Cyclone kills 33 in India with thousands in relief camps

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The aftermath of cyclone Gaja is seen in Tamil Nadu, India November 16, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. (REUTERS)
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The aftermath of cyclone Gaja is seen in Tamil Nadu, India November 16, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 November 2018
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Cyclone kills 33 in India with thousands in relief camps

  • Most deaths were caused by flooding, house collapses and electrocution

NEW DELHI: A powerful cyclone in southern India has killed at least 33 people, caused massive damage to homes and roads and drove tens of thousands of people into relief camps, officials said.
India’s navy assigned two ships and a helicopter for relief work as state authorities rushed drinking water, food and paramedics to nearly 82,000 people who took shelter in more than 400 state-run camps.
They were evacuated from areas in the path of Cyclone Gaja, which struck six districts of Tamil Nadu state on Friday with heavy rains and winds that reached 90 kilometers (55 miles) per hour.
Rescuers found 13 bodies Friday and an additional 20 on Saturday, said Edappadi Palaniswami, the state’s top elected official. Most deaths were caused by flooding, house collapses and electrocution.
The cyclone uprooted 30,000 electricity poles and more than 100,000 trees, he said. Nearly 10,000 workers were trying to restore electricity supply to the worst-hit areas, he said.
Palaniswami said a large number of goats, deer and wild animals had also perished in the flooding over the past two days.
Coconut trees over thousands of acres (hectares) of farmland have been uprooted, according to Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, a farmers’ organization.
Tamil Nadu state is prone to cyclones that develop in the Bay of Bengal.


‘New Zealand is unbreakable’— Al Noor mosque imam

Updated 1 min 15 sec ago
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‘New Zealand is unbreakable’— Al Noor mosque imam

  • Imam says the “evil ideology of white supremacy” is a threat to mankind globally
  • Tens of thousands of people attended the Jummah prayer in a show of solidarity with the 50 victims of the shootings at two mosques in the city

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand: The Imam of Masjid Al Noor has led the first Jummah prayer in Christchurch since the mosque shootings last Friday.
The Friday Prayer was held at Hagley Park, directly across the road and about 100 meters from the mosque where a terrorist killed 42 worshippers.
Tens of thousands of people attended the Jummah prayer in a show of solidarity with the 50 victims of the shootings at two mosques in the city exactly a week ago.
Imam Gamal Fouda, who survived the attack at Al Noor mosque, faced the enormous crowd today, a sharp breeze carrying his words of prayer across the green park landscape.
“Last Friday, I stood in this mosque behind us and saw the hatred and rage in the eyes of a terrorist, who killed and martyred 50 innocent people, wounded 42 and broke the hearts of millions around the world. Today, from the same place, I look out and I see the love and compassion,” Fouda said.
“The terrorist tried to tear us apart with evil, but New Zealand is unbreakable.”
Fouda warned against the “evil ideology of white supremacy” saying it was a threat to man-kind globally.
“Islamophobia kills. Islamophobia is real. It’s a targeted campaign to influence people to dehumanize and irrationally fear Muslims.”
He called on governments and leaders around the world to bring an end to hate speech and the politics of fear.
Fouda said the world should look to New Zealand as an example of how to respond to right-wing extremism and terrorist attacks.
“The world can see in us an example of love and unity. We are broken-hearted but we are not broken. We are alive. We are together. We are determined to not let anyone divide us.”
Fouda thanked the public, the police and not least, the country’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
“Thank you for your tears. Thank you for your haka. Thank you for your flowers. Thank you for your love and compassion. To our prime minster, thank you. Thank you for your leadership. It has been a lesson for the world’s leaders. Thank you for honoring us with a simple scarf,” he said.
The imam’s words were punctuated throughout by spontaneous applause from the large crowd.Turkish man Mustafa Boztas said the mass gathering for Friday Prayer was comforting in the wake of the deadly attacks.
Boztas attended the event in a wheelchair. He was shot in the leg at Masjid Al Noor.
“Even if I couldn’t walk, I wanted to still make it here. I still can’t walk but I made it here,” Boztas said.
He said he survived the shooting by playing dead, then jumping out of a window to escape. There was a glass fragment in his rib and a problem with his liver.
Still, “You’ve got to stand up again and stay strong,” Boztas said.
He believed the terrorist attack had made the Muslim community stronger than ever.