Tag Archives: disaster

Barack Obama Defends His Jeans

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Barack Obama Defends His Jeans

Barack Obama admits when it comes to denim, he’s a disaster.

Appearing on Monday’s Today show, he responded to good natured criticism he received for the bleached and baggy “dad jeans” he wore to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in St. Louis July 14.

“You are married to one of the most fashionable women in the world,” Meredith Vieira noted. “Do you want to defend the pants?”

Replied Obama, “Michelle, she looks fabulous. I am a little frumpy. Up until a few years ago, I only had four suits. She used to tease me because they would get really shiny.”

“I hate to shop,” he then added. “Those jeans are comfortable, and for those of you who want your president to look great in his tight jeans, I’m sorry — I’m not the guy. It just doesn’t fit me. I’m not 20.”

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China quake survivors spend second night in freezing cold

Battling bitingly cold weather and a lack of oxygen, rescue workers clawed with their bare hands through the rubble of homes and schools toppled by the 6.9 magnitude quake that hit Yushu county in Qinghai province on Wednesday.

Officials said medical teams and supplies such as tents and quilts were on their way to the zone, where doctors set up makeshift hospitals to treat victims of the deadliest quake in China in two years.

But thousands spent another night without shelter in freezing temperatures after the quake destroyed almost all the mudbrick and wooden houses in Jiegu, the local capital, and flattened schools.

“I lost my husband and I lost my house,” Gandan, a Jiegu resident, told AFP, her son and daughter at her side. All three were living in a tent with other people, with one bowl of barley to share.

“We don’t know what to do, we have no food,” she said, standing by the tent a stone’s throw from her collapsed mud and brick house.

China quake devastates stunned town

The number who perished rose to 760, including dozens of children, while 11,477 were injured, the official Xinhua news agency said, quoting rescue coordinators.

The death toll is expected to rise further, with 243 still buried, and local officials say they were short of medical supplies and large digging equipment.

“The rescue job in this disaster zone faces many difficulties,” said Miao Chonggang, of the China Earthquake Administration, which is coordinating more than 7,000 rescuers.

President Hu Jintao cut short a Latin American tour and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao postponed a trip to Southeast Asia.

Hu told a news conference in Brasilia the quake was “a huge calamity which resulted in big losses of human life”.

Chinese president calls quake ‘huge calamity’

Wen on Thursday visited the quake zone, an underdeveloped area of the Tibetan plateau known as the “Roof of the World”.

“The top priority is to save people. We will never give up even if there is only a slim hope,” Wen told a meeting at the quake-relief headquarters in Yushu, according to Xinhua.

Soldiers, police and firefighters used shovels, iron bars and bare hands to dig through the mangled piles of concrete and rubble from 15,000 toppled homes.

Foreign governments offered help as international aid officials warned that the priorities would be providing shelter, medical aid, food and water and ensuring sanitation to prevent the spread of disease.

Meanwhile tens of thousands of Internet users have been showing their solidarity with the quake victims by posting virtual flowers in online “mourning halls” and donating to appeals, Xinhua said.

Jiegu lies around 800 kilometres (500 miles) by road from the provincial capital Xining, about 4,000 metres above sea level, meaning rescue workers from outside the region struggled to cope with the lack of oxygen.

The government said electricity and phone links had been restored to dozens of towns but the difficult terrain, including deep canyons, and the bitter cold and remoteness of the area were hampering rescue efforts.

Dazed survivors told harrowing stories of loved ones crushed under their homes.

“There are 10 people in my family and only four of us escaped. One of my relatives died. All the others are buried under the rubble,” Samdrup Gyatso, 17, told Xinhua after his two-storey home crumbled.

Facts on China quake zone

Among the dead were at least 66 pupils and 10 teachers, Xinhua said, quoting local authorities, as grieving parents waited for news near the ruins of the schools, where discarded school books and clothes lay.

Xinhua said a baby boy had been born in a tent near the epicentre shortly after the quake.

“It must be the first life that came to the world after the disaster,” Huang Changmei, a doctor, told the agency.

“The baby brought hope to the ruined place.”

The devastation was reminiscent of the huge quake in May 2008 in Sichuan province, where thousands of children were among 87,000 deaths when their shoddily-constructed schools collapsed.

Schoolbooks strewn in China quake rubble as children perish

Xu Mei, of the education ministry, denied a media report that around 200 children had been buried in the ruins of a primary school in Wednesday’s quake.

In Beijing, Zou Ming, the head of the government’s disaster relief department, said nearly 40,000 tents, 120,000 articles of clothing, 120,000 quilts and food were being dispatched.

Deadly Typhoon Taiwan Hotel Collapse

TAIWAN-WEATHER-TYPHOON

Deadly Typhoon Taiwan Hotel Collapse

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TAIPEI, Taiwan A mudslide touched off by a deadly typhoon buried a remote mountain village, leaving at least 400 people unaccounted for Monday, and military rescue helicopters unable to land because of the slippery ground dropped food to desperate survivors.

Typhoon Morakot slammed Taiwan over the weekend with as much as 80 inches (two meters) of rain, inflicting the worst flooding the island has seen in at least a half-century. The storm submerged large swaths of farmland in chocolate-brown muck and swamped city streets before crossing the 112-mile-wide Taiwan Strait and hitting China, where it forced the evacuation of nearly 1 million people.

A disaster appeared to be unfolding around the isolated southern village of Shiao Lin, which was hit by a mudslide Sunday at about 6 a.m. local time — while many people were still asleep — and was cut off by land from the outside world.

Speaking to The Associated Press, a Taiwanese police official who identified himself only by his surname, Wang, said 400 people were unaccounted for in the village. Wang said 100 people had been rescued or otherwise avoided the brunt of the disaster.

One of the rescued villagers, an unidentified middle-aged man, told police that his family of 10 had been wiped out.

“They’re gone,” he said, according to a local photographer who overheard the exchange. “All gone.”
Another rescued villager, Lin Chien-chung, told the United Evening News that he believes as many as 600 people were buried in the mudslide.

“The mudslide covered a large part of the village including a primary school and many homes,” Lin was quoted as saying. “A part of the mountain above us just fell on the village.”

Lin said he and several neighbors moved to higher ground several hours before the mudslide hit because torrential rains had flooded their homes. Taiwan’s population register lists Shiao Lin as having 1,300 inhabitants, though many are believed to live elsewhere.

Under leaden gray skies, military helicopters hovered over the community, dropping food and looking for survivors. They were unable to land because of the slippery terrain. Shiao Lin was cut off after floodwaters destroyed a bridge about 8 miles (12 kilometers) away. A back road wending its way northward toward the mountain community of Alishan was also believed to be cut off, and with rain still falling in the area, the prospects for an early resumption of overland travel were poor.

Elsewhere in Taiwan, an additional 54 people were listed as missing. Authorities put the confirmed death toll in Taiwan at 14, but that seemed certain to rise. The typhoon’s path took it almost directly over the capital of Taipei, but its most destructive effects were in the heavily agricultural south and along the island’s densely foliated mountain spine. Shiao Lin is on Taiwan’s southwestern coast.

In rural Pingtung county, the rains turned rich swaths of farmland so sodden that it was difficult to distinguish them from the open sea. In the Pingtung community of Sandimen, troops maneuvered armored personnel carriers through flooded streets, plucking whole families from water-logged buildings and ferrying them to safety.

In Taitung, in the southeastern lowlands, a raging flood toppled a five-story hotel.
Anxious relatives in Taitung county begged President Ma Ying-jeou to help their loved ones.
“You must try to save my father,” cried one. “Please, I beg you to save my father.”

After pummeling Taiwan, Morakot slammed into China’s Fujian province, directly across the strait, with heavy rain and winds of 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour, according the China Meteorological Administration. At least one child died after a house collapsed in Zhejiang province.

Hundreds of villages and towns were flooded and more than 2,000 houses had collapsed, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Four people died in Zhejiang, and two other deaths were reported in Fujian and Jiangxi province, Xinhua said.
Before plowing into Taiwan, the storm hit the Philippines, where it killed 22.
In Japan, meanwhile, Typhoon Etau slammed into the western coast Monday. Twelve people were killed in raging floodwaters and landslides, and 10 others were missing, police said.

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