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Cloud Precipitation

At least 71 dead as floods, landslides hit India's Himalayan region - Himachal Pradesh state sees the worst rains in 50 years (UPDATE)

Heavy monsoon rains have triggered floods and landslides in India's Himalayan region, killing at least 41 people and trapping many others.

Days of downpours have washed away vehicles, demolished buildings and destroyed bridges in the northern Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, while killing at least 33 and eight in each state, respectively.

A cloudburst in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday night killed nine people, and 12 people died in two landslides in Shimla, the state's capital, authorities told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.

At least a dozen others were killed as heavy rains battered the state, sparking flash floods and more landslides.

Comment: Update August 17

ucanews.com reports:
At least 71 people have died following landslides and heavy rains in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, where Church officials fear the death toll may rise.

"I am afraid the number of causalities may rise once the rescue teams reach far-flung areas as they are facing challenges due to the rain," Bishop Ignatius Loyola Ivan Mascarenhas of Shimla-Chandigarh told UCA News on Aug. 17.

Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh, bordering China.

Bishop Mascarenhas said Church officials have met with the Shimla district collector, the district's top administrative officer, and "assured him of help."

They also donated some money collected from Catholics, he said.

Onkar Chand Sharma, principal secretary of the Disaster Management Department, said at least 71 people have died so far due to the incessant rainfall from Aug. 13 to 15.

Himachal Pradesh, one of the 13 mountain states in India, is characterized by an extreme landscape, featuring several peaks and extensive river systems.

The rainfall recorded in the state this July broke all records in the last 50 years, leading to the most devastating natural calamity in recent times.

"The situation in the area is very bad and it will take years to rebuild. I have asked all our people in the diocese to come forward and contribute in whatever way they can, like dry rations, food packets, clothes and money," Bishop Mascarenhas said.

He said a Chruch-run school in the Sholan area has been damaged due to rains and flooding.

He said that when the state was reeling under heavy rains in July, Church-run institutions and medical centers provided lodging, food, and medicines.

Tanuja Raghunath, the program associate of the New Delhi-based Caritas India, the Catholic Church's social service arm, told UCA News on Aug. 17 that their people are assessing the situation.

"We have distributed money among several houses in Kullu district and also have offered support to the administration," she said.

The state witnessed a massive landslide on Aug. 14 following which rescue operations were launched under the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

Naseef Khan, NDRF inspector, said that "rescue operations have been underway for four days."

Bishop Mascarenhas said that "people were shocked after hearing the news of landslides. We are praying for the bereaved families."

In Shimla, several buildings are facing landslide threats, while in Kangra district 1,731 people have been rescued following the release of water from the Pong dam.

A monetary loss of around 75 billion rupees (some US$ 937 million) has been reported so far, Sharma from the Disaster Management Department added.

Low-lying, neighboring Punjab state was submerged after Bhakra and Pong dams in Himachal Pradesh overflowed.

Civil society organizations have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the situation in Himachal Pradesh a national disaster.

Related: Heavy rains lash Himachal Pradesh, India causing landslides at many places - over 300 roads closed


Shallow 6.3 magnitude earthquake shakes Colombian capital, one dead

A strong earthquake of 6.3 magnitude struck the Colombian capital Bogota on Thursday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, prompting frightened residents to flee into the street and leading a woman to fall to her death.

There were no immediate reports of major damage from the quake, which Colombia's national geological service reported as a magnitude 6.1.

"It was strong, and lasted a long time, said Adrian Alarcon, 43, who works near the capital's busy Park 93 district.


Shallow 6.0 magnitude earthquake in Mid-Atlantic Ridge

6.0 magnitude earthquake

UTC time: Thursday, August 17, 2023 16:41 PM
Your time: Thursday, August 17, 2023 at 5:41 PM GMT+1
Magnitude Type: mww
USGS page: M 6.0 - central Mid-Atlantic Ridge
USGS status: Reviewed by a seismologist
Reports from the public: 0 people
10 km depth

Cloud Precipitation

Flood death toll rises to 4 in the North East region of Ghana


A downpour on Wednesday has caused havoc in the Mamprusi area of the North East Region.
Lives claimed by the floods in the North East region have risen to four after torrential rains there over the weekend caused massive devastation.

Two adults and a child were discovered by National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) on Monday in addition to an earlier reported death.

The three died as a result of drowning but the child died after a building collapsed on her.

Meanwhile, residents in 66 communities are in dire need of aid after the rains destroyed their property including houses and farmlands.


Eastern Bolivia battles raging wildfires, western Bolivia faces unexpected snowfall

Bolivia is facing weather extremes on both ends. the eastern part of the South American nation is battling with raging wildfires. While the western part is under a cold spell, experiencing unexpected snowfall.


Severe summer thunderstorms leave 1 dead, tens of thousands without power in North Carolina

A tree fell onto a house in Hillsborough, N.C., after severe storms hit the region, Aug. 15, 2023.
A tree fell onto a house in Hillsborough, N.C., after severe storms hit the region, Aug. 15, 2023.
A 78-year-old North Carolina woman was killed after a tree fell on her vehicle as severe thunderstorms hit the region Tuesday evening.

The storms also left about 65,000 customers without power as of Wednesday afternoon, according to poweroutage.us.

The storms also proved fatal. A woman, identified as Donna Warsaw, was driving in an intersection in Durham when a large tree fell and struck her vehicle on Tuesday after 4 p.m., according to police. She was pronounced dead at the scene.


Video shows Russian fishermen rescuing beached beluga whales

In a rare piece of good news, five stranded beluga whales have been rescued from where they were trapped on a beach.

The belugas, four adults and a calf, were found stuck on a beach near the mouth of the Tigil River in Russia's Far East, local news outlet Kamchatka-Inform reported.

The group of whales was rescued from their predicament by several local fishermen, who poured seawater on the mammals and kept them well fed with fish until the tide came back in.

Arrow Down

Beachgoers narrowly escape cliff collapse in Dorset, UK on August 8

A passerby has filmed the terrifying moment West Bay cliff in Dorset collapsed following a landslip.

Beachgoers could be seen running as rock came crashing to the ground on Tuesday (8 August) without warning.

Huge clouds of dust could be seen in the aftermath, prompting comments from the public online that those nearby were 'lucky to be alive'.

The town's East Beach cliff has also been eroding away in recent years.

The area has remained closed, however, no injuries were reported.


Earthquake of magnitude 6.5 struck Sola, Vanuatu region

An earthquake of magnitude 6.5 struck the Sola, Vanuatu region late on Wednesday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The quake was estimated at a depth of 193 kilometers (119.92 miles), USGS added.



Dead juvenile whale washes ashore on beach in Durban, South Africa

The dead juvenile whale at a beach in Umhlanga, Durban.
© Shanjay Mohan
The dead juvenile whale at a beach in Umhlanga, Durban.
Scores of people gathered since early on Wednesday to see the carcass of a juvenile whale that washed up on a beach in Umhlanga, Durban.

Social media platforms have been flooded with images of the mammal, which Marshal Security company staff cordoned off to keep the public at bay.

Nazir Sadack of the Community Emergency Response Team which provides voluntary medical, fire, trauma support and animal rescue, told TimesLIVE the carcass is south of Umhlanga lighthouse.

"I don't know the circumstances of how the whale got there. It appears to be about six metres in length and seems to be a baby.