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At least 200 dead as flash floods and landslides devastate the Philippines

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At least 200 people have died in the Philippines as a tropical storm triggered landslides and flash floods.

Rescuers are searching for survivors of Storm Tembin, which has left scores missing and thousands homeless.

The country’s misery was compounded by the death of at least 37 people in a shopping mall fire.

The Philippines is battered by about 20 typhoons a year and warnings are routinely issued.

But the level of destruction wreaked by Storm Tembin on the southern island of Mindanao from late on Friday came as a surprise.

At least 200 dead as flash floods and landslides devastate the PhilippinesAt least 200 dead as flash floods and landslides devastate the Philippines

‘It happened very fast, the flood waters quickly rose filling our house,’ farmer Felipe Ybarsabal, 65, said.

‘We weren’t able to save anything from the house. There was no help from anyone because it was so fast. Everything was two to three metres under water in less than an hour.’

Police and disaster officials predict the death toll to rise as remote farm communities and coastal areas have been badly hit.

Disaster officials said 159 people are missing while about 70,000 had been forced from their homes.

At least 200 dead as flash floods and landslides devastate the PhilippinesAt least 200 dead as flash floods and landslides devastate the Philippines

Soldiers and police joined emergency workers and volunteers to search for survivors and victims, clear debris and restore power and communications.

Many villagers ignored warnings to leave coastal areas and move away from riverbanks, officials said, and got swept away when flash floods and landslides struck.

Storm Tembin was moving west on Sunday, over some outlying Philippine islands and the South China Sea towards southern Vietnam.

It intensified into a typhoon with winds of 75 mph as it moved out of the Philippines, the national meteorological agency said.

 

 

24 Hours Across Africa

Tunisia: former President Ben Ali confirmed dead

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All time, former Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has died in exile aged 83, his family says.

Ben Ali led the country for 30years and was credited with delivering stability and some economic prosperity.

But he received widespread criticism for suppressing political freedoms and for widespread corruption.

In 2011, he was forced from office following mass street protests. This triggered a wave of similar uprisings across the Arab world.

At least half a dozen countries in the region saw their president fall or conflicts break out in the wake of the former Tunisian leader’s downfall, in what became known as the Arab Spring.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Mugabe’s body brought home to Zimbabwe

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The body of Zimbabwe’s founder Robert Mugabe arrived at the country’s main airport on Wednesday, but his final resting place remained a source of mystery amid a dispute between some family members and the government.

Mugabe, one of the last “Big Men” of African politics who ruled the southern African nation for 37 years until he was ousted by his own army in November 2017, died in a Singapore hospital five days ago.

He is proving as polarizing in death as he was in life, as the fight over where he will be buried threatens to embarrass his successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and deepen divisions in the ruling ZANU-PF party.

The former president’s body arrived at Harare’s Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport shortly after 1330 GMT. A military guard of honor stood at attention as the casket was removed from the aircraft, draped in the national flag and accompanied by security chiefs.

“The entire nation of Zimbabwe, our people, across the board are grieved and are in mourning because the light which led us to independence is no more, but his works, his ideology will continue to guide this nation,” Mnangagwa said.

“On the day we shall lay him to rest, on Sunday, I appeal to you in your hundreds, in your thousands, in your millions to show your love of our great leader who has left us,” he added.

Mugabe’s wife Grace, dressed in black with a black veil, was next to Mnangagwa at the airport. Also present were Mugabe’s daughter Bona and Savior Kasukuwere, a former Mugabe cabinet minister and staunch ally who has been living in self-imposed exile in South Africa since early this year.

The body of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe arrives back in the country after he died on Friday (September 6) in Singapore after a long illness, Harare, Zimbabwe, September 11, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, the former general who led the coup that overthrew Mugabe, was conspicuous by his absence at the airport. He has been receiving treatment in China since July for an unknown illness

Crowds had gathered at the airport well before the scheduled arrival time, with some wearing T-shirts bearing Mugabe’s face and others with Mnangagwa’s image, while music blared from loudspeakers.

A convoy of 4×4 vehicles with number plates bearing the letters “RG Mugabe” and the former leader’s signature were also on the runway.

Reuters

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