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42 missing after Maharashtra bridge tragedy, judicial probe ordered

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Meanwhile, bowing to opposition demands, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday announced a judicial probe into the tragedy even as 13 bodies were recovered during the day, some washed out as far as 100 km in the Arabian Sea.

Raigad Deputy Collector Satish Vagal told media persons on Thursday evening that according to details compiled from various quarters, the two Maharashtra State Transport Corporation buses had more passengers than earlier estimates, besides reports of other people missing in various private vehicles.

While the Rajapur-Borivali service had 14 passengers, including some staffers, the Jaigad-Mumbai service had 12 persons, totalling 26.

Besides, a private Tavera vehicle with eight persons has also been reported missing, from which the bodies of two female victims were recovered this morning.

They have been identified as Sevanti Mirgal, whose body was found near Harihareshwar Beach and Ranjana Vaze’s body was recovered from Kemburli coastal village, nearly 80 kms downstream in the sea, besides driver S.S. Kamble’s body which was recovered from Anjarle beach.

Additionally, Vagal said the district authorities have received anxious calls about a Honda City with four persons missing, and another four persons travelling in a three-wheeler still untraceable, totalling to 42.

Transport Minister Diwakar Raote announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to next of kin of each victim, and a compensation of like amount or employment for the families of the staffers who have lost their lives in the tragedy.

Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and other leader demanded a judicial probe into the tragedy and also said the scope of the search operations should be widened since the bodies have been scattered over a large geographical area comprising the Savitri River, the Ambet Creek, Arabian Sea and tiny villages dotting the Konkan coast in the district.

“A judicial inquiry will be held into the tragedy,” Fadnavis said after a discussion on the issue in the assembly.

He said a team of experts from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay has already been sent to the site and the government has ordered a structural safety audit of all old bridges on the Mumbai-Goa Highway.

 

IANS

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Disaster

Tourists raise over $11,000 for Guatemala volcano victims

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Gautemala Volcano Eruption

Guatemala City, June 16: Tourists from a Japanese cruise ship that docked in Guatemala this week have raised more than $11,000 for those affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the Central American country.

The ship, Asuka II, arrived in Puerto Quetzal on the country’s Pacific coast on June 11 and at the initiative of the crew and the passengers, the funds were raised, reports Efe news.

The passengers and crew made a gesture of “fraternity and solidarity” with the people of Guatemala in the face of the tragedy and natural disaster caused by the eruption of the volcano, the Japanese embassy here said in a statement on Friday.

The Fuego volcano suffered its biggest eruption in recent years on June 3, leaving 110 dead and almost 200 missing, in addition to causing significant material damage.

On Friday, the volcano produced seven explosions per hour and small pyroclastic flows.

Guatemala’s National Institute for Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology said that the volcano, located some 50 km west of the capital, has been producing between five and seven moderate explosions per hour and has belched out ash clouds rising 4,700 metres into the air.

IANS

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Himachal Pradesh: Earthquake of magnitude 4.5 strikes Chamba

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New Delhi, June 14: An earthquake of magnitude 4.5 on the Richter Scale hit Himachal Pradesh on Thursday. The quake was reported at Chamba region.

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Guatemala volcano eruption toll reaches 114

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Gautemala Volcano Eruption

Guatemala City, June 12:  The death toll from the eruption of the Fuego volcano in Guatemala on June 3 has increased to 114 after another four bodies were found, according to authorities.

Conred national disaster coordinator brigades, firefighters, army troops and international experts – aided by surviving local residents – on Monday entered so-called “Ground Zero” in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes, in Escuintla province, which was buried under volcanic ash and devastated by pyroclastic flows, reports Efe news.

Using picks and other tools, along with some heavy machinery, recovery brigades found the four bodies in the ruins of the village and under the tonnes of volcanic material.

The victims appeared to be members of a family.

The area reeks of sulfer and recent rains have hardened the pyroclastic flows of volcanic material that have moved down the mountain’s slopes.

Authorities say there is zero possibility of finding any survivors in the devastated areas.

Conred said that because of rainy conditions, search operations were suspended on Monday but will resume on Tuesday.

Insivumeh also reported that volcanic activity within the mountain continues, including frequent and abundant emanations of ash and gas and up to nine explosions per hour, activity that is causing repeated avalanches of fine ash and other material along the southeastern flank.

Health Minister Carlos Soto said that the more than 4,000 people being housed in shelters are being attended to by private organisations such as the Rotary Club.

According to volcanologists, eruption records of Fuego, one of the country’s most active volcanoes, dates back to 1542.

IANS

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