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Hurricane slams into Louisiana with ‘unsurvivable’ storm surge | USA News

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Hurricane Laura is now a Category 1 storm on Thursday as it moves deeper into the US state of Louisiana after making landfall the previous day as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4.

The hurricane was predicted to cause catastrophic damage with an “unsurvivable storm surge” to the Gulf Coast near the Texas-Louisiana border.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana. It had maximum sustained winds of 240 kilometres per hour (150 miles per hour), making it the most powerful hurricane to strike the United States so far this year.

The storm’s power raised fears of a six-metre (20-foot) storm surge capable of sinking entire communities on the coast. A few hours after landfall, it was downgraded to Category 3.

It rapidly weakened to a Category 1 storm Thursday morning with maximum sustained winds of 136 kilometres per hour (85 miles per hour)  as it moved north and battered southwest Louisiana, a marshy region particularly prone to storm surge and flooding.

Laura’s howling winds battered a tall building in Lake Charles, blowing out windows as glass and debris flew to the ground. Police spotted a floating casino that got loose and crunched against a bridge. Video footage and photos on social media showed torrents of rain flying sideways past street and streets covered with water closer to the coast.

A sudden storm surge knocked over cameras meant to capture the hurricane’s effects. But hours after landfall, the wind and rain were still blowing too hard to check for survivors.

Hurricane Laura strengthens as it approaches Texas, Louisiana

Around 570,000 homes and businesses were without power in Texas and Louisiana on Thursday morning, according to PowerOut.US, which tracks utility reports. 

With hours of violent weather ahead, officials said the extent of destruction likely would not be clear until daybreak when search-and-rescue missions will begin.

Powerless

Hurricane-force winds extended 95km (60 miles) from the storm’s centre neared the coast, forecasters said, and bands of heavy rain fell 48km (30 miles) from the beach in Lake Charles.

Forecasters said up to 38cm (15 inches) of rain could fall and issued a string of tornado warnings as the storm pushed on to land, but there were no immediate reports of damage. 

“We know anyone that stayed that close to the coast, we’ve got to pray for them, because looking at the storm surge, there would be little chance of survival,” Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser told ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday evening.

Authorities implored coastal residents to evacuate, but not everyone did before howling winds began buffeting trees back and forth in an area that was devastated by Hurricane Rita in 2005.

Resident Trent Savoie, 31, said he was staying put. “With four kids and 100 farm animals, it’s just hard to move out,” he told the Associated Press before the storm made landfall. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards fretted that the dire predictions were not resonating despite authorities putting more than 500,000 coastal residents under mandatory evacuation orders.

Officials said at least 150 people refused pleas to leave and planned to weather the storm in everything from elevated homes to recreational vehicles in coastal Cameron Parish, which could be completely covered by ocean water.

“It’s a very sad situation,” Ashley Buller, assistant director of emergency preparedness told AP. “We did everything we could to encourage them to leave.”

An official in a southwestern Louisiana parish said some people who did not evacuate are now requesting assistance.

Tony Guillory, president of Calcasieu Parish’s police jury, was hunkering down in a Lake Charles government building that was shaking from the storm early Thursday as phones were ringing.

“People are calling the building but there ain’t no way to get to them,” he said over the phone.

Guillory said he hopes those stranded can be rescued later Thursday, but blocked roads, downed power lines, and flooding could complicate the process.

Uninhabitable 

Edwards activated the state’s entire National Guard. In Lake Charles, Guard members drove school buses around neighbourhoods, offering to pick up families. Across the state line in Port Arthur, Texas, few stragglers boarded evacuation buses, and city officials announced two C-130 transport planes offered the last chance to leave.

Thousands to evacuate Texas and Louisiana coasts ahead of storm

A Category 4 hurricane can render wide areas uninhabitable for weeks or months and knock out power for just as long. The threat of such devastation posed a new disaster-relief challenge for a government already straining under the coronavirus pandemic. The parts of Louisiana that were under evacuation orders included areas turning up high rates of positive COVID-19 tests.

On Twitter, President Donald Trump urged coastal residents to heed officials.

Laura hit the US after killing nearly two dozen people on the island of Hispaniola, including 20 in Haiti and three in the Dominican Republic, where it knocked out power and caused intense flooding.

Laura will be the seventh named storm to strike the US this year, setting a new record for US landfalls by the end of August. The old record was six in 1886 and 1916, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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