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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

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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

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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

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Missing Woman’s Car Buried Under 15 Feet of Mud in Gorge Landslide, Oregon, USA

Landslide Danger Alert

Early Wednesday morning, a landslide near the small town of Dodson, Ore., in the Columbia River Gorge swept away 50-year-old Jennifer Camus Moore while she was driving. Two days later, the search continues, but officials no longer hold out hope she will be found alive.

The rescue teams believe they’ve discovered where her car came to a rest, and are actively working to uncover the mud and debris, which is estimated to be 15 feet deep, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. The teams have brought special equipment to safely locate the missing woman.

Courtesy of wweek.com

https://tinyurl.com/1oz5kc5o

Heavy rains trigger floods, landslides in E. Visayas, Philippines

Severe Flood Warning

Heavy downpour has triggered flooding and landslides in Samar and Southern Leyte provinces over the weekend, the Regional Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) reported on Monday.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Director Lord Byron Torrecarion, RDRRMC Eastern Visayas chairperson said there has been widespread rainfall in the region that caused rivers and streams to rise quickly especially in Northern and Eastern Samar provinces.

“So far, there has been no reported casualties or missing persons as of Monday morning, but we have been regularly monitoring the situation since it is still raining in many parts of the region,” Torrecarion said in a phone interview.

In a progress report sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the RDRRMC reported floodings within the highway that links the towns of Gandara and Matuguinao in Samar; two villages in Catarman, a community in Catubig, nine villages in Allen, and three areas in Capul town in Northern Samar.

In Eastern Samar, flooding has affected 24 villages in Oras town; 15 communities in Dolores; two villages each in Sulat, Maslog, San Julian, and Can-avid; and one village each in the towns of Arteche and Jipapad.

Landslides have been reported along the provincial road sections in Catalina village in Jiabong, Samar; Lawaan village in Paranas; and a major highway in Kahupian, Sogod in Southern Leyte province.

At least 627 individuals have been preemptively evacuated in Catarman and Catubig towns in Northern Samar on Sunday.

“Since we expect rains to continue in the next two days, all villages identified as high to very-high susceptibility ratings to flooding and landslide were already advised to conduct preemptive evacuation especially those vulnerable groups,” Torrecarion added.

In an advisory issued early Monday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said the heavy rains are caused by the tail-end of the frontal system affecting the eastern section of Visayas and intertropical convergence zone affecting Mindanao, and northeast monsoon affecting Luzon.

Courtesy of pna.gov.ph

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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

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Ukraine rocked as huge gas pipeline explosion ‘leaves entire villages shaking’

Gas Explosion

A giant gas explosion has been reported in the Ukraine – with the explosion believed to have happened on a main gas pipeline in the Urengoy – Pomary region.

Local news reports have suggested the explosion occurred near the village of Kalaydyntsi – while footage and photos from the area showed a giant ball of fire lighting up the sky.

No casualties have been reported – with the giant explosion taking place on Saturday.

A local news update stated: “Emergency gas shutdowns are possible. Please, if the gas is turned off, make sure that all gas burners are closed.”

Footage shared on Twitter showed a giant ball of fire erupting skywards as locals reported a deafening explosion.

One Twitter user, sharing footage, wrote: “The explosion thundered on the gas pipeline of the Lubnygaz enterprise in the #Poltava region of #Ukraine.”

Another video uploaded to Twitter showed the flames erupting on the horizon while a roar from the fire could be clearly heard.

Locals filming the incident could be heard gasping and exclaiming in the background of the video.

While further footage from a busy motorway showed flames and dark smoke leaping from the source of the explosion near the village of Novaki.

The BBC reports Ihor Mosiychuk, who resides in the vicinity of the explosion, said that the incident occurred between the villages of Yenkivtsi and Tarandyntsi.

He is reported stating via Facebook: “The explosion was so strong that the windows in the neighboring villages were shaking.”

He added: “You can see the fire.”

Meanwhile, local emergency services have warned that some towns, cities and regions will be affected by emergency gas shut downs.

Kyiv Post reports local authoritie warning: “The list of settlements that have been disconnected or will be disconnected from the gas supply is being specified.”

They add: “JSC Lubnygaz is putting all emergency services on duty in an operational mode.”

Courtesy of dailystar.co.uk

https://tinyurl.com/y3qh6zka

Indonesia plane missing: Boeing lost contact after dropping ‘more than 10,000ft in less than a minute’

Missing Plane Alert

A search and rescue operation is under way in Indonesia after contact was lost with a Boeing 737-500 plane on a local flight.

An Indonesian Transport Ministry spokesman said the Sriwijaya Air flight SJ 182 was flying from the capital Jakarta to Pontianak City in West Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo. The last contact was at 2.40pm local time (7.40am in the UK), it said.

Tracking service Flightradar24 said on Twitter that the flight “lost more than 10,000ft (3,000m) of altitude in less than one minute” about four minutes after departure.

The Indonesian Navy has determined the plane’s co-ordinates and ships have been deployed to the location, Navy official Abdul Rasyid said.

Suspected debris has been located in waters north of Jakarta, an official from the Basarnas rescue agency told the Reuters news agency, although it has not been confirmed that it is from the missing plane. Fishermen spotted metal objects believed to be parts of an aircraft in the Thousand Islands, a chain of islands north of Jakarta, on Saturday afternoon.

Friends and relatives of people on the flight have been seen in television footage praying and hugging each other as they wait for news at the airports in Jakarta and Pontianak airport.

Some 62 people were on board, including crew. Ten of the passengers were children, the rescue agency said.

In its latest statement, the airline said it was still gathering information on the incident.

“Sriwijaya Air is still in contact with various related parties to get more detailed information regarding the SJ-182 flight from Jakarta to Pontianak,” the company said.

“Management is still communicating and investigating this matter and will immediately issue an official statement after obtaining the actual information.”

Indonesian Transportation Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati said: “The missing plane is currently under investigation and under co-ordination with the National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee.”

A spokeswoman for Boeing said: “We are aware of media reports from Jakarta, and are closely monitoring the situation. We are working to gather more information.”

A plane flying from Jakarta to Pontianak would spend most of the 90-minute flight over the Java Sea. Sriwijaya Air is one of Indonesia’s discount carriers, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations.

Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago nation, with more than 260 million people.

The missing plane is not a Boeing 737 Max, the model involved in two major accidents in recent years – the first of which involved a crash in Indonesia.

The Lion Air 737 MAX, carrying 189 passengers and crew, crashed into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta in October 2018, killing everyone on board.

It was the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people were killed on a Garuda flight near Medan on Sumatra island.

And in December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore crashed into the sea, killing 162 people.

Courtesy of Sky News

https://tinyurl.com/y3subrkd

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

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