Flood death toll in India’s Kerala rises

This is said to be the worst flooding in the south India state for years. (AF/File)
Updated 26 August 2018
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Flood death toll in India’s Kerala rises

  • About one million remain in temporary relief camps, but there are still people missing
  • People returning to their homes have been told to stay alert as receding waters leave behind a glut of snakes

KOCHI, India: The death toll from devastating floods in the southern Indian state of Kerala rose to 445 Sunday with the discovery of 28 more bodies as the waters recede and a massive cleanup gathers pace, government officials said.
Around a million people are still packed into temporary relief camps and 15 are reported missing even as the government mounts an operation to clean homes and public places that have been filled with dirt and sand left by the floods.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a tweet said that more than 130,000 flood-hit houses had been cleaned, or nearly a third of those affected.
Authorities are also in the process of restoring electricity connections.
People returning to their homes have been told to stay alert as receding waters leave behind a glut of snakes. State authorities and wildlife experts have formed teams to come to the aid of those who have found snakes in their home, according to local media.
With death toll rising daily, Kerala authorities said “due process will be followed to ascertain if all these deaths are flood related.”
A 68-year-old man committed suicide Wednesday after seeing the state of his home at Kothad in Ernakulam district. A 19-year-old boy took his own life earlier in the week because his school certificates were destroyed by the floods, police said.
The government says that more than 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) of roads have been destroyed or damaged while a legislator said 50,000 houses had been wiped out.


Maldives arrests ex-leader Yameen for money laundering

Updated 18 February 2019
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Maldives arrests ex-leader Yameen for money laundering

  • No comment from Yameen or his legal team yet
  • The court already froze the ex-president’s local bank accounts containing $6.5 million

MALÉ, Maldives: Maldivian authorities Monday ordered the arrest of former strongman president Abdulla Yameen over money laundering charges, officials said.
The arrest came after a court began a preliminary hearing into allegations that Yameen received nearly $1.5 million in illicit payments just before he lost his re-election bid in September.
“Prosecutors said that Yameen had allegedly attempted to bribe witnesses,” a court official said, adding that the former president would be taken to the Dhoonidhoo prison island near the capital.
Yameen, who came to power in 2013 and jailed many of his opponents or forced them into exile, had been summoned to the Criminal Court Sunday to formally receive his indictment.
During his five-year tenure, Yameen relied heavily on China for political and financial support as he came under criticism over his dismal human rights record.
The Indian Ocean archipelago nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims is heavily in debt to China.
Authorities believe millions of dollars allegedly siphoned off by Yameen could be stashed abroad, and have said that talks are underway with foreign entities to repatriate any cash found.
The court has already frozen Yameen’s local bank accounts holding about $6.5 million, a decision the former leader has contested.
There was no immediate comment from Yameen or his legal team on the latest court order.