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Survivors Grapple with Devastation as Libya Flood Toll Rises over 11k

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Libya

A week following the catastrophic inundation of the Libyan coastal city of Derna, which claimed the lives of thousands, the focus has shifted to providing care for the survivors.

Estimates of the death toll vary significantly. The most recent official figure, as reported by the health minister of the eastern-based administration, Othman Abdeljalil, stands at 3,166 lives lost. However, a United Nations report released on Sunday indicates that the toll in Derna alone has climbed to 11,300, with another 10,100 individuals still unaccounted for.

Aid is now pouring into the North African nation as the global community rallies to support emergency services in coping with the aftermath of this deadly deluge.

At least 40,000 people have been displaced across northeastern Libya, according to the International Organization for Migration, with the actual number likely higher due to difficulties accessing the hardest-hit areas.

The disaster was triggered when two dams upstream from Derna burst under the torrential rains brought by the hurricane-strength Storm Daniel. These dams had been constructed to safeguard the port city of 100,000 people after it suffered severe flooding in the mid-20th century.

A week later, bodies are still being discovered, with rescue teams making grim findings.

International assistance is arriving from the United Nations, Europe, and the Middle East, providing much-needed relief to the thousands of survivors. This aid includes essential medicines, surgical supplies, and body bags for the deceased. Tents, blankets, carpets, hygiene kits, and food are also being airlifted in, along with heavy machinery to aid in debris removal.

  • Questions Arise –

The devastation exacerbated by Storm Daniel’s flooding has raised questions about why this disaster was not prevented, especially when cracks in the dams were known about since 1998.

An investigation into the circumstances leading to the dam collapse has been announced by the Prosecutor General Al-Seddik Al-Sour.

Like much of Libya’s crumbling infrastructure, the two dams that were meant to protect Derna had fallen into disrepair amid years of neglect and conflict in the country, which descended into chaos after the NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

Libya currently operates under two rival administrations that have been vying for control since Kadhafi’s ousting.

With tens of thousands of people displaced, aid organizations have sounded the alarm about the risks posed by unexploded ordnance and landmines, some of which floodwaters have relocated into areas previously declared clear.

Waterborne diseases, including cholera, pose a high risk according to aid groups.

Outside Derna, the floods claimed an additional 170 lives, as reported in the UN’s assessment. The National Centre for Disease Control noted that at least 55 children fell ill due to drinking contaminated water in Derna.

To assist the hundreds of thousands of individuals in need, the UN has initiated an appeal for over $71 million.

The scale of the devastation has prompted displays of solidarity, with volunteers in Tripoli gathering aid for flood victims.

Survivors in Derna, while mourning the loss of loved ones, are grateful to be alive.

“In this city, every single family has been affected,” said Derna resident Mohammad al-Dawali.

Seir Mohammed Seir, a member of the security forces, recounted the survival of a three-month-old girl amid the tragedy, as her entire family perished.

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UK Inflation Crisis Threatens Lives and Widens Wealth-Health Gap, Study Warns

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UK inflation

The United Kingdom finds itself ensnared in an inflation-driven cost-of-living crisis, a predicament that, according to a recent study in the open-access journal BMJ Public Health, could have dire consequences, including premature deaths and an alarming exacerbation of wealth-related health disparities.

The study, underpinned by meticulous modeling, presents a grim prognosis. It anticipates that the percentage of individuals meeting an untimely demise (before the age of 75) will surge by an unsettling 6.5% owing to the prolonged period of elevated price levels. What’s particularly disconcerting is the disproportionate impact on the most economically disadvantaged households. The research predicts that these vulnerable segments of society will witness a fourfold increase in mortality rates compared to their more affluent counterparts. This grim disparity is exacerbated by the fact that the less privileged must allocate a larger share of their income to grapple with soaring energy costs.

The study’s focus was on the impact of inflation on mortality rates in Scotland during the years 2022-3. It took into account scenarios with and without potential mitigating measures, such as government interventions aimed at alleviating household financial burdens.

Analyzing the collected data, the researchers constructed models to explore the potential ramifications on life expectancy and socioeconomic inequalities for the entire United Kingdom if varying degrees of mitigation were enacted. The unmitigated scenario paints a bleak picture, projecting a 5% increase in mortality rates in the least deprived areas and a staggering 23% surge in the most deprived areas. However, with the implementation of mitigation measures, these figures diminish to 2% and 8%, respectively, albeit still contributing to an overall increase of approximately 6.5% in mortality rates.

This grim outlook extends to overall life expectancy, which is expected to decline in all scenarios. The study underscores a crucial point: the economy’s performance directly impacts public health. It highlights the detrimental consequences of inflation and reductions in real-term income, underlining the stark disparities in how these challenges affect different segments of the population.

In a sobering conclusion, the researchers emphasize that public policy responses, as currently formulated, are insufficient to safeguard public health and prevent the deepening chasm of inequality. The situation remains grim, despite a slight unexpected slowdown in UK inflation to 6.7% in August, though it still maintains its position as the highest among G7 nations. This inflation surge is attributed to a combination of factors, including the enduring impact of coronavirus lockdowns, Brexit, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

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Amazon Commits $4 Billion Investment in AI Firm Anthropic

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Amazon has announced a substantial investment of up to $4 billion in the artificial intelligence company Anthropic. This move signifies Amazon’s entry into the fiercely competitive AI arena, which has thus far been dominated by major players like Microsoft, Google, and OpenAI.

Amazon’s CEO, Andy Jassy, expressed admiration for Anthropic’s team and foundational AI models, emphasizing the potential to enhance various customer experiences in both the short and long term through deeper collaboration.

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Emirates and SriLankan Airlines Forge Interline Agreement for Seamless Travel Connectivity

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emirates srilankan airlines

Emirates and SriLankan Airlines have recently entered into a reciprocal interline agreement, aiming to enhance connectivity and convenience for passengers of both carriers. This strategic partnership facilitates seamless travel experiences, allowing passengers to access additional destinations on each other’s networks via Colombo and Dubai, all while utilizing a single ticket and enjoying the ease of baggage transfers.

For Emirates passengers, this interline collaboration provides access to a network of 15 regional destinations operated by SriLankan Airlines through Colombo. This expanded network includes new Indian destinations such as Madurai and Tiruchirapally, along with Gan Island in the Maldives. Furthermore, travelers can explore Far East and South Asian destinations, including Cochin, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Malé, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Guangzhou, Seoul, and Tokyo, as detailed in a press release.

SriLankan Airlines’ customers will also reap the benefits of this partnership, gaining access to Emirates’ extensive global network. They can conveniently connect to 15 cities across the Middle East, Africa, Russia, and the United States, all operated by Emirates beyond Dubai. Notable destinations include Bahrain, Amman, Dammam, Medina, Cairo, Muscat, Nairobi, Moscow, Tel Aviv, as well as several key U.S. cities like New York JFK, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and Houston.

Travelers can already book their itineraries through various channels, including emirates.com, srilankan.com, and preferred online and offline travel agencies. In addition, Emirates has expanded its service to Dhaka, now offering 21 weekly flights and convenient connections to nearly 140 destinations spanning six continents.

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