Heavy rains submerged roads and shut down a major airport in southern India on Tuesday, where at least five people, including a child, were killed in the flooding and the havoc hours before a severe cyclone was due to make landfall.
Cyclone Michaung is expected to hit the coast of Andhra Pradesh state around 11 am local time (0530 GMT), the weather office said, gusting in with winds of up to 110 kph (70 mph).
Parts of the state are expected to be pelted with more than 200 mm (8 inches) of rain over the next 24 hours, the weather office said, and at least 8,000 people have been evacuated.
A 4-year-old boy died in Tirupati district after a wall fell, C Nagaraju, executive director of the state’s disaster management authority said, while four people were killed in neighbouring Tamil Nadu state on Monday, officials said.
In Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai, a major electronics and manufacturing hub, floodwaters swept away cars and submerged a runway, triggering the shutdown of one of India’s busiest airports until Tuesday morning.
Photos in local media showed grounded planes with submerged wheels. The rains and winds also snapped power lines and uprooted trees, officials said.
Taiwan’s Foxconn (2317.TW) and Pegatron (4938.TW) halted Apple (AAPL.O) iPhone production at their facilities near Chennai due to heavy rains, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.
In December 2015, floods in Tamil Nadu killed at least 290 people and caused widespread damage.
Reuters.Com: World News | Latest Top Stories | Reporting by Jatindra Dash, Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; editing by Miral Fahmy
India’s health ministry has ordered a probe into Apollo Hospital Delhi, part of largest private hospital chain Apollo Hospitals (APLH.NS), after media reports linked it to the illegal sale by Myanmar nationals of their kidneys for organ transplants.
The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO), which falls under the health ministry, has asked Delhi Health Secretary S B Deepak Kumar to “get the matter examined, take appropriate action … and furnish an action-taken report within a week”, according to a letter seen by Reuters.
A committee was being formed to probe the matter and details of donors and patients have been sought from the hospital, Kumar told local media. Reuters was unable to reach Kumar.
Apollo Hospitals did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Indraprastha Medical Corp (IMCL.NS), an associate of Apollo which manages its two hospitals in the capital region of Delhi, said it had initiated an inquiry into the matter and called the allegations against it “absolutely false, ill-informed and misleading”.
A report in Britain’s Telegraph accused Apollo of being embroiled in a “cash for kidneys” scandal in which young villagers from Myanmar were being flown to its Delhi hospital and enticed to sell their kidneys to rich Burmese patients.
The Myanmar government did not respond to Reuters request for comment.
Chennai-based chain Apollo, which runs over 70 hospitals across India, performed 1,641 solid organ transplants in 2022, according to company data. The hospital also treats foreign patients who fly into India.
World News | Latest Top Stories | Reuters.Com Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Rishika Sadam; editing by Miral Fahmy
AceBreakingNews – The BJP has swept polls in three central Indian states in regional elections held last month, ousting the opposition Congress party in two of them India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has won regional elections in three out of five states where legislative assembly elections were held in November, according to the polling results announced on Sunday night.
The BJP has returned to power in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and ousted the Congress, India’s main opposition party, in two other heartland states – Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Congress, at the same time, emerged a winner in southern Telangana state, which has been ruled by a regional party Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) since 2014.
The vote counting was conducted on Sunday in all the four states, while in Mizoram, the fifth state that went to polls last month, was postponed to Monday, given it is a Christian-majority state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that the assembly election results are a win for the two key concepts promoted by his government – self-reliant India (‘Aatmanirbharta’) and “development for all” (‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’).Addressing party workers at the BJP headquarters in the national capital as the vote counting was still on, PM called the saffron party’s victory in assembly elections “historic and unprecedented”.
“ This hattrick of victories has given the guarantee for the 2024 hattrick,” he added, referring to the upcoming general elections next year, where he will seek a third consecutive term. Modi suggested that the results of the latest state elections, that are touted as a ‘semifinal’ ahead of next year’s national polls, indicate that a third term next year is guaranteed. “The results … indicate that the people of India are firmly with politics of good governance and development, which the BJP stands for,” PM posted on X. We bow to the Janta Janardan.
The results in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan indicate that the people of India are firmly with politics of good governance and development, which the @BJP4India stands for.
I thank the people of these states for their unwavering…— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 3, 2023 Meanwhile, in Telangana, BRS leadership has accepted the defeat before the votes counting process was completed.
Working president of the party and Minister K.T. Rama Rao took to a social media platform on December 3 afternoon, stating that the party is “grateful to the people of Telangana for giving two consecutive terms of governance”.
Exit polls have initially presented divided opinions, with some favoring the BJP in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, while others suggested an advantage for the Congress in both Telangana and Chhattisgarh.
Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Nov.28: 2023: Additional reporting by BBC Gujarati’s Daxesh Shah and Roxy Gagdekar Chhara: TELEGRAM Ace Daily News Link https://t.me/+PuI36tlDsM7GpOJe
The weather damaged houses and killed livestock across western Gujarat state.
Storms are unusual in Gujarat during winter, meteorologists said, and the fierce downpour caught many off guard.
Flash floods and lightning strikes kill thousands of people in India each year. Scientists are warning that rising global temperatures are fuelling a surge in extreme weather events.
Rising land and sea surface temperatures warm the air above and make more energy available to drive thunderstorms from where lightning emanates.
Rain and hailstorms were expected to continue in western India on Monday.
At least 18 of the 24 deaths were attributed to the lightning strikes, officials said in a statement late on Sunday.
Gujarat state was hit by heavy rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms and hailstorms on Sunday and Monday, with some areas receiving up to 144mm (5.7 inches) of rain in 24 hours, Reuters news agency reported citing state government data.
The collision of three weather systems over Gujarat caused the lightning strikes, according to Manorama Mohanty, head of the Indian Metrological Department in Ahmedabad.
“These are the easterly winds flowing from the Arabian Sea, the Western Disturbance over the Western Himalayas and the Cyclonic Circulation over South Gujarat,” Ms Mohanty told BBC Gujarati.
India’s Home Minister Amit Shah said he was “deeply saddened” by the deaths, adding that local authorities were engaging in relief work.
Farmer Yogesh Patel, 42, died on his farm when lightning hit a tree he was sheltering under in heavy rain.
Shantilal Patel, a close family friend, told the BBC that Mr Patel is survived by his three children and a wife.
“He was in his farm below a tree when the lightning hit him. When we saw his body, it seemed that the mobile phone in his left pocket of shirt was blasted due to lightning which killed him on the spot,” she said.
In India, lightning strikes killed more than 100,000 people between 1967 and 2019, according to official data. This is more than a third of fatalities caused by natural hazards during this period.
India recorded more than 18 million lightning strikes between April 2020 and March 2021, according to a study by the non-profit Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council. This was a 34% rise over a similar period during the previous year.
AceBreakingNews – UPDATE – All 41 construction workers who were trapped in a collapsed mountain tunnel in northern India for more than two weeks have been pulled out, bringing an end to a drawn-out rescue mission that had grabbed the world’s attention for days.
A crowd of local residents, gathered around the tunnel, erupted in joy and shouted slogans of “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, or “Long live mother India,” and set off firecrackers in celebration as the men were rescued.
Officials presented the first rescued workers with garlands made of flowers, hanging them around their necks as the crowd cheered.
Nitin Gadkari, the minister of road transport and highways, said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he was “completely relieved and happy” after all workers were rescued from the Silkyara Tunnel in Uttarkashi following an ordeal that lasted 17 days.
“I am very happy that all the 41 trapped workers have come out and their lives have been saved,” he said in a video message, and added that:
“This was a well-coordinated effort by multiple agencies, marking one of the most significant rescue operations in recent years.”
The workers were pulled out through a passageway made of welded pipes that rescuers previously pushed through dirt and rocks. They will each have an initial health check-up at a temporary medical camp set up inside the 13-metre-wide tunnel.
One of the rescuers, Devender, who only gave his first name, told the New Delhi Television channel that “the trapped workers were overjoyed when they spotted us in the tunnel. Some rushed toward me and hugged me.”
The massive rescue mission had many on edge. The workers became trapped on November 12, when a landslide caused a portion of the 4.5-kilometre tunnel they were building in Uttarakhand state to collapse about 200 metres from the entrance.
They survived on food and oxygen supplied through narrow steel pipes.
Drilling by hand
Kirti Panwar, a state government spokesperson, said about a dozen men had worked overnight to manually dig through rocks and debris, taking turns to drill using hand-held drilling tools and clearing out the muck in what he said was the final stretch of the rescue operation.
Rescuers resorted to manual digging after the drilling machine broke down on Friday while drilling horizontally from the front because of the mountainous terrain of Uttarakhand.
The machine bored through about 47 metres out of approximately the 57-60 metres needed, before rescuers started to work by hand to create a passageway to evacuate the trapped workers.
By Tuesday, they had drilled through more than 58 metres . As dusk fell, families of those trapped underground gathered near the site of the accident, anxiously waiting to see their loved ones emerge from the tunnel.
Among them was Jaimal Singh who was looking forward to seeing his brother Gabbar Singh, who was trapped inside.
“Even nature looks cheerful today … the weather is good. Let’s hope this ends soon,” he told the Press Trust of India news agency, before the successful extraction.
As the operation unfolded, the trapped workers were supplied with hot meals through a 15-centimetre pipe after days of surviving only on dry food sent through a narrower pipe.
They were getting oxygen through a separate pipe, and more than a dozen doctors, including psychiatrists, were at the site, monitoring their health.
The tunnel the workers were building was designed as part of the Chardham all-weather road, which will connect various Hindu pilgrimage sites.
Some experts say the project, a flagship initiative of the Modi government, will exacerbate fragile conditions in the upper Himalayas, where several towns are built atop landslide debris.
Large numbers of pilgrims and tourists visit Uttarakhand’s many Hindu temples, with the number increasing over the years because of the continued construction of buildings and roadways.