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Natural Disaster

Mozambique’s President Says Cyclone Idai Death Toll May Be 1,000

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This image made available by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Monday March 18, 2019, shows an aerial view from a helicopter of flooding in Beira, Mozambique. The Red Cross says that as much as 90 percent of Mozambique’s central port city of Beira has been damaged or destroyed by tropical Cyclone Idai. (Caroline Haga/International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) via AP)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi says that more than 1,000 may have by killed by Cyclone Idai, which many say is the worst in more than 20 years.

Speaking to state Radio Mozambique, Nyusi said Monday that although the official death count is currently 84, he believes the toll will be more than 1,000.

“It appears that we can register more than 1000 deaths,” said the PR, adding that more than 100,000 people are at risk of life.

“The waters of the Pungue and Buzi rivers overflowed, making whole villages disappear and isolating communities, and bodies are floating,” said Nyusi. “It is a real disaster of great proportions.”

Nyusi spoke after flying by helicopter over the central port city of Beira and the rural Manica and Sofala provinces in which he saw widespread flooding and devastation.

Other officials in emergency services cautioned that while they expect the death toll to rise significantly, they have no way of knowing if it will reach the president’s estimate of 1,000.

The Red Cross said that 90 percent of Beira, a city of 500,000, had been damaged or destroyed.

Beira has been severely battered by the cyclone which cut off electricity, forced the airport to shut down and cut off road access to the rest of the country. Cyclone Idai first hit Beira last week and then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Beira has been severely battered by the cyclone which cut off electricity, forced the airport to shut down and closed road access to the city, said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Monday.

Cyclone Idai first hit Beira last week and then moved inland spreading heavy winds and rainfall to Zimbabwe and Malawi. More than 215 people have been killed by the storm according to official figures in the three countries, hundreds more are missing and more than 1.5 million people have been affected, according to the Red Cross and government officials.

The scale of the damage to Beira is “massive and horrifying,” said Jamie LeSueur, who led a Red Cross aerial assessment of the city. The team had to view the city by helicopter because roads were flooded, he said.

“The situation is terrible. The scale of devastation is enormous. It seems that 90 percent of the area is completely destroyed,” said LeSueur.

With Beira’s airport closed, the team drove from Mozambique’s capital Maputo before taking a helicopter for the last part of the journey because roads into Beira have been flooded.

While the physical impact of Idai is beginning to emerge, the human impact is unclear.

“Almost everything is destroyed. Communication lines have been completely cut and roads have been destroyed. Some affected communities are not accessible,” said LeSueur.

“Beira has been severely battered. But we are also hearing that the situation outside the city could be even worse. Yesterday (Sunday), a large dam burst and cut off the last road to the city.”

The storm hit Beira late Thursday and moved westward into Zimbabwe and Malawi, affecting thousands more, particularly in areas bordering Mozambique.

At least 126 people had died in Mozambique and Malawi, according to the Red Cross. In Zimbabwe, 89 people have died from the floods, the country’s information ministry said Monday.

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa both returned from foreign trips to attend to the emergencies caused by the storm.

Zimbabwe’s president returned home from the United Arab Emirates “to make sure he is involved directly with the national response by way of relief to victims of Cyclone Idai,” the information ministry said. The Zimbabwean government declared a state of national disaster.

U.N. agencies and the Red Cross are helping with rescue efforts that include delivering food supplies and medicines by helicopter in the impoverished countries.

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Earthquake

6.9 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Southern California

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on Southern California’s strongest earthquake in 20 years (all times local):


8:30 p.m.: An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 has jolted Southern California, but there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake hit at 8:19 p.m. Friday and was centered 11 miles from Ridgecrest, where a magnitude 6.4 quake struck on Thursday. The agency initially said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.1.

The quake was felt downtown as a rolling motion that seemed to last at least a half-minute. It was felt as far away as Las Vegas, and the USGS says it also was felt in Mexico.

If the preliminary magnitude is correct, it would be the largest Southern California quake in 20 years.

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Natural Disaster

Seven Dead, Dozens Trapped In Cambodia Building Collapse

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PHNOM PENH, June 22 (Reuters) – Seven people were killed when an under-construction building in Cambodia collapsed early on Saturday, an official said, as rescuers struggled to reach dozens of missing workers feared trapped under a mountain of twisted steel and rubble.


Twenty-two people were injured in the collapse of the seven-storey Chinese-owned project in the coastal town of Sihanoukville, west of the capital Phnom Penh.

M<ore than 30 people were still missing and feared trapped inside, said Oar Saroeun, spokesman for the local province of Preah Sihanouk.

“The steel structure has collapsed on itself and we don’t dare move it,” Saroeun told Reuters. “We can only wait and listen for any signs of life…

“We are afraid more of it will collapse on them…. We will work through the night to remove the steel.”

Photos of the scene shared on social media showed groups of rescuers working their way through a crumpled heap of steel girders and concrete.

Preah Sihanouk province and its largest town, Sihanoukville, has seen a rush of investment in recent years from China, especially into the casino, property and tourism sectors.

Home to Cambodia’s largest port and a Chinese Special Economic Zone connected to Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, the town is also undergoing a construction boom to serve those growing crowds of Chinese tourists and investors.

The collapsed building is Chinese-owned, according to Saroeun.

Police have detained four people, including three construction supervisors, for questioning in relation to the accident, according to a statement from the province.

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Earthquake

Earthquake Rattles Cleveland, Ohio

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An earthquake 4km NNW of Eastlake, Ohio on June 10, 2019. USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey says a 4.0 earthquake shook Northeast Ohio on Monday morning.


According to the USGS, the earthquake originated near Eastlake and impacted three counties, including Cuyahoga. The quake may have been felt as far south as Canton, as far west as Lakewood, and as far east as Perry.

Michigan Tech says that a 4.0 earthquake is often felt, but usually causes only minor damage in surrounding areas. The USGS classifies moderate earthquakes as 5.3 and strong earthquakes as 6.3. The Monday earthquake failed to reach either plateau.

Residents in several Northeast Ohio cities have reported feeling the earthquake. Patch has spoken to people in Cleveland Heights, Independence, Valley View, and Lakewood who all said they felt the earthquake.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said there are approximately 200 earthquakes of varying magnitude in Ohio every year. Northeast Ohio is one of the more earthquake-prone regions of the state, having experienced more than 100 earthquakes since 1836, most beneath Lake Erie.

In January 1986, the ODNR said, there was a 5.0 earthquake that originated in southern Lake County and caused minor damage to buildings. The quake was felt in 10 other states and southern Canada.

(Reporting by Patch Across America)

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