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Death toll from Ida remnants rises to 65 in US

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(Last Updated On: September 5, 2021)

Torrential rains, floods, and tornadoes triggered by Storm Ida remnants claimed at least 65 lives across the United States as of Saturday, U.S. media reported.

Storm Ida also caused damage to residential buildings and infrastructures and led to water and power outages. Under its impact, some hard-hit areas of the United States have yet to return to normal life.

Ida remnants dumped rain at sometimes unprecedented rates on Wednesday night in the region, triggering floods that poured into subway stations and submerged homes and vehicles on highways.

Parts of New Jersey are still recovering from Ida’s impact. Earlier, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the state was still not out of the woods, and his biggest concern lies in the further response to the still-high water levels and damages from Ida.

Infrastructures and residential buildings were destroyed in parts of New Jersey, with some residents saying their neighborhoods were almost completely destroyed by Ida.

New York state was also one of the hardest hit by Ida, with heavy rains submerging many parts of the city and flooding into low-lying areas.

U.S. media reported that at least 11 people, mostly immigrants and low-income groups, were killed when floodwaters submerged basement apartments in New York City.

The situation in Louisiana also remains grim. Local life is still not back to normal days after the storm. Statistics showed that over one million households in the state have suffered power outages, and the daily water supply to 600,000 people has been affected.

In addition, some nursing homes in Louisiana were reported to have failed to evacuate residents in time, and staff members even disappeared before the storm, leaving some elderly residents waiting for help without water or power.

At least six nursing home residents died after being evacuated, and their deaths are still under investigation, according to local media.

Many Americans expressed strong dissatisfaction and anger over the government’s poor response to the storm. Some accused the government of slow response and lack of an effective emergency plan. Others believed some lives could have been saved if the government had declared a state of emergency earlier.

Analysts believed that the massive loss of property and lives caused by Ida showed the dangerously old public infrastructures in New York and elsewhere are in urgent need of improvement.

Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future, a public policy think tank, said in an interview that New York City’s infrastructures had not been able to keep up with population growth over the past few decades, let alone with increasingly violent storms and sea level rise from climate change.

Nicole Gelinas, an urban economics expert at the Manhattan Institute, said that New York City’s infrastructures can’t handle tens of centimeters of rainfall dumped in just a few hours. She added that short periods of heavy rainfall could clog sewer drains, and there is not enough green space to help absorb it.

“So some of these avenues, they become canals when there’s a big storm,” the expert said.

Officials in New York and New Jersey acknowledged Friday that state governments need to improve infrastructures and better prepare for extreme weather events.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said the loss of lives from Ida highlighted weaknesses in the state’s disaster notification system, including a lack of notification in different languages.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a series of initiatives to tackle extreme weather events, including more aggressive travel bans, and measures to guide residents off the streets ahead of a storm and evacuate people living in vulnerable spaces like basement apartments.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also admitted the state had a lot of work to do to adapt to climate change.

Storm Ida landed on Aug 29, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s destructive strike, tying with 2020’s Hurricane Laura and the Last Island Hurricane of 1856 as the strongest ever to hit Louisiana. It was downgraded to a tropical depression on Monday afternoon and moved inland with torrential rain.

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Three national snooker team players off to good start in world champs

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2021)

Afghanistan’s National Snooker Team has gotten off to a good start in this year’s Six-Red World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

National team member Raees Khan Sindzai won his first match against his opponent from Ukraine ending with a score of 5-4.

Sindzai also defeated his Iraqi rival 5-4 in his second match and his next game will be against Bahrain.

Saleh Mohammad Mohammadi, another Afghan team member, beat his Egyptian rival 5-0 but lost his second match to his Belgian opponent, 4-5.

His third game will be against Palestine.

The Six-Red World Championships comes just days after the three team members took part in the Asian Snooker Championships, which were also held in Doha.

The tournaments are part of three major billiards and snooker events – including the GCC Billiards and Snooker tournament – organised by the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation.

It is the first time a country hosts these three major championships in succession, separated by only a few days.

The competitions started with the Asian championship from September 12 to 16, then the Six-Red World Championship from September 17 to 21. This championship will be followed by the GCC Billiards and Snooker Championship from September 22 to 28.

President of the International Snooker Federation and Executive Director of the Qatar Federation, Mubarak Al Khayarin, described Qatar’s hosting of the World and Asian Championships as a great challenge, especially after stopping nearly two years of activity due to the repercussions of the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Qatar’s The Peninsula reported.

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Three brothers killed in Paktia in dispute over land

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2021)

Three members of one family were killed and one more wounded in a clash in eastern Paktia province, local officials said Sunday.

According to Islamic Emirate officials, the clash happened between two families in Shakar Khel village in Gardez city, the provincial capital, on Saturday evening.

The incident happened after an argument broke out over a land dispute between the two sides, the officials said.

The officials stated that all the victims were brothers.

Mawlawi Hemat, police chief of Gardez PD1, stated that three members of one family have been arrested in connection with the incident.

He said Islamic Emirate forces are investigating and hope to arrest the other culprits.

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Kabul municipality drawing up service plans, order removal of T-walls

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2021)

The acting head of Kabul municipality on Sunday ordered the removal of the city’s blast walls and said plans are being drawn up to address urban challenges and to provide effective services.

Addressing a press conference in Kabul, Mawlawi Hamdullah Nomani said the removal of barriers and concrete walls is a part of the plan going forward

Mawlawi Nomani said that the construction of high rise buildings and usurpation of land are challenges that will be addressed in future.

“Investigations about buildings and land grabbing, which were [prone to] corruption will be addressed. We will not allow this, people cannot misuse this. We will investigate this when all institutions resume work,” said Mawlawi Nomani.

According to him, the Islamic Emirate will urge donors to complete projects that have stopped in the past month.

“We are in contact with donors of 100 projects that have now stopped. We have not received a positive or negative answer about the fate of the projects,” he said.

Mawlawi Nomani also said that the removal of barriers and concrete blast walls will be completed soon.

“We will remove barriers that spoil the city, most of these were placed by security institutions. We are telling people who erected barriers to remove them, otherwise we will remove them and the people will have to pay municipality expenses,” he said.

Hundreds of thousands of concrete walls, known in Kabul as T-walls, have for years spoilt the look of the city.

Almost everywhere you look in the Afghan capital, you see these tall, thick walls, which range in height from three to seven metres, that surround homes, businesses, schools, embassies and government compounds.

Over the years demand was high and as more walls went up, traffic problems increased as roads were all too often blocked when new walls went up.

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