Somalia truck bomb death toll jumps to 358 dead

Somalis pray for victims on October 20, 2017 in Mogadishu on the scene of a massive truck bomb attack. (AFP)
Updated 21 October 2017
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Somalia truck bomb death toll jumps to 358 dead

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s deadliest ever attack, a truck bomb in the capital Mogadishu, has now killed 358 people with 228 more injured, the government said late Friday, a major jump in the fatality toll.
A truck packed with explosives blew up in Hodan on October 14, destroying some 20 buildings in the bustling commercial district, leaving scores of victims burned beyond recognition.
Several experts told AFP the truck was probably carrying at least 500 kilos (1,100 pounds) of explosives.
“The latest number of casualties 642 (358 dead, 228 injured, 56 missing). 122 injured ppl flown to Turkey, Sudan & Kenya,” Somali Minister of Information Abdirahman Osman tweeted.
The figures mark a sharp increase in the toll, which earlier this week was put at 276 dead and 300 wounded.
The attack has overwhelmed Somalia’s fragile health system, and allies from the US, Qatar, Turkey and Kenya have sent planeloads of medical supplies as well as doctors, with all except the US also evacuating some of the wounded.
Death tolls are notoriously difficult to establish in Mogadishu, with families often quickly taking victims away to be buried.
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility, but Al-Shabab, a militant group aligned with Al-Qaeda, carries out regular suicide bombings in Mogadishu in its bid to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government.
The group has a history of not claiming attacks whose scale provokes massive public outrage.
Already more than 100 unidentified people have been buried who were burned beyond recognition.
While the rapid burial is partly due to Islamic culture, the Somali government also has no proper morgue nor the capability to carry out forensic tests to identify the victims.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed vowed Wednesday to step up the war against Al-Shabab, saying that the attack showed “that we have not done enough to stop Shabab.”
“If we don’t respond to this now, the time will surely come when pieces of flesh from all of us are being picked up off the ground. We need to stand up together and fight Al-Shabab who continue massacring our people,” he said.
However it was unclear what Farmajo — who came into office eight months ago also vowing to eliminate Al-Shabab — planned to do to stop the militants from carrying out such attacks.
The previous most deadly attack in Somalia killed 82 people and injured 120 in October 2011.


Clean water for all is still centuries away, aid group warns

Water, sanitation and hygiene is a global crisis. (AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Clean water for all is still centuries away, aid group warns

  • By the 2030 deadline, “a significant number of people” in 80 countries are unlikely to have access to clean water, while poor sanitation is expected to persist in more than 100 nations
  • Namibians would have to wait until 2246 for everyone to have clean water, while all Eritreans would not get it until 2507 and Nicaraguans not until 2180

TEPIC, Mexico: Supplying clean water and toilets for all could take hundreds of years in countries like Eritrea and Namibia unless governments step up funding to tackle the problem and its harmful effects on health, an international development agency warned on Monday.
WaterAid — which says nearly 850 million people lack clean water — predicted the world will miss a global goal to provide drinking water and adequate sanitation for everyone by 2030.
Meeting it will cost $28 billion per year, the non-profit said.
“Water, sanitation and hygiene is a global crisis,” said Savio Carvalho, WaterAid’s global advocacy director.
“We’re really calling for governments to pull up their socks,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from the United Nations in New York.
From July 9-18, governments are reviewing progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, which were agreed at the United Nations in 2015, with a focus on six of the 17.
Last week, UN officials said barriers to achieving the 2030 water and sanitation targets range from conflict and water pollution to climate change, urging more efficient water use.
By the 2030 deadline, “a significant number of people” in 80 countries are unlikely to have access to clean water, while poor sanitation is expected to persist in more than 100 nations, WaterAid said.
Drawing on UN data, the UK-based group calculated some countries will need hundreds of years to provide safe drinking water and toilets for all their people, meaning countries collectively are thousands of years off track.
At current rates, Namibians would have to wait until 2246 for everyone to have clean water, while all Eritreans would not get it until 2507 and Nicaraguans not until 2180, WaterAid said.
It could be 500 years before every Romanian has access to a toilet, and 450 years for Ghanaians, it added.
Governments should fund water and sanitation provision from their own budgets, and work with utilities and private companies to reach people in isolated areas, said Carvalho.
“There’s money around — it’s just not allocated in the right way,” he said, urging international donors to increase spending on water and sanitation.
Other global goals to ensure healthy lives, reduce inequality and end poverty will be jeopardized until access to water and sanitation is prioritized, noted Carvalho.
WaterAid quoted World Bank data showing the knock-on effects of inadequate sanitation — which causes child deaths from poor hygiene and preventable disease — cost $220 billion in 2015.
Some countries, including Rwanda and India, have made substantial headway toward the water and sanitation goal, but sustaining progress remains a challenge, said Carvalho.
“For the nations collectively to be thousands of years off track in meeting these human rights is shocking,” WaterAid Chief Executive Tim Wainwright said in a statement. (Reporting by Sophie Hares; editing by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women’s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit