Thousands flee floods
Floods triggered by torrential monsoon rains forced almost 14,000 people to flee their homes and seek shelter at relief centers, the Bernama news agency said yesterday. Rain showers which coincided with high tides flooded hundreds of homes in the northeastern states of Terengganu, Pahang and Kelantan, it said. Bernama said the flood situation was deteriorating as the number of evacuees continued to rise and some major roads in Pahang were closed as rivers burst their banks. Muhammad Helmi Abdullah, the meteorological department’s weather forecast director, warned that there could be more rain in Terengganu, Pahang and southern Johor State in the next few days.
Fires incite mob anger
Angry residents beat a man to death and threw rocks at firefighters after a shantytown fire left thousands of people homeless and another Christmas Day blaze in Manila left seven people dead, officials said yesterday. A resident was beaten to death by his neighbors after shouting that he started Tuesday’s shantytown fire in San Juan, Senior Fire Officer Domingo Cabog said. The man was reportedly drunk and not responsible for the fire. About 5,000 people were left homeless and 13 hurt in the fire. The injured included two firefighters and a volunteer hit by rocks that were thrown by residents who were impatient and tried to grab fire hoses to save their own shanties, Cabog said. “It’s Christmas and many of the men in the neighborhood were drunk,” Cabog said. In Quezon City, a predawn fire on Tuesday killed a veterinarian and six household members who were trapped inside a house, arson investigator Rosendo Cabillan said. The blaze was suspected to be triggered by an overloaded electrical circuit, he said.
Political attack sparks chaos
Businesses were closed in Karachi yesterday after an attempt to murder a politician left six dead on Tuesday and ensuing violence killed 10 others. Aurangzaib Farooqi, leader of the hardline Sunni Muslim organization Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, survived an attack yesterday by gunmen, prompting his party to demand a day of mourning, the Dawn newspaper reported. Farooqi was shot in the thigh, while five of his guards and chauffer were killed in the shootout. People with bamboo shafts and some with pistols took to the streets after television channels reported the news of the attack. Armed men fanned across the city during a wave of violence in which 10 more people were killed, either in reaction or related to the attack, the daily said. Trade unions said they will refrain from opening shops to join a day of mourning.
Military jet crashes, kills 27
All 27 people on board a military jet carrying top border guard officials that crashed have died, the National Security Service said in a statement. The victims included the acting head of the Federal Border Service, Turganbek Stambekov, and his wife, the statement said. The 22-year-old plane crashed late on Tuesday about 20km from Shymkent Airport where it had been due to land after a flight from Astana. State KTK television said the jet fell from a height of 800m. Witnesses also reported hearing a loud explosion at the time of the crash. Footage of the crash site aired on state television yesterday showed only fragments of the An-72 military transport plane remaining on the ground. However, the security service said that the plane had recently undergone all necessary checks and repairs.