Many Buildings Collapse After 7.5 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Indonesia


A collapsed shopping mall in Palu, after a 7.5 magnitude strong earthquake hits Sulawesi (AFP)

Makassar, Indonesia: 

Indonesia was rocked by a powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake Friday, with the national disaster agency saying that “many” buildings had collapsed in the aftermath of the huge tremor.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.

“There are reports that many buildings collapsed in the earthquake,” national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement. 

“Residents panicked and scattered out of their homes.”

Pictures supplied by the agency showed a badly damaged shopping mall in the city of Palu where at least one floor had collapsed onto the storey below. 

Other pictures showed major damage to buildings, with rubble strewn about the road and large cracks running through pavement.

Search and rescue teams have been dispatched to hard-hit areas, Nugroho said.

The quake hit central Sulawesi island at a shallow depth of some 10 kilometres (six miles), the US Geological Survey said, just hours after a smaller jolt killed at least one person in the same part of the country.

The disaster agency briefly issued a tsunami warning before lifting it.

AFP phone calls to several regional hospitals went unanswered.

The latest quake was a higher magnitude than those that killed hundreds on the island of Lombok earlier this year.

Friday’s tremor was centred 78 kilometres north of Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi province, but was felt in the far south of the island in its largest city Makassar and on the neighbouring island of Kalimantan, Indonesia’s portion of Borneo island.

The initial tremor struck as evening prayers were about to begin in the world’s biggest Muslim majority country on the holiest day of the week when mosques would be especially busy. 

It was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, including one measuring 5.7 magnitude.

‘Earthquake, earthquake!’ 

“I was about to start prayers but then I heard people shouting ‘earthquake! earthquake!’ so I stopped,” Andi Temmaeli from Wajo, south of Palu, told AFP.

Lisa Soba Palloan, a resident of Toraja, also south of Palu, said locals felt several quakes Friday.

“The last one was quite big,” she said.

“Everyone was getting out their homes, shouting in fear.”

Indonesia is one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth.

The Southeast Asian archipelago nation lies on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide and many of the world’s volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

This summer, a series of powerful quakes hit Lombok, killing over 550 people on the holiday island and neighbouring Sumbawa. 

Some 1,500 people were injured and about 400,000 residents were displaced after their homes were destroyed.

Indonesia has been hit by a string of other deadly quakes including a devastating 9.1 magnitude tremor that struck off the coast of Sumatra in 2004.

That quake triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including 168,000 in Indonesia.

The Boxing Day disaster was the world’s third biggest quake since 1900, and lifted the ocean floor in some places by 15 metres.

Indonesia’s Aceh province was the hardest hit area, but the tsunami affected coastal areas as far away as Africa.

Among the country’s other big earthquakes, a 6.3-magnitude quake in 2006 rocked a densely populated region of Java near the city of Yogyakarta, killing around 6,000 people and injuring 38,000.

More than 420,000 people were left homeless and some 157,000 houses were destroyed.

A year earlier, in 2005, a quake measuring 8.7 magnitude struck off the coast of Sumatra, which is particularly prone to quakes, killing 900 people and injuring 6,000.

It caused widespread destruction on the western island of Nias.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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After Kolkata Bridge Collapse, 7 Bridges Identified As Most Vulnerable


The seven bridges are among the 20, which have been classified as “distressed” structures.

Kolkata: 

In the wake of the Majerhat bridge collapse on September 4, the West Bengal public works department (PWD) has identified seven bridges in the city as “most vulnerable” requiring urgent repairs, a senior official of the department said.

The seven bridges are among the 20, which have been classified as “distressed” structures by the public works department.

The seven bridges labelled as “most vulnerable” are Bijon set Gouribari Aurobindo Setu, Belgachhia bridge, Tollygunge Circular Road  bridge, Dhakuria bridge, Tallah bridge and Santragachi bridge, the PWD official told PTI.

“Load-bearing capacities of these bridges were carried out and depending on that report, we have suggested to the police to impose restriction on goods-carrying vehicles to prevent further deterioration of the condition of the distressed structures,” he said.

The Kolkata Police has already banned movement of all goods vehicles on the first four bridges and is exploring the possibility whether a similar decision can be taken for the remaining ones, a senior officer of Kolkata Traffic Police said.

But, overloaded vehicles are still plying on the bridges, especially at night, leading to traffic snarls following which the trucks are stranded on the structures which might lead to another mishap, the PWD official said.

The PWD is preparing a detailed budget and a plan for immediately taking up the repair work of the seven bridges, the official said.

The department is also carrying out inspection of the remaining 13 bridges, including Dhakuria bridge, Tallah bridge, Sukanta Setu and Santragachchi bridge, following which they will either be labelled as “vulnerable or relatively safe”.

“Inspection is being carried to test the load-bearing capacity of Dhakuria bridge and Tallah bridge so that a decision can be taken on the type of vehicles whose movement may be restricted,” the PWD official said.

A team of officials from the state PWD department has carried out separate surveys at Sukanta Setu connecting Jadavpur with Santoshpur and at the Karunamoyee bridge linking Tollygunge to Haridevpur.

“Sukanta Setu has developed cracks in some places and requires repair work. But there is a need of a survey of the structure to ascertain the extent of damage,” he said.

Talking about the Santragachhi bridge, the PWD official said that “poor condition” of the bridge was a cause of worry.

“Santragachhi bridge is a vital bridge but a recent survey suggests that it requires immediate repair on urgent basis. We think we must have a separate plan for Santragachhi bridge because it is used by several hundreds of trucks bringing in supply to the city and the suburbs,” he said. Talking about the Sealdah bridge, the PWD official said that the government was working on options for shifting the shopkeepers to some other locations before starting “immediate” restoration work there.

“Sealdah bridge is a crucial one in the city which also immediately requires urgent repairs. But markets and shops need to be shifted first before we start carrying out the renovation and restoration works,” the official pointed out.

Talking about the budget for carrying out the repair works at these bridges, the official hinted that it could run into several crores because the restoration work would differ from bridge to bridge.
After estimating the cost, the state government would float tender and it would be done in “a very short time,” the official added.

On whether the bridges were maintained properly or there were lapses on part of the government, the official said, “People have forgotten that bridges have a shelf life and require regular monitoring apart from auditing and maintenance. But these critical parts were ignored and hence bridges have reached such a structurally distressed state.”

Three persons were killed while 24 others injured in the September 4 collapse of a portion of Majerhat bridge, which connects the city centre with the heavily populated Behala, vast areas of the south west suburbs and neighbouring South 24 Parganas district.





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Ishant Sharma’s Three Wickets Trigger England’s Collapse


The hosts were going strong at 133-1 when Bumrah dismissed Cook and Joe Root (0) in successive balls in the 64th over and then Ishant removed Jonny Bairstow (0) in the next over to reduce the hosts to 134-4.    

Moeen Ali tried to resurrect England’s innings with a patient 50 off 170 balls but Ishant returned to take two wickets in three balls in the 83rd over as England further slipped to 181 for 7.    

Mohammed Shami (0-43) also toiled throughout the day and was immensely unlucky to not have picked up any wickets.    

Post-tea, Bumrah and Ishant started off with brilliant spells again, and this time they got deserved rewards. Cook’s dismissal started the collapse. He was bowled playing on off Bumrah in the 64th over. He put on 73 runs with Ali for the second wicket.    

Three balls later, Bumrah trapped Joe Root lbw for a duck, with DRS ruling in favour of India. It became three wickets in nine balls as Sharma nicked off Bairstow, caught behind. It was some consolation for keeper Rishabh Pant who had a tough day behind the wickets as the ball seamed a lot after tea.    

Ben Stokes (11) and Ali put on 37 runs for the fifth wicket and stemmed the downfall. The latter scored his 13th half-century off a slow 167 balls in this interim.    

Jadeja began the slide again, as Stokes was trapped lbw in the 78th over. Having played and missed through the day, Ali finally managed to nick Sharma behind in the 83rd over.    

It was again a quick triple-hit as Sharma had Sam Curran (0) dismissed for a duck, the batsman edging behind as he looked to leave the ball. Shami bowled a threatening spell, but Jos Buttler (11*) and Adil Rashid (4*) survived till the end somehow. Earlier, both Cook and Ali got lives as England reached 122-1 at tea. Post lunch, India toiled hard and tightened their lines as the pacers got some seam movement, and could have easily accounted for both batsmen.    

In the 31st over, Ajinkya Rahane dropped Cook (on 37*) at gully off Sharma. Virat Kohli dropped Ali (on 2*) at third slip off Bumrah.    

Ali also survived an lbw shout in 33rd over off Bumrah, with India’s DRS appeal being turned down. In fact, he was lucky to survive this session at all, as Shami beat him on umpteen occasions but simply didn’t find the edge.    

Cook was more solid at the other end and duly reached his 57th half-century off 139 balls to a rousing reception from the packed crowd.    

Despite India’s toils, the breakthrough didn’t come, even as England scored at a slow pace with only 55 runs coming in the two-hour session with 100 coming up in only the 59th over.    

Earlier, England made their best start of the series as they reached 68-1 at lunch after Joe Root won his fifth consecutive toss and opted to bat. Cook was given a ‘guard of honour‘ by the Indian team as he walked out to bat in his final Test. Opening bowlers Bumrah and Sharma found some movement in the initial overs, but the wicket turned out to be best for batting in this series so far.    

The early movement disappeared very quickly as Cook and Keaton Jennings (23) made a sedate start. Hanuma Vihari (0-1), who earned a maiden Test cap replacing Hardik Pandya, was also in action as he came on to bowl first-change in the 14th over. It was his solitary over though.    

Cook and Jennings brought up only their second 50-run partnership this series off 107 balls, and went on to put up their best opening stand in five Tests — 60 runs. Their previous highest was 54 at Trent Bridge.    

Jennings though couldn’t go on for longer, as he edged Jadeja to leg slip in the 24th over with KL Rahul adding another catch to his tally.    

England have already taken an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series, with wins in Birmingham, Lord’s and Southampton. India won the third Test at Nottingham. 



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Day After Kolkata Majerhat Bridge Collapse, No Answers To Million-Dollar Question


When asked which agency was in charge of Majerhat Bridge, Mamata Banerjee did not respond.

Kolkata: 

Majerhat Bridge is suddenly nobody’s baby. A day after it collapsed and left two people dead in Kolkata, a case of culpable homicide has been filed. But the first information report or FIR has been filed against unknown persons – in other words – nobody.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who rushed to Majerhat immediately after landing in Kolkata from north Bengal, obliquely pointed fingers at the Metro construction going on next to the bridge.

“Local people have said when piling goes on at the Metro rail site, the whole area vibrates like an earthquake has struck. That used to happen during construction of the Kolkata Metro also. That is practical. We are not playing down any angle. Nor do we want to give some angle a certificate and get diverted from the real issues,” Ms Banerjee said.

Earlier in the day, her top minister Firhad Hakim, who looks after the Urban Affairs ministry, sounded the same note.

Asked if he agreed with the popular perception that the Majerhat Bridge was poorly maintained, he said, “No I don’t think that. I have seen this bridge since childhood. On the contrary I will say that the huge construction going on beside the bridge… I am not an engineer but as a layman, the heavy piling for it has vibrated the structure of the bridge and that could be a cause of the fall-down.”

Last night itself, however, RVNL, the executing agency for construction of the Joka-Esplanade Metro corridor that is building a station at Majerhat, issued a statement denying any link to the bridge collapse. “The collapse is a mid-span girder failure,” the statement said, “There is no relationship between the Metro construction and the mid-span girder failure… The Metro has stopped construction in the area one year ago.”

Top bridge building engineer Amitabh Ghoshal agrees. “It is a pre-stressed, pre-cast concrete girder failure and has nothing to do with Metro piling. In fact, the Majerhat bridge is also piling-based. If Metro construction had affected the bridge, pilings that must be some 60 feet deep, then the piers would have also collapsed, not the slab.”

Neither the growing weight of repeatedly-applied layers of bitumen nor the age of the bridge, nor the dead weight on the bridge were reasons for the collapse, Mr Ghoshal said. The weight of bitumen and increased load of traffic are factored in when the bridge is constructed. As for the age, there are many bridges in Kolkata that are nearly 100 years old.

“What is needed is regular inspection and regular maintenance. And there does not seem to be a stable maintenance protocol for the road bridges,” he added. Mr Ghoshal is advisor to Stup Consultants, well-known in engineering circles. He was also a member of one of many panels probing the collapse of the Posta flyover in 2016.

“I have no idea what happened to the probe. I have not seen a report on it yet,” he said.

Another engineer has special reason to be angry with the slackness over maintenance. Sisir Chakraborty, director of C Doctor & Co, who specializes in tunnel ventilation as in Metro tunnels and others, was in a white taxi crossing the Majerhat Bridge when the bridge fell away beneath him.

“I have got a second life. And I think, not just Majerhat, I think we have similar risks for the other bridges. We must be very, very careful. As a practicing engineer, I can tell you,” he said.

“What is the preventive maintenance protocol of these bridges? There should be a white paper by the government and given to the people about it so that we can check whether necessary steps have been taken,” he said, adding, “It’s my life. No one has the right to play with my life.”

As she was leaving the Majerhat Bridge after a brief media statement, Mamata Banerjee was asked by reporters which agency was in charge of the structure. The chief minister did not respond to the question.





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Kolkata Bridge Collapse In Majerhat Leads To Political Mudslinging


Kolkata bridge collapse: The West Bengal governor termed the incident as “a big disaster”

Kolkata: 

Opposition parties in West Bengal Tuesday alleged that the Trinamool Congress-led government’s “callousness towards the repair of old bridges” was the main reason behind the collapse of a portion of the Majerhat bridge which left one dead and several injured.

Governor K N Tripathi, who visited the site, described it as “a big disaster”.

“I have come to see the rescue work. It is a big disaster. I heard that maintenance of the bridge is entrusted with the PWD and the railways. The matter required to be enquired,” he told reporters.

The over 50-year-old bridge in south Kolkata caved in around 4.45 pm during rush hour claiming one life, trapping several people and crushing many vehicles.

“It is really unfortunate that the bridge has collapsed. But the fact is the state government is solely responsible for the bridge collapse. The issue of repair of the old bridges is not at all in the agenda of TMC government,” senior BJP leader Mukul Roy said.

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury demanded an “answer” from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Public Works Department Minister Firhad Hakim.

“Earlier in 2016, we had witnessed a bridge collapse (at Burrabazar). This incident proves that the state government is yet to learn its lessons. The state government should give an answer,” Mr Chowdhury said.

Reacting to the allegations, Firhad Hakim said this is not the appropriate time to indulge in “politics over the incident”.

The chief minister who is on a visit to Darjeeling now has ordered a probe to be conducted by Chief Secretary Malay Dey.

Ms Banerjee also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the injured.





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Second Bridge Collapse In 3 Years In Kolkata, One Dead: 10 Points


A section of Majerhat bridge collapsed in south Kolkata earlier in the evening (PTI)

Kolkata:  A section of a bridge in south Kolkata’s posh Alipore area crashed down in the middle of afternoon today, killing at least one person and raising fears of others being trapped under the rubble. The army and locals, who rushed to the rescue, have managed to save 24 lives, sources said. The collapse sent shockwaves through the city, where 26 people died two years ago in a similar tragedy. While the BJP blamed the Chief Minister and her government, Mamata Banerjee, who is on a visit to Darjeeling said rescue, not fixing responsibility, is the need of the hour.





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Mamata Banerjee, After Bridge Collapse, Says No Flights Today, Can’t Return


Mamata Banerjee is on an official visit to Darjeeling.

Kolkata: 

Shortly after a bridge collapse in Kolkata, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is on an official visit to Darjeeling, said she wanted to return to the state capital but there were no flights.

A section of a bridge in south Kolkata came crashing down this afternoon. Many people are feared trapped underneath, some still in their vehicles. Six people are believed to be injured. The bridge stood over some rail tracks in Alipur, one of the most prominent areas in the city.

“We are very worried. We are receiving information from the rescue team on ground. We want to go back as soon as possible. There are no flights in the evening, we are unable to do so,” said Mamata Banerjee.

“Our team is focused on relief and rescue work. Our priority is relief and rescue. Rest of the investigation will be done later,” the chief minister added.

The fire brigade, police and personnel of the National Disaster Response Force are carrying out rescue work.





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70-Year-Old Woman Dies, 3 Injured In Ghaziabad Building Collapse


Ghaziabad: 

A 70-year-old woman was killed and two labourers were injured when a dilapidated building in Loni town of Ghaziabad district collapsed on Saturday due to heavy rain, police said.

The two-and-a-half-storeyed building located in Vijay Vihar colony of Tronica city of Loni town had a screen printing press on the ground floor, they said.

Senior Superintendent of Police Vaibhav Krishna told that the house was rented out to Bihar resident Suresh, who was running the printing press.

The front portion of the house started sagging Saturday morning and soon after the entire building collapsed, he said.

There were eight people in the house and three of them were rescued immediately by police with the help of locals, he added.

The injured were rushed to GTB hospital in Delhi’s Shahdara where doctors declared Kaushalya, mother of the printing press owner, brought dead, the SSP said.

The building, allegedly constructed “illegally” in 100 square yards, was in ramshackle condition and the rain water poured into its foundation, due to which it collapsed.

When the ceiling plaster fell down, the workers — Jitendra (19) and Karan (18)– and Suresh’s wife Sanjoo (36) and their son Sonu (17) rushed out of the building.

Two other labourers, Papoo (18) and Manoo (22), and Kaushalya who were on the first floor were trapped under the debris, the SSP said, adding that the woman died while the two workers suffered injuries.

Meanwhile, Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) Vice-Chairperson (VC) and district magistrate Ritu Maheshwari said the GDA is identifying illegal buildings and bulldozing them.

The authority had identified around 650 buildings and in 104 cases, around 300 houses and structures have been demolished, she said.

“A special drive will be launched in the illegal colonies of Loni to identify the dilapidated buildings. Warning boards will be erected in old area to aware the public about ramshackle buildings and houses,” Ms Maheshwari said.





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One Body Recovered, 4 Rescued After Decades-Old Buildings In Odhav Collapse


The two buildings were constructed under a government housing scheme about two decades back. (PTI)

Ahmedabad: 

A body was recovered from the debris of the two buildings that collapsed in a government colony in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad city following rains, an official said today.

While four people were rescued after the four-storey buildings located in Odhav locality collapsed last night, some were feared trapped under the debris.

“After 12 hours of rescue operation, we recovered a body crushed under the debris. The four rescued people had received injuries and were taken to a hospital,” additional chief fire officer Rajesh Bhatt said.

A number of families lived in the nearly 20-year-old buildings, but majority of them had vacated the premises on Saturday after being told by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) officials, of the poor condition of the structures.

“We have contacted all the families and nobody is missing. So, there is no likelihood of anyone else being trapped under the debris, which is being cleared,” Mr Bhatt said.

The two buildings, constructed under a government housing scheme about two decades back, collapsed around 8 pm yesterday after rains in the city, trapping five people who were residing there despite the civic body’s warning.

AMC commissioner Vijay Nehra said officials had visited the building earlier and asked its residents to vacate the premises, owing to its dilapidated condition.

“Nearly 300 people were residing in the two building blocks. After our warning, most of them had vacated their houses, but some people returned there last evening,” he said.

After the structure collapsed, personnel of the city fire brigade and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) conducted the rescue operation.

Gujarat Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja, city Mayor Bijal Patel and other senior officials visited the site last night.





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4 Rescued, Many Trapped After Buildings In Ahmedabad’s Odhav Collapse


Odhav Building Collapse: It is likely that around 8 to 10 people are trapped under the debris

Ahmedabad: 

Four people were rescued even as some were feared trapped after two building blocks constructed under a government housing scheme nearly two decades ago collapsed in Ahmedabad’s Odhav locality on Sunday, officials said.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the local fire brigade were deployed to rescue people from the debris of the two blocks, each four-storeyed, said Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja.

He said these teams were using modern equipment for the rescue operation.

“The blocks were vacated yesterday by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) officials after it appeared that the building might collapse any time. But a few residents came back today and were inside the building when it collapsed,” Mr Jadeja said.

Mr Jadeja said it was likely that 8-10 people were trapped under the debris but added that the exact number of those trapped was still not known.

AMC Assistant Chief Fire Officer Rajesh Bhatt said four people had been rescued so far.

“Some residents had returned to the building today due to rains despite the AMC officials asking people to vacate their houses,” said Ahmedabad Mayor Bijal Patel.

AMC Commissioner Vijay Nehra said two blocks of the building of the government colony, each having around 150 residents, collapsed completely.

“After noticing damage, we got the buildings vacated yesterday. Around 300 people had vacated, but some of the residents returned. Some of them are still trapped,” Mr Nehra said.

Gujarat Chief minister Vijay Rupani directed the district collector to take the services of the NDRF to evacuate the trapped people, a government official said.





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