Mozambique, Apr 28 (AP/UNB) — Mozambique's government urged many people to immediately seek higher ground on Saturday in the wake of Cyclone Kenneth, fearing flooding and mudslides in the days ahead as heavy rain lashed the region.
At least five people were killed, the government said. Mozambique's disaster management agency said one person had died in Pemba city and another in hard-hit Macomia district, while residents on Ibo island said two people died there. Details on the fifth death were not immediately available.
Aerial photos showed some communities nearly flattened by the storm. About 3,500 homes in parts of the country's northernmost Cabo Delgado province were partially or fully destroyed, with electricity cut, some roads blocked and at least one key bridge collapsed. Some schools and health centers were damaged. Nearly 700,000 people could be at risk, many left exposed and hungry as waters rise.
"There's a very intense strip of destruction where the wind first made impact in coastal districts," Nicholas Finney, response team leader with the aid group Save the Children, told The Associated Press after visiting Macomia district. The team found people in shock in a region where a cyclone had never been recorded in the modern age.
Terrified children and traumatized parents "face a huge task to start to rebuild," he said.
Rain is forecast over the next several days, and Mozambique's meteorological authority said the storm could potentially move back out to sea and intensify again, Finney added. "It doesn't look good, quite honestly," he said of the risk of flooding.
As water levels rose, Mozambican authorities asked residents of Mecufi and Chiure districts and parts of Macomia and Muidumbe districts to immediately seek higher ground. Some rivers in the region have burst their banks in the past, notably in 2000.
Cyclone Kenneth arrived late Thursday, just six weeks after Cyclone Idai ripped into central Mozambique and killed more than 600 people. This was the first time in recorded history that the southern African nation has been hit by two cyclones in one season, again raising concerns about climate change .
The remnants of Kenneth, which packed the power of a Category 4 hurricane, could dump twice as much rain as Idai did last month, the U.N. World Program has said. Some forecasts warned of as much as 250 millimeters (9 inches) of torrential rain, or about a quarter of the average annual rainfall for the region.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported heavy damage to Cabo Delgado province, with the communities of Macomia, Quissanga and Mocimboa da Praia of highest concern.
"Too many small communities are completely destroyed, not a single house is standing anymore," Saviano Abreu, a spokesman with the U.N. humanitarian agency, told reporters after an aerial assessment. "This will be a very complex humanitarian operation."
Communications were challenging in some areas as authorities and aid groups scrambled to assess the damage, especially in more far-flung communities in the largely rural region. On hard-hit Ibo island alone more than 4,000 houses were damaged, administrator Issa Tarmamade told Mozambique's disaster management agency.
"The situation wasn't worse thanks to awareness-raising work by local authorities," the agency said while posting photos of buildings where metal roofs had been crumpled or ripped away. Other photos from Macomia showed a mud-walled home that had disintegrated, a bus that appeared to have slid off the road and a toppled electrical pole, its wires straining.
People left homeless tried to patch together shelters from the rain.
"I'm looking for someone to lend me a porch so I can clean it up and stay with my family," one Macomia resident, Wild Eusebio, told the Portuguese news agency Lusa.
Another family of 13 people, including eight children, was living in an improvised plastic tent, the report said.
Poway, Apr 28 (AP/UNB) — A 19-year-old gunman opened fire inside a synagogue near San Diego as worshippers celebrated the last day of a major Jewish holiday, killing a woman and wounding the rabbi and two others Saturday, authorities said.
President Donald Trump and other elected officials decried what they called an anti-Semitic attack exactly six months since 11 people were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue in the deadliest assault on Jews in U.S. history.
There were indications an AR-type assault weapon might have malfunctioned after the gunman, identified as John Earnest, fired numerous rounds inside the Chabad of Poway, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said.
An off-duty Border Patrol agent working as a security guard fired at the shooter as he ran away, missing him but striking his getaway vehicle, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said.
Shortly after fleeing, Earnest called 911 to report the shooting, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said. When an officer reached him on a roadway, “the suspect pulled over, jumped out of his car with his hands up and was immediately taken into custody,” Nisleit said.
The sheriff said a girl and two men, including the rabbi, were wounded as the Jewish congregation gathered for Passover, a weeklong commemoration of the deliverance of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. The three were in stable condition at hospitals.
A shooting at a synagogue outside San Diego where worshippers were celebrating the last day of Passover sent four people to the hospital Saturday, but the extent of their injuries was not clear, officials said. (April 27)
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Earnest has no criminal record, but investigators were looking into a claim he made in an online manifesto about setting a fire at a mosque in nearby Escondido last month, Gore said. There was damage but no injuries.
Gore said authorities were reviewing copies of his social media posts and were investigating the attack as a possible hate crime in the city of Poway, just over 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of San Diego.
A person identifying themselves as John Earnest posted an anti-Jewish screed online about an hour before the attack. The poster described himself as a nursing school student and praised the suspects accused of carrying out deadly attacks on mosques in New Zealand last month and at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue Oct. 27.
California State University, San Marcos, confirmed Earnest was a student on the dean’s list and said the school was “dismayed and disheartened” that he was suspected in “this despicable act.”
There was no known threat after Earnest was arrested, but authorities boosted patrols at places of worship as a precaution, police said.
Minoo Anvari, a member of the synagogue, told media outlets that her husband was inside during the shooting. She said he called to tell her the shooter was shouting and cursing.
Mexico City, Apr 28 (AP/UNB) — Mexican immigration authorities say they have returned 104 migrants by plane to Honduras.
The flight back to Honduras on Saturday came amid pressure on Mexico from the government of President Donald Trump to clamp down on migration to the U.S.
Mexican officials are now sorting through a backlog of petitions for transit or humanitarian visas in southern Mexico. Frustrated by long waits for visas and overcrowding at shelters, many migrants are opting to continue north without Mexico's blessing.
The National Migration Institute said that more than 600 Cuban nationals broke out of the Siglo XXI migration station in Tapachula, Chiapas on Thursday. The civil servants manning the station are unarmed, the institute said.
London, Apr 23 (AP/UNB) — The World Health Organization says Malawi has become the first country to begin immunizing children against malaria, using the only licensed vaccine to protect against the mosquito-spread disease.
Although the vaccine only protects about one-third of children who are immunized, those who get the shots are likely to have less severe cases of malaria. The parasitic disease kills about 435,000 people every year, the majority of them children under 5 in Africa.
"It's an imperfect vaccine but it still has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives," said Alister Craig, dean of biological sciences at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, who was not linked to WHO or to the vaccine. Craig said immunizing the most vulnerable children during peak malaria seasons could spare many thousands of children from falling ill with malaria or even dying.
The vaccine, known as Mosquirix, was developed by GlaxoSmithKline and was approved by the European Medicines Agency in 2015. A previous trial showed the vaccine was about 30% effective in children who got four doses, but that protection waned over time. Reported side effects include pain, fever and convulsions.
WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the new program, noting progress has "stalled and even reversed" in the ongoing fight against malaria. In the coming weeks, WHO said similar vaccination programs would begin in Kenya and Ghana together with other partners and that they aimed to reach about 360,000 children across the three countries. GSK is donating up to 10 million vaccine doses.
Other experts warned the vaccination programs should not divert limited public health funds from inexpensive and proven tools to curb malaria, like bednets and insecticides.
"This is a bold thing to do, but it's not a silver bullet," said Thomas Churcher, a malaria expert at Imperial College London. "As long as using the vaccine doesn't interfere with other efforts, like the urgent new for new insecticides, it is a good thing to do."
Craig noted one of health officials' biggest challenges could be convincing parents to bring their children for repeated doses of a vaccine that only protects about a third of children for a limited amount of time.
More commonly used vaccines, like those for polio and measles, work more than 90 percent of the time.
"This malaria vaccine is going to save many lives, even if it is not as good as we would like," Craig said. "But I hope this will kick-start other research efforts so that the story doesn't end here."
Tripoli, April 22 (Xinhua/UNB)- A total of 254 people have been killed and 1,228 others injured in the fighting between the UN-backed Libyan government and the east-based army in and around the capital Tripoli so far, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday.
"In the past week, WHO Libya specialized emergency medical teams in frontline hospitals handled 89 major and 63 surgeries. Our teams are bringing in additional help for these hospitals," WHO tweeted later Sunday.
Earlier on Sunday, WHO said that more than 20,000 people were forced to flee their homes since the armed conflict started.
The east-based army, led by Khalifa Haftar, has been leading a military campaign since early April to take over Tripoli where the UN-backed government is based.
Libya has been struggling to make a democratic transition amid insecurity and chaos ever since the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.