Dam bursts in India after rains, several dead

State officials requested the National Disaster Response Force to help find the 18 missing people. (File/AFP)
Updated 03 July 2019

Dam bursts in India after rains, several dead

  • Wall collapses during current monsoon season have already killed almost 30 persons
  • Monsoon seasons in India last from June to September

MUMBAI: Heavy monsoon rains caused the breach of a small dam in western India, washing away dozens of homes and killing at least six people with 18 missing, a government official said on Wednesday.
Seasonal rains have crippled India’s financial center of Mumbai this week, disrupting rail and air traffic in the city of 18 million, while wall collapses have killed nearly 30 people.
Tuesday’s breach of the Tiware dam in the coastal district of Ratnagiri, nearly 275 km south of Mumbai, washed away dozens of homes, an official of the Maharashtra state government said.
“Around 18 people are missing,” he added. “Six dead bodies have been recovered.”
State officials have asked the National Disaster Response Force to help find the missing.
In every monsoon season, from June to September, India suffers fatal incidents of building and wall collapses as rainfall weakens the foundations of poorly-built structures.


China bans wild animal trade until viral outbreak eases

Updated 58 min 59 sec ago

China bans wild animal trade until viral outbreak eases

  • Raising transporting or selling all wild animal species is forbidden until the epidemic is over
  • The virus has caused 56 confirmed deaths and nearly 2,000 total infections

BEIJING: China on Sunday ordered a temporary ban on the trade in wild animals as the country struggles to contain a deadly virus believed to have been spawned in a market that sold wild animals as food.
Raising, transporting or selling all wild animal species is forbidden “from the date of the announcement until the national epidemic situation is over,” said a government directive.
The ban was issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Administration for Market Regulation, and the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.
The lethal virus, which has caused 56 confirmed deaths and nearly 2,000 total infections in China, and spread to about a dozen countries, is believed to have originated in a market in the central city of Wuhan, where a range of wildlife was reportedly sold.
Conservationists have long accused China of tolerating a shadowy trade in exotic animals for food or as ingredients in traditional medicines, including highly endangered species such as the pangolin or tiger.
Health experts say the trade poses a significant and growing public health risk as potentially dangerous animal-borne pathogens that people would normal not be exposed to make the jump to humans.
The SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus that killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in 2002-03 also has been traced to wild animals, with scientists saying it likely originated in bats, later reaching humans via civets.
Civets, a cat-like creature, were among dozens of species listed on an exhaustive price list for one of the animal-trading businesses at the Wuhan market that emerged online last week.
Other items included various rats, snakes, giant salamanders and even live wolf pups.
Sunday’s announcement said all businesses, markets, food and beverage outlets and e-commerce platforms are “strictly prohibited from trading in wild animals in any form.”
It added that “consumers must fully understand the health risks of eating wild animals, avoid wild game, and eat healthy.”
The so-called bushmeat trade, along with broader human encroachment on wild habitats, is bringing humans into ever-closer contact with animal viruses that can spread rapidly in today’s connected world, scientists say.
A study by the Global Virome Project, a worldwide effort to increase preparedness for pandemics, estimated that there are nearly 1.7 million undiscovered viruses in the animal kingdom, nearly half of which could be harmful to humans.
Peter Daszak, a virology expert with the project, told AFP its research also indicated that we can expect around five new animal-borne pathogens to infect humanity each year.
China has launched previous crackdowns on the wildlife trade, including after SARS, but conservationists say the trade typically resumes over time.