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Posts Tagged ‘International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’

Turkey earthquake death toll rises to 534

Posted by Admin on October 28, 2011

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/turkey-earthquake-death-toll-rises-to-534/196734-2.html

Posted on Oct 27, 2011 at 05:31pm IST

Ercis: Rain and snow on Thursday compounded difficulties for thousands rendered homeless in the powerful earthquake that hit eastern Turkey, and the government said the death toll has gone up to 534.

The prime minister’s center for crisis and emergency management said 2,300 people were injured and 185 were rescued from the rubble.

Meanwhile, a moderate earthquake, measuring 5.4 according to Turkey’s Kandilli seismology center, hit the neighboring province of Hakkari on Thursday, sending people rushing out of buildings in fear and panic. No damage was reported but NTV television said some people were slightly injured while trying to escape through windows.

That temblor was centered 90 miles (150 kilometers) south of the epicenter of Sunday’s devastating quake.

Turkish authorities delivered more tents after acknowledging initial problems in the distribution of aid for survivors of the 7.2-magnitude quake that shattered at least 2,200 buildings on Sunday.

Foreign assistance also began arriving after Turkey said it would accept help to house survivors through the winter. Israel, which has a troubled political relationship with Turkey, sent emergency housing units, blankets and clothing. Germany also dispatched supplies, including tent heating units. Britain said it was dispatching 1,000 tents to shelter some 5,500 people. Russia and Ukraine also contributed.

Some media reports had said rescuers pulled out a 19-year-old alive from the rubble on Thursday, but Mustafa Ozden, the head of the team that brought out the young man, told The Associated Press that he was rescued on Tuesday.

Rain gave way to intermittent snow, deepening the hardship of thousands of people either rendered homeless in the powerful earthquake or too afraid to return indoors amid aftershocks that continued to rattle the area.

In the worst-hit city of Ercis, families who managed to obtain tents shared them with others. Some people spent a fourth night outdoors huddled under blankets in front of campfires, either waiting for news of the missing or keeping watch over damaged homes.

Sermin Yildirim, who was eight months pregnant, was with her twins and husband. They shared a tent with a family of four who were distant relatives. Her apartment in a three-story building was not damaged but the family was reluctant to return.

“It’s getting colder, my kids are coughing. I don’t know how long we will have to stay here,” Yildirim said. “We were not able to get a tent. We are waiting to get our own.”

The Red Crescent organization and several pro-Islamic groups set up kitchens and dished out soup or meals of rice and beans.

People were seen gathering pieces of wood to light campfires or stove-heaters.

Muhlise Bakan, 41, was not happy to share her tent with her husband’s second wife, Hamide.

“I have four children, she has five,” Bakan said. “We were sleeping in separate rooms at our house, and now we are sleeping side by side here.”

However, she acknowledged the two women were now “closer” as they struggle together in hard times. Turkish law does not recognize second marriages, but still some men in the country’s southeast marry more then one wife in religious ceremonies that are accepted among conservatives.

Health problems increased the hardship for some quake survivors.

“I am very sick, I need medicine,” said Kevsel Astan, 40, who had a kidney transplant more than four years ago.

She said she was being treated at the state hospital until the quake struck. The damaged hospital has been evacuated and doctors are focusing on emergency cases.

Burke Cinar, a sociologist with a Turkish foundation, said the group was trying to get tents for the families of 15 children with leukemia in Ercis. She said about 100 leukemia patients live in quake-hit Van province.

Turkey’s weather agency predicted intermittent snowfall for the next three days.

More than a dozen television stations organized a joint aid telethon, amassing just under 62 million Turkish Lira ($37 million) in aid for the region.

Searchers sifted through piles of debris, recovering more bodies. They included two dead teenage sisters and their parents who were holding hands, and a mother clutching her baby boy, according to media reports.

Two teachers and a university student were rescued from ruined buildings on Wednesday, but there were no signs of survivors elsewhere and excavators were clearing debris from some collapsed buildings. One of the teachers later died in hospital, NTV reported on Thursday.

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Fighting turns southern Yemen town into “hell”

Posted by Admin on June 9, 2011

Ali Abdullah Saleh

Ali Abdullah Saleh

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110608/wl_nm/us_yemen

By Mohammed Mukhashaf and Asma Alsharif Wed Jun 8, 1:42 pm ET

ADEN/JEDDAH (Reuters) – Bodies lay in the streets of a southern Yemeni town Wednesday as government forces battled Islamist militants, a local official said, underscoring the gravity of Yemen’s multiple conflicts.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, 69, wounded Friday when rockets hit his palace, is having treatment in the Saudi capital Riyadh but there were conflicting reports about his condition — ranging from fairly minor, to life-threatening 40-percent burns.

A truce between his forces and tribesmen who back pro-democracy protesters was holding in Sanaa. Western and Arab powers have been working to persuade Saleh to stay away and allow a long-negotiated transition of power to begin.

Saleh has left a country in crisis, with Yemeni civilians bearing the brunt of fighting. Medical staff are having trouble reaching the wounded, and electricity and water are scarce, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

Some 20 bodies have been retrieved in and around Sanaa since Saturday by ICRC and Yemen Red Crescent teams, including seven Tuesday in al-Hassaba, north of the capital, the ICRC said.

“Because of the fighting, it has often been difficult for medical personnel to reach certain parts of Sanaa,” said Jean-Nicolas Marti, the head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen.

The U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) said Yemenis are going hungry as the fighting disrupts food supplies and pushes up the price of gas, water, fuel and other basic commodities.

“There is a sharp deterioration of the food security situation in Yemen,” WFP’s representative in Yemen Gian Carlo Cirri told Reuters in an interview. “We are close to food prices having doubled on average since last year when it comes to key commodities such as wheat flour, vegetable oil and sugar.”

Sanaa was calm in Saleh’s absence, with a ceasefire holding between government forces and tribesmen loyal to Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar, head of the powerful Hashed tribal confederation, who have turned against the president.

More than 200 people have been killed and thousands have fled Sanaa in the last two weeks as fighting intensified.

Al-Ahmar’s men withdrew from around seven government buildings, including the state news agency Saba which suffered heavily in fighting last week.

But many government ministries were not functioning as staff stayed away Wednesday and much of the city was suffering from cuts in electricity, fuel and water supplies.

GUNFIRE AND BLOOD

Officials and residents described dire scenes in the southern Abyan province where the army and Islamist militants have fought for days, causing thousands of residents to flee.

“There is a cat-and-mouse game going on in the streets now between the army and armed men. I can’t tell who’s who among them any more,” said resident Khaled Abboud by telephone. “There is a smell of gunfire and blood in the air. I only stayed to protect my home, but now I want to get out of this hell.”

The fighting has reduced Zinjibar, once home to more than 50,000 people, to a ghost town without power or running water.

Health official Alhadar Alsaidi said disease was spreading from dead bodies on the streets and wild dogs eating them. “I call on local and international health organizations to help us removing bodies from the streets and burying them,” he said.

The Yemeni army said this week it had killed 30 militants in Zinjibar, where a local official said 15 soldiers had also died in battles for the town seized by gunmen nearly two weeks ago.

Some of Saleh’s opponents have accused the president of deliberately letting al Qaeda militants take over Zinjibar to demonstrate the security risks if he were to lose power.

The volatile situation in Yemen, which lies on oil shipping lanes, alarms Western nations and neighboring oil giant Saudi Arabia, who fear that chaos would give al Qaeda free rein there.

They see Saleh’s absence as an opportunity to secure his exit after nearly 33 years ruling the poorest Arab state.

The United States and Britain have called for a peaceful, orderly transition in Yemen, based on a Gulf-brokered plan.

There was no clear word on Saleh’s health.

“I visited him yesterday evening and he was good. He talked to us and asked about the Yemeni expatriates and he is better than the others who were injured. He is very good and talks. He was sitting on a chair,” said Taha al-Hemyari, head of Yemeni community affairs at the Yemeni embassy in Riyadh.

A Saudi doctor familiar with Saleh’s case also said his burns were not as serious as some officials suggested, saying he may be able to leave Saudi Arabia in less than two weeks.

SEVERE BURNS?

The Yemeni embassy in Washington said in a statement Saleh’s health was improving and reiterated that his deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was in charge in a caretaker capacity.

“President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s health condition is stable and continues to improve… President Saleh will return to Yemen … to reassume his duties soon after he recovers,” it said.

Yemeni and U.S. officials said Tuesday that Saleh was in a more serious condition with burns over roughly 40 percent of his body. Saudi newspaper al-Watan cited a Yemeni diplomat on Wednesday as saying another operation on Saleh was possible.

Saleh was initially said to have been hit by shrapnel and Hadi said Monday the president would return within days.

Forty percent burns would mean Saleh’s life could be in danger: “Somebody of that age, with that percentage of burns, has got a pretty poor prognosis, especially if these are full thickness burns,” Brendan Eley, chief executive of the Healing Foundation at Britain’s Royal College of Surgeons.

Saudi officials say it is up to Saleh whether he returns home but they, and their Western allies, may want to revive a Gulf-brokered transition deal under which the Yemeni leader would quit in return for immunity from prosecution.

Yemen said a donation of three million barrels of crude oil from Saudi King Abdullah had arrived in Aden Wednesday.

Thousands of protesters, who have been in the streets since February demanding Saleh quit, gathered at his vice president’s residence Tuesday. They want him formally to assume power in order to effect Saleh’s final removal from office.

Troops loyal to army general Ali Mohsen, who has sided with the protesters, shot into the air in an effort to persuade them to leave, but the activists stayed put.

(Additional reporting by Martina Fuchs, Mohammed Ghobari, Reem Shamseddine, Kate Kelland and Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay; writing by Andrew Hammond; Editing by Alistair Lyon and Alastair Macdonald)

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6.5-magnitude quake hits Iranian villages

Posted by Admin on December 26, 2010

Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, December 21, 2010; 12:10 PM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/21/AR2010122101184.html

TEHRAN – At least 11 people died during a 6.5-magnitude earthquake Monday night in southeasternIran, state radio reported Tuesday.

The total number of casualties was unclear at midday Tuesday, but the semiofficial Fars news agency reported that in one area in the province of Kerman, at least 1,800 houses were damaged. There were several reports of people trapped under rubble.

The tremor’s epicenter was 60 miles from the ancient city of Bam, where a 2003 quake killed at least 26,000 people.

State radio reported that the worst-hit area appeared to be a stretch of impoverished villages in which a total of about 4,000 people live in mud-brick houses. Even moderate quakes in this part of Iran have killed thousands in the past, mainly because of shoddy construction techniques and poor infrastructure.

Medical teams from the Red Crescent, the Islamic Red Cross, were dispatched to the area. But roads are reportedly blocked, and phone lines have been cut off.

“We are distributing heating appliances and water among survivors,” said Mohammad Barzang, the governor of the Rigan province, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

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