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Tropical Cyclone Seroja destroys homes and businesses in Western Australia’s town of Kalbarri

Cyclone Seroja destroys homes, cuts power to 31,500 on Australia’s west coast

Cyclone Warning Alert

A tropical cyclone on Australia’s west coast destroyed several homes and cut electricity to tens of thousands of people overnight before weakening on Monday morning.

Officials said around 70% of the structures in the coastal town of Kalbarri, about 500 kilometres (310 miles) north of state capital Perth, had sustained damage when the category three storm made landfall late on Sunday.

“The devastation caused by Cyclone Seroja is widespread and severe,” Western Australia state premier Mark McGowan told reporters.

Around 40% of the damage was “major”, WA Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said.

No deaths or major injuries have been reported.

A recovery effort is now underway as the biggest threat has passed, McGowan said. There are 31,500 customers still without power supply, which he said could take days to restore.

Tropical cyclone Seroja was downgraded after making landfall to a category two system and was later downgraded further to a tropical low, but bringing heavy rain and strong winds.

Photos on social media and local broadcasts showed downed powerlines, debris and houses stripped of roofs and walls. Western Australia state authorities opened three evacuation centres for displaced residents.

The region was on high alert for the storm, given that houses and other buildings were not built to withstand tropical cyclones, which usually do not push so far south.

“This is a rare weather event for people in southern and eastern parts of WA,” the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Courtesy of whbl.com

https://tinyurl.com/fr4c22cs

Death toll of Cyclone Seroja rises to 179 in Indonesia

The death toll of Cyclone Seroja in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province rose to 179 and 45 others are still missing, an official said on Monday.

“We have been able to reach all the affected areas and there are no more isolated villages,” East Nusa Tenggara’s Deputy Governor Josef Nae Soi told a virtual press conference with the National Disaster Management Agency.

Soi said several broken bridges have not yet been rebuilt, hampering economic activities.

He said temporary solutions including using army ships and state-owned ferries have been suggested.

Courtesy of xinhuanet.com

https://tinyurl.com/4k3uat5t

1 dead, 7 injured after tornado rips through Louisiana parish, USA

Photo Illustration

A tornado ripped through a portion of Louisiana early Saturday morning causing extensive damage and leaving at least one person dead and seven others injured, officials said.

Seven people were taken to hospitals and multiple other victims were treated on scene, KLFY reported. Search and rescue crews were still assessing the area for other victims.

The storm caused extensive damage to homes and vehicles. A trailer from a truck was in the middle of a road and other vehicles were flipped over, KLFY reported.

Jose Antonio Higareda, 27, was killed when the tornado hit the home where he was living with 130 to 140 mph winds, The Advocate reported.

Courtesy of fox23.com

https://tinyurl.com/yehecurf

MAGNITUDE 6.0 NORTHERN ALGERIA

Subject to change
Depth: 10 km

Distances: 84 km NNW of Sétif, Algeria / pop: 288,000 / local time: 01:04:07.6 2021-03-18

24 km NNE of Bejaïa, Algeria / pop: 164,000 / local time: 01:04:07.6 2021-03-18
https://static1.emsc.eu/Images/EVID/96/960/960655/960655.regional.jpg

Five dead after fire breaks out at world’s biggest Covid vaccine facility in Pune, India

Fire Alert_1

Five people have died after a blaze erupted at the headquarters the world’s largest coronavirus vaccine manufacturer. Huge plumes of smoke were seen today billowing from the Serum Institute of India (SII) complex, in the western city of Pune. The site is producing millions of doses of the Covishield Covid vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. It is not known what caused the blaze, which was brought under control after about three hours but is still not fully extinguished.

The SII have said the production of the vaccine would not be affected by the blaze. Pune’s police department tweeted: ‘We mourn the unfortunate demise of the five people.’ The force said it would ‘conduct a thorough screening of the premises once the fire is doused’.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: ‘Anguished by the loss of lives due to an unfortunate fire at the @SerumInstIndia ‘In this sad hour, my thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. I pray that those injured recover at the earliest.’ The Maharashtra government said the fire could have been caused by an electrical fault during construction work. SII is manufacturing a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca for India and many other low- and middle-income countries. The company is also getting ready to produce a vaccine being developed by the U.S. company Novavax Inc.

SII Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla tweeted: ‘I would like to reassure all governments & the public that there would be no loss of COVISHIELD production due to multiple production buildings that I had kept in reserve to deal with such contingencies.’ Poonawalla, whose family owns SII told media the fire would mean delays in launching new products and revenue losses of more than 10 billion rupees (£100million), adding that equipment worth millions of dollars has been damaged. But a source familiar with the matter said manufacturing of Covid-19 shots would not be affected and that none of the new production equipment for vaccines was housed in the building that caught fire. The company announced a compensation of 2.5 million rupees (£25,000) for families of the people who died at the ‘under-installation facility’.

This month Indian regulators approved two vaccines, Covishield, produced by the Serum Institute, and Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech, based in Hyderabad. India launched one of the world’s largest vaccine rollouts on Saturday, with the aim of inoculating 300million people by July. The country exported its first batch of the Covishield vaccine on Wednesday, to Bhutan and the Maldives. It has also sent 2million doses to Bangladesh and 1million to Nepal. India plans to offer 20million doses to neighbouring countries in South Asia, followed by Latin America, Africa and Central Asia.

Courtesy of metro.co.uk

https://tinyurl.com/ioor6dkg

‘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

Storms hit Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, Australia tearing down trees and power outages

Severe Thunderstorm Warning Alert

Residents on the Sunshine Coast are cleaning up this morning after a short but severe storm tore through some suburbs, bringing trees down onto homes and leaving hundreds without power.

A quick burst of heavy rain and strong winds caused dozens of trees to be uprooted in Little Mountain, with gusts of up to 57 kilometres an hour recorded at the Sunshine Coast airport.

The State Emergency Service said they received 58 calls for help overnight, mostly in response to the wild weather in this area.

At the peak of the storm, more than 350 homes and businesses were without power, with dozens still disconnected on Sunday morning as crews worked to restore the system.

The highest rainfall totals were recorded at nearby at Bells Creek, which saw 70 millimetres in the past 24 hours, while Black Mountain, inland from Noosa, received 79 millimetres.

In Caloundra West, a trampoline was lifted and blown across several houses, crashing through fences.

Earlier, in Brisbane, day two of the Gabba Test cricket match was called off early as a storm rolled through the city.

The weather bureau is closely monitoring cyclone Kimi that’s developed off the Cooktown coast.

Meteorologist Harry Clark said the system is expected to bring heavy rain around the already saturated region, which is still recovering from Tropical Cyclone Imogen earlier this month.

A flood watch remains in place for parts of the state’s north.

Some areas that are still recovering from Tropical Cyclone Imogen earlier this month could receive rainfall of up to 200mm in the coming days.

“The flood watch is out for those areas between Cape Flattery and Ingham,” he said.

“It’s really largely because those catchments are very saturated from recent rainfall.

“At this stage, we’re expecting minor to moderate flooding to be possible, and particularly in those areas where flooding has recently occurred.”

Courtesy of abc.net.au

https://tinyurl.com/cshewu6q