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US Northwest, Canada devastated by floods, 1 death reported

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(Last Updated On: November 17, 2021)

As many parts of western Washington began drying out Tuesday after a storm that dumped rain for days, waters in some areas continued rising, more people were urged to evacuate and crews worked to restore power and reopen roads.

Officials in the small city of Sumas, Washington, near the Canada border called the flood damage there devastating, The Associated Press reported.

Officials said on Facebook Tuesday that hundreds of people had been evacuated and estimated that 75% of homes had water damage.

Across the border, the body of a woman was recovered from a landslide northeast of Vancouver, British Columbia, near Lillooet that was triggered by record rainfall. Royal Canadian Mounted Police said at least two other people were reported missing, AP reported.

Fast-rising water levels from a Sumas River in Washington state overwhelmed rescuers in Abbotsford, British Columbia, on Tuesday, where 1,100 homes were evacuated. Those residents joined thousands of others in the province who were forced from their homes by floods or landslides starting Sunday night.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said Tuesday that impassable highways were creating havoc as authorities tried to get people to evacuation sites.

“It breaks my heart to see what’s going on in our city,” he said.

Crews partially reopened the West Coast’s main north-south highway, Interstate 5, near Bellingham, Washington, following its complete closure overnight because of mudslide debris. The northbound lanes remained closed Tuesday evening as crews continued working.

At the height of the storm, more than 158,000 electrical customers in western Washington on Monday had no power as wind speeds reached 96 kph.

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Indonesia Semeru volcanic eruption kills 13; dozens injured

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Reuters
(Last Updated On: December 5, 2021)

The eruption of Indonesia’s Semeru volcano has killed at least 13 people and injured dozens, the disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) said on Sunday, as search teams looked for victims in a landscape covered in deep layers of ash.

Semeru, the tallest mountain on Java island, threw up towers of ash and hot clouds on Saturday that blanketed nearby villages in East Java province and sent people fleeing in panic, Reuters reported.

The eruption severed a strategic bridge connecting two areas in the nearby district of Lumajang with the city of Malang and wrecked buildings, authorities said.

BNPB official Abdul Muhari said in a news release that 13 people had been killed. Ninety-eight were injured, including two pregnant women, and 902 have been evacuated, the statement said.

Most injuries were burns, authorities said.

Indonesia President Joko Widodo has ordered authorities to find and treat victims, the state secretary said.

Semeru had started emitting hot clouds and lava flows near its rivers recently, and the country’s volcanology center had warned people not to go near it since Wednesday, it said.

In 2010, an eruption of the Merapi volcano on Java island killed over 350 people and displaced 400,000.

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Pakistan receives $3 billion loan from Saudi Arabia

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2021)

Pakistan on Saturday received a $3 billion loan from Saudi Arabia, the prime minister’s finance adviser said, as part of an economic support package.

The South Asian country has faced growing economic challenges, with high inflation, sliding forex reserves, a widening current account deficit and a depreciating currency, Reuters reported.

Pakistan’s total liquid foreign reserves stand at $22,498.8 million, based on central bank data.

Shaukat Tarin, finance adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan, said in a tweet: “I want to thank His Excellency Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the kind gesture.”

The loan from Saudi Arabia will be for one year at a 4% interest rate under the terms of the package, which was signed last month, Reuters reported.

“This is positive news … and will help bolster both the foreign exchange reserves and sentiments in the forex market,” Saad Hashemy, executive director at BMA Capital said.

The loan comes a week after the International Monetary Fund agreed with Pakistan on measures needed to revive a stalled $6 billion funding program.

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Uzbekistan’s Samarkand city named 2023 World Tourism Capital

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2021)

Uzbekistan’s historic city of Samarkand was chosen as the 2023 World Tourism Capital at the 24th General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Spain, Uzbekistan’s Tourism and Sports Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

Samarkand will host the 25th General Assembly of the UNWTO, which will be a “historic event” as it marks the first time in history that the gathering will be held in Uzbekistan, read the statement.

The summit in Madrid was attended by a delegation led by Uzbekistan’s Tourism and Sports Minister Aziz Abdukhakimov, who is also the country’s deputy prime minister.

The opportunity to host a UN organization meeting for the first time is the result of the Uzbek government’s policies and efforts to develop tourism in the country, the statement added.

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