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Hurricane Maria kills 4,600 in Puerto Rico

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Hurricane Maria
Image : AFP, ABS-CBN

San Juan, May 30: Hurricane Maria killed more than 4,600 people in Puerto Rico, 70 times the official death toll of 64, the media reported on Wednesday.

A Harvard University study estimated that a third of deaths after September’s hurricane were due to interruptions in medical care caused by power cuts and broken road links, reports the BBC.

The Harvard researchers said interviews conducted in Puerto Rico suggested a 60 per cent increase in mortality in the three months after the storm.

They contacted more than 3,000 randomly selected households between January and March in 2018 and asked about displacement, infrastructure loss, and causes of death.

The experts said that an accurate count was complicated by the widespread devastation wreaked by the storm.

The Puerto Rico government said it “always expected the number to be higher than what was previously reported”.

Carlos Mercader from Puerto Rico’s Federal Affairs Administration said he welcomed the Harvard survey. “The magnitude of this tragic disaster caused by Hurricane Maria resulted in many fatalities,” he said.

He added that the island’s authorities had also commissioned George Washington University to study the number of deaths and these findings would be released soon, reports the BBC.

“Both studies will help us better prepare for future natural disasters and prevent lives from being lost,” he said.

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26 die in fresh lightning strikes across Bihar

The Meteorological Department on Wednesday had issued an alert for heavy rain and thunderstorms in the next 48 hours.

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Lightning

Patna, July 2 : In Bihar, more people were killed by lightning strikes in a week than due to coronavirus. On Thursday, 26 more people died in fresh lightning strikes across the state.

An official of the Disaster Management Department said, according to information received from the districts, 26 people died due to lightning strikes on Thursday in the state – six in Patna, four in East Champaran, seven in Samastipur, three in Katihar, two each in Shivhar and Madhepura and one each in Purnia and West Champaran districts.

The Meteorological Department on Wednesday had issued an alert for heavy rain and thunderstorms in the next 48 hours in Bihar.

On Tuesday, 11 people had died by lightning in various districts of Bihar, while on June 26, at least 96 people died across Bihar in lightning strikes.

So far more than 78 people have died due to Covid-19 in Bihar in more than three months since the first case was detected in the state and more than 10,000 are infected with the virus, while more than 125 people were killed by lightning strikes in the state in just a week.

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‘US risks greater COVID-19 outbreak if latest surge not controlled’

“Clearly we are not in control right now,” Fauci testified, warning that not enough Americans are wearing masks or social distancing.

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Anthony Fauci

Washington, July 2 : Anthony Fauci, the top US expert in infectious diseases, has expressed his concern over the sudden spike of COVID-19 cases in the country, warning of the risk of a greater outbreak if the latest surge is not controlled.

“We got hit very badly, worse than any country, with regard to the number of cases and the number of deaths,” Fauci told the BBC on Wednesday.

“The problem we”re facing now is that in an attempt to so-called reopen or open the government and get it back to some form of normality, we”re seeing very disturbing spikes in different individual states in the US.

“We”ve got to get that under control or we risk an even greater outbreak in the US,” he added.

As of Thursday, the US accounted for the world”s highest number of infections and fatalities with 2,685,806 and 128,061, respectively, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Comparing the situation in the US to how some European countries controlled the spread of the virus, Fauci told the BBC: “They closed down to the tune of about 97 per cent lockdown. In the US, even in the most strict lockdown, only about 50 per cent of the country locked down. That allowed the perpetuation of the outbreak.”

“We need to engender some societal responsibility in people, particularly the younger people,” he said, adding that young people were less likely to be seriously affected by COVID-19 but could still spread the disease.

Fauci”s remarks on Wednesday came a day after he told the US Senate that he “would not be surprised” if new virus cases in the country reach 100,000 per day, the BBC reported.

“Clearly we are not in control right now,” Fauci testified, warning that not enough Americans are wearing masks or social distancing.

On Tuesday, cases rose by more than 40,000 in one day for the fourth time in the past five days.

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96 killed in Myanmar jade mine landslide

Deadly landslides are frequent in Kachin state, known as land of jade, especially in Hpakant mining region.

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Myanmar jade mine landslide

Yangon, July 2 : At least 96 people were killed and many others were reported missing on Thursday after a jade mine collapsed due to a landslide in Myanmar’s Kachin state, authorities said.

Caused by the monsoon rains, the landslide occurred at the jade mining site in Sate Mu village tract of Hpakant township at 8a.m., Xinhua news agency quoted a statement from the Fire Services Department as saying.

Hundreds of miners were feared buried as the landslide took place during their work hours, but the exact number of casualties are yet to be known and rescue works are being carried out, a township police official told Xinhua.

Deadly landslides are frequent in Kachin state, known as land of jade, especially in Hpakant mining region.

A major landslide occurred in the region in November 2015, leaving at least 116 people dead.

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