Tag Archives: fears

'I know what death smells like': fears Bahamas death toll will soar amid search for hundreds still missing

'I know what death smells like': fears Bahamas death toll will soar amid search for hundreds still missingThe smell of death hangs over parts of Great Abaco Island in the northern Bahamas, where relief workers on Friday sifted through the debris of shattered homes and buildings in a search expected to dramatically drive up the death toll from Hurricane Dorian. Dorian, the most powerful hurricane to ever hit the Bahamas, swept through the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island earlier this week, flattening entire neighbourhoods and knocking out key infrastructure, including airport landing strips and a hospital. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are still missing, and officials say the death toll, which currently stands at 30, is likely to rise significantly as more bodies are discovered in the ruins and floodwaters left behind by the storm. "You smell the decomposing bodies as you walk through Marsh Harbour," said Sandra Sweeting, 37, in an interview amid the wreckage on Great Abaco. "It's everywhere. There are a lot of people who aren't going to make it off this island." Some locals called the government's initial official death toll a tragic underestimate. Hurricane Dorian barrels towards US after battering Bahamas, in pictures "I work part-time in a funeral home, I know what death smells like," said Anthony Thompson, 27. "There must be hundreds. Hundreds." Asked if any of his friends or family had perished, Mr Thompson looked at the ground. "I don't want to ask, because there are people I still haven't heard from," he said. Chaotic conditions around the islands were interfering with flights and boats, hampering relief efforts. Aliana Alexis, of Haiti, stands on the concrete slab of what is left of her home after destruction from Hurricane Dorian in an area called "The Mud" at Marsh Harbour in Great Abaco Island Credit: Al Diaz/Miami Herald / AP "Obviously, we have to take care of the sick and the injured first, but we're also making preparations for the dead," Dr. Caroline Burnett-Garraway, medical chief of staff at Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, told CNN by phone. Many of those injured by the storm were being airlifted to the hospital with fractures and head injuries and suffering from trauma and dehydration, said Dr Burnett-Garraway, who expects a "second wave" of patients in the coming days. There are fears contaminated drink water will lead to outbreaks of diarrhoea and waterborne diseases, with aid organisations describing the situation for some people on Abaco as "desperate." The United Nations estimated 70,000 people were in immediate need of food, water and shelter on the islands, where looting of shops and supermarkets has been reported. Humanitarian and Disaster Relief teams, from RFA Mounts Bay, delivering aid to the Island of Great Abaco Credit: Paul Halliwell / Royal Navy The British government has allocated £1.5 million for an immediate response in the Bahamas, which includes the delivery of critical aid supplies such as water and shelter kits through a Royal Navy ship in the area. The Department for International Development has also deployed humanitarian staff and Foreign Office staff to the islands. It is estimated that several hundred British nationals live in the worst affected areas of the Bahamas. The Government said it is opening a reception centre in Nassau, the capital of the island nation, for British people who are facing difficulties in the wake of the hurricane.  Alok Sharma, the International Development Secretary,  said: "My heart goes out to all of those who have been affected by this tragedy and lost their loved ones. Anyone worried about a loved one in the Bahamas who may need UK consular help should call 0207 008 1500." A man carries bags with his clothes at his home after hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour Credit: Reuters The relief effort faces formidable logistical challenges because of the widespread destruction of Dorian, which hovered over the Bahamas for nearly two days with torrential rains and fierce winds that whipped up 12- to 18-foot storm surges. The storm made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Friday with winds of 90 miles per hour. Roy Cooper, the state's governor, said hundreds of people are stranded following a storm surge on the Outer Banks' Ocracoke Island. Mr Cooper said some 800 people had chosen to stay behind, and urged them to get to high ground. "There is significant concern about hundreds of people trapped on Ocrocoke Island," he told reporters at a news conference on Friday morning. "There are rescue teams ready as soon as they can get in." A weakened Hurricane Dorian flooded homes on the Outer Banks with a ferocity that seemed to take storm-hardened residents by surprise Credit: Steve Earley/The Virginian-Pilot via AP At least four deaths in the US southeast have so far been blamed on the storm, which has caused substantial damage in the states of North and South Carolina.  Twisters spun off by Dorian peeled away roofs and flipped trailers, and more than 250,000 homes and businesses were left without power. On Friday morning, residents and crews fanned out around downtown Charleston, scooping up the branches and leaves that littered the centuries-old streets.



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Fitch downgrades Hong Kong citing protests and China fears

Fitch downgrades Hong Kong citing protests and China fearsHong Kong’s reputation as a dependable financial hub took a hit on Friday after Fitch downgraded the city’s sovereign rating, citing ongoing protests and uncertainty caused by closer integration with the Chinese mainland. Millions of pro-democracy supporters have taken to Hong Kong’s streets for the past three months in the biggest challenge to China’s rule since the city’s handover from Britain in 1997. The sometimes violent protests have heaped pressure on Hong Kong’s economy, which had already been under pressure from the US-China trade war.



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British woman rescued in Bahamas amid fears Dorian's death toll will be 'staggering'

British woman rescued in Bahamas amid fears Dorian's death toll will be 'staggering'A British woman who had been trapped beneath the rubble for days in one of Bahama’s worst hit islands has been rescued by the Royal Navy.   The unnamed woman was taken on board a ship and stabilised before being airlifted to hospital in Nassau, the capital of the island nation, where they were receiving treatment on Thursday night. She is one of the thousands of people who were awaiting rescue on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, which have been largely flattened by Hurricane Dorian. The death toll on Thursday night stood at 30, but it is feared that it  will be significantly higher as people search for their missing loved ones. "Let me say that I believe the number (dead) will be staggering," Health Minister Duane Sands was quoted by The Nassau Guardian as telling Guardian radio. "… I have never lived through anything like this and I don’t want to live through anything like this again." The RFA Mounts Bay crew, which have been stationed in the Caribbean since June in preparation for hurricane season, have so far delivered shelter kits, ration packs and water. Damaged cars and trucks sit in a field following landfall by Hurricane Dorian, in the Bahamas Credit: Reuters The Royal Navy said its Wildcat helicopter also evacuated an American woman along with her two children and a baby to Nassau. The Wildcat will also be airlifting relief to outlying, cut off communities in liaison with the Royal Bahamian Defence Force and is stationed off Abaco. Distraught survivors described the horror of crossing unattended corpses as they made their way to safety. Hurricane Dorian barrels towards US after battering Bahamas, in pictures Ronnie Archer, 71, told The Telegraph many more of the hurricane's victims lay in the streets of Marsh Harbour, Abaco, while looters raid shops for food and water. “The morgue is full and there are bodies floating in the water,” she said after being evacuated. "A friend of mine bumped into the body of a woman which was just floating in the streets.   “There is now lots of looting happening. There are people taking rice, juice, everything they can get their hands on. I don’t know if they are armed." An aerial view of damage caused by Hurricane Dorian is seen on Great Abaco Island Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images She was at her home of 30 years when the wind started to get stronger and stronger. “I sat in the wheelchair and I watched my house drop to pieces,” she told this newspaper. “I heard a bang and I looked around and saw that the windows had blown in from the force. The next time that I looked up I saw the sky and I realised that the roof had gone.” Her family, including a seven month old granddaughter, are staying behind to see what they can save as local officials confirmed reports of rampant looting. The United Nations estimates more than 76,000 people were in need of humanitarian relief after the most damaging storm ever to hit the Bahamas. The British Humanitarian and Disaster Relief team  removing debris and providing aid assistance to the Islanders of Great Abaco Credit:  Paul Halliwell/BRITISH MINISTRY OF DEFENCE Gaylele Laing broke down in tears and embraced her niece after she was rescued from Abaco on Thursday. As a diabetic who had run out of medicine she was given a priority evacuation, but she was barely able to speak as she revealed that she had to leave her family members, including her grandchildren aged 11 and 12 behind. The Treasure Quay resident told The Telegraph through tears: “It was terrible, there is total devastation, there is nothing left. “We hid in the bathroom as the eye of the storm passed and then the water surge came. We never expected it to be that bad. We had to break the window and swim to safety. The whole family, the kids included. At that point I thought we were going to die. “We did as much as we could to prepare and if we had known it was going to be that bad we would have left Abaco, we have been though hurricanes before but nothing like this. Everything is gone.” Another survivor on the Abaco Islands, Ramond King, said he watched as swirling winds ripped the roof off his house, then churned to a neighbour's home to pluck the entire structure into the sky. Nothing is here, nothing at all. Everything is gone, just bodies," he said. A perfect storm | How climate change has made Hurricane Dorian worse Dorian continued to cause substantial damage as it hit the US coastal states of South and North Carolina on Thursday leaving 239,000 homes and businesses without power.   The US National Hurricane Centre warned it remained a category 2 hurricane with winds reaching 110mph and the risk of life-threatening storm surges, winds and flash flooding. Tornadoes spun off by Dorian's outer bands were also reported along the coast, including Emerald Isle, North Carolina, where several homes were destroyed. The beach town said on its website that the tornado hit at around 9 am on Thursday leaving dozens of mobile homes upturned and power lines down. Charleston, in South Carolina had more than 100 roads closed due to severe flooding, with up to 20 inches of rain forecast to hit the historic port city. The map appeared to have been altered with a black marker to include Alabama Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty  Meanwhile Donald Trump, the US president, was mocked for showing a map of the storm's projected path that appeared to have been altered with a black marker pen to include the state of Alabama, which was never in harm's way. Mr Trump had incorrectly claimed in a tweet at the weekend that Alabama was one of the US states that could be hit by the hurricane, leading the National Weather Service to deny that in a tweet of its own. "Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east," the National Weather Service in Alabama tweeted. When reporters later asked Mr Trump whether the chart had been altered with a pen, the president said: “I don’t know; I don’t know.” But he doubled down on his claims, saying: "I know Alabama was in the original forecast, they thought it would get a piece of it".



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Yemen President urges end of UAE strikes, fears secession

Yemen President urges end of UAE strikes, fears secessionYemen’s president urged Saudi Arabia on Thursday to rein in the United Arab Emirates after warplanes from his former ally staged airstrikes on Yemeni government troops, killing and wounding dozens as they headed to retake the key southern port city of Aden from separatists backed by the UAE. In a rare statement, President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi condemned the UAE, a former ally, for “blatant intervention” in Yemen by providing “support, money and plans” for separatists who aim at “dividing up” the country.



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Trump's top economic advisers try to calm recession fears

Trump's top economic advisers try to calm recession fearsWhite House trade adviser Peter Navarro and chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow rattled off a list of positive statistics about the economy under Trump.



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Fears in US of bad peace deal with the Taliban

Fears in US of bad peace deal with the TalibanAn Afghanistan peace agreement that the US seems close to reaching with the Taliban has prompted worries that President Donald Trump’s desire to quickly withdraw US troops could further plunge the country into civil war. Trump said Friday he was pleased with talks on ending the war, 18 years after the September 11, attacks that prompted the US invasion of Afghanistan in the first place. In recent days several US officials have suggested that an accord could be imminent in discussions with the Taliban in Qatar.



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Ai Weiwei fears 'Tiananmen' crackdown in Hong Kong

Ai Weiwei fears 'Tiananmen' crackdown in Hong KongWatching the Hong Kong protests from afar, Chinese dissident-artist Ai Weiwei fears the worst, warning of a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing. China “is a society which sacrifices anything to maintain its control,” he warned. Ai’s bleak warning comes after two months of protests that have turned increasingly violent, and as Beijing has massed security forces nearby on the mainland in a show of force.



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Hong Kong Airport Beatings Shows Protesters’ Fears Running Wild

Hong Kong Airport Beatings Shows Protesters’ Fears Running Wild(Bloomberg) — The beatings of two men during a tense rally at Hong Kong’s airport highlights protesters’ growing fear of mainland intervention, as well as the risk that demonstrators’ violent tactics could undermine support for their movement.An otherwise peaceful sit-in at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday turned ugly when protesters attacked and detained a man they suspected of being a security agent from the nearby mainland city of Shenzhen posing as a demonstrator. Such a deployment, if true, could represent a violation of the charter that guaranteed Hong Kong’s autonomous criminal justice system before its return to Chinese rule in 1997.For hours, the attackers ignored pleas from fellow demonstrators and reporters to let the man be taken for medical attention — ostensibly so they could prove his identity — and put a sign on his chest saying “I am China’s police.” The group subsequently restrained and struck a man later identified as a reporter for the Global Times, a newspaper published by China’s Communist Party, forcibly tying him to a luggage cart.The episodes — broadcast on live television from one of Asia’s busiest airports — illustrated protesters’ increasing use of violence after weeks of facing off against tear gas, rubber bullets and undercover officers sent into rallies. The police tactics have been repeatedly endorsed by the Chinese government and state-run media like the Global Times, whose editor-in-chief warned Monday that the chances of intervention were rising while commenting on a video of paramilitary forces assembling in Shenzhen.China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office issued a statement Wednesday saying protesters at the airport “acted like terrorists” and it would support any local government effort to punish those responsible. Hong Kong police subsequently said the crimes were serious, but didn’t amount to terrorism.The incidents also drew criticism among the opposition: Calls for a code of conduct for front-line protesters, including no beating medical personnel or journalists, circulated on popular social media forums.The Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong issued a statement expressing “grave concern” about the beating of the Global Times reporter and urged restraint from protesters. “Attacks on members of the media doing their job are unacceptable, regardless of the allegiance or views of the perpetrators,” the club said.‘Very Paranoid’Opposition lawmaker Fernando Cheung, who helped negotiate the journalist’s release, said the detentions were “totally not acceptable,” though he blamed police tactics for undermining public trust in the government.“It’s extremely unfortunate that protesters have resorted to such behavior, because the whole campaign, the whole movement was about protecting our safety and liberty in Hong Kong,” Cheung said Wednesday. “The situation has become so chaotic, with the deployment of decoys, that people are very paranoid. And it’s come to a point where the whole situation could be ignited, with more confrontations and possibly more casualties.”The South China Morning Post newspaper reported last month, citing an unnamed government adviser, that the central government’s strategy was to pressure protesters into revealing their intentions and “lure the snake from its hole.”While the airport was quiet Wednesday night, police fired tear gas at protesters in Sham Shui Po district, the site of previous scuffles. A group that gathered to burn incense and sacrificial gifts on the road for what is known as the Hungry Ghost festival attempted to hand the gifts to police, sparking a brief standoff. This week’s airport chaos followed an unverified report last week that Chinese authorities, rather than deploying the military, had secretly sent mainland security officers to supplement Hong Kong’s roughly 30,000-member police force. The Hong Kong police issued a statement Aug. 8 denying the claim as “just another wild rumor to confuse the public and generate conflicts in the society.”While Hong Kong is part of China, its Basic Law tightly restricts mainland government agencies from interfering in local affairs, one of several provisions credited with preserving the city’s status as global financial center. Anxiety over the erosion of such legal firewalls has been at the center of the protests, since more than a million people took to the streets in June to oppose a now-suspended bill allowing the transfer of criminal suspects to the mainland.“There are strict provisions that departments of the Chinese government cannot interfere in Hong Kong affairs,” said Danny Gittings, author of “Introduction to the Hong Kong Basic Law.” “So, if somebody is concurrently an officer in a mainland organization — in other words, is serving in a mainland police force — and is seconded to Hong Kong law enforcement agencies, there might be an argument that that constitutes such interference.”At the airport Wednesday, protesters displayed what they said were mainland identity cards and two wooden sticks found on the first beaten man. They cited a Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau website mentioning the same name to justify their suspicions. Hong Kong police on Wednesday confirmed the man was from the mainland but provided no other details on his identity.Afterward, they similarly posted photos of an “I Love HK Police” T-shirt they said was taken from the Global Times journalist’s bag after he attempted to film their scuffles with the first man. The paper’s chief editor, Hu Xijin, confirmed in a tweet that the man was one of his reporters and said “he has no other task except for reporting.”(Updates with late night scuffle in a Hong Kong district, tear gas used.)\–With assistance from Sebastian Chau, Fion Li, Natalie Lung and Jinshan Hong.To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Shawna Kwan in Hong Kong at wkwan35@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Chinese Uighur refugee fears deportation from Turkey

Chinese Uighur refugee fears deportation from TurkeyA Chinese Muslim refugee has told AFP he is terrified he may be sent back to China after being detained in a deportation centre near Istanbul for more than two months. The Uighur community in northwest China has faced an intense crackdown in recent years, with an estimated one million mostly Muslim ethnic minorities held in internment camps that Beijing calls “vocational education centres”. Turkey has been the only Muslim-majority nation to criticise China’s policies and offered refuge to tens of thousands of Uighur refugees.



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Goldman Sachs economists say fears rise that U.S.-China trade war leading to recession

Goldman Sachs economists say fears rise that U.S.-China trade war leading to recession"We expect tariffs targeting the remaining $ 300bn of U.S. imports from China to go into effect," the bank said in a note sent to clients. U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Aug. 1 that he would impose a 10% tariff on a final $ 300 billion worth of Chinese imports on Sept. 1, prompting China to halt purchases of U.S. agricultural products. China denies that it has manipulated the yuan for competitive gain.



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