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‘Extremely loud’ explosion in city centre – at least three people dead in Madrid, Spain

At least three people have died and six others were injured after an “extremely loud” explosion destroyed a residential building belonging to the Catholic Church in Madrid’s city centre.

The blast happened near a nursing home and a school – and videos and images shared on social media showed rubble scattered in the street.

The city’s mayor said early information indicated the blast was caused by a gas leak, and confirmed that one of the bodies has been discovered under the rubble. Someone was working on a boiler at the time.

Two people have been transferred to hospital for further treatment – and one of them is in a serious condition with a head injury.

Rescue teams, firefighters and police are all at the scene.

Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said there was an ongoing fire in the six-storey building devastated by the blast.

It was a complex that provided residential training for priests and also gave meals to homeless people, a neighbour said.

The mayor said a nearby school had suffered minor damage.

The school was believed to be empty at the time, according to TVE, because classes had not resumed yet following a record snowfall in the Spanish capital on 9 January.

All nursing home residents were safe and evacuated, according to police sources.

The mayor said the residents were being taken to a hotel across the street.

A witness, Leire Reparaz, said she heard a loud explosion a few minutes before 3pm local time as she headed to her home near the Puerta de Toledo landmark.

She told the AP news agency: “We didn’t know where the sound came from. We all thought it was from the school.

“We went up the stairs to the top of our building and we could see the structure of the building and lots of grey smoke.”

Another witness, Tania Tapia, said: “Suddenly there was a brutal explosion behind my back and that pushed me forward.

“I didn’t know where it came from, my ears were ringing so I turned around and I saw a lot of smoke and the sidewalk full of debris.”

The explosion happened in Toledo Street. Footage on Twitter showed smoke coming from the building, a number of wrecked cars and debris strewn in the road.

A police spokeswoman said the area was being evacuated but could not confirm the cause of the explosion.

Courtesy of Sky News

https://tinyurl.com/et9ct7h6

At least 10 dead, hundreds injured in Indonesia landslide

Landslide Danger Alert

At least 10 people have died as landslides caused by a strong and shallow earthquake hits Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island early Friday.

People fled their homes and more than 200 have been injured authorities said.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency has released several videos showing the devastating effect on lives and properties.

The videos showed people crying out for help. Children were reportedly buried under tons of rubble, while others got trapped in collapsed buildings.

A girl trapped in the wreckage of a house cried out for help and said she heard the sound of other family members in the rubble but unable to move out. “Please help me, it hurts,” the girl told rescuers, who replied that they desperately wanted to help her.

Thousands have been evacuated to temporary shelters. Rescuers say a lack of heavy equipment was hampering the operation.

On Thursday, a 5.9 magnitude undersea quake hit the same region, damaging several homes but there was no casualties.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 260 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Palu on Sulawesi Island set off a tsunami and caused soil to collapse in a phenomenon called liquefaction.

More than 4,000 people died, many of the victims buried when whole neighborhoods were swallowed in the falling ground.

Courtesy of africanews.com

https://tinyurl.com/4gsrrvv7

Indonesia landslide: Rescuers buried as they help victims

Landslide Danger Alert

Rescuers searching for victims of a landslide in Indonesia were buried by a second mudslide just hours later, officials say.

The first landslide, in Cihanjuang village, West Java, was triggered by torrential rain.

Another struck as survivors were still being evacuated. At least 12 people died and dozens more are missing.

Landslides are common in Indonesia during rainy season, and often blamed on deforestation.

The latest disasters hit the villagers in Sumedang regency, about 150km (95 miles) southeast of the capital Jakarta, three and a half hours apart on Saturday.

The first happened at 16:00 (09:00 GMT) and the second at 19:30 (12:30 GMT), disaster agency spokesman Raditya Jati said in a statement.

“The first landslide was triggered by high rainfall and unstable soil conditions. The subsequent landslide occurred while officers were still evacuating victims around the first landslide area,” he added.

Rescuers are believed to be among those killed, he added. A six-year-old boy was also among the dead, according to AFP news agency.

Some 27 people were believed to be missing late on Sunday, local media quoted Deden Ridwansah, the head of the local search and rescue agency as saying. About 46 were known to have survived.

Bad weather had forced the search to be suspended, he said, but it was expected to resume on Monday.

Indonesia frequently suffers floods and landslides. Thousands of people had to be evacuated in the capital Jakarta this time last year as the city was inundated.

Courtesy of BBC News

https://tinyurl.com/y5r26xk8

Tropical storm Chalane lands in Mozambique

Tropical Storm Alert_1

A powerful tropical storm made landfall near the central Mozambique city of Beira early on Wednesday, bringing heavy rain and wind to an area devastated by Cyclone Idai nearly two years ago.

Beira, a low-lying coastal city of 500,000 people, is home to Mozambique’s second-largest port, which serves as a gateway to landlocked countries in the region.

The government had asked people living in the path of tropical storm Chalane and near rivers to move to safer areas.

Chalane had maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h with gusts exceeding 120 km/h, according to an update issued by the French weather service’s regional cyclone centre in La Reunion.

“The storm is now tracking inland through central Mozambique and is moving towards Zimbabwe. Government and humanitarian partners hope to begin evaluating the first impacts of the storm as soon as this afternoon,” Helvisney Cardoso, United Nations Mozambique Communications Specialist, said in a statement.

International aid agencies say that tens of thousands of people are still displaced from Idai and living in camps.

The Mozambican government was meeting to assess the impact of the storm and how it would respond.

In Zimbabwe, the government had started evacuating people from eastern parts of the country, where thousands were displaced by Cyclone Idai.

Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Services Department said there was high risk of flooding in the region.

Courtesy of in.reuters.com

https://tinyurl.com/ybh8qs9y

15 feared dead after landslide buries PNG village

Landslide Danger Alert

Fifteen people are missing after a landslide in a remote part of Papua New Guinea’s Central Province.

The area in Goilala District is the site of an informal alluvial mining camp, where people were panning for gold.

Disaster officials have been flown to the site in a region only accessible by foot or helicopter.

The local MP, William Samb, said two bodies had been recovered. But 15 people, including three children, were still missing.

Locals were working with whatever tools they had to try to recover people, but he said there were unlikely to be any survivors.

Tools including spades, bush knives and chainsaws along with food rations were being flown to the valley, EMTV reported.

The landslide happened in the early hours of Monday morning, sweeping away makeshift shelters on the ridge.

Samb said he believed days of continuous rain, along with the clearing of the forest by miners, had contributed to the disaster.

Heavy rain has hampered recovery efforts, and there are fears the slip could have created a dam which now imperils downstream villages.

Courtesy of rnz.co.nz

https://tinyurl.com/s5nuxtkl

Norway landslide: At least 10 people injured and 26 missing, police say in Gjerdrum

Ten people have been wounded and 26 are missing after a landslide in southern Norway, police said.

One of the victims was critically injured and more than a dozen buildings were swept away early on Wednesday in the municipality of Gjerdrum, about 19 miles north of Oslo.

The missing people were from homes in Ask village, the centre of the landslide, but police said it was not clear if they had been trapped in their houses, were away at the time or managed to escape.

Photos taken by a rescue helicopter showed a large crater above destroyed buildings.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told broadcaster TV2 it should have been a New Year’s weekend with “peace and quiet”.

“And maybe we should have worried most about COVID-19… not whether we have missing persons from a landslide,” he said.

Around 500 people have been evacuated, Gjerdrum mayor Anders Oestensen told local media.

Police said the area remains unstable for now and can only be accessed by helicopter.

Courtesy of Sky News

https://tinyurl.com/4kvvmk6e

MAGNITUDE 6.4 CROATIA


Subject to change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 47 km SE of Zagreb, Croatia / pop: 698,000 / local time: 12:19:54.6 2020-12-29

5 km WSW of Sisak, Croatia / pop: 35,700 / local time: 12:19:54.6 2020-12-29
https://static1.emsc.eu/Images/EVID/93/933/933701/933701.regional.jpg

91 reports of landslides, fallen trees in Tobago since November

Landslide Danger Alert

In October and November, Tobago had 91 reports of landslides and fallen trees associated with bad weather, according to the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) director Allan Stewart.

He said this has been the most landslides recorded in Tobago over the last ten years.

Speaking to Newsday on Wednesday Stewart said, “Every single weekend we have been having heavy rainfall and this brought us to this episode of landslides. Even without rain we are still having landslides because of the amount of water in the soil, and the slopes are unstable right now.”

On Tuesday TEMA received another report of a landslide in Castara threatening the home of one family.

He said many of the homes were constructed on hills without a retaining wall.

“It now costs more to build the retaining walls than the value of the homes. In some cases, the house is less than $40,000, and to protect that same property is close to $1 million. Retaining walls are expensive. But it’s our best chance to protect these homes and families.”

He said in November there were over 36 reports of landslides. Twenty-eight of them were classified as “severe,” affecting several villages in Tobago East.

“TEMA’s response to the landslides went quite well. There was some delay as a result of the mobilisation and the time of the occurrence.

“Some of these reports were domestic and required more attention.”

He said two families, in the Parlatuvier area, were advised to leave their homes after a landslide covered the buildings.

“If there is additional rain it now puts the homes at greater risk, so they were asked to evacuate. These homes are small – one-bedroom, toilet and bath – that’s being pushed away by the landslides. From preliminary investigation, they would have to rebuild their homes.”

He said TEMA has been receiving assistance from the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment and the fire and police service.

In a recent release, the Met Office said December is likely to be wetter than usual. December 2020-February 2021 is likely to have above-average rainfall with an 80 per cent chance of at least one seven-day wet spell.

Courtesy of newsday.co.tt

https://tinyurl.com/yxhahnab