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Heavy storms batter parts of S. Africa, killing 21 people

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Heavy storms batter parts of S. Africa, killing 21 people

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The deaths were reported in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province where heavy storms battered various parts of the province on Monday night, the provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs said in a statement.

“Last night, the weather conditions worsened significantly across KZN and the heavy rain culminated in various parts of the province, claiming at least 21 lives and 32 patients in and around Durban,’’ the statement said.

Rescue teams have been responding to the incessant rain that has wreaked untold damage on the communities, said the statement.

It said efforts are being made to minimise the impact of the storm on the residents and businesses.

The Eastern Cape and Northern Cape provinces also experienced severe weather conditions.

In Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape, serious flooding prompted the South African Air Force to dispatch helicopters to assist with rescue operations.

The flooding forced the evacuation of hundreds of people to community halls and churches since Monday.

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Heavy rains, floods leave 10 killed in southeastern Yemen: official

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At least 10 people were killed and several others injured during heavy seasonal rains and floods that hit Yemen’s southeastern province during the past 24 hours, a government official told Xinhua on Thursday.

According to the local government official who preferred to remain anonymous, “the heavy seasonal rain began late Wednesday and caused flash floodings that killed at least seven people in Hadramout and three others in the neighboring province of Shabwa.”

“Dozens of houses and civilian vehicles were flooded and livestock were washed away during the heavy seasonal rains continued throughout Thursday morning,” the source said.

He pointed out that “military helicopters of the government forces intervened to rescue several families trapped in their villages by the flooding.”

Yemen’s National Meteorological Center issued a statement on Wednesday expecting the continuation of heavy seasonal rains and thunderstorms during the upcoming hours and warned citizens to stay away from flood ducts.

The center also asked the Yemeni citizens living in mud houses in Hadramout to take necessary precautions in order to ensure their safety.

(XINHUA)

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Germany’s non-food retail sector records heavy sales losses

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Germany’s retail sector in April recorded the “strongest month-on-month decline in sales since January 2007” as nominal sales fell by 5.1 percent, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) announced on Friday.

Due to closures during the COVID-19 crisis, sales in some retail sectors continued to fall sharply although the continued “strong demand for everyday consumer goods” led to increased sales in other areas, such as supermarkets, Destatis noted.

Demand for food, beverages and tobacco products continued to rise significantly in April and saw sales increase by 9.5 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, sales of retailers in the non-food sector fell by 14.4 percent year-on-year, according to Destatis.

The “largest drop in sales measured since 1994 in any sector of Germany’s retail trade” was recorded in the sectors of textiles, clothing, shoes and leather goods with a drop of 70.9 percent year-on-year, Destatis noted.

The German Retail Federation (HDE) also announced on Friday that the country’s non-food retail sector “suffered a historic drop in sales” and is expecting that non-food retailers could lose an additional 15 billion euros (16.7 billion U.S. dollars) in sales by the end of the year.

According to a HDE company survey, 29 percent of non-food retailers in Germany were currently generating less than 50 percent of last year’s sales.

“The crisis is hitting small and medium-sized retailers particularly hard, who are of central importance to our cities and communities like no other industry,” said Stefan Genth, head of HDE.

(XINHUA)

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Rainbow appears in sky over village following heavy rain in Yemen

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A rainbow appears in the sky over a village following heavy rain in Dhamar province, Yemen, May 25, 2020. (Photo by Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua)

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Thousands evacuated as heavy rain, gusts hit India’s Odisha, Bengal ahead of cyclone Amphan

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Authorities in Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal Tuesday evacuated and subsequently moved thousands of people to relief camps ahead of super cyclone Amphan.

The super cyclone that is likely to weaken into extremely severe storm is expected to make landfall in West Bengal on Wednesday afternoon.

“This is the most intense cyclone – the second super cyclone – which has been formed in the Bay of Bengal after 1999. Its wind speed in the sea right now is 200-240 kmph. It is moving towards north northwestward direction,” India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said.

Indian federal home minister Amit Shah spoke to Chief Ministers of West Bengal and Odisha – Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik, and assured them of all possible help from the government.

According to Banerjee, 300,000 people have been evacuated from coastal areas in West Bengal. Likewise NDRF teams were evacuating people from Odisha’s Bhadrak and Kendrapada districts.

Meanwhile Director General of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), S N Pradhan said 41 teams have been deployed for West Bengal and Odisha in anticipation of the cyclone.

Pradhan while briefing media in New Delhi said, NDRF was fully prepared to tackle the super cyclone and taking necessary steps for evacuation, communication and creating awareness.

The IMD has issued an “orange” warning for West Bengal and Odisha.

Authorities have advised fishermen not to venture into north Bay of Bengal along and off West Bengal-Odisha coasts until Thursday.

The severe cyclonic storm comes at a time when India is fighting against COVID-19, which has affected 101,139 people in the country and killed 3,163.

(XINHUA)

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2 killed, over 2,000 affected by heavy rains in Sri Lanka

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Two people were killed and over 2,000 others affected by strong winds and heavy rains which lashed out across Sri Lanka over the weekend, the country’s Disaster Management Center said in its latest situation update on Monday.

The country’s Meteorological Department warned that more rains are expected in the coming days as the deep depression over the south east Bay of Bengal had intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and was expected to bring heavy rains in the south east region.

The Disaster Management Center has already issued a warning to families living in the coastal areas and close to river banks while the fishing community has been banned until further notice.

A landslide warning was also issued in 10 districts of the country including capital Colombo, the central highlands and the southern coast, and residents in the area have been warned to remain vigilant.

Police said over 500 houses had been partially damaged from the inclement weather over the weekend while five people had been injured.

(XINHUA)

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World pays heavy price for ‘very little unity’ on Covid-19, UN Chief says

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The novel coronavirus was able to spread across the globe because countries failed to fight it together, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Monday.

“We have seen some solidarity, but very little unity, in our response to Covid-19,’’ he said at the start of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) annual meeting of member countries.

Accordind to him, because many countries had ignored the WHO’s recommendations, “the virus has spread across the world and is now moving into the global South, where its impact may be even more devastating.’’

In a video message from New York, Guterres called on countries to increase their funding of the WHO, so that the UN health agency can support developing countries.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

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Heavy rain hits Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Vehicles move on a flooded road in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 15, 2020. A heavy rain hit Colombo on Friday. (Photo by Gayan Sameera/Xinhua)

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German car dealers report heavy sales losses after reopening

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More than half of car dealers in Germany saw car sales 50 percent or more below the previous year’s level, the German Federation for Motor Trades and Repairs (ZDK) said on Tuesday.

Although car dealers in Germany were among the first that were allowed to reopen after the COVID-19 shutdown in Germany, sales of new as well as second-hand cars did not pick up immediately.

“Three weeks after the restart, stationary car dealers are reporting a massive consumer resistance to buy,” ZDK noted.

Around 28 percent of car dealers reported declines of sales by between 30 percent and 50 percent, according to the ZDK survey among more than 1,300 car dealers in Germany.

Trade in pre-owned vehicles showed “a somewhat more positive situation,” ZDK noted. Decreases of 50 percent and more were reported by 38.4 percent of car dealers surveyed.

ZDK Vice President Thomas Peckruhn urged the German government to adopt a buyer’s premium for cars. “Nothing is worse for the trade” than a week-long stalemate, added Peckruhn.

At the end of April, Volkswagen Chief Operating Officer Ralf Brandstaetter had said that a “special impulse” in the form of targeted sales promotion would be required now that car dealers in Germany had reopened.

Munich-based BMW and Stuttgart-based Daimler were also supportive of any governmental measure that could “strengthen demand in these times of great uncertainty among customers,” according to Daimler.

(XINHUA)

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Death toll from heavy rains in Rwanda climbs to 72

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The death toll due to Wednesday night’s heavy rains in different parts of Rwanda has reached 72, a government official said on Friday.

The government on Thursday said the downpour killed 65 people in Western and Northern provinces.

Dozens of people were left homeless, and most of them sought temporary shelters in schools and were offered bedding and foodstuff as the government embarked on relocating them to safer places, Olivier Kayumba, permanent secretary of the Ministry in charge of Emergency Management, told a live news program on Rwanda Television (RTV).

He said more than 90 houses and five bridges were destroyed while hectares of crops were submerged.

On Thursday, Minister of Local Government Anastase Shyaka told RTV that more than 8,000 people countrywide have been relocated from high-risk zones that are prone to landslides and flooding in the past three weeks.

The Rwanda Meteorology Agency in February forecast “above-normal” rainfall countrywide during the rainy season from March to May.

In a disaster update released on March 6, the ministry in charge of emergency management said 53 people were killed while 84 others were injured due to disasters triggered by heavy rains in different parts of Rwanda since January.

More than 850 houses, eight churches, 23 roads, 17 bridges were also destroyed, it said.

(XINHUA)

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