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Category 5 hurricane Maria hits Dominica island

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Washington, Sep 19: The “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 hurricane Maria, the strongest storm on record to make landfall in Dominica, is battering the Caribbean island, and is on course directly hit Puerto Rico, the first time in 85 years, the media reported.

A statement from the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that its record-topping winds reached 160 miles per hour when it made landfall at 9.15 p.m. on Monday night, reports CNN.

It was so powerful that it tore the roof off the residence of the country’s leader.

“My roof is gone,” Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit posted on Facebook. “I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding.”

Later, he said: “I have been rescued.”

After Dominica, Maria will move towards Puerto Rico as an “extremely dangerous major hurricane, and a warning has been issued”, CNN quoted the NHC as saying.

Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello has declared a state of emergency ahead of the landfall expected on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump has issued an emergency declaration for the American territory for federal assistance to augment the island nation’s storm-response initiatives.

Puerto Rico housing authorities said there are 450 shelters able to take in 62,714 evacuees, and up to 125,428 in an emergency situation.

If Maria strikes the island as forecast, it will be “more dangerous than Hugo and Georges”, the Centre said.

Hurricane Hugo killed five people in Puerto Rico in 1989, and Hurricane Georges caused more than $1.7 billion in damage to the island in 1998.

The storm will affect parts of the Leeward Islands and the British and US Virgin Islands for next couple of days.

Maria comes after the catastrophic hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 25 resulting in massive floods and deaths of 83 people.

Harvey was followed by Irma, the most intense storm in the Atlantic. It hit the Caribbean islands on August 30, leaving a trail of destruction through Puerto Rico, Cuba and Florida and killed 82 people.

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Disaster

Mount Sinabung volcano erupts, spewing a 5,000-metre ash into sky

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Jakarta, Feb 19: The Mount Sinabung volcano in Indonesia’s Sumatra Island erupted on Monday, spewing columns of ash as high as five km into the sky. 

Head of National Volcanology Agency Kasbani stated the hot ash slides were 4.9 km to the southeast of the crater and 3.5 km to the east.

“This is the highest eruption for this year,” he told Xinhua news agency.

However, Kasbani said the ash from the volcano does not disturb flights.

“The ash does not head to Medan city and compounds of Kualanamu international airport,” he further added.

Mount Sinabung volcano had been quiet for four centuries before erupting in 2010. The volcano had also erupted in 2014 and 2016.

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Major 7.5 magnitude earthquake hits Mexico

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People react after an earthquake shook buildings in Mexico City, Mexico on February 16, 2018. (PC- Reuters)

Mexico City, Feb 17: A powerful earthquake shook southern Mexico on Saturday as people fled out of buildings in capital Mexico City when the ground was shaking.

According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake was measured 7.5 on the Richter scale 4 km south of Pinotepa de Don Luis with the epicenter at a depth of 10 km, Xinhua reported.

Strong tremors were felt in Mexico City and quake alarms were triggered in the city.

In a major street near the capital’s Chinatown, the traffic was temporarily halted as crowds of people are gathering outside, checking updates about the earthquake through cellphones.

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Six people confirmed dead in 6.5-magnitude Taiwan earthquake

A power outage affected 1,900 households and 40,000 households are without water, according to Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center.

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A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake jolted waters near Taiwan’s east coast on Tuesday night, killing at least six people and injuring over 200.

The death toll stood at six as of 8:00 p.m. local time on Wednesday with at least 258 others injured in the strong, 6.5-magnitude earthquake, Taiwan’s emergency operation center said in a statement.

The statement said 67 people were still unaccounted for.

The head of Hualien Tzu Chi General Hospital said that six injured tourists from the Chinese mainland are being treated in the hospital, one of whom suffered a severe foot injury while the other is in critical condition.

Local media said that a 45-year-old woman from the Chinese mainland, who was seriously injured in the earthquake, died at 9:00 p.m. local time on Wednesday. However, authorities have yet to confirm the news.

After the earthquake, Director of Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council Zhang Zhijun had a telephone conversation with the head of Hualien, promising to provide emergency assistance and rescue teams.

An emergency response mechanism has also been initiated by the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

According to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC), the earthquake struck waters near Hualien County at around 11:50 p.m. Tuesday at a depth of 11 kilometers.

Photos and videos circulating on social media show collapsed buildings, tilted structures and damaged roads and bridges.

Local media said four buildings including the Marshal Hotel, Yun Tsui building and two residential buildings were among the damaged structures.

The earthquake was followed by a series of aftershocks including several measuring over 5-magnitude.

VCG Photo

A power outage affected 1,900 households and 40,000 households are without water, according to Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center.

About 40 roads have been damaged and two bridges, including Qixing Tan, sealed off.

Train service to the city center is still available in Hualien but at a slower speed, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Source : CGTN

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