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USAID and Colombian firefighters join rescue efforts in quake-stricken Mexico

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Members of a Colombian crew loading a plane with equipment and aid for Mexico (from Reuters video)

Rescue workers working against the odds in Mexico City on Thursday received reinforcements from USAID amidst a rising death toll and dwindling hope of finding people alive more than 48 hours after a deadly quake.

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto reported that there could still be people alive in 10 collapsed buildings in Mexico City.

Concentrating efforts on these areas, 67 U.S. search and rescue experts and five dogs will work alongside local rescue crews.

Colombia is also sending 31 individuals and tons of technical equipment that will be dispersed in quake-stricken areas in Mexico City, Puebla and Morelos.

“For all the women firefighters from Bogota and in the name of the unity, this group is ready to move forward and to do good work. We’ve been training for a long time. It’s been almost ten years that we’ve been getting ready for these kinds of emergencies,” said Cabo Yadira Piamonte, a Colombian firefighter.

This was Mexico’s deadliest earthquake in 32 years, with the death toll currently standing at 233. Parts of Mexico City, home to some 20 million people, are built on an ancient lake bed that trembles easily in a quake. — Reuters

 

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Thailand’s cave boys to be discharged from hospital on Thursday

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, July 16th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: A screen grab shows boys rescued from the Thai cave wearing mask and resting in a hospital in Chiang Rai, Thailand from a July 11, 2018 handout video. Government Public Relations Department (PRD) and Government Spokesman Bureau/Handout via REUTERS TV

Twelve Thai boys and their soccer coach rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand are recovering well from their ordeal and will be discharged from hospital this week, health minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn said on Saturday (July 14).

The last of the 12-member “Wild Boars” soccer team and their coach were brought out of the Tham Luang cave, near the border with Myanmar, on Tuesday (July 10) night, safely ending a perilous rescue and evoking international relief and joy. The boys and their coach have been in the hospital since then.

In a video played at a news conference on Saturday, they appeared well, sitting up in bed, and thanking their rescuers.

The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach had planned to explore the cavern complex for about an hour after soccer practice on June 23. But a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels, trapping them.

All 13 were brought to safety over the course of a three-day rescue, organized by Thai Navy SEALs and an international team of cave-diving experts. -Reuters

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Death toll from torrential rains in western Japan reaches 200, dozens still missing

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, July 13th, 2018

A rescuer in the search for missing people, excavators working (Image grabbed from CCTV video via Reuters)

The death toll from the torrential rains that have battered western Japan reached 200, authorities said Thursday, as search and rescue missions continue to find dozens still missing in the wake of flooding and landslides.

More than 70,000 personnel are involved in the ongoing search and rescue missions for the 60 or more people still unaccounted for in the areas affected by the deluge.

These include the hardest-hit regions of Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime prefectures.

For days now, Masumi Fujita, a survivor in Hiroshima, has done little but worrying about his girlfriend. She was at home on Friday night when torrential rains started pounding Western Japan. The last time they spoke was on the phone on his way home, but he has not been able to hear from her since.

“She’s missing because of a series of unfortunate events. Now that I think about it, I could have intervened in one of those events. There’s a chance I could have prevented the tragedy,” said Fujita.

Fujita’s girlfriend could be one of the few still missing from their village in Hiroshima. Three days of heavy downpour set off landslides in different parts of the prefecture, killing scores. Search and rescue workers have been digging through rubble, looking for survivors or bodies.

Over 70 people have been confirmed dead in Hiroshima alone. Search teams are taking advantage of the improved weather, clearing the worst-hit communities of boulders that the rains have sent crashing down and debris from the destroyed homes.

“I walked up from the bottom of the hill towards where my house was, and when I looked up where my house was supposed to be, the only thing I saw was the foundation,” said Fujita.

As the search efforts continue, the Japanese government has earmarked more than 630 million U.S. dollars for reconstruction.

Fujita said he hoped to rebuild the life that he had shared with his girlfriend, so he is holding on to what little hope there is of finding her alive.— Reuters

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Thai PM visits Tham Luang cave as eighth boy is rescued

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Boys from the under-16 soccer team trapped inside Tham Luang cave covered in hypothermia blankets react to the camera in Chiang Rai, Thailand, in this still image taken from July 3, 2018 video by Thai Navy Seal. Thai Navy Seal/Handout via REUTERS TV

 

Eight of the 12 boys trapped with their soccer coach in a labyrinthine flooded cave complex in northern Thailand had been freed, authorities said on Monday (July 9), adding that the time for rescuing the others would depend on the weather.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visited the cave to inspect the rescue operation, with navy rescuers giving him a rousing cheer.

Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the rescue mission, told reporters that the four boys rescued on Monday had arrived at hospital and were safe. The operation on Monday went more smoothly than on Sunday (July 8) and took two hours less as the practice became more refined, he said.

The mission to save all the trapped is a race against the clock, with heavy rain expected this week which would again flood the tunnels with fast-flowing, rising water. —Reuters

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