Death toll in Nepal floods rises to 55, thousands displaced

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2019   •   1182

The death toll in Nepal from flash floods and landslides rose to 55 on Sunday (July 14), with dozens missing and injured, the government said.

Ten thousand people have been displaced from their homes as incessant monsoon rains pounded many areas in mostly mountainous Nepal since Thursday (July 11), submerging large areas of land, inundating homes, and destroying bridges and roads across the country.

A Home Ministry statement said 55 people had been confirmed dead and 33 injured, with 30 still missing.

India’s north eastern state of Assam has also been hard hit by the floods brought by the monsoon, with at least 1.5 million people displaced and 10 dead.

In the Chittagong division of Bangladesh there have been 10 deaths and about 500,000 displaced, with 200 villages flooded.

Officials said in some areas rains had eased but rivers in the eastern part of the country were still above flood level.

The Kosi River, which flows into the eastern Indian state of Bihar, was among those that had risen above the flood level.

The Kosi has been a serious concern for both India and Nepal since it broke its banks in 2008 and changed course, submerging large areas of land and affecting more than 2 million people in India’s Bihar state. (REUTERS)

(Production: Emily Cooper)

Three injured in suspected attack near Israeli settlement – military

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

Three people were injured in a Palestinian attack near an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, according to early reports by the Israeli military on Friday (August 23).

A military spokesman said the attack was carried out near Dolev, a settlement northwest of the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

“Three people appear to be injured at the scene,” the spokesman said, adding that troops were searching the area.

Israeli news reports said the wounded were Israelis, and that Palestinians had thrown an explosive charge near a water spring popular with hikers in the hilly central region of the West Bank. The first reports came shortly after 10 a.m. (0700 GMT).

Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was treating three people in “serious condition”, including a 46-year-old man, a 21-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman. (Reuters)

(Production: Ismail Khadder, Roleen Tafakji)

Russia’s floating nuclear plant readies for Northern Sea Route

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

Russia showcased to the media the world’s first floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov on Thursday (August 22).

Crew on the Akademik Lomonosov are expected to leave Murmansk for a long journey along the Northern Sea Route to Chukotka in Russia’s far east.

Rosenergoatom deputy director Dmitry Alekseenko said at a news conference that the main advantage of the new type of nuclear plant is its mobility that allows it to reach any point with demand for energy. He also said that it would do no harm to the environment.

Critics, however, warily recall Soviet-era nuclear accidents and Russia’s naval disasters such as the loss of the nuclear-powered submarine Kursk, which sank in the Barents Sea after explosions on board, killing all 118 crew.

In 2018 Greenpeace issued a statement calling Lomonosov a ‘nuclear Titanic’. (Reuters)

(Production: Lev Sergeev, Dmitry Turlyun)

Bolivia ramps up efforts to control wildfires

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

Firefighters battle one sector of wildfires at night in Bolivia. (Reuters)

Bolivian firefighters continued battling on Wednesday (August 21) a series of wildfires ravaging swathes of the country from both land and air.

Using a helicopter to dump water on hot spots, firefighters also used dirt and sand to put out smaller flames in Santa Cruz. Television images showed flames dangerously close to the highway that leads to Brazil.

Bolivia’s government has reported that nearly 500,000 hectares of forest have been left charred from wildfires.

This week, authorities warned that 70% of Santa Cruz Department is under “extreme risk” from forest fires.

Environmental organisations have also warned of damage to more than 500 species of fauna, some endemic, after slash-and-burn tactics combined with dry conditions have caused dozens of forest fires in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday (August 21), President Evo Morales said measures are being stepped up to battle the fires.

Bolivia’s wildfires come as neighbouring Brazil also battles record-breaking fires in its Amazon. (Reuters)

(Production: Monica Machicao)

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