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Global disasters peaked this July

This July will be remembered for a series of serious natural disasters and large
scale loss of life and property worldwide. Cases of earthquakes, landslides,
rockslides, forest fires, water logging and flooding ar so numerous that it is
difficult to decide where to begin reporting.
India too has suffered heavily this July with fire accidents refusing to stop despite
the best efforts of safety personnel and vigilant people who have tried to be one
step ahead every time but failed.
At least 666 people were killed by flash floods, lightning and torrential rain caused
by the monsoon in South Asia, officials said this July, predicting more mayhem to
come. Millions have been affected in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan,
where landslides and other effects of the rain have forced thousands to flee their
homes.
In India, at least 467 people have been killed in heavy rains since the start of July,
AFP news agency reported, citing disaster management authorities, with several
districts in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam cut off from aid.
MUMBAI ROCKS TO DEADLY RAIN BEAT
Mumbai suffered a horrific ordeal when heavy rains hit the city and adjoining
areas twice in the month. As reported July 28, Indian rescuers, with help from the
country's naval forces, safely evacuated nearly 700 passengers stranded on a train
in floodwaters between two stations near Mumbai.
The Mahalaxmi Express train, which was carrying some 700 passengers, got stuck
after a river burst its banks in torrential monsoon rain and covered the railway
tracks, India's disaster management office in Maharashtra state said in a
statement on Saturday. There were also nine pregnant women on the train, a
spokesman for the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) told AFP news
agency.
 
In a message on Twitter, Home Minister Amit Shah also confirmed the
evacuations.
A government official said that a "special relief train" would take people to their
final destinations. Authorities deployed ambulances and doctors to treat
passengers, who were also given food and water, according to Indian Railways.
In a freak accident on 28 th July a Vistara plane parked at Mumbai airport was
dented after an empty baggage container of another airline, propelled by gusty
wind, accidentally rolled off and hit one of its engines, the airline said in a
statement.
 
A Vistara spokesperson said no passengers or crew were on board the aircraft
during the time of the incident on Saturday. The aircraft will be grounded for
repair, and the schedule on some routes may be affected, the spokesperson said.
KERALA FEELS THE HEAT
Kerala July 19: Heavy rains lashed several parts of Kerala for the second day
Friday as the southwest monsoon intensified in the state after a period of lull.
 
According to the India Meteorological Department website, some places in
Kozhikode and Idukki districts, where a red alert has been sounded, recorded
around 14 cm rainfall in the past 24 hours ended at 8.30 am Friday.
Some places in Malappuram, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Kottayam districts received
rainfall of over 12 cm, it said. Minor landslips briefly affected traffic on the
Ettumanoor-Peerumedu Road in Idukki district.
Pilgrims visiting the famous Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta
district, which has been opened for the five-day monthly pooja, have been facing
difficulties due to incessant rain. "Due to heavy rain since yesterday, the Pamba
area was flooded. But now the water is receding," said a top official in-charge of
Disaster Management Authority in Pathanamthita district.
Apart from Idukki and Kozhikode, the IMD has issued red alert for Wayanad from
July 19 to 22, warning of rain in excess of 20 cm. It has also issued red alert for
Malappuram and Kannur districts for July 19 and Kasargod district for July 20.
"During these days, these districts are likely to receive 'extremely heavy rainfall'
upwards of 20 cm," an IMD official told PTI.
Landslides were reported in the Ettumanoor-Peerumedu Road which was cleared
by the authorities concerned within an hour, after which it was opened for traffic.
Idukki District Collector H Dineshan told PTI all precautions to deal with any
situation have been taken. With the southwest monsoon intensifying, the IMD
has issued orange and yellow alerts across various districts in the state.
Yellow alert has been issued for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta,
Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Kasargod districts.
The State Disaster Management Authority has asked all the departments to open
control rooms at Taluk headquarters. Meanwhile, four fishermen who went to sea
from Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram district have not yet returned. "There is
no information about them so far," police said.
Coastal police officials told PTI the sea was rough, making it difficult to conduct
search operations.
 
"The rough sea is making it difficult to conduct search operations. However, our
boats have already started the search operations.
"We have contacted the Navy. It seems one of the Navy ships are somewhere
nearby. They might also help. The Dornier aircraft is yet to arrive. It's late
probably due to bad weather," the coastal police said.
CAPITAL GETS THE WORSE THIS MONSOON
Delhi, July 1: Delhi's record high temperature this summer meant heat-related
ailments, flooded hospitals and lakhs of people facing crippling shortages of
electricity and water.
While monsoon that's likely to hit the city this week will bring the obvious relief, it
will also open floodgates for new problems, thanks to inadequate preparation on
the part of government agencies.
 
As things stand now, Delhiites will again have their daily lives paralysed because
of massive water-logging and subsequent traffic jams. This is because a large
 
number of drains that were supposed to have been cleaned by now remain
clogged with filth.
Last July, an image of passengers being rescued from a bus submerged in water
under Central Delhi's Minto Railway Bridge after a heavy downpour explained the
crisis that spirals every monsoon.
This year too, not much has changed. Lakhs of commuters, particularly those in
Central and South Delhi, will be worst hit as most drains there are yet to be de-
silted.
The Capital has 2,846 drains, running into 3,692 km, which are managed by
different agencies such as the AAP government's Public Works Department
(PWD), three BJP-ruled municipal corporations, besides New Delhi Municipal
Council (NDMC) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) that come under the
Centre's jurisdiction.
A man and a woman were killed after the sedan in which they were travelling in
hit an electric pole in high speed in east Delhi's Vivek Vihar on Sunday morning,
the police said. Two others who were in the car were injured, as reported 29 th
July.
The force of the impact was such that the front portion of the Honda City car was
completely pushed in and the electric pole was uprooted. In visuals, the iron
fence that was installed on the road divider was also seen mangled. The
passengers have been identified as Keshav, 21, a resident of Kamla Nagar;
Prabhjot Singh, 18, from Malka Ganj; Arshpreet, 19, from Haryana's Sirsa, and
Rubal, 20.
ROCK SLIDES DISRUPT LIFE
 
Shimla, July 22: Hundreds of commuters had remained stranded near Bhawanagar in
Kinnaur for the past 28 hours due to a massive rockslide that blocked the Shimla-
Rampur-Kinnaur-Kaurik National Highway, earlier known as the Hindustan-Tibet
road.
Residents said the rockslide was triggered due to unscientific cutting of the hill by
the contractor, who had widened the road a few months back. The vehicular
movement was affected beyond Jhakri, causing hardships to people of Kinnaur.
More than 10 rocks and debris fell on the road last evening, but no casualty was
reported, said PWD Executive Engineer Prakash Negi, who was monitoring the
restoration work on the spot.
Negi said they had drilled the rocks to make holes for blasting. “We will carry
blasting to make the road clear for traffic. We hope the road will be restored late
night,” he added.
SP, Kinnaur, SR Rana told The Tribune that the passengers, travelling in buses,
were being evacuated. “There was no patient stuck in the jam and we have
sounded people and tourists not to travel beyond Rampur and from Kinnaur
towards Rampur until the road is restored,” he added.
 
Even the highway beyond Powari, which comes under the Border Roads
Organisation (BRO), has remained blocked for hours daily due to widening work
on the road.
Rewari, July 28: Four kanwariyas were killed and eight others were injured after a
boulder rolling down a hill hit their jeep on the intervening night of Saturday and
Sunday. The accident took place in the jurisdiction of Narendragarh near
Rishikesh (Uttarakhand).
 
The incident took place when they were bringing ‘kaanwar’ in the jeep from
Gangotri. Sunny (35), Kamal (30), Lokesh (23) and Ashish (26) of Kosli town
reportedly died on the spot while Jatin (27), Pramod (45), Sandeep alias Lala (29),
Gaurav alias Baanga and Subham (21) of Kosli, Sachin (25) of Bhiwani, Ajay (23)
and Surender (37) of Mundiana village in Mahendragarh district suffered serious
injuries.
On getting information, the police rushed to the spot and took the injured to Shri
Dev Suman Hospital in Narendra Nagar from where they were referred to AIIMS
in Rishikesh due to their critical condition. A pall of gloom descended on Kosli
town as soon as the news spread this morning.
ACTS OF GOD?
 
There was a time when natural calamities occurred occasionally here or there and
made big news. Then, the term used to describe them was ‘Act of God’. But
climate change and these incidents propelled by them are not acts of God for
sure. It is man who has brought this upon himself with wanton abuse of
environment, littering, cutting forests, pushing back seas to make more money
and lead a cushier life at the expense of Mother Nature.