Congo landslide death toll likely to rise over 200 — Ituri vice governor

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Updated 19 August 2017
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Congo landslide death toll likely to rise over 200 — Ituri vice governor

CONGO: A landslide in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo likely killed more than 200 people, based on estimates from the number of households submerged, the vice governor of affected Ituri province said on Friday.
The landslide struck the village of Tora, on the shores of Lake Albert, a seismically active zone in the western Rift Valley, on Thursday.
“There are many people submerged whom we were unable to save,” Pacifique Keta, the vice governor of Ituri province, where Tora lies, told Reuters by telephone. “The rescue is very complicated because there are mountains everywhere, which makes it very difficult to have access.”
Many parts of west and central Africa are vulnerable to landslides, because land is heavily deforested and communities crowd into steep hillsides.
On Friday, Sierra Leone buried 461 victims of a mudslide that swept away homes on the edge of Freetown, the capital, and 600 more people are missing.
Eastern Congo has the added risk of being on a seismic fault line, which means it frequently suffers earthquakes and sometimes volcano eruptions.
Keta said the toll was an estimate based on the number of households submerged and the population of the households. He said that so far about 40 people had been buried.
“We are trying to enhance the emergency response. The aid agencies and MINUSCO (the UN peacekeeping force) are there to evacuate bodies and any survivors as quickly as possible,” Keta said.


More than 20 injured in Rome escalator collapse

Updated 2 min 18 sec ago
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More than 20 injured in Rome escalator collapse

  • Media reports said witnesses spoke of football fans, seemingly drunk, jumping and dancing on the escalator just before its collapse
  • Rome’s public transport is often criticized as running on obsolete equipment

ROME: More than 20 people, mainly Russian football fans, were injured Tuesday when an escalator in a metro station in central Rome collapsed, firefighters said.
Most of those hurt, one seriously, suffered leg injuries after getting entangled in the escalator’s mangled mechanics, Italian media added.
A video of the drama shows the descending escalator at Repubblica station suddenly and dramatically pick up speed with dozens of people on it, many screaming as they piled on top of one another at the foot of the moving stairway.
Media reports said witnesses spoke of football fans, seemingly drunk, jumping and dancing on the escalator just before its collapse, but supporters denied this ever happened.
“In any event, we are here to understand what happened and to offer our support to the wounded and their families,” Rome mayor Virginia Raggi told journalists at the scene.
Some of the victims were seen wrapped in blankets and some wore neck braces as they were taken away from the scene on stretchers by emergency crews.
Several investigations have been opened, and the metro station near Rome’s Termini train station was closed.
The horrific events took place around 1730 GMT, just over an hour before the kickoff of a Champions League match between Italy’s Roma and Russian club CSKA Moscow.
The Russian fans were headed for the metro that would have linked them to the train to the stadium.
There was heightened security in Rome for some 1,500 Russian supporters, notoriously rowdy, expected to watch the game.
One Russian supporter, the subject of a stadium ban, had already been stopped at the airport as he tried to enter.
But according to Italian media, this did not prevent an assortment of incidents around the stadium hosting the match. One Russian fan was stabbed with a knife, and two others were hurt in clashes with other supporters.
Roma won the group stage match 3-0, tweeting after the match that: “The thoughts of everyone at #ASRoma are with the supporters injured prior to tonight’s game. The club will do everything it can to provide the right support and assistance to those in need.”
Red-Blue World, a CSKA fan group, set up a collection fund for those injured, as well as fans hurt in violence near the stadium.
Rome’s public transport is often criticized as running on obsolete equipment.
In recent years, more than a dozen municipal buses have caught fire while in service, with several reports of metro passengers injured by malfunctioning hardware.
And a massive bridge collapse in Genoa in August — which killed 43 people — also raised safety questions about transport infrastructure in Italy.
Incidents on escalators have caused injuries, and even deaths, around the world.
In 2015, a woman was killed after she plunged through flooring over an escalator in a Chinese department store.
Security camera footage showed a panel in the floor giving way as the woman stepped off the escalator. As she fell half-way through she pushed her son forward, and a nearby shop assistant dragged him to safety.
And in March 2017, around 20 people were injured at a Hong Kong shopping center when an escalator suddenly changed direction, sending people hurtling toward its base.