Two dead, 26 missing as Typhoon Molave slams into Vietnam

A man looks out a window as strong winds batter central Vietnam's Quang Ngai province on October 28, 2020, as Typhoon Molave makes landfall. (AFP)
Updated 28 October 2020

Two dead, 26 missing as Typhoon Molave slams into Vietnam

  • The typhoon comes on the back of weeks of severe flooding and landslides that have claimed 130 lives
  • Vietnam is prone to natural disasters in the rainy season between June and November

QUANG NGAI: Two people were reported killed and 26 others missing as Typhoon Molave hit central Vietnam Wednesday, knocking down trees and tearing roofs off homes in some of the worst destruction seen in years.
Authorities relocated around 375,000 people to safety, canceled hundreds of flights and closed schools and beaches ahead of the typhoon, which made landfall south of Danang packing winds of up to 145 kilometers per hour (85 miles per hour).
State media said at least two people were killed in Quang Ngai province while trying to protect their homes from the storm.
“The people of Vietnam are tough, yet this is among the worst destruction ever seen in many areas,” said Vietnam Red Cross Society president Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu.
“The relentless storms and flooding are taking a devastating human toll, further destroying livelihoods and isolating millions of people.”
Officials were also searching for 26 missing fishermen, with the storm — Vietnam’s fourth this month — bringing waves up to six meters high as power was cut off across the region.
Navy and surveillance vessels were deployed to look for the crew members after their two boats disappeared after they attempted to dock, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said.
A fishing ban has been in place since Tuesday, while all airports in the area were closed until further notice.
The typhoon comes on the back of weeks of severe flooding and landslides that have claimed 130 lives and damaged or destroyed more than 310,000 homes, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Close to 1.2 million people were in “severe danger” and in need of relief, the IFRC warned.
“These relentless storms are yet another example of the devastating impact of climate change,” Red Cross spokesman Christopher Rassi said.
Vietnam is prone to natural disasters in the rainy season between June and November, with central coastal provinces commonly impacted, but the storms have notably worsened in recent years.


14 dead as twin blasts rock historic Afghan city Bamiyan

Updated 24 November 2020

14 dead as twin blasts rock historic Afghan city Bamiyan

  • Blast brings end to years of calm in the isolated town — famous for ancient Buddhist heritage
  • Violence has surged in recent months in Afghanistan despite peace talks

KABUL: At least 14 people were killed in central Afghanistan on Tuesday when two blasts ripped through the historic city of Bamiyan, home to many members of the mainly Shiite Hazara ethnic minority, officials said.
The carnage brought to an end years of calm in the isolated town — famous for its ancient Buddhist heritage — that has avoided the sort of large-scale attacks commonplace elsewhere in the war-torn country.
The twin bombing marked the latest big attack in Afghanistan, where violence has surged in recent months even as Taliban and Afghan government negotiators are meeting for peace talks in the Qatari capital Doha.
“Fourteen people have been killed and 45 more wounded in two (bomb) explosions,” Bamiyan police chief Zabardast Safi told AFP, adding that a traffic policeman was among those killed.
The explosives were placed in two separate locations, Bamiyan police spokesman Reza Yosufi said, adding that two suspects had been arrested.
Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian confirmed the toll.
“We are investigating the deadly explosions in Bamiyan,” he said.
“This is an unforgivable crime.”
No group immediately claimed the blasts, and the Taliban denied involvement.
The explosions occurred in front of a market and near a hospital in Bamiyan, locals resident Anwar Saadatyar told AFP.
“When I reached the market... there was still blood and body parts everywhere. The blast occurred when people were busy shopping,” he said in a phone interview.
At the second site of the blast near the hospital, most of the casualties were university students, Saadatyar said.
“I visited the hospital later and saw people crying for their relatives who were killed or wounded in the explosions,” he said.
“There were so many wounded people that doctors didn’t know who to treat first. I will never forget that scene.”
Bamiyan is perhaps best known for the giant Buddha statues that once were carved into walls outside the city.
In 2001, the Taliban drew international revulsion when they blew up the centuries-old figures as they went on a rampage against Afghanistan’s rich pre-Islamic cultural heritage.
With its snowy backdrop and frequent blue skies, Bamiyan is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs keen to explore a network of ancient caves housing temples, monasteries and Buddhist paintings.
The province is home mainly to the Hazara community, which over the years has been targeted by Sunni extremists such as the Daesh group and the Taliban in the 1990s.
In cities such as Kabul, Hazaras have seen repeated attacks in their neighborhoods, including a brutal daylight assault in the capital in May on a hospital maternity ward that left several mothers dead.
In the past six months the Taliban have carried out 53 suicide attacks and detonated 1,250 explosive devices that have left 1,210 civilians dead and 2,500 wounded, the interior ministry said last week.