News Flash – 8 August 2019

National News



Maharashtra Records 138 Rain Related Deaths since June


Mumbai: Incidents of wall and building collapse, breaching of dams, landslides, floods and lightning claimed the lives of 138 people and 89 animals across the state between June 1 and July 31, 2019. By comparison, 57 people had lost their lives during the first two monsoon months of 2018. In all, 279 people had died in natural calamities and disasters last year. As the relief and rehabilitation department is compiling data on the tragedies, it appears that the deaths in June and July 2019 alone are the highest in recent years. As per the chief minister’s standing instructions, financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh has been released to legal heirs of the deceased. Most deaths were reported in suburban Mumbai, followed by Pune, Ratnagiri, Mumbai city, Thane, Nashik, Dhule, Aurangabad and Buldhana. A senior official told TOI that 30 people died in the Malad wall collapse of July 2. Twenty people died after Ratnagiri’s Tiware dam was breached on July 4 and 22 more in two incidents of wall collapse in Pune on June 29 and July 2. Fifteen people died in a wall collapse near Kondhawa and seven when the retaining wall of Singhgad Institute crashed. In Thane, six people were killed in a wall collapse in the first week of June.



1.32 Lakh Evacuated in Western Maharashtra, Army, NDRF roped in for Rescue Operations

As many as 51,785 people stranded in their houses and other places due to the surging waters of the Panchaganga and other rivers in Kolhapur were evacuated to safe shelters on Wednesday.



Kolhapur: As many as 51,785 people stranded in their houses and other places due to the surging waters of the Panchaganga and other rivers in Kolhapur were evacuated to safe shelters on Wednesday, the second day of flooding in the district. In all, 1.32 lakh people stranded in the flood-hit districts of western Maharashtra have been moved to safer places till Wednesday, after the monsoon mayhem began on August 5. The NDRF has deployed seven teams in Kolhapur and Sangli districts while the Army has roped in two infantry columns and four engineering task forces. The navy on Wednesday sent four more teams to Sangli and Kolhapur. Kolhapur Municipal Corporation officials said water supply was still shut and tankers were being sent to hospitals and other establishments with essential services. Power supply to many parts of the city has been disconnected. Schools and colleges will remain closed in Kolhapur till August 9. Parts of national highway (NH4) connecting Mumbai and Bengaluru via Kolhapur remained submerged under flood waters for the second day running on Wednesday, making it out of bounds for traffic. The road is likely to be closed for an indefinite period of time. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday held a meeting via video conferencing with the collectors of flood-affected districts Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli, Ratnagiri, Palghar, Raigad, Sindhudurg and Nashik asking them to take immediate relief measures for the people. He said 22 NDRF teams were involved in rescue operations in Kolhapur district.



The rains took a brief break in Kolhapur on Wednesday morning, helping speed up rescue work across the city and district. Two helicopters of the navy and a helicopter of the coast guard from Goa landed at Kolhapur airport on Wednesday morning to join the operations. The water discharge from the Radhanagari dam was reduced to 7,400 cusecs from one emergency gate. The seven automated gates, which were releasing water at full throttle for the past 48 hours, were shut on Wednesday. Samrat Kerkar, a resident of the Radhanagari area, said the rains this year have broken all records and local life has been severely hit. “Our area which is known for monsoon tourism has been badly hit by the downpour. Many tourists and passenger buses are stuck here due to the rains,” he said. Kolhapur district collector Daulat Desai said a team of the navy, army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) completed rescue operations at Chikhali and Ambewadi areas, which are in the 10-20 km radius of Kolhapur city. The teams also completed rescue operations at Prayag Chikhali, 5km from here, where the Kumbhi Kasari, Bhagawati and Tulshi rivers meet. “As many as 57 boats were used in the massive evacuation across the district on Wednesday. The situation is under control and there is no need to panic. There are over 300 skilled persons assisting in the rescue,” Desai said.



Belagavi, Gokak Worst Hit in North Karnataka; no respite for UK


Hubballi: Heavy rain and floods continued to disrupt normal life in Belagavi, Dharwad, Bagalkot and other districts of North Karnataka on Wednesday. Four persons died in flood related incidents in Belagavi and Dharwad districts. Basavaraj Maning Kamble, 12, was washed away at Theertha village of Athani. Kashayya Mahadevaiah Hosahallimath, 57, of Bardwad village, Kundal taluk, washed away on Tuesday evening, was found dead on Wednesday morning. Yellesh Bannavar, 38, of Chandan Hosur gram panchayat of Belagavi died in a wall collapse and Padma Patil, 19, died in a similar incident in Lolsur village, Gokak taluk. NDRF, SDRF, fire-fighters, local police and others saved thousands of families trapped in flood water and shifted them to safe places following heavy rain and release of water from Maharashtra. Gokak was worst hit with half the town submerged following excess release of water from Hidkal dam. District administrations in flood-hit districts extended holidays for schools and colleges till Saturday. In Belagavi city, there’s 6ft water in Maratha Colony, Shivaji Colony, Swami Vivekananda Colony, Shanti Nager, Godasewadi, Gajanan Maharaj Nagar, Indraprastha Nagar in Tilakwadi area. The Pune-Bengaluru NH4 and Belagavi-Panjim NH4A have been closed since Monday. After Yadgir and Raichur districts, Kalaburagi is facing threat of flood following release of water to Bhima River from Ujanai and Veera reservoirs in Maharashtra since Tuesday night.



Karnataka Lost 204 People to Rain Havoc since April 2016


Bengaluru: Incessant rain in Karnataka has claimed several lives till Tuesday evening this monsoon, affected thousands of people, damaged roads and bridges and destroyed standing crops on thousands of hectares. Belagavi is the worst hit and agencies have begun evacuating people from various villages across taluks in north and coastal Karnataka. Data available shows there has been considerable loss in the past 3 years, 3 months too. According to data of the government of Karnataka and the ministry of home affairs, between April 2016 and June 2019, including two full years that the state declared drought-hit, Karnataka lost 204 lives, with the first three months of 2019-2020 (April to June 2019) already having claimed 57. Karnataka State Natural Disaster Management Centre (KSNDMC) director GS Srinivas Reddy said: “Of these, 2017-18 was not a drought year but the other two years were declared drought-hit”. Experts, however, point out that Karnataka is known to experience both drought and floods in the same year, and that Kodagu, Belagavi, and some districts in north Karnataka are generally prone to the latter.



MB Raje Gowda, professor of agro-meteorology, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, told TOI: “There’s nothing unusual about this. Data from as early as 1975 shows that Karnataka, owing to its geographic position, is prone to dual situations. While there is drought, the state also sees a deluge in the same year, and this will continue. We need to be prepared for it”. While agreeing that Kodagu, Belagavi and some northern districts are affected because of rain, he added that there is a deluge even because of excess water from the Krishna River). Districts like Yadgir, Raichur, Bagalkot, Vijayapura and others are affected by this as low-lying areas get submerged. “If not every year, the pattern of drought and deluge has been witnessed every alternate year or at least once every three years since 1975,” Gowda said. Of 204 lives lost, 67 were in 2018-19, followed by 57 in the first three months of this year. The highest number was in 2017-18 (not a drought year) when 70 people died. The trend is similar for livestock deaths and damages.



Gang Steals ATM Card, Makes Rs.16K Purchase



Chennai: A suspected gang of thieves looted cellphones and an ATM card from a house at Aminjikarai and later made an online purchase using the card. The gang also recharged a mobile phone at a shop using the card in the wee hours of Tuesday. Police sources said Kalith, Nowshath, Babloo and Regan, all from Delhi, were staying on BB Garden Fifth Cross Street and were working as carpenters there. After finishing their work, they were asleep, leaving the doors and windows open for ventilation as there were frequent power cuts in the area. When they woke up on Wednesday morning, they found all of their cellphones missing. Kalith also found that his ATM card and his wallet were missing. The men claimed they did not hear any unusual sound during the night. Kalith later contacted his bank to block the ATM card, and was told that it was used around 4am to make purchases from an online portal for Rs. 16,000. Within 20 minutes, the ATM card was again used to recharge a cellphone, police sources said. The victim subsequently blocked the card to prevent further misuse and lodged a complaint at the Aminjikarai police station. A case was registered and a hunt launched to trace the suspects. Sources said the culprits were able to make the online purchase as the onetime password (OTP) was delivered to the victim’s mobile phone. Police suspect it to be the handiwork of a gang. With the help of information from the bank, police are trying to trace the location of the culprits. They collected the CCTV camera footage from the spot to identify the culprits responsible.



International News



Taliban Car Bomb Targeting Afghanistan Security Forces Kills 14

Damaged police vehicles at the blast site in Kabul on Wednesday.



Kabul: A Taliban car bomb aimed at Afghan security forces ripped through a busy Kabul neighbourhood on Wednesday, killing 14 people and wounding 145 most of them women, children and other civilians shortly after the extremist group and the US reported progress on negotiating an end to Afghanistan’s nearly 18-year war. The bombing during morning rush hour was one of the worst attacks in Kabul this year, and it again raised fears among Afghans about what will happen once the estimated 20,000 US and Nato troops in their country go home. The explosives-packed car detonated at a security checkpoint outside police headquarters in a minority Shia neighbourhood in western Kabul, police spokesman Firdaus Faramarz said. The Taliban said they had targeted a recruitment centre for security forces. Ninety-two of the wounded were civilians, deputy interior minister Khoshal Sadat said. Four police officers were among those killed, he said. Any Taliban attack is a barrier to the peace process, presidential spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said, vowing that “Afghan security forces are strong and can protect the Afghan population”. President Ghani’s government said such attacks apparently are meant to strengthen the Taliban position at the negotiating table but would not succeed.

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