At least 13 people are killed and an estimated 15,000 displaced by flooding in Kenya

Passengers of a bus that was swept away by floodwaters are rescued by boat, near Garissa, northern Kenya, Tuesday, April 9, 2024. (AP)
Passengers of a bus that was swept away by floodwaters are rescued by boat, near Garissa, northern Kenya, Tuesday, April 9, 2024. (AP)
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Updated 13 April 2024
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At least 13 people are killed and an estimated 15,000 displaced by flooding in Kenya

Passengers of a bus that was swept away by floodwaters are rescued by boat, near Garissa, northern Kenya, Tuesday, April 9, 2024
  • Kenya’s disaster management agency issued a flood warning to residents of Lamu, Tana River and Garissa counties that are downstream of Tana River after flooding breached dams upstream

NAIROBI, Kenya: Heavy rains pounding different parts of Kenya have led to the deaths of at least 13 people and displaced some 15,000, the United Nations said, as forecasters warned more rains can be expected until June.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, citing the Kenya Red Cross Society, said Thursday that nearly 20,000 people have been affected. That includes the estimated 15,000 displaced by heavy rains and flash floods across the country since the start of the wet season in mid-March.
The East African country has seen thousands of people killed by flooding in previous rainy seasons, mostly in the lake regions and downstream of major rivers.
The Kenya Red Cross Society told The Associated Press that five major roads were cut off by the floods, including Garissa Road in northern Kenya, where a bus carrying 51 passengers was swept away on Tuesday. All passengers were rescued.
Kenya’s disaster management agency issued a flood warning to residents of Lamu, Tana River and Garissa counties that are downstream of Tana River after flooding breached dams upstream. Residents have been urged to move to higher grounds.
So far, nine out of 47 counties in the country have reported flooding incidents
Mudslides have been reported in the central regions. On Tuesday four people were killed in Narok county, in the western part of the country.
The Kenya Red Cross Society’s secretary general, Ahmed Idris, told Citizen TV that “lifesaving assistance” including shelter and clean drinking water was being offered to those displaced and are living in camps to avert outbreaks of waterborne diseases.
The rainy season is expected to reach its peak toward the end of April and subside in June, according to the meteorology department.

 


Former French president Hollande says Macron ascendency ‘is over’

Updated 28 sec ago
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Former French president Hollande says Macron ascendency ‘is over’

Former French president Hollande says Macron ascendency ‘is over’
“I have no scores to settle at all. That’s all in the past,” Hollande said
Now just two years into the younger man’s second term, “Macronism is over, if indeed it ever existed. But it’s over, I say it with no special hostility,” Hollande said

USSEL, France: French President Emmanuel Macron’s ascendancy is “over,” former head of state Francois Hollande told AFP Saturday, after his former protege called a snap election likely to hand massive gains to the far right.
“I have no scores to settle at all. That’s all in the past,” Hollande said on the campaign trail in his native Correze department in central France, where he is standing to be an MP.
Suffering at the time from abysmal poll ratings, Socialist Hollande did not himself stand for a second term at the 2017 election.
Running as a pro-business centrist, his former economy minister Macron pulled off a surprise win that shattered traditional governing parties on the left and the right.
Now just two years into the younger man’s second term, “Macronism is over, if indeed it ever existed. But it’s over, I say it with no special hostility,” Hollande said.
“I don’t mean that his presidential term is coming to an end, that’s something different. But what he may have represented for a time is over,” he added.
Re-elected in 2022 for a second five-year term, Macron lost his absolute majority in parliament in legislative polls the same year.
His party has limped on in minority government, passing hard-fought and controversial reforms including raising the pension age and toughening immigration law.
But a heavy defeat at June 9’s European Parliament election prompted Macron to dissolve parliament in hopes of breaking the deadlock.
A new chamber will be elected on June 30 and July 7 with the far-right National Rally (RN) looking set to win the most seats.
France’s two-round electoral system makes predicting outcomes tricky, but it is highly unlikely that Macron’s gamble will pay off by winning a new majority.
Instead, he could find himself presiding over a government run by an ideological opponent.
Macron’s rule has “had a heavy political cost,” Hollande said.
“The parties were heavily damaged and public morale was too. The far right has never been so strong.”
Hollande’s Socialist party has formed an electoral alliance with other left parties including Greens, Communists and hard-left France Unbowed (LFI).
Their New Popular Front (NFP) is currently running second to the RN in the polls, both well ahead of Macron’s Renaissance outfit.
“It’s time for a political realignment,” Hollande said.
“I didn’t plan to stand for any election in my position, something very serious had to happen” in the shape of the RN’s more than 31 percent in the European election, he added.
Some Socialist voters have struggled with the idea of backing an alliance with LFI and its fiery leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, with some party figures accused of anti-Semitism and a history of Euroskeptic statements.
“I’m in the framework of an alliance because it has to be done, but there’s no kind of confusion” between his positions and Melenchon’s, Hollande said.
If elected, “I’ll be an MP who will call for responsibility whatever happens... vigilant and committed to finding solutions,” he added.

Tourists banned from Italy’s Capri over water shortage

Tourists banned from Italy’s Capri over water shortage
Updated 22 June 2024
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Tourists banned from Italy’s Capri over water shortage

Tourists banned from Italy’s Capri over water shortage
  • The ban by Capri mayor Paolo Falco forced several ferries on their way to the island from Naples and Sorrento in southern Italy to turn back
  • Falco warned of “a real emergency“

ROME: The Italian island of Capri banned tourists from disembarking Saturday after problems with the water supply from the mainland threatened to leave the holiday hotspot parched.
The ban by Capri mayor Paolo Falco forced several ferries on their way to the island from Naples and Sorrento in southern Italy to turn back.
The company charged with supplying the island with water said there had been a technical problem on the mainland on Thursday, and while that had since been fixed problems with the supply to Capri remained.
Falco warned of “a real emergency” and said that while there was still water on most of the island on Friday, local tanks were “running out.”
“The emergency would be worsened by the arrival of the thousands of tourists which arrive on Capri daily,” he said.
Locals could collect up to 25 liters of drinking water per household from a supply tanker, he said.
The ban, which does not apply to residents, will be in place until further notice.
Capri, in the Bay of Naples, is famed for its white villas, cove-studded coastline and upscale hotels. There are some 13,000 permanent residents but huge numbers of day-trippers in summer months.


Two killed, 15 wounded by strikes on Ukraine’s Kharkiv: governor

Two killed, 15 wounded by strikes on Ukraine’s Kharkiv: governor
Updated 22 June 2024
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Two killed, 15 wounded by strikes on Ukraine’s Kharkiv: governor

Two killed, 15 wounded by strikes on Ukraine’s Kharkiv: governor
  • Kharkiv is close to the Russian border and has been severely damaged in repeated attacks

KYIV: Russian strikes on the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Saturday killed two people and wounded 15, regional governor Oleg Synegubov said.
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, is close to the Russian border and has been severely damaged in repeated attacks.
Russia launched a fresh offensive in the Kharkiv region in May, making the most significant territorial gains for 18 months.
Synegubov wrote on Telegram that Russian soldiers “hit a residential building with guided bombs” on Saturday afternoon.
“According to initial information from emergency medics, two people were killed,” Synegubov said. “The number of wounded from the occupier’s strikes has risen to 15.”


Bangladesh says it won’t let in any more Rohingya fleeing Myanmar fighting

Bangladesh says it won’t let in any more Rohingya fleeing Myanmar fighting
Updated 22 June 2024
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Bangladesh says it won’t let in any more Rohingya fleeing Myanmar fighting

Bangladesh says it won’t let in any more Rohingya fleeing Myanmar fighting
  • Clashes between Myanmar junta and insurgents started in October 2023
  • Deadly fighting engulfs Rohingya-inhabited border areas

DHAKA: Bangladesh will not take in any more Rohingya fleeing violence in neighboring Myanmar, Mizanur Rahman, Bangladesh’s refugee relief and repatriation commissioner, said on Saturday, amid reports that people from the areas affected by fighting have been gathering on the border.

Concerns that a war between Myanmar’s junta and the opposition ethnic-minority Arakan Army would trigger a new wave of refugees seeking safety in Bangladesh have been on the rise over the past few months.

Clashes between Myanmar’s military-controlled government forces and insurgents in Rakhine and Chin States started in late October 2023 with a multi-pronged offensive against the junta, which has been in control of the country since early 2021.

Most of the Rohingya — hundreds of thousands of whom fled to Bangladesh following a brutal military crackdown and persecution in 2017 — come from Rakhine. One of the most heavily Rohingya-populated areas in the state, Maungdaw, has been under the control of the Arakan Army, which last week warned it was expecting the junta to attempt to recapture it.

“On the other side of the border in Myanmar, a fierce gunbattle is happening and, every day, people are dying. Maungdaw town is a predominantly Rohingya-inhabited area,” Rahman told Arab News.

“We have heard that (some) Rohingyas have tried to enter Bangladesh ... (they) have gathered on the border on the Myanmar side, mainly near the Teknaf subdistrict under Cox’s Bazar.”

More than a million Rohingya Muslims currently live in squalid camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, turning the coastal district into the world’s largest refugee settlement.

Rahman said Bangladesh cannot receive more refugees and will not allow any more Rohingya to enter the country from Myanmar.

“The Rohingyas living in Cox’s Bazar camps are very anxious about the safety and fate of their relatives living in Maungdaw and the surrounding area,” he said. “(But) we can’t receive any more Rohingyas, as Bangladesh is already overburdened with more than 1 million. Our stand is that not a single more Rohingya will enter our land.”

The UN estimates that 95 percent of Rohingya refugees are dependent on humanitarian assistance, which has been dropping since 2020, despite urgent pleas for donations by the World Food Program and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The protracted humanitarian crisis has started to affect the host community, which, despite not being a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, has been supporting the Rohingya by providing not only land, but also water, electricity, healthcare and a huge law-enforcement presence.

The Bangladeshi Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief estimates the government has spent around $2 billion since the beginning of the crisis on maintaining infrastructure for refugees.


Agricultural fire that killed 12 in southeast Turkey under control, media says

Agricultural fire that killed 12 in southeast Turkey under control, media says
Updated 22 June 2024
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Agricultural fire that killed 12 in southeast Turkey under control, media says

Agricultural fire that killed 12 in southeast Turkey under control, media says

ANKARA: Turkish authorities have brought under control an agricultural fire that killed 12 people and wounded 78 others in a region near the Turkish border with Syria and Iraq, local media reported on Saturday.
The fire had started late on Thursday due to the burning of straw and spread because of strong winds, the local governor's office said. Authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire, Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said in a post on X on Friday.
Broadcaster NTV and others said the fire was now under control and authorities were working to cool the scorched areas. NTV said many animals trapped in the fire were also killed.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said late on Friday that the treatment of the wounded was still underway, with some in critical condition.
"We are continuing the treatment and monitoring of five of our wounded. Three of our five wounded receiving treatment in Diyarbakir are intubated," Koca said on X.
Burning straw is a common practice by farmers and villagers in central Anatolia following harvest periods.