New Delhi, Oct 13 (AP/UNB) — An official says 12 people are feared dead in a cyclone shelter swamped by a landslide caused by heavy rains in eastern India.
Krishan Kumar, a spokesman for the National Disaster Response Force, says relief officials have rushed to the remote area in Gajapati district in Orissa state. The landslide hit on Friday, a day after a severe cyclone that caused heavy rains in parts of eastern India.
The villagers moved to the shelter to escape the fury of Cyclone Titli, which whipped up wind speeds of up to 150 kilometers (95 miles) per hour.
At least eight people were killed in Andhra Pradesh state and one in Orissa state on Thursday when the cyclone damaged homes and blew down trees and power poles.
Kathmandu, Oct 13 (AP/UNB) — Seven people, including South Korean climbers, were killed and two more are missing on Gurja Himal mountain after a strong storm swept through their base camp, Nepalese police said Saturday.
A storm Friday night destroyed their camp and two rescue helicopters sent early Saturday were unable to land because of bad weather conditions on the mountain, said police official Bir Bahadur Budamagar.
Villagers who reached base camp Saturday afternoon found the bodies of four South Korean climbers, two Nepalese guides and another person yet to be identified, while the search was continuing for two more, Budamagar said. There were five South Korean climbers and four Nepalese guides in the camp when the strong storm hit.
It was unlikely the weather would clear on Saturday and helicopter flights were likely to be possible only on Sunday.
A police team was heading toward the base camp on foot and will likely reach there on Sunday, Budamagar said.
The climbers were attempting to scale the 7,193-meter (23,590-foot) peak during the autumn climbing season.
Gopalpur, Oct 11 (AP/UNB) — A severe cyclone damaged homes and blew down trees and power poles Thursday in eastern India, where eight people were killed and about 300,000 forced to move to higher ground.
Cyclone Titli, or Butterfly, had winds blowing up to 150 kilometers per hour (95 mph) when it came onshore, the India Meteorological Department said. It spread rain widely in coastal districts of Orissa state and also hit northern parts of neighboring Andhra Pradesh state.
Eight people died from drowning, wall collapses and fallen trees in the Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam districts of Andhra Pradesh, said Kinjarapu Acchan Naidu, the state labor minister.
Schools were closed and air and train travel curtailed in the region. Authorities also set up more than 800 shelters stocked with food and relief materials.
Electricity and telephone services were cut in a number of areas in both states.
The cyclone was likely to weaken further and become a deep depression by Friday, the meteorological department said.
Orissa state is prone to cyclones which develop in the Bay of Bengal. In 1999, a devastating cyclone killed more than 15,000 people.
Bangladesh's coastal districts were also warned to prepare for possible storm effects there. Boats were ordered ashore and inland ferries were told to suspend services.
Palu, Oct 11 (AP/UNB) — An earthquake collapsed homes on Indonesia's Java island, killing at least three people, and shook the tourist hotspot of Bali on Thursday, two weeks after a major quake-tsunami disaster in a central region of the archipelago.
Indonesia's disaster agency said the nighttime quake was centered at sea, 55 kilometers (34 miles) northeast of Situbondo city, and also felt in Lombok. The U.S. Geological Survey said it had a 6.0 magnitude.
The agency said the worst affected area was in Sumenep district, East Java where three people died in one village and several homes were damaged.
It said "the earthquake was felt quite strongly by people in Sumenep and Situbondo for 2-5 seconds. People poured out of their houses. In other areas the earthquake was felt to be moderate."
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are holding annual meetings on Bali through Sunday.
Some tourists and residents on Bali went outdoors as a precaution but then back to sleep when there was no tsunami warning.
The country is still working to recover from the earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 2,000 people and left perhaps thousands more buried deeply in mud in some neighborhoods of Palu city in central Sulawesi.
Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said Wednesday the death toll from the double disaster on Sept. 28 has risen to 2,045, with most of the fatalities in the coastal city of Palu. More than 80,000 people are living in temporary shelters or otherwise displaced, he said.
Possibly 5,000 people were buried in places where the earthquake caused liquefaction, a phenomenon where wet soil weakens and collapses, becoming mud that sucks houses and everything else into the ground in a quicksand-like effect. Stretches of the coastline were trashed by the tsunami that Nugroho said had waves up to 11 meters (36 feet) high.
The official search for bodies will end Thursday with mass prayers in hard-hit neighborhoods, but Nugroho said volunteers and family members can continue searching. Memorials will be constructed in hard-hit neighborhoods such as Balaroa and Petobo, he said at a news conference in Jakarta.
"People are traumatized. They don't want to go back" to those places, Nugroho said. "They asked to be relocated to another place and a house made for them."
After making a rare appeal for international assistance, Indonesia is now trying to limit foreign involvement in the disaster relief effort. Nugroho said there's no need for international aid other than the four priorities identified by Indonesia — tents, water treatment units, generators and transport.
The disaster agency has circulated guidelines that say foreign aid workers can be in the field only with Indonesian partners. Groups that sent foreign personnel to the disaster zone are "advised to retrieve their personnel immediately," according to those guidelines.
Kuala Lumpur, Oct 11 (AP/UNB) — Malaysia's government reportedly plans to abolish the death penalty for all crimes and halt all pending executions.
Local media reported Law Minister Liew Vui Keong announced Wednesday that the Cabinet had agreed to abolish the death penalty and that the bills to do so would be tabled when Parliament resumes Monday.
Human rights groups hailed the decision. Amnesty International on Thursday called it a major advance but urged the government to ensure the abolition is complete.
More than 1,200 people are on Malaysia's death row, and execution by hanging is mandatory for murder, drug trafficking, treason and other crimes.
Amnesty said the move by the new government that won May's election is encouraging but urged the government to "completely abolish the death penalty for all crimes, with no exceptions."