11 Indians rescued from burning boat

Updated 11 March 2014
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11 Indians rescued from burning boat

The Coast Guard and Saudi Aramco saved 11 Indian seamen Tuesday from a cargo tugboat that caught fire off Jubail in the Eastern Province.
The boat had departed from the Kasphap port in Oman on Monday with some 800 goats and was headed to Kuwait via Saudi waters.
Col. Khaled Al-Arqubi, a Coast Guard spokesman in the Eastern Province, told Arab News on Thursday: “The Coast Guard received information from Saudi Aramco stating that a boat had caught fire near the island of Karan, Aramco’s offshore gas field, with 11 Indian sailors on board.”
Al-Arqubi said that Aramco officials and members of the Coast Guard went out on several boats and attempted to extinguish the fire, but the burning boat sank.
The boat’s captain, Salim Karim Sanghar, who hails from Jamnagar in Gujarat, told Arab News that “the engineer on board saw flames coming from the boat’s engine. Six of the crewmembers were asleep, while others were on the job at the time of the incident. The boat contained bundles of grass for feeding the goats, which went up in flames. The boat was completely engulfed and had no choice but to jump into the water for safety.”
The survivors were transferred onto a rescue boat and moved to Jubail on Wednesday.
Sanghar praised Saudi authorities, including Saudi Aramco, for their humanitarian approach and timely assistance.
“Saudi Aramco sailors gave us clothes and Saudi coastguards gave us food and a place to stay at their base in Jubail,” he added. “I hope to be able to get home as soon as possible.”
Al-Arqubi said that two crewmembers were injured and were taken to Jubail General Hospital for treatment, and they are in stable condition.
Meanwhile, procedures for the repatriation of the sailors are underway.
“The Indian Embassy is following up on the case and Sibi George, India’s deputy chief of mission in Riyadh, has dispatched Mohammed Imdad Alam, an embassy officer, to the Jubail port to meet the sailors and arrange for their repatriation,” said Shamsudheen Chettippadi, an Indian social worker who met the sailors and coastguard officials in Jubail.


North Korea faces lowest crop harvest in 5 years, widespread food shortages -UN

Updated 20 September 2019

North Korea faces lowest crop harvest in 5 years, widespread food shortages -UN

  • South Korea has pledged to provide 50,000 tons of rice aid to its northern neighbor through the UN World Food Programme
  • Sporadic famines are common in North Korea, although a severe nationwide famine in the 1990s killed as many as a million people

SEOUL: North Korea’s crop production this year is expected to drop to its lowest level in five years, bringing serious shortages for 40 percent of the population, as a dry spell and poor irrigation hit an economy already reeling from sanctions over its weapons programs, the United Nations said on Thursday.
In its latest quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the poor harvest of the country’s main crops, rice and maize, means 10.1 million people are in urgent need of assistance.
“Below-average rains and low irrigation availability between mid-April and mid-July, a critical period for crop development, mainly affected the main season rice and maize crops,” the FAO said. The report, which covers cereal supply and demand around the world and identifies countries that need external food aid, didn’t disclose detailed estimates of production by volume.
North Korea has long struggled with food shortages and a dysfunctional state rationing system, and state media has in recent months warned of drought and other “persisting abnormal phenomena.”
The crops shortfall comes as the country bids to contain the spread of African swine fever in its pig herd, following confirmation of a first case in May.
The disease, fatal to pigs though not harmful to humans, has spread into Asia — including South Korea — since first being detected in China last year, resulting in large-scale culls and reduced production of pork, a staple meat across the region including in North Korea.
The FAO report followed earlier UN assessments this year that the isolated country’s food production last year fell to its lowest level in more than a decade amid a prolonged heatwave, typhoon and floods.
South Korea has pledged to provide 50,000 tons of rice aid to its northern neighbor through the UN World Food Programme (WFP). But its delivery has been delayed by Pyongyang’s lukewarm response amid stalled inter-Korean dialogue and denuclearization talks with the United States, Seoul officials said.
In July, the North’s official KCNA news agency said a campaign to mitigate the effects of drought was under way by digging canals and wells, installing pumps, and using people and vehicles to transport water.
But North Korea has told the United Nations to cut the number of its staff it deploys in the country for aid programs. citing the “politicization of UN assistance by hostile forces.”
Sporadic famines are common in North Korea, but observers said a severe nationwide famine in the 1990s killed as many as a million people.