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Over 40 killed, 90,000 evacuated as Japan hit by 2 powerful quakes & devastating landslides 

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Japan Earthquake-wefornews

Dozens of people are feared trapped under rubble in southern Japan, as the death toll from two earthquakes has climbed to 41. The search for survivors is in full swing, while 90,000 people have been evacuated from their homes to safer locations.

Over 200 aftershocks have hit Japan following the initial Thursday tremor of 6.5-magnitude, which hit the city of Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu. Officials have warned that the risk of further strong aftershocks will linger for about a week.

About 190 of the injured are in serious condition, the Japanese government said.

Only 24 hours later the same areas was struck by a violent 7.1-magnitude earthquake. The Japan Meteorological Agency briefly issued tsunami warnings for the areas that were still recovering from Thursday’s devastating tremors.

Landslide site caused by an earthquake is seen in Minamiaso town, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 16, 2016. © Reuters

The overall death toll from the two quakes now stands at 41, with more than 1,000 people injured – 184 of them seriously.

About 90,000 people in Kumamoto Prefecture were evacuated to shelters, authorities say.

“We are aware of multiple locations where people have been buried alive,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. “Police, firefighters and Self Defense Force personnel are doing all they can to rescue them.”

Local residents look at cracks caused by an earthquake on a road in Mashiki town, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 16, 2016. © Reuters

The death toll in the earthquakes may be climbing by the hour, Kumamoto Prefectural official Tomoyuki Tanaka said.

About 170,000 households were without electricity and 385,000 without water following the powerful quakes.

Yuichiro Yoshikado described his experience during Thursday’s earthquake to AP. He was in the bathroom at the time.

Romon gate (bottom R), designated as a nationally important cultural property, and other buildings damaged by an earthquake are seen at Aso Shrine in Aso, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 16, 2016. © Reuters

“I grabbed onto the sides of the bathtub, but the water in the tub, it was about 70 percent filled with water, was going like this,” he said, waving his arms, “and all the water splashed out.”

“I thought I was going to die and I couldn’t bear it any longer,” he added.

A damaged building caused by an earthquake is seen in Kumamoto, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 16, 2016. © Reuters

Among 29 casualties are two students from Tokai University.

“We offer our sincerest prayers for the two,” said a University statement. “We’re trying to confirm the safety of other students.”

“I felt strong shaking at first, then I was thrown about like I was in a washing machine,” a Tokai University student told local media, “All the lights went out and I heard a loud noise. A lot of gas is leaking and while there hasn’t been a fire, that remains a concern.” 

The quakes triggered massive landslides, which cut off roads and destroyed bridges, local media reported, adding that they imperiled rescue and relief efforts.

Meteorologists forecast heavy rain and wind, adding that the temperature is expected to drop to 13 degrees Celsius.

“The wind is expected to pick up and rain will likely get heavier,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a government meeting. “Rescue operations at night will be extremely difficult … It’s a race against time.”

 

Disaster

No country thought of exit strategy, says Swedish physician to Rahul

“I think it will take months to really ease out the lockdown. But you must do one restriction at a time and see what happens,” said Johan Giesecke.

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Johan Giesecke Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, May 27 : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, continuing with series of talks on Covid-19 crisis, interacted with Johan Giesecke, a well-known Swedish physician and Professor Emeritus at the Karolinska Institute at Stockholm. Giesecke said that no country thought of exit strategy prior to announcing the lockdown.

“All the countries in Europe that instituted the lockdown one or two months ago, did not think about the exit strategy at that time,” said Johan Giesecke.

“I think you will soon create more harm than good with a severe lockdown,” he added.

He said, “Every single country had said that we’ll do this lockdown, we’ll close this school, we’ll close this border, we’ll close the restaurants. I don’t think at that point they thought about how to get out of it.”

“Now everyone is asking the same question, how do we get out of this,” added Giesecke.

He suggested that the exit has to be step wise. “Take away restrictions in India one by one, you take one away, you soften one restriction,” he suggested.

He further said, “Wait 2-3 weeks and see what happens. If you have more spread of the disease, then take one step back and try another restriction.”

“I think it will take months to really ease out the lockdown. But you must do one restriction at a time and see what happens,” said Johan Giesecke.

However, he said that it is a difficult balance there. “I think the way we have done it in Sweden is that the main thing is to protect the old and the frail. They should be protected from the disease. Everything else comes second.”

“So what we have done is that we have not completely shut down the country. Many workplaces are still open. Many people are working from home if they can. We don’t have restrictions. You can go outside, and meet other people outside. Better than in your home,” he said.

He suggested that for India, “you will ruin your economy very quickly if you had a severe lockdown. I think it’s better to skip the lockdown, take care of the old and the frail, and let the other people have the infection. Most people will not even be sick. They will not even notice they have it.”

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Disaster

Israel reports 16,757 COVID-19 cases, 281 deaths

Earlier in the day, the Israeli transport ministry announced the full resumption of the state’s railway system on June 8.

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israel coronavirus

Jerusalem, May 26 : The Israeli health ministry has reported 17 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number in the country to 16,757.

After four consecutive days without death cases, the ministry on Monday reported two new fatalities, bringing the death toll from the COVID-19 to 281, Xinhua reported.

The number of patients in serious condition decreased from 44 to 41, out of 115 patients currently hospitalized, the lowest number of hospitalized patients since March 12.

The number of recoveries increased by 154 to 14,457, while the active cases decreased to 2,019.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli transport ministry announced the full resumption of the state’s railway system on June 8.

China and Israel have cooperated on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. On February 11, the Tel Aviv Municipality Hall, a landmark in the Israeli city, was illuminated with the colours of China’s national flag, showing solidarity with China in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

On March 19 and April 1, two video conferences were held between Chinese doctors and Israeli counterparts to share experience in containing the virus’ spread and treatment of the infected patients.

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Politics

UK PM’s approval rating drops by 20 pts after aide scandal

At a press conference on Monday, Johnson admitted he regrets the “confusion and pain” the scandal has caused the British public.

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Boris Johnson

London, May 26 : UK Prime Minister Boris Johnsons approval rating has dropped 20 points to -1 per cent after he refused to sack his chief aide, Dominic Cummings for allegedly breaking coronavirus lockdown rules, it was reported on Tuesday.

According to Savanta, a coronavirus data tracker which looks at how the UK population is responding to the pandemic, the Prime Minister’s rating was previously +19 per cent just four days ago, the Metro newspaper reported.

It stated that the overall government approval rate is now at -2 per cent, having dropped 16 points in a day.

Johnson’s approval rating is now also the lowest of all the individuals examined, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s the second lowest at 4 per cent.

Cummings’ rating has not been tracked.

Labour leader Keir Starmer’s approval rating also lifted to 12 per cent on Monday, while Chancellor Rishi Sunak dropped from 35 per cent four days ago to 20 per cent.

Cummings has been accused of breaking lockdown rules he helped make after it emerged he travelled from London to his parents home in Durham when his wife fell ill with suspected coronavirus in March, reports the Metro newspaper.

The Prime Minister’s chief adviser has refused to step down over the allegations, admitting he never considered resigning and he doesn’t regret his actions.

At a press conference on Monday, Johnson admitted he regrets the “confusion and pain” the scandal has caused the British public.

But he said that he believed Cummings acted “legally” and “with integrity”.

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