Mudslide near Rio de Janeiro kills 10, injures 11

Firefighters carry a body that was found under the debris after a mudslide in Boa Esperanca or "Good Hope" shantytown in Niteroi, Brazil, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP)
Updated 11 November 2018

Mudslide near Rio de Janeiro kills 10, injures 11

  • Rescue workers were searching for victims and survivors trapped under the debris and mud

RIO DE JANEIRO: Ten people were killed and 11 injured in a mudslide near Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, Brazilian authorities said.
Roberto Robadey, Rio’s civil defense department head, told the Globo TV network that the mudslide in the city of Niteroi was caused by heavy downpours.
He said people were killed and injured when a large boulder rolled on top of six houses in the Boa Esperanca neighborhood.
“It rained a lot over the past two days and a state of alert was declared for Niteroi,” he said. “People were advised of the situation and were recommended to move to safer locations.”
But Claudio dos Santos, president of the Boa Esperanca Residents’ Association, told Globo TV that several families “refused to leave.”
Rescue workers were searching for victims and survivors trapped under the debris and mud.
The Rio fire department said the dead included a 3-year-old boy, two elderly women and a middle-aged man. It did not give any more information about the victims.
Rosemary Caetano da Silva, a resident of Boa Esperanca, told Globo TV that her 8-year-old granddaughter was buried underneath the rubble.
She also said she managed to rescue her grandson who was taken to a hospital.


Virus-hit Mumbai survives cyclone scare

Updated 04 June 2020

Virus-hit Mumbai survives cyclone scare

  • Early preparations save city from catastrophe, officials say

NEW DELHI: A severe cyclone hit India’s commercial hub Mumbai on Wednesday, bringing the city to a standstill with transport and flights suspended for several hours, and more than 50,000 people evacuated from low-lying coastal areas of the city. 

Earlier, experts described cyclone Nisarga as the first severe storm to threaten India’s financial capital in more than 70 years.

Fearing the worst, residents took precautions early on.

“Last night we were asked to move to a nearby school away from the sea because of the cyclone,” a Mumbai-based fisherman told Arab News. 

The cyclone came at a time when the western state of Maharashtra, whose capital is Mumbai, is in the grip of the coronavirus outbreak. The state accounts for more than 70,000 COVID-19 cases out of India’s total of 201,000. 

It was a challenge for municipal authorities to safeguard and move thousands of people to temporary accommodation and maintain social distancing restrictions.

“We are alert to the coronavirus crisis and decided to test every evacuee,” Milind Dilip Kumar, deputy spokesperson for the Greater Mumbai corporation,  told Arab News. 

Authorities also moved a temporary quarantine center to a safer location to protect people from the cyclone. 

“Around 220 people were living in a makeshift quarantine center in the Worli Kurla area of the city, and since it was closer to sea we decided to shift them to a safer location,” Kumar added. 

Meanwhile, cyclone Nisarga, which was supposed to hit the capital and adjoining area with “unusual force,” changed its direction, saving the city from havoc. 

“The cyclone has weakened and skirted the city. There would be only mild wind and some rain," K. J. Ramesh, director general of the Indian meteorological department, told Arab News. 

Mumbai, home to 20 million people, is one of the worst coronavirus-affected cities in India with more than 1,000 recorded deaths.

Medical professionals say that, had the cyclone hit with full impact, it would have been a "double whammy.”

“The city was already overstretched with most government hospitals already in bad shape because of the overflowing COVID-19 cases. Had the cyclone created havoc the city could not have coped with this extra burden,” a medical professional working with a government hospital in Mumbai told Arab News. 

Mumbai resident Madhu Nainan feels a sense of relief that the cyclone missed the city.

“The city was already besieged by a crisis, and if the cyclone had created the same kind of damage as the cyclone Amphan did in (the eastern Indian state) of Bengal a couple of weeks ago, it would have been a double whammy for Mumbai,” Nainan told Arab News.