Woman killed as storms batter England

Updated 26 November 2012
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Woman killed as storms batter England

LONDON: A woman was killed by a falling tree in southwest England, police said yesterday, as severe flood warnings were introduced in parts of the country already soaked by rain and battered by strong winds.
The unnamed woman was taken to hospital, but died later, after a tree fell on her late Saturday in Exeter, Devon and Cornwall police said. Two other people were said to have been injured in the incident.
Cornwall in southwest England was the main focus of fears for life and property as rivers threatened to burst their banks and residents reported surges of floodwater coursing through picturesque towns.
Severe flood warnings — which the Environment Agency classifies as meaning there is a risk to life — were in place in the Cornish towns of Helston and Perranporth as well as in the pretty fishing port of Polperro.
Alan Crockford, a pub landlord in Polperro, said there had been warnings but “nobody knew it would get this bad.” He told the BBC: “I was actually in my house and I heard a roar, and just looked outside the window and that was the first bit of water that just... came down the hill, like a river running straight down the road.” Rail operators said many services in southwest England were disrupted due to landslides and flooding.
The Environment Agency has more than 100 less acute flood warnings in place in England and Wales as forecasters warn that more rain is on its way after days of downpours.


Egypt denies Sinai battle is choking off food and medicine supplies

Updated 23 min 58 sec ago
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Egypt denies Sinai battle is choking off food and medicine supplies

  • Human Rights Watch warned of a wider humanitarian crisis if North Sinai continued to be cut off from the Egyptian mainland, saying the army’s actions “border on collective punishment.”
  • Air strikes and raids have killed scores of suspected militants, the military says, as it imposes curfews and tight movement restrictions around towns in North Sinai.

CAIRO: An Egyptian military campaign to defeat Daesh militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula is choking essential food and medical supplies to thousands of residents in the desert region, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. The army denied the charge.
The New York-based organization warned of a wider humanitarian crisis if North Sinai continued to be cut off from the Egyptian mainland, saying the army’s actions “border on collective punishment.”
The army launched an operation in February to crush militants who have waged an insurgency that has killed hundreds of soldiers, police and residents over many years.
Air strikes and raids have killed scores of suspected militants since then, the military says, as it imposes curfews and tight movement restrictions around towns in North Sinai. The army has said it is winning the battle.
A military spokesman denied there were shortages, saying it was providing food and medical support throughout the areas it operated in, The HRW report had used “undocumented sources” in its report, he said.
“Thousands of food parcels have been and are being provided to people in North Sinai,” Col. Tamer Al-Rifai, the spokesman, added.
International news outlets are prevented from traveling to North Sinai to report.
Residents said food supplies, medicine and fuel were insufficient and that movement restrictions meant most people were unable to leave the region, HRW reported.
“A counter-terrorism operation that imperils the flow of essential goods to hundreds of thousands of civilians is unlawful and unlikely to stem violence,” HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director Sarah Leah Whitson said.
The report said authorities had banned the sale of petrol and cut communication lines, water and electricity in some areas of North Sinai including near the border with the Gaza Strip.
Residents told Reuters last month they often waited for hours for bread handouts which were not guaranteed to arrive.
Defeating the militants and restoring security after years of unrest that followed Egypt’s 2011 popular uprising has been a promise of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who was re-elected in March in a landslide victory against no real opposition.
El-Sisi’s critics say he has presided over Egypt’s worst crackdown on dissent. Supporters say such measures are needed to bring stability and improve the country’s hard-hit economy.
In Sinai, analysts and foreign diplomats say heavy-handed military tactics including air strikes and demolitions of populated areas have failed to defeat the insurgency.