Two dead in attack on Afghan midwife training centre: police

Afghan Security personnel arrive as smoke rises from the site of an attack in Jalalabad on July 28, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 28 July 2018

Two dead in attack on Afghan midwife training centre: police

  • A militant attack on a midwife training centre in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday killed at least two people and wounded five.
  • At least 67 people, including students and teachers, were inside the centre in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, at the time of the attack.

KABUL: A militant attack on a midwife training centre in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday killed at least two people and wounded five, officials said, after the more than six-hour assault was brought to an end by security forces.
At least 67 people, including students and teachers, were inside the centre in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, at the time of the attack, provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.
Nangarhar police chief Ghulam Sanyee Stanikzai told AFP two people - a guard and a driver - were killed and five others wounded.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack, but most of the recent assaults in the city have been carried out by Daesh, which has a stronghold in Nangarhar.
The Taliban denied involvement in a WhatsApp message sent to reporters.
Provincial health department spokesman Inamullah Miakhil said 48 women from remote districts of the province were enrolled in the two-year midwifery course.
The training facility, which is near the centre of Jalalabad in an area where several international organisations and consulates have offices, is funded by the Ministry of Public Health.
"We don't know why the midwife centre came under attack," Miakhil told AFP, adding all NGOs and government bodies in Jalalabad were at risk.
A witness in a nearby department told AFP he heard several explosions and then saw three gunmen enter the street where the midwife centre is located.
Some of the security forces earlier appeared to dismantle improvised explosive devices apparently planted in the street by the militants, a witness told AFP.
Jalalabad has been the scene of several attacks in recent months that have killed dozens, as US and Afghan forces continue offensive operations against Daesh and Taliban militants.
 


Samoa shuts schools, declares emergency as measles kills 6

Updated 20 min 55 sec ago

Samoa shuts schools, declares emergency as measles kills 6

  • Schools were closed from Monday after the government declared an emergency on Saturday
  • The National University of Samoa told students to stay home and said exams scheduled for this week had been indefinitely postponed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: Samoa has closed all its schools, banned children from public gatherings and mandated that everybody get vaccinated after declaring an emergency due to a measles outbreak that has so far killed six people.

For the past three weeks, the Pacific island nation of 200,000 people has been in the grip of a measles epidemic that has been exacerbated by low immunization rates.

Schools were closed from Monday after the government declared an emergency on Saturday. The National University of Samoa also told students to stay home and said exams scheduled for this week had been indefinitely postponed.

Health authorities said most of those who died were under the age of 2. They counted 716 measles cases reported, with nearly 100 people still hospitalized including 15 in intensive care.

Samoa’s Director General of Health Leausa Take Naseri said in a news conference last week that he expects the epidemic will get worse. He said that only about two-thirds of Samoans had been vaccinated, leaving the others vulnerable to the virus.

But figures from the World Health Organization and UNICEF indicate that measles immunization rates among Samoan infants have fallen steeply from over 70 percent in 2013 to under 30 percent last year.

Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccine expert at New Zealand’s University of Auckland, said the Samoan government halted its immunization program for several months last year after two infants died from a medical mishap involving a vaccine.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday it was sending 3,000 vaccines to Samoa as well as nurses and medical supplies.
Ardern said Samoan authorities believe the outbreak was started by a traveler from New Zealand.

“We, of course, have an open flow of people,” Ardern said. “But we see our responsibility as supporting Samoa as they deal with the outbreak, and we are doing that actively.”

Petousis-Harris said it was disappointing that people in New Zealand who were carrying the virus had traveled to Samoa. She said New Zealand has for years known it has immunity gaps.

“But we didn’t deal with the problem,” she said.

Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand have also reported outbreaks of measles but on a smaller scale than in Samoa.