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Found 6 results

  1. The Pom Queen

    Earthquake hits Turkey

    UPDATE 9.52am: A 7.2-MAGNITUDE earthquake has struck eastern Turkey, killing at least 85 people and sparking widespread panic as it collapsed dozens of buildings into piles of twisted steel and chunks of concrete. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the quake had killed at least 138 people and injured another 350 people. Ninety-three people died in Van province alone and 45 in the Ercis district, Mr Erdogan said after visiting the devastation wrought by the strong quake. An earlier toll had given 70 dead including 50 in Ercis, a district of around 100,000 people in the same region as Van. The situation in Ercis is more grave, said Mr Erdogan, adding that many apartment buildings collapsed, raising fears that the toll could increase. Ercis, a city of 75,000 close to the Iranian border, lies on the Ercis Fault in one of Turkey's most earthquake-prone zones. Van, about 90km to the south, also sustained substantial damage. Tens of thousands of residents fled into the streets running, screaming and trying to reach relatives on cell phones. As the full extent of the damage became clear, desperate survivors dug into the rubble with their bare hands, trying to rescue the trapped and the injured. "My wife and child are inside! My 4-month-old baby is inside!'' CNN-Turk television showed one young man sobbing outside a collapsed building in Van, the provincial capital. Search and rescue teams were using electrical generator lights to help the search for trapped victims as the night fell. "An eight-storey apartment collapsed," a local from Ercis told AFP. "There are efforts to rescue people but the loss is big. I myself saw three to four dead," he added. Most people are expected to spend the night outdoors, with the temperature expected to dip to 3C. "People are panicked. The telecommunication services have collapsed. We cannot reach anybody," Bekir Kaya, the mayor of Van, told NTV television. Do you have family or friends affected by the quake? Contact our newsdesk on (03) 9292 1226 or email news@heraldsun.com.au Turkey's state-run television TRT said a group of inmates escaped from a prison after the earthquake struck. It gave no other detail and it was not immediately known how many had fled. Turkish scientists estimated that up to 1,000 people could already be dead, basing the calculation on low local housing standards and the size of the quake. Up to 80 buildings collapsed in Ercis, including a dormitory, and 10 buildings collapsed in Van, the Turkish Red Crescent said. Some highways also caved in, CNN-Turk television reported. Hundreds of injured people were treated at the state hospital in Ercis, NTV television said. Survivors in Ercis complained of a lack of heavy machinery to remove chunks of cement floors that pancaked onto each other. "There are so many dead. Several buildings have collapsed. There is too much destruction,'' Ercis Mayor Zulfikar Arapoglu told NTV. ``We need urgent aid. We need medics.'' In Van, terrified residents spilled into the streets screaming. Rescue workers and residents scrambled, using only their hands and basic shovels, to save those who were trapped. Residents sobbed outside the ruins of one flattened eight-story building, hoping that missing relatives would be rescued. Witnesses said eight people were pulled from the rubble, but frequent aftershocks were hampering search efforts, CNN-Turk reported. One teenage girl was pulled out of the building by the late evening. Rescuers tied steel rods around large concrete swabs which they then lifted with heavy machinery, Dogan news agency video footage showed. Residents in Van and Ercis lit camp fires, preparing to spend the night outdoors. US scientists recorded eight aftershocks within three hours of the quake, including two with a magnitude of 5.6. Serious damage and casualties were also reported in the district of Celebibag, near Ercis. "There are many people under the rubble," Veysel Keser, mayor of Celebibag, told NTV. "People are in agony, we can hear their screams for help. We need urgent help." He said many buildings had collapsed, including student dormitories, hotels and gas stations. Nazmi Gur, a legislator from Van, was at his nephew's funeral when the quake struck. The funeral ceremony was cut short and he rushed back to help with rescues. "At least six buildings had collapsed. We managed to rescue a few people, but I saw at least five bodies,'' Gur told The Associated Press by telephone. "There is no coordinated rescue at the moment, everyone is doing what they can." "It was such a powerful temblor. It lasted for such a long time," Gur said. "(Now) there is no electricity, there is no heating, everyone is outside in the cold." Many residents fled Van to seek shelter with relatives in nearby villages. "I am taking my family to our village, our house was fine but there were cracks in our office building," Sahabettin Ozer, 47, said by telephone as he drove to the village of Muradiye. NTV said Van's airport was damaged and planes were being diverted to neighbouring cities. Authorities had no information yet on remote villages but the governor was touring the region by helicopter and the government sent in tents, field kitchens and blankets. Some in Ercis reported shortages of bread, Turkey's staple food, due to damages to bakeries. Houses also collapsed in the province of Bitlis, where an 8-year-old girl was killed, authorities said, and the quake toppled the minarets of two mosques in the nearby province of Mus. There was no immediate information about a recently restored 10th century Armenian church, Akdamar Church, which is perched on a rocky island in the nearby Lake Van. Mr Erdogan has flown to eastern Turkey to see for himself the devastation wrought by the earthquake. A statement from the national disaster body, based in Mr Erdogan's office, said "there is serious human and material loss." Turkey lies in one of the world's most active seismic zones and is crossed by numerous fault lines. Lake Van, where Sunday's earthquake hit, is the country's most earthquake-prone region. The Kandilli observatory, Turkey's main seismography center, said Sunday's quake was capable of killing many people. "We are estimating a death toll between 500 and 1,000," Mustafa Erdik, head of the Kandilli observatory, told a televised news conference. The earthquake also shook buildings in neighboring Armenia and Iran. In the Armenian capital of Yerevan, 160km from Ercis, people rushed into the streets fearing buildings would collapse but no damage or injuries were immediately reported. Armenia was the site of a devastating earthquake in 1988 that killed 25,000 people. Sunday's quake caused panic among residents in several Iranian towns close to the Turkish border, and cut phone links and caused cracks in buildings in the city of Chaldoran, Iranian state TV reported. The quake was also felt in the northeastern Iranian towns of Salmas, Maku, Khoi but no damage was immediately reported. An injured man is hauled from the rubble. Picture: AFP A Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said the Australian embassy in Ankara was urgently liasing with Turkish authorities to check whether any Australians had been affected by the earthquake. " Our travel advisory for Turkey advises that it is in an active earthquake zone," she said. "If you have any concerns for the welfare of family and friends in eastern Turkey, you should first attempt to contact them directly. If you are unable to contact them and still hold concerns for their welfare, you should call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre of 1 300 555 135 (option 6)." US leaders conveyed their condolences to the families of the victims and offered assistance. "We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Turkish ally in this difficult time, and are ready to assist the Turkish authorities,'' President Barack Obama said. Israeli President Shimon Peres telephoned Turkish President Abdullah Gul to offer assistance. "Israel shares in your sorrow," Peres said in a statement. "Israel is ready to render any assistance that may be required anywhere in Turkey, at any time." The offer came despite a rift in relations following an 2010 Israeli navy raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine Turks dead. Greece, which has a deep dispute with Turkey over the divided island of Cyprus, also offered to send in a special earthquake rescue team. Turkey sees frequent earthquakes. In 1999, two earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 7 struck northwestern Turkey, killing about 18,000 people. More recently, a 6.0-magnitude quake in March 2010 killed 51 people in eastern Turkey, while in 2003, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake killed 177 people in the southeastern city of Bingol. Turkey's worst earthquake in the last century came in 1939 in the eastern city of Erzincan, causing an estimated 160,000 deaths. Istanbul, Turkey's largest city with more than 12 million people, lies in northwestern Turkey near a major fault line. Authorities say Istanbul is ill-prepared for a major earthquake and experts have warned that overcrowding and faulty construction could lead to the deaths of more than 40,000 people if a major earthquake struck the city.
  2. The Pom Queen

    Deadly Pigeon Virus hits Victoria

    Federal authorities have begun quarantining properties in Victoria amid fears a deadly pigeon virus could spread to other birds. The Agriculture Department is monitoring an outbreak of the avian paramyxo virus, which has been detected for the first time in Australia, among pigeons. The virus has already started killing some hobby birds, and threatens to spread to Victoria's chicken population. The commercial poultry industry vaccinates chickens. The Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp says the affected birds have died suddenly in large numbers and have sometimes appeared tired or have shown neurological signs such as circling or head flicking before death. The bug can also cause conjunctivitis or influenza-like symptoms in humans. But Dr Schipp says this is extremely rare and only usually occurs in people who have had close direct contact with infected birds. Greater Melbourne Pigeon Federation spokesman John Cocks says measures are being taken to stop its spread. "They (the Agriculture Department) have the affected properties under quarantine," he said. "[it's] not racing pigeons that it has been detected in, it's only fancy pigeons. "And the problem is that we don't want it to get to the racing pigeons. For them to just die like that would be a disaster." Mr Cocks says bird owners are hopeful the virus can be contained. "For us blokes, it would be devastating. I mean blokes pay a lot of money for their pigeons - thousands of dollars," he said. "There is a vaccine available overseas, but it isn't available in Australia." Victoria's Department of Primary Industries (DPI) wants pigeon racing to stop while it deals with the outbreak. The deputy chief veterinary officer, Andrew Cameron, says it is strongly recommended that pigeon races and shows are postponed. "It is important at this stage that people are able to protect their pigeons and I think the best way, if you've got a healthy flock, is by not exposing them to other pigeons, while we're attempting to determine the scope of the incident," he said.
  3. This is a big one Courier Mail | Latest Brisbane and Queensland QLD news | CourierMail
  4. tracy123

    Hosepipe ban hits North West

    Hosepipe ban looms for north-west England | UK news | guardian.co.uk
  5. Interesting: The Queensland population counter tipped 4,444,444 people at 4.44am :goofy: Unlucky for some: Queensland's population hits 4,444,444