China orders evacuations after landslide blocks Tibet river

In this file photo, Chinese rescuers search for survivors at a landslide area in the village of Xinmo in Maoxian county, China’s Sichuan province on June 25, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2018
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China orders evacuations after landslide blocks Tibet river

  • A barrier lake was formed on the Yarlung Tsangpo, the headwater of India’s Brahmaputra River, following the Wednesday morning collapse of a cliff in the deep valley through which the river flows
  • No deaths or injuries have been reported

BEIJING: Around 6,000 people have been evacuated following a landslide in Tibet that blocked the flow of one of the region’s key rivers, China’s emergency services said Thursday.
A barrier lake was formed on the Yarlung Tsangpo, the headwater of India’s Brahmaputra River, following the Wednesday morning collapse of a cliff in the deep valley through which the river flows, the local emergency response bureau said in a report carried by state media.
No deaths or injuries have been reported and the bureau said China has been keeping India updated on the blockage, which could potentially affect water levels in lower regions.
The landslide struck near a village in Menling County and water in the lake had risen to a height of 40 meters (131 feet) by Thursday, the bureau said.
With its towering peaks and glaciers, Tibet is the source of numerous Asian rivers, adding to China’s strategic influence over its southern neighbors. Fast rising temperatures have caused those glaciers to melt at an increasing pace, throwing a shadow over future water resources for China and other Asian nations.


Survivors: Up to 117 migrants missing in capsizing off Libya

Updated 44 min 5 sec ago
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Survivors: Up to 117 migrants missing in capsizing off Libya

  • The migrants came mainly from west Africa
  • The Italian navy said it had alerted Libyan authorities who coordinated rescue operations

MILAN: A rescue official says survivors have told rescuers that up to 117 migrants might have died when a rubber dinghy capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya.
Flavio Di Giacomo of International Organization for Migration says three survivors were plucked to safety by an Italian navy helicopter on Friday, and they say 120 were aboard when the dinghy left Libya.

He said the people came mainly from west Africa, adding: “Ten women including a pregnant girl were aboard and two children, one of whom was only two months old.”
The navy says its airplane launched life rafts after it spotted the sinking dinghy Friday with about 20 people aboard. It wasn't immediately clear if some migrants had already fallen off.
The Italian Coast Guard says Libya asked a nearby cargo ship to search for survivors, but no one was found.
The Italian news agency ANSA quoted Libyan authorities as saying a dispatched Libyan coast guard boat turned back after mechanical problems.
According to the IOM, 2,297 migrants died or went missing in the Mediterranean last year, out of a total of 116,959 people who reached Europe by sea.
Arrivals in the first 16 days of 2019 totalled 4,449, almost all by sea, compared with 2,964 in the same period of 2018.
“As long as European ports will remain open ... sea-traffickers will continue to do business and kill people,” Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said in a Facebook post late on Friday.
Since Italy’s populist government came to power in June, Salvini, leader of the anti-migrant League, has closed Italian ports to humanitarian vessels.