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Hurricane Laura survivors face long uncertain recovery | News

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In a matter of hours last week, Hurricane Laura tore through the tyre shop Layla Winbush’s family started just about a year ago, reducing most of it to rubble and scattering hundreds of tyres across the lot. The storm also damaged her home, which now reeks of mould.

Federal and state officials are now on the ground to help residents with home repairs and hotel stays. But Winbush said she feels alone, particularly after seeing a video of President Donald Trump, who visited the area on Saturday, joking with Gulf Coast officials that they could sell copies of his signature for $10,000.

“We can’t depend on the president. We can’t depend on nobody,” she said. “We’ll just take what we have and get it done.”

As evacuated Lake Charles residents began returning home, many worried that they would not have enough support from federal and state governments as they face a rebuilding process certain to take several months, if not longer.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards on Sunday warned that residents were in for a long recovery.

“We’re going to be working really, really hard on the power outages, on the water systems, on the housing,” he said at a news conference. “But none of this is going to be easy. It’s not going to happen as quickly as most people would like for sure.”

Widespread damage

Crews were starting to take chain saws to fallen trees and patch roofs, but most homes in Lake Charles wrecked by the storm were still untouched. The Category 4 hurricane, which made landfall on Thursday just south of Lake Charles near Cameron, Louisiana, before abating nearly 12 hours later, packed 240km/h (150 mile/h) winds and a storm surge that officials said was as high as 4.5 metres (15 feet) in some areas.

So far 18 deaths in Texas and Louisiana have been attributed to the storm; more than half of those people were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the unsafe operation of generators.

A US National Guard truck drives past a destroyed shrimping boat after the passing of Hurricane Laura in Hackberry, Louisiana [Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP]

The Federal Emergency Management Agency sent hundreds of workers to the region to help with search and rescue and other efforts. As of Sunday, more than 52,500 people had applied for FEMA assistance, and the agency had conducted more than 200 home inspections and distributed more than $650,000 in assistance, said Tony Robinson, FEMA’s administrator for the region.

The Louisiana National Guard, meanwhile, had handed out hundreds of thousands of bottles of water and meals and about 14,000 tarpaulin sheets, the governor said.

But the needs were substantial. In hard-hit Calcasieu Parish, some waited hours in line for tarps, water and other supplies at distribution sites, said parish spokesman Tom Hoefer.

The entire parish had been without power, and in many areas, including the parish seat of Lake Charles that is home to more than 78,000 people, water had not been flowing from taps, he said. Several residents said on Sunday the water supply was still intermittent.

Crews will have to rebuild hundreds of transmission towers along with resetting downed power poles and lines, clearing debris and assessing damage, said Scott Aaronson, vice president of security and preparedness for the Edison Electric Institute, the association of investor-owned electric companies in the US.

The association said roughly 409,000 customers were still without power late on Sunday as a result of the storm.

Insured losses to properties in the US will be near $9bn, according to projections from a Boston-based disaster modelling firm. That includes wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and cars, Karen Clark & Co said.

There were an estimated $200m in insured losses in the Caribbean, the company estimates.

‘Maybe I’ll make it, maybe I won’t’ 

In Lake Charles, many people were still staying outside town. But James Townley said he would remain in his home, as he did during the storm.

The front of his trailer had been blown away, leaving a single toilet exposed to the elements.

Townley lay on a sofa in front of a fan – connected to a neighbour’s generator – circulating hot, humid air. The 56-year-old’s shirt was off, revealing scars from the open-heart surgery he had several years ago. He said he was out of medication for his heart and kidneys and had requested aid from FEMA – but did not hear back.

“I’m just going to sit here and do what I can do,” he said. “Maybe I’ll make it, maybe I won’t.”

One silver pick-up truck winding through Lake Charles streets carried four generations of a single family – six people inside the cab and three riding on the flatbed along with suitcases and bags filled with belongings. The family was visiting the homes where they each lived for the first time since the storm, assessing what they had lost and what had been spared.

Driving the pick-up truck was 53-year-old Patricia Mingo Lavergne. She was worried about how her home had fared, but also where everyone would sleep on Sunday night.

Hurricane Laura relief

Amanda Abassi, second from right, serves free hot food with her daughter and extended family in front of her restaurant Royal Tandoor after Hurricane Laura passed through the area in Lake Charles, Louisiana [Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters]

When Lavergne parked outside the house she shares with her husband, a duplex just north of the train tracks bisecting the city, several family members began to pray and wipe away tears.

The pecan tree that long shaded her front yard had cracked and fallen in front of the front door. Insulation had burst through the ceiling and fallen in tufts over one bedroom. In another room, she pulled out two drawers filled with neatly folded clothes saved for her daughter’s child, due in January. She wiped a mix of sweat and tears with her shirt.

Eventually, everyone in the family was able to find a place to stay. They have requested help from FEMA, but Lavergne said she did not have a checking account in which to receive federal money.

“It’s frustrating,” she said. “I’ve already been going through a lot and this is a lot more on my shoulders.”

Winbush, 19, and her family were staying with relatives in Beaumont, Texas, more than an hour’s drive away. Her mother, Monique Benjamin, stood with Winbush and two of her siblings in front of what was left of the tyre shop.

Benjamin and Winbush stayed cheerful as they described all the services the shop offered and the successes they had building it. The business is insured.

“Even though we may cry in the restroom and wipe our faces later, we got to stay strong,” Benjamin said.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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10 Myanmar police killed in attack by ethnic armies: Reports | Conflict News

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Fighters from an alliance of rebel groups reportedly attack a police station in a new escalation after the military coup.

An alliance of ethnic armies in Myanmar that has opposed the general’s crackdown on anti-coup protests attacked a police station in the east on Saturday and killed at least 10 policemen, local media said.

The police station at Naungmon in Shan state was attacked early in the morning by fighters from an alliance that includes the Arakan Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, media reported.

Shan News said at least 10 policemen were killed, while the Shwe Phee Myay news outlet put the death toll at 14.

A spokesman for the military did not return calls asking for comment.

Al Jazeera’s Tony Cheng, reporting from neighbouring Thailand, noted the ethnic armies are some of the oldest in the world, having battled central government forces for decades.

“Since the coup, there has been a lot of talk about armed groups operating together but we have not actually seen it before. Today it’s claimed three acted together, joined forces, attacked this outpost manned by Myanmar police, killing a number of policemen,” said Cheng, adding the assault occurred over two hours early on Saturday.

More than 600 people have been killed by the military in the crackdown on protests against the February 1 coup, according to a monitoring group. As violence has escalated, about a dozen armed groups have condemned the coup-makers as illegitimate and pledged to stand with the protesters.

Civilian lawmakers, most of whom are in hiding after their removal, have announced plans to form a “national unity government” – with key roles for ethnic leaders – and are holding online talks about joint resistance to the generals.

Dozens of bodies

Meanwhile, reports from Myanmar say dozens of people may have been killed in a military assault on anti-coup protesters in the city of Bago. About 60 people may have died in the clashes in the city, about 60km (32 miles) northeast of Yangon, according to Radio Free Asia citing witnesses.

News site Myanmar Now cited a protest leader as saying dozens of bodies had been brought inside a pagoda compound where the military was based. Witnesses cited by both media outlets reported hours of gunfire that started early on Friday.

Protests against the February coup continued on Saturday in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Sagaing, Myeik and many other cities.

The military crackdown has also included reports of protesters being tortured in detention and harsh sentences.

The military issued death sentences on 19 people from Yangon’s North Okkalapa township on Friday. They were charged with beating an army captain, according to Radio Free Asia.

The military coup dismissed the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arrest.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Egypt unearth 3,000-year-old lost city

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A new archaeological discovery is seen in Luxor, Egypt, in this undated handout photo. (Zahi Hawass Center for Egyptology and High Council of Antiquities Joint Mission/Handout via Reuters)

A new archaeological discovery is seen in Luxor, Egypt, in this undated handout photo. (Zahi Hawass Center for Egyptology and High Council of Antiquities Joint Mission/Handout via Reuters)

Egyptian archeologists have unearthed a 3,000-year-old lost city, complete with mud-brick houses, artifacts, and tools from pharaonic times.


Noted archeologist Zahi Hawass said an Egyptian mission discovered the mortuary city in the southern province of Luxor. It dates back to what is considered a golden era of ancient Egypt, the period under King Amenhotep III of the 18th dynasty.

“Many foreign missions searched for this city and never found it,” Hawass said in a statement Thursday. The city, built on the western bank of the Nile River, was once the largest administrative and industrial settlement of the pharaonic empire, he added.

Last year, archeologists started excavating in the area, searching for the mortuary temple of King Tutankhamun. However, within weeks, the statement said, archeologists found mud bricks formations that eventually turned out to be a well-preserved large city. City walls, and even rooms filled with utensils used in daily life are said to be present.

“The archaeological layers have laid untouched for thousands of years, left by the ancient residents as if it were yesterday,” the press release said.

The newly unearthed city is located between the temple of King Rameses III and the colossi of Amenhotep III on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. The city continued to be used by Amenhotep III’s grandson Tutankhamun, and then his successor King Ay.

Betsy Brian, professor of Egyptology at John Hopkins University, said the discovery of the lost city was the most important archeological find since the tomb of Tutankhamun.

King Tut became a household name and helped renew interest in ancient Egypt when his tomb in the Valley of the Kings was discovered nearly fully intact in 1922.

Archeologists have also found clay caps of wine vessels, rings, scarabs, coloured pottery, and spinning and weaving tools. Some mud bricks bear the seal of King Amenhotep III’s cartouche, or name insignia. 







Source – observer.ug

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Saudi Arabia executes 3 soldiers for ‘cooperating with enemy’ | Saudi Arabia News

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The defence ministry says soldiers were sentenced to death by a specialist court after a fair trial.

Saudi Arabia has executed three soldiers convicted of “high treason” and “cooperating with the enemy”, with a statement from the kingdom’s defence ministry saying the trio was sentenced to death by a specialist court after a fair trial.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency identified the men as soldiers working in the defence ministry. It did not elaborate on how the men aided the kingdom’s enemies.

The ministry did not name the “enemy” either but the executions on Saturday were carried out in the southern province bordering Yemen where Saudi Arabia has been at war for more than six years against the Iran-backed Houthi fighters.

Saudi Arabia has come under increasing global scrutiny over its human rights record since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate and the detention of women’s rights activists.

Rights groups, including Amnesty International, have called on Riyadh to stop the use of the death penalty, citing allegations of torture and unfair trials.

Saudi Arabia denies the accusations.

According to Amnesty figures, Saudi Arabia carried out the world’s third-highest number of executions in 2019.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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