Russia: Chechnya police order parents to kill their gay children or ‘we’ll do it for you’ – Published 03 May 2017 2010z (GMT/UTC)

Gay men and children face persecution as part of an anti-LGBT purge in the Russian region.

“Chechen authorities have reportedly instructed parents to kill their gay children, according to an account told by a survivor.

The individual, who escaped one of the LGBT prison camps in the southern Russian region of Chechnya, told France 24 that parents had been told to “sort it out” or risk persecution and death at the hands of the authorities.

“They tell the parents to kill their child. They say, ‘Either you do it, or we will,'” he said, speaking anonymously. “They call it: ‘Cleaning your honour with blood.’

“They tortured a man for two weeks [then] they summoned his parents and brothers who all came.

“The authorities said to them: ‘Your son is a homosexual – sort it out or we’ll do it ourselves’.”

The victim added: “We’ve always been persecuted, but never like this.

“Now they arrest everyone. They kill people, they do whatever they want.”

Hundreds of gay men are being abducted, tortured and killed in an anti-LGBT purge in the conservative republic.” – IBT

See the full story  here:



Australia (QLD): Twelve people, mostly children, rescued from waters off Turnagain Island in the Torres Strait – Published 26 Sept 2015 0930z (GMT/UTC)

ABC News

Torres Strait rescue: Twelve people, including children, saved during night time ocean rescue

Posted about 2 hours ago

Twelve people, most of them children, were rescued from waters off Turnagain Island in the Torres Strait overnight after two boats got into difficulty while making a trip from Thursday Island to Saibai Island.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) coordinated the search after it detected an emergency beacon registered to a five-metre dingy in the vicinity of Turnagain Island about 9pm.

A helicopter was diverted to the scene by AMSA and located the first vessel which was taking on water and drifting towards a small island surrounded by crocodile-infested mangroves.

“We found a boat that had nine people on board that was bailing water. The people had rigged a makeshift sail and were luckily drifting into an island,” a rescue pilot said.

“We flew over to the island to illuminate the coastline for them. There was nothing else around for them to get to. They drifted into the island and landed in an estuary.”

The first rescue helicopter left the scene as it was running low on fuel while a second helicopter attended and winched a rescue swimmer down to the group.

The group advised rescuers there was a second dingy which had overturned with three people on board and they were still in the water.

According to AMSA a search was commenced immediately and a dingy with three people clinging to the hull was sighted in rough seas a short time later in the vicinity of Turnagain Island, about 37 kilometres from Sabai Island.

“We went out and searched and found the other people clinging to an overturned boat,” the pilot said.

“A Navy ship was nearby that was diverted and also a police vessel was on the scene to help coordinate that rescue too.”

Fortunately the three people from the overturned dingy were all wearing life jackets which contributed to their safe rescue, the AMSA said in a statement.

“It also helped that the beacon was correctly registered. From the beacon registration information, JRCC Australia was able to get early information about the number of boats and people to plan an appropriate rescue response,” the AMSA said.

Queensland Police confirmed there were multiple children involved in the incident, including an eight-year-old boy, all of whom were rescued and taken to family on Saibai Island.

The search and rescue mission included two rescue helicopters, a fixed-wing aircraft, a police vessel and a Navy vessel. –

Ethiopia: Around 4.5 million people affected by drought in Afar and southern Somali regions – Published 06 Sept 2015 0753z (GMT/UTC)

Around 4.5 million Ethiopians could be in need of food aid because of a drought in the country, the UN has said. Hardest-hit areas are Ethiopia’s eastern Afar and southern Somali regions, while pastures and water resources are also unusually low in central and eastern Oromo region, and northern Tigray and Amhara districts. Reacting to the UN’s claims that the number in need had increased by more than 55 percent this year, Alemayew Berhanu, spokesman for Ministry of Agriculture, told Al Jazeera that Ethiopia had “enough surplus food at emergency depots and we’re distributing it”. “When we were informed about the problem, the federal government and the regional state authorities started an outreach programme for the affected people,” he said. In August, the Ethiopian government said that it had allocated $35m to deal with the crisis that has been blamed on El Niño, a warm ocean current that develops between Indonesia and Peru. The UN says it needs $230m by the end of the year to attend to the crisis. “The absence of rains means that the crops don’t grow, the grass doesn’t grow and people can’t feed their animals,” David Del Conte, UNOCHA’S chief in Ethiopia, said. One farmer in the town of Zway told Al Jazeera that he was selling personal belongings to stay alive. “There is nothing we can do. We don’t have enough crops to provide for our families. We are having to sell our cattle to buy food but the cattle are sick because they don’t have enough to eat,” Balcha, who has a family of nine, and grows corn and wheat, said. The onset of El Niño means the spatial distribution of rainfall from June to September has being very low. According to the UN children’s agency (UNICEF), the El Niño weather pattern in 2015 is being seen as the strongest of the last 20 years. Experts say it could be a major problem for the country’s economy, as agriculture generates about half of the country’s income. Climate shocks are common in Ethiopia and often lead to poor or failed harvests which result in high levels of acute food insecurity. Approximately 44 percent of children under 5 years of age in Ethiopia are severely chronically malnourished, or stunted, and nearly 28 percent are underweight, according to the CIA World Factbook. UNICEF says that about 264,515 children will require treatment for acute severe malnutrition in 2015 while 111,076 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition between January and May 2015.

Saturday, 05 September, 2015 at 13:40 (01:40 PM) UTC RSOE

File:Ethiopia - Location Map (2013) - ETH - UNOCHA.svg


Syria/Lebanon: 9 more Syrian children die from cold as Storm Alexa starts predicted worst winter for many years – 131213 1330z

Thousands of Syrian refugees are facing freezing temperatures and difficult weather conditions as snowstorms have hit areas where they’ve set up camps.

Families have been fleeing their homes in Syria because of fighting between the President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and rebel groups who want him out.

Many of them set up makeshift homes near the border with Lebanon. Over the past week the weather has become harsh with temperatures dropping so low icicles have formed on the huts.
Friday, 13 December, 2013 at 04:57 (04:57 AM) UTC RSOE

Other Reports

9 more Syrian children die from cold

Thousands face imminent death due to lack of access to basic necessities during the civil war.

9 more Syrian children die from cold / PHOTO


World Bulletin / News Desk

“Nine more children including 4 newborn babies died from the cold, the Syrian Network for Human Rights announced Friday.

Doctors in the region warnthatworsening weatherconditionscouldlead to more deaths as the lack of access to basic necessities has left thousands facing imminent death. The Syrian oppositionissued an urgent call for help to international institutions.

The Middle Eastern nation braves the wintry cold for athird time during the civil war which began in March 2011.

More than 100,000people havebeenkilled in themore than three-year oldconflict inSyriaand overtwo millionSyriansare now registered as refugees in neighboring countries, Turkey. Lebanon and Iraq,according to the UN.” –

(The following images:

United Nations voices concern for refugees caught in winter storm in Lebanon

(Video credit: Amanda Merrill)

Published on Dec 12, 2013

It is called Alexa a storm sweeping across Syria and Lebanon bringing in high winds and freezing temperatures. It is the start of what is predicted to be the worst winter for many years.

The United Nations said it is “extremely concerned” for the plight of the 2.2 million refugees living outside Syria and the millions more displaced inside the country.

In Lebanon humanitarian groups are struggling to meet overwhelming needs.

Syrian refugee Jined Al-Hussein explained his plight. “It is cold in the rain and we have nothing. Hunger and cold weather and there is nothing. I have been here for a week.”

Abdel-Karim Alibrahim is from Aleppo and such are the conditions he says he would prefer to return there.

“The tents blew about letting the rain and snow come in on the little children. We would have preferred to stay in Syria with the shelling.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is prioritising aid to refugees at high altitude where the snow is at its worst and said as long as people are in tents there is only so much they can do.


Cold Weather Camping and Hypothermia (Advice from US Scouts)

Compiled by: Chuck Bramlet, ASM Troop 323, Thunderbird District,
Grand Canyon Council, Phoenix, Az.





Germany: Plane crash kills 5 (including a child), injures 3 other children, in Frondenberg near Dortmund – 280813 0925z

Five people, one of them a child, were killed on Tuesday after a small plane crashed in Frondenberg, in the north-west of Germany, local media reported.

As well as the child, two women and two men also died. Three other children were seriously injured in the crash, said firefighters. The light aircraft came down in a meadow. The cause of the accident has not yet been determined.

Wednesday, 28 August, 2013 at 04:50 (04:50 AM) UTC RSOE

Other Reports

Photo: DPA

Child and four adults killed in plane crash


Published: 28 Aug 2013 09:54 CET



A child and four adults died in a light aircraft crash in western Germany on Tuesday afternoon. Three other children survived the accident.

The group, consisting of two families, were flying back from a trip to the North Sea coast when the Piper 32 plane crashed into a field in the Fröndenberg area of North Rhine-Westphalia at around 5pm, not far from its destination near Dortmund.

Two women, two men, and a child died in the crash, the fire brigade confirmed late on Tuesday night. No identities or ages have been released, and police are in the process of informing the victims’ relatives.

All of the dead were sat towards the front of the plane, regional newspaper the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported on Wednesday.

“The head and neck injuries were so severe that they died from them,” the head of the medical team at the crash site, Reinhard Arnsberg, told the newspaper.

Three children sat at the back on the place survived but were seriously injured and were taken to a nearby hospital by air ambulance.

Click for photos of the wreckage

When the emergency services arrived, two children were already out of the plane and one had to be cut out by firemen. It is unclear whether the first two climbed out themselves or were helped by passers-by who had rushed to the scene.

Investigators do not yet know what caused the accident but, the WAZ reported, onlookers saw the vehicle flying very low before it crashed. The pilot was thought to have been experienced at flying light aircraft. It clipped a tree on its way down to the field.

At least 78 people were at the scene clearing the wreckage and attending to the surviving children. The front of the vehicle was totally destroyed, and baggage was all over the field.

DPA/The Local/jcw

India: 8 Buried alive (including 2 children) in Bharatpur, Rajasthan house collapse – 250713 1110z


Eight people, including two children, were buried alive when an under-construction house collapsed in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur town Thursday, police said.

According to the police, the incident occurred around 10 a.m. in Mathura Gate area of the town, some 150 km from Jaipur.

“Six of the deceased were female labourers aged between 20 and 30 years while the children were aged about two years. The labourers belonged to Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. The kids were daughters of two of the victims,” said a police officer.

He said about a dozen labourers were working in the basement area while the children were playing nearby. When the building collapsed, they were buried under the rubble. “We rushed the victims to hospital where doctors declared them brought dead. Six other labourers, trapped under the debris, were rescued,” said the officer.

Thursday, 25 July, 2013 at 09:09 (09:09 AM) UTC RSOE



Pakistan: At least 16 children and 1 teacher burned to death, 7 injured, after gas cylinder exploded on school bus – 250513 1105z

At least 17 children have been burned to death after a gas cylinder exploded on their school bus in eastern Pakistan, police have said.

At least seven more children were taken to hospital after the blast, which caused the bus to catch fire.

The incident took place on the outskirts of the city of Gujrat. Local media quoted the police as saying the driver had survived the explosion. Gujrat is about 200km (120 miles) south-east of the capital Islamabad. Compressed natural gas is used in millions of vehicles in Pakistan as a cheaper alternative to diesel and petrol. Numerous previous vehicle explosions have been blamed on substandard cylinders used to contain the fuel.
Saturday, 25 May, 2013 at 06:44 (06:44 AM) UTC RSOE

Other Reports

Pakistan: Gas Blast On School Bus Kills 17

Sixteen children and a female teacher die in the Pakistani town of Gujrat as a minibus taking them to school bursts into flames.


Men stand around a burnt-out school bus, after a gas cylinder on it exploded killing seventeen children, on the outskirts of Gujrat

The burnt out bus that was on its way to school


“Sixteen children and a teacher have been killed in eastern Pakistan after a gas cylinder exploded on a bus taking them to school.


Police officer Mohammed Rasheed said seven children were also injured in the blast on the outskirts of the city of Gujrat.


“This is a very sad incident. According to our information… children were burned to death,” he said.


“The school bus caught fire after the blast. We have transported all the victims to a nearby hospital.”


Gujrat is about 120 miles (200 kilometres) southeast of the capital, Islamabad.


The incident was described by the Associated Press as an accident.


The van was carrying children to a private school when it caught fire, local police chief Dar Ali Khattak told AFP.


“The fire erupted in the vehicle when the children were only a few kilometres from their school,” he said.


The blaze was apparently caused by a spark when the driver of the dual-fuel van switched from gas to petrol, he said, adding that the fuel gas cylinder was intact.


A map showing the location of the bus on which 17 died
The minibus fire happened in Gujrat, in the Punjab.


The children were aged between five and 15 years old, he said.


Another police official, Abid Khan, said the driver fled after the fire.


Five of the injured children were in serious condition, hospital officials said.


The newswire Reuters says many vehicles in energy-starved Pakistan are powered by relatively cheap compressed natural gas and cylinder blasts are common.”

Angola: Approx 300,000 people at risk of malnutrition due to 2 year long drought – 100513 2100z set up an emergency plan on Thursday for the southern province of Cunene, where an estimated 300 000 people are at risk of malnutrition because of a two-year-long drought.

“The plan seeks to immediately provide medical assistance, food and drinking water for the most needy populations,” the cabinet’s economic commission said in a statement. Cunene, a semi-arid province which shares a border with Namibia to the south, depends largely on subsistence farming and cattle-raising.

Provincial governor Antonio Didalelwa was cited by state-owned newspaper Jornal de Angola as saying more than 300 000 people, or approximately the entire known population of the province, are at risk of malnutrition.

“We are worried about the situation. There is a lack of food and water for people and cattle,” he said. “The people in the province are going through very tough times because it hasn’t rained for two years and that is harming families, who depend on agriculture and cattle-raising.” Angola, which is roughly twice the size of Texas, suffered heavily from drought last year.
Friday, 10 May, 2013 at 09:10 (09:10 AM) UTC RSOE

Other Reports

“Lisbon –

The United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) said that 1.8 million people were affected by a prolonged drought in 2012, including more than 500 000 children.

The UN agency said it has been working closely with the government to ensure the drought does not result in malnutrition.

Angola is Africa’s second-largest oil producer, after Nigeria, but is still recovering from a 27-year that ended 11 years ago and which devastated most of its infrastructure.

President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in power since 1979, has promised to improve social conditions and better distribute Angola’s oil wealth during a new five-year term he secured in an election last year.

His government said on Thursday it would use budget funds to minimise consequences of natural disasters in Cunene.”

India: Mystery viral disease strikes village in Jammu and Kashmir, 130 mostly young children ill – 100413 2115z


A viral disease is believed to have hit Kambar village in the Rafiabad area ofBaramulla_district (Jammu and Kashmir) after around 130 people most of them children in the age group of 2-12 years fell sick during the past 3 days.


These patients had been diagnosed with fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea and even some had redness in eyes.”The symptoms seem of some viral disease, however, actual cause of the sickness can be determined only through various investigations,” said a medical officer on the spot. Around 12 patients in the age group of 5-10 were admitted in the Baramulla district hospital for specialized treatment and their condition is stated to be stable. “We have received 12 patients with fever some of them also complaining of abdominal pain and few had redness in eyes. They are all stable now,” said Bashir Ahmad Chalkoo, Medical Superintendent, District Hospital Baramulla. The incident has caused panic not only in Kamber village where around 130 people are diagnosed with the disease but also in several adjacent villages.


The entire village of Kamber is worried over the sickness of children. The locals claim that if it is a viral disease why most of the patients are children. According to reports around 50 sick children are studying in Government Middle School Kamber, while some of the children belong to the local ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) Centre. Locals claim that the mid-day meals provided in the school were adulterated (contaminated) and can be the cause of sickness of their children. However, chief education officer termed the allegation baseless. “If mid-day meals is the cause then why entire village is in the grip of disease. Not only children attending government schools but scores of other children in the village have also fallen sick,” said Rouf Ahmad, Chief Education Officer Baramulla. Meanwhile, medical teams from directorate of health services and district hospital Baramulla rushed to the spot to provide medical aid to the patients. “A team of integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) has also reached the spot and collected water samples to determine the cause of disease. The department of food safety has also collected food samples from the local ICDS centre and school,” said chief medical officer Baramulla, Dr Abdul Rashid. Senior PDP (People’s Democratic Party) leader and former minister Muhammad Dillawar Mir has demanded an enquiry into the outbreak of the viral disease and fixing responsibility for the same.


Wednesday, 10 April, 2013 at 15:40 (03:40 PM) UTC RSOE

Exposed: The Disaster Bankers Buying Their Way Out of Justice

Scriptonite Daily


According to the National Audit Office, The UK National Debt rose by £1.5trn as a result of the Bank Bailout. This is twice the nation’s total annual budget.  For this amount, the UK could have funded the health service (£106.7bn a year) for fourteen years , the entire education system for forty years(£42bn a year) or over three hundred years of Job Seekers Allowance (£4.9bn a year).  Not a single banker has gone to court, let alone to jail.  Instead bankers are being let off with fines and the removal of honours, effectively buying their way out of justice.

Bailout Revisited


Despite current propaganda that the national debt and the ensuing austerity policies are required to roll back excesses in public spending, the reality is the Financial Crisis was caused by the unregulated financial services sector.

There was collusion between government and the financial services…

View original post 1,986 more words

UK: Manslaughter: Mick Philpott gets life, Mairead Philpott & friend Paul Mosley 17 years for killing six children in a house fire – 040413 2115z

Manslaughter: Mick Philpott gets life, Mairead Philpott & friend Paul Mosley 17 years for killing six children in a house fire.

Mick and Mairead Philpott & friend, Paul Mosley found guilty of the manslaughter of six children after setting house ablaze

Mick Philpott, 56, was found guilty by a jury at Nottingham crown court of setting the blaze at his home in Derby which took the lives of Jayden, five, Jade, 10, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and 13-year-old Duwayne.

Philpott a father of 17 children was the prime organiser in setting a fire in the hall of his council house in Derby in a twisted plan to frame his ex-girlfriend after she left him, taking their children with her.

His wife, Mairead Philpott, and his friend Paul Mosley were both also found guilty of manslaughter of the children. - Guardian (link to source)

(Video credit: telegraphtv)

Update 04 Apr 2013:

Manslaughter: Mick Philpott gets life, Mairead Philpott & friend Paul Mosley 17 years for killing six children in a house fire.

Philpott: What judge told couple who killed their children

BBC NEWS 4 April 2013 Last updated at 16:58

Court drawing of Mrs Justice Thirlwall sentencing Mick and Mairead Philpott Mrs Justice Thirlwall told Mick Philpott that he had shown a “catastrophic disregard for life”

A judge has sentenced Mick Philpott to life for killing six of his children in a fire at his Derby house.

He was convicted of manslaughter along with his wife, Mairead, and friend Paul Mosley, who were told they would serve half of their 17-year sentences.

Mrs Justice Thirlwall told Mick Philpott he was “a disturbingly dangerous man” and the “driving force” behind the plot.

Here is a selection of her comments in more detail.

Attitude to women

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

It has been said on your behalf that you were a good father. I cannot give that description to a man who acted as you did

Mrs Justice Thirlwall to Mick Philpott

You [Mick Philpott] controlled and manipulated those women as you had controlled and manipulated their predecessors. They ran the household and looked after all the children. They went out to work. Their wages and their benefits went into your account. You controlled how money was spent.

These two young women were not even permitted to have a front door key. I accept that the level of physical violence had reduced in recent years, but the level of control, aggression and fear most certainly did not.

Women were your chattels, there to look after you and your children (for that is how you describe them all). You bark orders and they obey. Witness after witness described the dynamics in your household. You were king-pin, no one else mattered.

The children

I am quite satisfied that for you the principal purpose of your many children is to reflect on you. Their needs desires and aspirations were very low on your list of priorities, if indeed they featured at all.

You craved attention, you enjoyed the limelight, you courted publicity. You were and remain the centre of your world and it is plain that you require everyone in your life, but particularly the women, to make sure that you remain at the centre of their world.

Duwayne Philpott, 13, Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, seven, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five Five of the children died on the morning of the fire and the eldest died three days later

You so arranged your life and theirs so that everything was done for the pleasure of Michael Philpott.

It has been said on your behalf that you were a good father. I cannot give that description to a man who acted as you did.

Ever since the fire your life has been a performance for the public and the police, and then in this court. Your conduct has been punctuated by collapses and shows of distress designed to evoke sympathy where none is merited, designed to manipulate emotion.

I accept you have lost six children. I very much regret that everything about you suggests that your grief has very often been simulated for the public gaze.

Mairead Philpott

I accept that he treated you [Mairead Philpott] as a skivvy or a slave. As became clear during the trial you were prepared to go to any lengths, however humiliating, to keep him happy.

But as the evidence came out it was plain that this was not quite the position. This was put beyond doubt when you gave evidence.

The funeral of the six children killed in the house fire in Derby The judge told the couple the children “paid with lives” for their “callous selfishness”

You pointed out that you had stood up to him in the past. That is why when he asked you for a divorce on no fewer than three occasions you refused him.

These were your children. Your first responsibility, surely, was to them.

The risks were obvious and overwhelming and anyone who has heard the harrowing wailing from you on the 999 call can hear your realisation that this had gone horribly wrong and your children were in mortal danger.

But by then it was too late and you bear your responsibility for that. You put Michael Philpott above your children and as a result they have died.

Attempted murder

Continue reading the main story

No-one could have listened to the evidence of the firefighters and not be moved by… their efforts to combat the fire and save the children

Mrs Justice Thirlwall to the Philpotts

The first relationship with which I am concerned was a relationship with a girl in her teens. You [Mick Philpott] were in your 20s.

The relationship was characterised by violence; there were repeated beatings. You were sure that she was having affairs and would come back from your posting in the army to check on her, repeatedly.

Eventually she summoned the courage to bring your relationship to an end. You broke into her house, armed yourself with a knife and went to her bedroom where you stabbed her repeatedly in a ferocious attack which left her with life-threatening injuries from which she has never fully recovered.

You were convicted of attempted murder and wounding with intent.

It is clear… that you have repeatedly used that conviction as a means of controlling other women, terrifying them as to what you might do to them if they did not follow your will.

Early relationships

File photo dated 16/5/2012 of Mick Philpott and wife Mairead speak to the media at Derby Conference Centre, Derby Mick and Mairead Philpott gave a press conference following the fire

You subjected your (first) wife to physical violence throughout your relationship. She never reported anything to the police – she was too afraid to do so.

She knew of your past. She believed she could not leave you. She simply hoped that the time would come when you would leave her.

And that time came when you took up with a very young Heather Kehoe. She was 16 when she ran away with you. You were in your 40s.

She spoke tellingly of life with you; sometimes you were charming, always domineering, always in control. You controlled her through physical and sexual violence, threats and emotional abuse.

She, like the two women before her, speaks of the life-long damage she has suffered as a result of her relationship with you.

The other partner

You were obsessed with Lisa Willis. Indeed it was plain to me when you were giving evidence over more than three days in the witness box that you still are.

She left you, taking her children with her. She did not dare tell you she was leaving. She told Mairead Philpott that she was taking her children swimming. She and the children left with the clothes they stood up in and their swimming things.

You soon realised what had happened and you set about trying to bring her back. The evidence shows that you tried sweet-talking her. You tried cajoling and then bullying her.

She would not come back. You could not stand the fact that she had crossed you. You were determined to make sure that she came back and you began to put together your plan.

The fire

Home of Mairead and Mick Philpott Flowers were laid in tribute to the six children who died following the blaze

The jury was spared some of the most harrowing details of the removal of the children from 18 Victory Road. Mercifully their deaths were swift and, it would seem, without pain.

No-one could have listened to the evidence of the firefighters and not be moved by what they had done and what they had seen in their efforts to combat the fire and save the children.

Your neighbours were traumatised by what they saw; several of them tried to help. Their bravery was required as a result of your callous stupidity. It is clear that they have been shattered, as has the local community generally.

Paul Mosley

You [Paul Mosley] enjoyed the attention that you gained from your proximity to the fire. You boasted of being arrested and bailed for six counts of murder.

You, too, are responsible for the deaths of six children. As a result you have lost all contact with your own children.

Unsurprisingly your former partner wants nothing to do with you in the light of all that has become known about your conduct in the course of this trial.

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Myanmar: Fire kills 13 boys at mosque in Yangon; police blame electrical problem, some fear arson linked to sectarian violence – 020413 1410z

(Video credit: 77bakimci)

(Video credit: thenewsvideos01)

(Video credit: MediaQuickPress)

A fire engulfed a mosque housing orphans in Myanmar’s largest city Tuesday morning, killing at least 13 children in the blaze that police blamed on an electrical short.

Riot police were deployed nearby as some Muslims gathering outside the charred building feared the fire was linked to sectarian violence that has shaken the nation.
Police officer Thet Lwin said the fire was triggered by an overheated inverter “and not due to any criminal activity.”
Myanmar has been on edge after sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims erupted in the central city of Meikhtila in March, killing dozens of people and displacing more than 10,000.
The violence that has largely targeted Muslims has since spread to several other towns where extremist Buddhist mobs have torched or ransacked mosques and Muslim-owned property.
The mosque is in eastern Yangon.
Thet Lwin said about 75 orphans lived there and most escaped safely by running out of a door police knocked open.
It was not immediately clear how the 13 victims became trapped.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze, and the two-story building was charred but intact.
Tuesday, 02 April, 2013 at 03:27 UTC RSOE

News Reports

The Guardian home

Burma mosque fire kills 13 children

Tuesday 2 April 2013 06.45 BST

Police say electrical fault caused blaze at Muslim orphanage as country remains on edge from communal violence

“Thirteen children have died in a fire at an orphanage that operates from a mosque in Yangon, Burma‘s main city. Police quickly put the blaze down to an electrical fault amid tensions over communal violence between Muslims and Buddhists.

The fire started at 3am and trapped 16 children in a small loft, a mosque member said. Three jumped to safety but the others perished.

After the fire security forces and three trucks of riot police blocked off roads around the two-storey compound in eastern Yangon which encompasses a mosque, a Muslim school and a dormitory. There were no reports of violence but around 200 people gathered nearby, some of them Muslims who expressed suspicions the fire had been set intentionally.

Security bars blocked most of the white building’s windows, which were marked by black smoke in the late morning. The building burned from the inside and firefighters had extinguished the flames before dawn.

Police officer Thet Lwin, speaking at the scene, said the fire was triggered by an electrical short “and not due to any criminal activity” but was jeered by the crowd for saying so.

Myanmar has been on edge after sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims erupted in the central city of Meikhtila in March, killing dozens of people and displacing more than 10,000. The violence that has largely targeted Muslims has since spread to several other towns where extremists have torched or ransacked mosques and Muslim-owned property.” –

Fire kills 13 children at mosque in tense Myanmar; police blame electrical problem

By Erika Kinetz, The Associated Press April 2, 2013 6:30 AM

“YANGON, Myanmar – Police in Myanmar said they were investigating the head of a mosque and a Muslim teacher for possible negligence after a pre-dawn fire swept a religious dormitory Tuesday, killing 13 children in a blaze that raised new concern over sectarian tensions that have plagued the country since anti-Muslim violence hit the nation’s heartland last month.

Authorities blamed the fire on an electrical short circuit and deployed riot police to maintain calm. But some Muslims remained suspicious, saying it was set intentionally.

Myanmar has been on edge after sectarian unrest between Buddhists and Muslims erupted in the central city of Meikhtila in March, killing dozens of people and displacing more than 12,000, mostly Muslims. The violence has since spread to several other towns where extremist Buddhist mobs have torched or ransacked mosques and Muslim-owned property.

Police officer Thet Lwin said about 75 children lived in the torched compound in eastern Yangon which encompasses a mosque, a school and a dormitory and most were able to escape by running out of a door rescue workers knocked open. Security bars blocked most of the building’s windows, which were stained by black smoke hours after firefighters put out the flames.

Mosque member Soe Myint said most of the children, who had been sent to the religious boarding school by their parents, were sleeping on the ground floor when the blaze began and were able to flee.

But 16 were sleeping in a small loft and were trapped when the stairs to it caught fire. Three boys jumped to safety and the rest died, he said.

Soe Myint, who said he helped carry the dead out of the mosque, said he did not believe the fire was caused by a short circuit and urged authorities to launch a thorough investigation.

“The whole mosque smelled of diesel,” he said. “We don’t use diesel at the school.”

Yangon Division Chief Minister Myint Swe told reporters late Tuesday that police discovered a diesel container underneath a staircase. He said the fuel was normally used to power a mosque generator when the electricity is out.

Hla Myint, whose 15-year-old nephew died in the blaze, waited in a crowd outside Yangon General Hospital, where the dead were taken. Two trucks of riot police were parked nearby.

“We sent him to school only yesterday and today he is dead,” she said. “We are so sad we can’t express it.”

Later Tuesday, several thousand mourners gathered at a cemetery on the outskirts of Yangon for a group burial. The charred bodies of the children were wrapped in white cloth before being lowered into the ground as women wept nearby.

U.S. Ambassador Derek Mitchell issued a statement saying he was “deeply saddened” by the deaths. He also called on the government to “conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the cause.”

Authorities are investigating the head of the mosque and a teacher, but no arrests had been made, said city Police Chief Win Naing. “As the two people in charge, they are responsible for this and we have to take action against them,” he said.

Win Naing said the fire started in a voltage regulator under the stairs that led to the sleeping loft and that firefighters had to break two locks on the door of the mosque to rescue the survivors. He ruled out arson, saying that three police were guarding the mosque and saw no one approach the building before the fire started.

Speaking in the immediately hours after the blaze, Thet Lwin, the policeman, blamed the fire on an electrical short circuit “and not due to any criminal activity.”

Every time he mentioned the word “electrical short,” though, angry Muslims shouted and began banging on vehicles with their fists.

He also appealed to journalists for help. “We need the media’s support in Yangon. Please don’t report that there is conflict in Yangon. We’re here to stop conflict,” he said.

Security forces and three trucks of riot police blocked off roads around the scarred building in Yangon as a crowd of 200 onlookers, mostly Muslims, gathered.

Zaw Min Htun, a member of a local Muslim youth organization, said he raced to the mosque after hearing it was on fire. He said he entered the charred building and also smelled fuel.

“Muslims are very angry,” he said, calling on authorities to investigate. “The children are innocent. … Someone burned the mosque.”

The recent upsurge in sectarian unrest in Myanmar has cast a shadow over President Thein Sein’s administration as it struggles to make democratic changes after a half century of military rule. His government has warned that the violence could threaten the reform process.

Hundreds of people were killed last year and more than 100,000 made homeless in violence in western Myanmar between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. On March 20, unrest hit the central town of Meikhtila for several days and then spread to several villages farther south, near the capital, Naypyitaw.

The violence has spooked people in Yangon, where late last month false rumours swirled of mosque burnings and authorities told some shops to close as a precautionary measure. Yangon is about 550 kilometres (340 miles) south of Meikhtila.


Associated Press photographer Gemunu Amarasinghe contributed to this report.

Father Mick Philpott allegedly ‘killed 6 children in blaze to frame lover’

South Africa: Train packed with schoolchildren and commuters crashed into another full train near Pretoria, injuring up to 300 people – initial reports – 310113 1445z

A passenger train packed with schoolchildren and rush-hour commuters has rammed into another full train near the South African capital Pretoria, injuring up to 300 people, medics say.

(Photo: Rescuers work on the site of a train accident near Kalefong station, Attridgeville, in the west of Pretoria on January 31, 2013

The accident took place before 8.00am (1700 AEDT) on Thursday when a commuter train heading from the suburbs to the capital ploughed into the stationary train on the same track.

Medical workers said up to 300 people had been treated for various degrees of injury.

“We do have 20 seriously injured,” said Johan Pieterse of Tshwane Emergency Services.

“Both of the trains were full of commuters and between them were lots of school children on the way to school,” said Pieterse.

“We counted about 50 plus children,” he added. At least three people were said to be in a “critical” condition, according to Chris Botha, a spokesman for emergency services provider Netcare.

“The people who were critically injured suffered multiple injuries to the body,” said Botha.

At least one person was airlifted to the nearby Milpark Hospital, others were taken by ambulance and many were treated at the scene.

Rescue workers struggled to cut away the tangled wreckage of the trains to free the passengers.

One of the train drivers was freed from the carriage after he was trapped for two hours.

“He’s critical at this stage,” said Pieterse.

The trains were operated by Metrorail, the country’s rail system in cities.

The cause of the accident is unknown. “At this stage we do not want to speculate,” said Metrorail spokeswoman Lillian Mofokeng.

It is just the latest serious rail accident to hit South Africa’s urban rail network.

Thursday, 31 January, 2013 at 12:22 UTC RSOE

More details from

Sabotage cause of train crash?

Thu, 31 Jan 2013 12:03 PM

“Two passenger trains packed with school children and rush-hour commuters collided near the South African capital Pretoria on Thursday, injuring up to 300 people in a crash the authorities blamed on cable theft.

The crash took place at around 7.10 am (0510 GMT) when a commuter train heading from the suburbs to the capital ploughed into a stationary train on the same track.

Medical workers said up to 300 people have been treated for various degrees of injury.

“Two are critically injured, one driver and one passenger” and there are 19 seriously injured, said Mosenngwa Mofi, chief executive officer of railway operator PRASA.

It was not immediately known how many children were injured.

“Both of the trains were full of commuters and between them were lots of school children on the way to school,” said Johan Pieterse of Tshwane Emergency Services. “We counted about 50 plus children.”

Every day around 20 000 people use the blue line between the residential suburb of Kalafong and central Pretoria.

Rescue workers initially struggled to cut away the tangled wreckage of the trains to free the passengers.

One of the train drivers was freed from the carriage where he was trapped for two hours.

“He’s critical at this stage,” said Pieterse.

Police and railway investigators looking into the cause of the crash zeroed in on the theft of 25 metres (yards) of copper cable linked to the signalling system.

The removal of the cable forced drivers to switch to manual operations, which require a control centre to tell drivers if a section of track is clear before they can proceed.

“What could have led directly to the accident is still subject to investigation,” said Mofi. “Cable theft is the root cause of the accident.”

While cable theft is common in South Africa, Mofi speculated that the motive may not have been to get the valuable copper.

He said striking railworkers may have been responsible for removing the cable, as part of a pattern of sabotage seen in an industrial dispute with the owners.

“We do have a strong suspicion that it is linked with the current strike,” said Mofi. “During the strike there have been serious acts of sabotage.”

Transport Minister Ben Martins did not rule out sabotage, but said the police and justice department are investigating.

“It is time to see cable theft as an attempted homicide or attempted murder,” he said.

The crash is the latest serious rail accident to hit South Africa’s ageing urban rail network.

In 2011, 857 commuters were injured in Johannesburg’s Soweto township when a passenger train smashed into a stationary train during the peak rush-hour period.

PRASA has itself described its passengers as “travelling like cattle”.

Over 90 percent of commuter trains in South Africa date back to more than 50 years, the most recent dating from 1986.

The network is currently undergoing a major revamp to upgrade its fleet, spending 123-billion rand ($14-billion, 10-billion euros) over 20 years.”

Meanwhile Business Day Live says 20 people were seriously injured and 150 were “walking injured”.

“A METRORAIL train driver was critically injured when two passenger trains collided in Pretoria on Thursday, Tshwane emergency services said.

A helicopter airlifted him to a nearby hospital at 9am, emergency services spokesman Johan Pieterse said.

Mr Pieterse said 20 people were seriously injured in the crash that occurred at about 7am, and 150 were “walking injured”.

Police at the scene said one of the trains was stopped on the railway line between Cor Delfos and Saulsville, when it was rammed from behind by another.

Among other things damaged were the power lines on top of the trains.

Earlier, Mr Pieterse said the railway line between Cor Delfos and Saulsville had been completely closed because of the accident.” –

Prasa investigating cause of Pretoria train crash, with cable theft a possible factor

“THE cause of an accident involving two trains near the Kalafong railway station in Pretoria on Thursday morning is not known, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) said.

A Metrorail train driver was critically injured when a passenger train rammed into the back of another, stationary train on the railway line between Cor Delfos and Saulsville.

“The cause of the accident is not known at this moment. However, we can confirm we experienced cable theft in the early hours of this morning. As a result the automated signal was off. The trains were operated manually,” Prasa rail operations CEO Mosenngwa Mofi said.

“We have prioritised giving care to the commuters and employees who were on both trains … and we would like to wish them a speedy recovery,” he said.

Mr Mofi said technicians were repairing the damage. One line would be operating for the afternoon peak.

A board of inquiry would be instituted to investigate the cause of the crash, which caused about R22m in damage to infrastructure and rolling stock. Among other things damaged were the power lines on top of the trains.

The critically injured driver was airlifted to a nearby hospital, Tshwane emergency services spokesman Johan Pieterse said. Twenty people were seriously injured in the crash around 7am, and 150 were “walking injured”.

Earlier, Mr Pieterse said the railway line between Cor Delfos and Saulsville was completely closed because of the accident.

Transport Minister Ben Martins visited the scene. He and an entourage, which included provincial transport officials, walked on the railway lines towards the wreckage of the trains.

On Thursday, the railway service from Pretoria to Saulsville was stopping at Electro station, with a shuttle bus service to and from Saulsville station.” –

And finally, from the BBC

South Africa commuter trains collide near Pretoria

BBC NEWS 31 January 2013 Last updated at 11:38

Train crash

At least 300 people, including many schoolchildren, have been injured when two passenger trains collided near the South African capital, Pretoria, officials say.

Medical workers say 28 people were seriously hurt.

The theft of cables used for signalling, compounded by human error, caused the crash, said the head of South Africa’s rail authority.

South Africa is in the process of overhauling of its ageing rail network.

The early morning accident happened when a train crashed into a stationary train near Attridgeville, a township west of Pretoria.

“Both of the trains were full of commuters and between them were lots of schoolchildren on the way to school,” a spokesman for the regional emergency services told the AFP news agency.

A helicopter has airlifted one of the train drivers to a nearby hospital after he was trapped in the wreckage for two hours.

A spokesman for the local emergency services told the BBC it had transported more than 200 people, three of whom were critical, while 19 had serious injuries.

The private Netcare 911 service said it had assisted 100 people, with three critical and three more seriously injured.

The injured have all been taken to hospitals in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

“When cables are stolen it affects our signalling system,” said rail authority head Mosenngwa Mofi.

“We then move to what we call manual operations.”

In 2011, at least 800 people were injured when a speeding train hit a stationary one near the township of Soweto.


Protests: Anti-gay bill violates Russian traditions of love, respect


Love, family and respect for human dignity are Russian traditions, say opponents of the proposed national censorship bill that would outlaw same-sex kisses and  discussions of homosexuality in public where children might be present.

That was the theme of two protests this week against the “homosexual propaganda” bill, article 6.13.1, currently scheduled for action in the Russian parliament, or Duma, on Jan. 25.

In one protest, activists used elements of Russian traditional costumes: kerchief, kokoshnik, sarafan, kosovorotka (Russian national shirt) and others as a way to show that slander and discrimination against LGBTs using the rhetoric of traditional values is unacceptable, said Maria Kozlovskaya of the Russian LGBT Network.

In another protest, the LGBT organization Coming Out and Out Loud magazine launched a photo campaign against the bill, inviting people to send in photos opposing homophobia.  People who took part included war veterans, people of faith, a psychologist, a teacher…

View original post 602 more words

#Philippines: Disease alert as #flood toll jumps to 85, tropical depression #HELEN concern – Updated 12 Aug 2012 1337 GMT/UTC

At least 19 killed in Philippines Floods

Thursday, 09 August, 2012 at 07:11 UTC RSOE (NB: Newer updates below)

Ten cities and municipalities in Metro Manila and six provinces in Luzon have been placed under a state of calamity due to massive flooding caused by four days of non-stop monsoon rains.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that areas in Metro Manila that have been placed under a state of calamity were Marikina, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Muntinlupa, San Juan, Pasig, Pasay, Caloocan and Pateros.

In Central Luzon, the provinces of Bataan, Pampanga, Zambales and Bulacan as well as Laguna and Palawan provinces in Southern Luzon have also been placed under a state of calamity. Quezon City, which has the most number of families affected by floods, has yet to make a calamity declaration.

There are a total of 72,468 people affected by flooding in the city and majority of them or a total of 72,264 are staying in 57 evacuation centers. Quezon City and Marikina City have been hit by greater volume of torrential rains since Sunday night.

A massive evacuation has been ordered in Marikina City due to the overflowing of the Marikina River. A total of 246,808 people have been affected in 17 areas in Metro Manila.

The other regions affected by the monsoon rains were Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa and Western Visayas.

The NDRRMC said that a total of 454,093 families or nearly two million people in Metro Manila and the five other regions are affected by floods caused by the monsoon rains.

It has also confirmed 19 fatalities, nine of which died in a landslide in Quezon City and eight died from drowning. Flooding in Quezon City and other areas in Luzon were expected to continue due to the overflowing of major dams including La Mesa, Angat and San Roque. The water reserve in Ipo, Ambuklao and Binga dams are near spilling levels.

BE READY FOR BAD WEATHER and other emergencies – Advice and resources

Philippines Red Cross Lifeline Kit

Death toll from Philippines floods rises to 66
Saturday August 11, 2012 – 13:46 EST

The death toll from torrential rains that submerged most of the Philippines capital Manila has risen to 66.

  Al Jazeera’s Marga Ortigas reports from Manila, many of those who were forced out of their homes are now trying to return.

Nearly two weeks of monsoon rains across the Philippines’ main island of Luzon peaked with a 48-hour deluge earlier this week that battered Manila and surrounding regions.

The extra deaths occurred mainly in the provinces during the initial rain from Monday to Wednesday, but government officials in the outlying areas could not immediately report the casualties to Manila headquarters.

Ten people remain missing as the floods, which submerged 80 per cent of Manila earlier in the week, have largely subsided.

Radio Australia’s reporter in Manila, Shirley Escalante, says the massive clean up has begun.

“As floodwaters recede, tonnes of garbage has been left behind littering roads, parks and drains in the capital Manila and surrounding provinces,” Ms Escalante said.

Health officials are warning diseases like leptospirosis and diarrhea could spread easily.

Ms Escalante says authorities have price controlled basic food items like bread, noodles and canned goods, to ensure there’s enough to go around.

Relief effort

But the government says it’s struggling to cope with the scale of the relief effort which is expected to last for weeks.

Tens of thousands of people are continuing to stream into evacuation centres that are already overcrowded and unable to provide enough immediate relief goods.

The Social Welfare Secretary, Corazon Soliman, says local government units are being overwhelmed.

“We have evacuation centres that are congested, that is the whole problem,” she said.

More than 362,000 people were sheltering in evacuation centres on Friday, nearly 50,000 more than on Thursday.

Farmland inundated

Water remains waist-deep across a large part of a vital rice growing region to the north of Manila.

“We need something to eat. I haven’t gone to work or been paid for a week,” said Rogelio Soco, a construction worker and father-of-three in a small farming town outside Manila.

Mr Soco says the floods were the worst the area had seen since a huge typhoon struck in the early 1970s.

Other locals also say they haven’t experienced anything like it for decades.

Around the town of Apalit, formerly green rice paddies have been turned into an ocean of brown water.

‘Inadequate response’

Local non-government organisation Transform Asia has labelled the government’s response inadequate.

“The response really is not good enough,” the group’s chairwoman Reihana Mohideen told Radio Australia’s .

“For example, there are water pumping stations in the area that I went to. They pump out 15,000 litres of water a day and they were completely overwhelmed. They did not have the capacity to deal with the amount of water.”

She said many victims had been living in squatter colonies without proper drainage systems.

“The devastation that you travel through to get to these centres of flooded huts – this is the face of poverty,” she said.

“Housing is inadequate. There’re no proper drainage systems. The roads get flooded so quickly, and you don’t have water catchment to catch and store this water. There’s inadequate power supply.”

Her comments were echoed by urban planner Nathaniel Einseidel, who said the Philippines had enough technical know-how, and access to financing, to solve the ongoing flood problems.

“It’s a lack of appreciation for the benefits of long-term plans. It’s a vicious cycle when the planning, the policies and enforcement are not very well synchronised,” said Mr Einseidel, who was Manila’s planning chief from 1979-89.

“I haven’t heard of a local government, a town or city that has a comprehensive drainage masterplan.”

This week’s rains were the worst to hit Manila since Tropical Storm Ketsana killed 464 people in 2009.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje warned that the Philippines must prepare for more intense rains caused by climate change, describing the latest deluge as the “new normal”.

– ABC (via

Meanwhile AFP says

 Philippine authorities scrambled to provide food and other emergency provisions Saturday to more than two million people affected by widespread flooding, as the death toll rose to 66, officials said.

The flooding that submerged 80 percent of Manila early in the week has largely subsided, allowing people to return to their homes, but more than 100 low-lying towns and cities to the north remain under water.

Civil defence chief Benito Ramos said the huge displaced population, including 441,000 people crammed in crowded evacuation camps, would need to be fed and taken care of for at least another seven days.

“The bulk of our operations involves relief, but also clean-up,” Ramos told AFP.

“Volunteers are packaging 100,000 food packs for immediate distribution.”

The government’s disaster co-ordination council said it was serving nearly 758,000 people displaced by floods on Saturday, significantly more than the previous day as tens of thousands trickled into evacuation centres overnight.

But with 2.68 million people affected, up from 2.44 million on Friday, many are having to fend for themselves.

In Calumpit, a farming town about 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Manila, unmarried construction worker Ronaldo Cruz stepped out of his house, stuck in waist-deep floods, to ask for food from better-off neighbours and relatives.

“We’ve been waiting for relief aid, but none has arrived,”

said the 32-year-old, who lives with seven other relatives.

“Perhaps there isn’t enough to go around,” he told AFP.

With evacuation centres packed to capacity and houses inundated by flood water, many residents of Calumpit are forced to live on their rooftops.

The UN World Food Programme said it was providing 52.5 tonnes of high-energy biscuits and hiring trucks to help the government transport other relief supplies.

“WFP is saddened by the humanitarian impact of the non-stop rains over the last week in the Philippines,” its country chief Stephen Anderson said in a statement.

The UN body said it also plans to distribute supplementary food to about 77,000 children in the flooded areas.

The government said Saturday that 66 people had been confirmed killed, up from 60 on Friday.

The Philippines endures about 20 major storms or typhoons each rainy season. But this week’s rains were the worst to hit Manila since Tropical Storm Ketsana killed 464 people in 2009. – Reliefweb

Youtuber “I rode the yellow dump truck from my place to the supermarket. The usual 10-minute ride took 45 minutes because vehicles are carefully treading the flood at 5 kph. LOL! The flood is still widespread in Sandoval Ave., Pasig City.”

See here how people go about their daily lives like one person here making the gas delivery with his motorbike.

12 Aug 2012:

MANILA (AFP) – Emergency relief officials and doctors deployed to flood devastated communities in the Philippines on Sunday to prevent outbreaks of disease as the death toll jumped to 85.

The flooding that submerged 80 per cent of Manila early in the week has largely subsided but more than 150 towns and cities around the capital remain under water, affecting more than three million people.

Amid the ongoing relief operation, the weather bureau warned of a low pressure area developing some 850km to the east in the Pacific Ocean that could turn into a storm and bring more rain.

Many provinces around Manila remained inundated as overflowing dams continued to release water, the national disaster coordinating agency said. Relief workers were dealing with “clogged pipelines and trash everywhere. Sanitation has emerged as a key problem,” Red Cross secretary general Gwendolyn Pang told AFP.


dost_pagasa (Philippines Weather Bureau):

At 5:00PM (PhT) 08/12/12 The active LPA East of Northern Luzon has developed into Tropical Depression #HELEN

At 4:00pm today (PhT) the center of TD “HELEN” was estimated based on satellite and surface data at 750 km E of Casiguran, Aurora (16.7°N 130.2°E). Maximum sustained winds of 55 kph near the center. It is forecast to move West Northwest at 11 kph.

Estimated rainfall amount is from 10 – 20 mm per hour (heavy – intense) within the 350 km diameter of the Tropical Depression #HELEN

As of 7:00PM, the center of Tropical Depression #Helen was estimated at 720KM East of Casiguran, Aurora (16.8°N 129.9°E)

TD #HELEN is expected to enhance the HABAGAT that will bring rains over Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao especially the Western section.

As of 6:00PM (PhT), the center of Tropical Depression Helen was est. at 740KM East of Casiguran, Aurora (16.7N, 130.0E).

As of 7:00PM (PhT), the center of Tropical Depression #Helen was estimated at 720KM East of Casiguran, Aurora (16.8°N 129.9°E).

Severe Weather Bulletin No. 1 Issued at: 5:00 p.m (PhT)., 12 August 2012

Philippines President Aquino assures Tarlac flood victims of help

By Joelyn G. Baluyut (reliefweb)

TARLAC CITY, Tarlac, Aug11 (PIA) — President Aquino assured monsoon flood victims in his home province of Tarlac that government will help in their recovery.

Speaking before residents in Barangay Apulid in Paniqui town Friday, the Chief Executive said he admires the resiliency of the residents to immediately rise from the tragedy. He added that such trait is a positive sign of brighter things ahead.

Aquino distributed relief goods in the village and in Barangay Sta. Lucia in Capas town together with secretaries of Social Welfare Dinky Soliman, Energy Jose Almendras, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Joel Villanueva, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning (PCSDO) Ramon Carandang, Aurora representative Sonny Angara, and former party-list representative Risa Hontiveros.

In an interview, one of the evacuees in Brgy. Apulid, Elena Salcedo, 79, said, “This is even worse than typhoons Pedring and Quiel, I was scared but with the President here I am very thankful because he had seen what our current situation is and it brings me hope that soon we’ll be back to our normal lives.”

Meanwhile, Paniqui Mayor Dors Rivilla said, “evacuees will be probably be staying in the evacuation centers for three to four days until the rain stops to ensure their safety.”

In the municipal level, we are doing our best to avert such a situation again and we are asking government to assist. Our area is a catch basin, the mayor explained.

He also cited the construction of P16 billion Balog-Balog Irrigation Multipurpose Project (BBIMP), a megadam in the western part of Tarlac which will help in the mitigation of flooding in low-lying areas of the province.

The Department of Agriculture explained that the project would irrigate about 39,150 hectares of farmlands in the municipalities of Concepcion, Gerona, Pura, Ramos, Paniqui, La Paz, Victoria, and Tarlac City.

A total of 250 and 200 packs were distributed by the DSWD-3 to barangays Apulid and Sta. Lucia evacuation centers. A pack is composed of three kilos of rice, six assorted canned goods, six noodles, and coffee.

Based on Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) figures, there are now 619 affected families or 2,291 individuals and 1,1864 families or 9,169 individuals covering Paniqui and Capas towns respectively. (CLJD/JGB-PIA 3)

Red Cross steps up rescue and relief operations for flood-stricken families

The Philippine Red Cross has stepped up its rescue and relief operations for flood-stricken families rescuing a total of 7,525 persons and assisting in the evacuation of more than 200,000 individuals with the help of Red Cross 143 volunteers. Persons rescued were from Valenzuela, Rizal, Caloocan, Manila and other affected areas.

The Quezon City Red Cross assisted in the search and rescue of the victims of the landslides in Commonwealth where three persons were given first aid and transported to nearby hospital.

The Red Cross as well has provided hot meals to more than 191,344 persons in various evacuation centers.

PRC Chairman Richard Gordon has directed Red Cross to deploy all life-saving equipment such as amphibian, rubber boats, ambulances and trucks and intensify further its rescue and relief operations to assist more people, especially in worst hit areas.

Gordon will personally hand over relief goods to the University of Sto Tomas Hospital, Epifanio Delos Santos Hospital and University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Hospital for distribution to patients, crew and staff. The PRC Chair will also discuss partnership with hospital officials for better medical and health services to people in distress.

Earlier, the Red Cross has provided generator to Epifanio delos Santos Hospital and assisted as well in providing fuel for the generator of the UERM Hospital.

PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang said more relief operations and hygiene promotion will be conducted in some of the 566 evacuation centers where 49,220 families are still sheltered. The Red Cross will also set up welfare desks in the evacuation centers to provide psychosocial support and other welfare needs of the affected families.

Pang said, the Red Cross will also conduct quick assessment of the situation and furthers needs of the affected families in Metro Manila and other flooded areas.

The Red Cross will continue to work round the clock with more areas still under water.

Red Cross in full action responding to floods

The Philippine Red Cross is responding around the clock to the worsening flood situation in Metro Manila and nearby provinces triggered by continuous southwest monsoon rains, prompting hundreds of families to evacuate to higher grounds.

The Red Cross Emergency Response Teams have so far rescued a total of 250 persons in various flood-stricken areas in Valenzuela, Rizal and Quezon City.

The Red Cross life-saving vehicles including its amphibian, rubber boats, 6 X 6 trucks and ambulances are on full swing surveying flooded areas and assisting in rescue operation and evacuation of families trapped by rising flood water.

PRC Chairman Richard Gordon has directed all chapters and Red Cross 143 volunteers to remain vigilant in responding to the situation and ensure the safety of the affected families.

More than 6,000 persons were served with hot meals and another 2,000 more were provided with food items in 63 evacuation centers that were visited so far, by Red Cross response teams, according to PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang.

Pang also said the Red Cross is now preparing more relief aid for immediate distribution to affected families.

The PRC medical and social worker teams are now on alert for deployment to evacuation areas to ensure the health and well-being of the flood-stricken population, particularly the most vulnerable group.

The PRC Blood services are also on stand by to ensure that blood requirements are met anytime the need arises.

PRC is coordinating closely with MMDA, local government units and other concerned agencies to do more, do better and reach further to affected families.

Twitter updates on the Red Cross response to flooding:

IFRC news bulletin (pdf download)

The PRC welcomes donations in cash for flood-affected families. You may send or deposit your donations to the following:

Banco De Oro
Peso: 00-453-0018647
Dollar: 10-453-0039482

Peso: 151-3-041631228
Dollar: 151-2-15100218-2

Philippine National Bank
Peso: 3752 8350 0034
Dollar: 3752 8350 0042

Unionbank of the Philippines
Peso: 1015 4000 0201
Dollar: 1315 4000 0090

All Check/Cash for the account of Philippine Red Cross (Swift Codes)
Banco De Oro

Bank of the Philippine Islands


Philippine National Bank

Unionbank of the Philippines

For your donations to be properly acknowledged, please fax the bank transaction slip at nos. +63.2.527.0575 or +63.2.404.0979 with your name, address and contact number.

SMS and G-Cash

Text RED<space>AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart)

Text DONATE<space>AMOUNT<space>4-digit M-PIN<space>REDCROSS to 2882

You can donate the following denominations:
Globe: 5, 25, 100, 300, 500 or 1000
Smart: 10, 25, 50, 100, 300, 500 or 1000.


Philippine floods: Stranded using Twitter for help (BBC News 8 August 2012)

TROPICAL DEPRESSION #HELEN – Published 12 Aug 2012 1350 GMT/UTC

India: Hope runs out for Meghalaya’s trapped coal miners – Published 13 July 2012 1003 GMT/UIC

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team on Friday called off the operation to rescue 15 miners trapped in a flooded coal pit in Meghalaya since July 6, an official said.

The miners got trapped in a mine in South Garo Hills district last week on Thursday after they accidentally punctured the wall of an abandoned mine, filling their mine with gallons of water.

“The NDRF has called off their operation expressing their inability to rescue the miners as the team members could endanger themselves inside the flooded mine, which is on the verge of collapse,” Davies R. Marak, the district police chief of South Garo Hills, said.

Meghalaya Coal Mine
(Click photo for source)

The special team, which began its rescue operation on Thursday morning, had brought all necessary equipment to pull out the men from what are called “rat-hole” mines, but to no avail.

“Scuba divers did make their attempt to enter inside the coal pit but the formation of toxic gas in the pit has forced them to come out,” Marak said.

However, district authorities would continue to pump out the water and make all efforts to rescue the trapped miners, Marak said. “I don’t think there will be any survivor and if anyone of them comes alive from the pit it will be only a miracle.”

The NDRF is a unit created by the government for specialised response to natural and manmade disasters.

Ten water pumps have been deployed to pump out the water from the mine.

Three people have been arrested by Meghalaya Police on charges of negligence – mine owner Kudon A. Sangma, Punjab-based mine operator Gurdeep Singh and the head of the labourers identified as “captain”.

Meghalaya has a total coal reserve of 640 million tonnes. The coal is high in sulphur content and is mostly of sub-bituminous type.

Most of this coal reserve is mined unscientifically by individuals and local communities. Due to unscientific coal mining, the water sources of many rivers, especially in Jaintia Hills district, have turned acidic.

Mining activities in Meghalaya are controlled by the indigenous people of the state who own the land.

The coal is extracted by primitive surface mining method called “rat-hole” mining that entails clearing ground vegetation and digging pits ranging from five to 100 sq.m. to reach the coal seams.

Workers and children go deep into these holes and extract the coal using traditional tools. Makeshift bamboo ladders take miners down into the pits to chip away through two-feet-high tunnels.

Once the coal has been extracted these mines are abandoned and left exposed in several instances in the state. In Cherrapunjee, once famous for its heaviest rainfall, environmental abuse has almost reduced the region to a barren landscape.

The region is now pockmarked by abandoned “rat hole” coal mines and barren hills. Similar is the case in other districts of Meghalaya.

The high-sulphur, sub-bituminous coal is used primarily for power generation and as a source fuel in cement plants in India and Bangladesh – The Times of India

A recent study reveals that coal mines in Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya employed 70,000 child miners who were abducted from Nepal and Bangladesh and sold to Meghalaya’s mining mafia. These children are forced to work into deep pits exposing them to fatal health hazards.

CHILD Worker at Meghalaya
(Click photo for source)


Children brought from Nepal and Bangladesh form part of the workforce in unscientific, ecology-threatening coal mines of Meghalaya, a study by a Shillong-based NGO revealed on Thursday.

The study was conducted across 10 coal mines of Jaintia Hills district in August last year. Impulse, the NGO, had collaborated with the global Aide et Action in interviewing 200 labourers aged below 18 years and documenting their experience. –

It’s not known how many of the fifteen trapped miners are minors…..

Ireland: W. Cork Measles Outbreak, 51 Teens Infected – Published 11 June 2012

Parents are being warned about the importance of protecting their children against measles following an outbreak of the infectious disease in County Cork.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging families to get their children fully immunised with two doses of MMR before travelling to the south of Ireland or to other European countries during the summer months.

The warning came after 51 children were diagnosed with measles in west Cork. Two of them were admitted to hospital for further treatment.

Most of the infected children are teenagers and 88% of them had never received any dose of MMR vaccine. Although measles can occur at any age, it is most common in children.

However, the disease is life threatening at any age.

Measles can be caught either through direct contact with an infected person, or through the air when the patient coughs or sneezes. Dr Gerry Waldron is Acting Assistant Director of Public Health (Health Protection) with the PHA.

He says it is never too late to get immunised.

“If children are not vaccinated they are left exposed to a serious and potentially fatal disease.

“MMR immunisation is the safest and most effective way to prevent measles infection and it is never too late to get vaccinated.”

Northern Ireland has high uptake levels for MMR, Dr Waldron said, before adding that this was a great tribute to the medical staff involved in the immunisation programme and also parents.

“MMR uptake rates are very high – just over 93% of children have received it by the age of two and by five years of age,” he said.

Monday, 11 June, 2012 at 13:26 (01:26 PM) UTC RSOE


Ireland: W Cork Measles Outbreak – 17 more cases

Ireland: W Cork Measles Outbreak – 17 more cases

Seventeen new case of measles have been reported during the last six days in an outbreak in southern Ireland.

The total number of confirmed cases in West Cork, Ireland, stands at 42.

Public health officials are urging parents to make certain their children are fully protected against the highly infectious illness, according to

At the moment, the best way to ensure safety is to ensure that babies are not exposed to older children who may not be vaccinated and who are incubating the disease, Dr. Fiona Ryan, a consultant in public health medicine, said, reports.

Some cases have unvaccinated brothers and sisters, so they are very likely to become infected.

Unfortunately the symptoms are very non-specific before they get the rash.

Two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended, with the first dose to be given at 12 months of age and the second between the ages of four and five.

Children or teenagers who have not received both doses of the vaccine can have it administered by a general practitioner free of charge.

Those affected in the outbreak have mainly been teenagers, but children under the age of 12 months are considered especially at risk.

We have a worry that it will spread to other children, Ryan said, according to
We are expecting more cases.In West Cork, we have quite a number of children that havent been vaccinated.
There are so many unvaccinated that you are getting a lot of spread. Its a very, very infectious disease.

The nationwide MMR vaccination rate in Ireland for children aged 24 months is 92 percent, but in West Cork 14 percent of children at that age remain unvaccinated.

Saturday, 26 May, 2012 at 05:27 (05:27 AM) UTC RSOE


India: Uttar Pradesh Blast kills 6 children, injures 15 in Delhi (Warning Graphic Photo)



A group of children were playing on or near garbage dumps as an explosion occurred in the Kareli area of Allahabad, Delhi.

Six children were killed and fifteen other people were injured by the blast.

No further information known. Source

More details & pictures here:

2 adults and 3 children (including a baby) die, at least 15 missing, after fishing boat sinks in Indian Ocean

Two adults and three children died while 15 people were missing after a boat sank off the French overseas department of Mayotte, the government said Sunday.

The fishing boat was carrying 43 people from the nearby independent nation of the Comoros, the overseas ministry said in a statement. The provisional toll is 19 people survived, 15 were missing and five bodies were found, including those of three children, it said.

One of the children was a baby.

The statement said the accident occurred late Saturday afternoon, and that some survivors were rescued by a hotel dive club on the Indian Ocean island, whose people are some 10 times wealthier than Comoran islanders.

The ministry has activated a maritime safety plan, and the necessary aerial and nautical means are in place and will remain for as long as needed, the statement said.

A helicopter and a Zodiac were searching for the other survivors, it said.The archipelago of the Comoros voted to become independent from France in 1975, while the Mayotte islanders opted to remain under French rule.

Monday, 21 May, 2012 at 06:05 (06:05 AM) UTC RSOE

AP: Overseas Minister Victorin Lurel says an air and sea search operation will continue as long as necessary to find the missing.

Its not immediately clear what caused the sinking, but the small kwassa-kwassa boats are thought ill-equipped for long sea trips.

More here:

Ireland: 25 unvaccinated, mostly teens infected in latest measles outbreak in Cork

The latest outbreak of measles in the Republic has occurred in west Cork, the Health Service Executive said yesterday.

Twenty-five children, mainly teenagers aged 12-18, have been diagnosed with the viral illness in the last four weeks.

None of those infected had been immunised with the MMR vaccine, which protects against mumps, measles and rubella, public health doctors confirmed.

MMR immunisation rates here have still not recovered following discredited research in 1998 linking the vaccine with bowel disease and autism.

Dr Fiona Ryan, specialist in public health medicine at HSE South, said, “This outbreak is affecting children who are not vaccinated. Siblings of children with measles, if not vaccinated, are also recommended to stay out of school or childcare during the incubation period (usually about 14 days but may be up to 21 days), to ensure that they do not transmit infection to other children who may be too young for vaccination or be at increased risk due to other conditions.”She urged parents of children who are not immunised to attend for vaccination.

MMR given to a child within 72 hours of exposure to measles may prevent the illness. The vaccine can prevent measles in more than 90 per cent of immunised children, following a single dose of the vaccine.

With a second dose of MMR vaccine, more than 99 per cent of immunised children are protected from measles infection.This vaccine is given free by family doctors to children aged 12-15 months, and a second dose is given at school entry.

MMR vaccination is also recommended for children aged 11-12 years who have not received two previous doses of MMR.Symptoms of measles develop nine to 11 days after becoming infected.

The first symptoms include irritability, a runny nose, red eyes, a hacking cough and a fever. These symptoms may last up to eight days.

A skin rash, consisting of flat red or brown blotches, starts from day four. It usually starts on the forehead and spreads downwards over the face, neck and body and lasts from four to seven days.

About one in 20 of those infected will get pneumonia, one in 1,000 will get encephalitis (brain inflammation) and between one and two in 1,000 will die from measles.

The latest annual report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre showed a 149 per cent increase in measles cases in Ireland in 2010, with 403 cases notified compared with 162 cases in 2009.

About one-quarter of the 2010 cases required hospitalisation. Cases predominantly occurred in children who had not been vaccinated in what the surveillance centre said was a “worrying number of measles outbreaks in Ireland and Europe”.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported a recent measles outbreak in Ukraine, prompting a warning to soccer fans planning to travel there for next month’s European Championships to ensure they are fully immunised.

Tuesday, 15 May, 2012 at 04:05 (04:05 AM) UTC RSOE

Epidemic in China: 4 dead, 11,000 ill with Hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD)

Hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) has killed four people and sickened more than 11,000 others in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and more people are likely to be affected by the disease as it enters its peak, health authorities said Saturday. During the first quarter this year, a total of 11,757 HFMD cases have been reported in Guangxi, up 38.24 percent from the same period last year, the Guangxi regional health department said in a statement. The infectious disease has plagued other areas in China. Central Hunan province has seen a surge in cases of hand-foot-mouth disease since the beginning of this month, with over 1,000 cases reported over the past week, according to local health authorities. Also 20 children of a kindergarten in Hong Kong have been infected by the disease. Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection said the patients, 13 boys and seven girls from two to five years old, started to show symptoms of HFMD since March 23. Children under three years old are especially susceptible to break-outs of HFMD. The disease starts with a slight fever followed by blisters and ulcers in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet. The HFMD virus is usually transmitted through digestive and respiratory systems or through intimate contact. China’s Ministry of Health on Monday issued a statement, urging local governments of all levels to intensify the prevention and control of HFMD as well as other infectious diseases. Ministry figures showed that, in February, China’s mainland reported over 467,000 cases of infectious disease and 1,246 related deaths, of which 11 people died of HFMD. The Guangxi regional disease control and prevention center has since intensified training among medical workers in handling the disease and strengthened advertisement among the people about the disease. Health authorities in Hunan have ordered measures to closely monitor and prevent cases of the disease, especially at primary schools and kindergartens. South China’s Hainan province also kicked off a one-month campaign on March 20 to inspect prevention and control work of the disease. – RSOE