deal, which the U.S. pulled out of last year.

In May, four tankers were attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

The U.S. blamed those attacks on Iran — an accusation Tehran has denied. (REUTERS)

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