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Italy mourns quake victims, death toll rises to 291

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Italy on Saturday observed a day of national mourning for the people who died when a powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit the mountainous central regions claiming the lives of 291 persons.

Flags flew at half mast across Italy as the country remembered the victims of the quake.

The death toll in the worst-hit town Amatrice was 230, while the number of victims in Accumoli and Arquato del Tronto were 11 and 50 respectively, Xinhua reported.

Authorities have released the names of 181 victims. The youngest was five months old, the oldest 93.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi attended state funerals for victims from Arquata, one of the worst-hit towns along with Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto that were also hard-hit.

The 6.2-magnitude quake hit in the early hours of Wednesday, 100km (65 miles) north-east of Rome.

Most victims of the earthquake were Italians, but several foreigners were among those killed, including three Britons.

A state of emergency was declared on Friday in affected areas and 50 million euros (about $55 million) in funds pledged for rebuilding, the BBC reported.

Many bodies were brought to a makeshift morgue in an aircraft hangar in the city of Rieti, where authorities and relatives are identifying them.

The first funeral for one of the earthquake victims was held on Friday, for the son of a state official who died in Amatrice.

At least 388 people have been treated in hospital for their injuries while more than 2,000 people were rendered homeless, the BBC noted.

The Italian government had been criticised for failing to prevent deaths after the 2009 earthquake in nearby L’Aquila killed 300 people.

In addition to emergency funds, Renzi cancelled taxes for residents and announced a new initiative, “Italian Homes”, to tackle criticism over shoddy construction.

But he also said it was “absurd” to think that Italy could build completely quake-proof buildings.IANS

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.

IANS

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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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