Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 23rd 2013 Contents A28
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, November 23, 2013
NAIROBI---After early delays caused
by massive infrastructure damage, the
World Food Programme is now pro-
viding food to three million typhoon
victims in the Philippines, but the
needs there and in Syria mean Somali
refugees in Kenya are seeing food
assistance cut by 20 per cent, WFP s
top official said yesterday.
Ertharin Cousin said the loss of key
bridges across many islands in the
Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan has
complicated the aid response, but that
food deliveries are ramping up. The
island nation s unique geography com-
bined with destroyed bridges and
washed-out roads has left isolated com-
munities in need, leading to criticism
of the time lag from residents.
Philippines officials said yesterday
that the typhoon s death toll had risen
above 5,000 and was likely to climb.
"If I m a mother and I can t feed my
child, my only statement (to journalists)
is I need food, and that s what gets
reported. And while we can talk about
bridges and debris and planes and
trucks what they want to hear is how
fast is the food going to get to me.
"By Wednesday after the storm we
had reached 50,000 people. By Thurs-
day we had reached 170,000. By yes-
terday 350,000 and so on until today
when we ve reached three million,"
WFP has appealed for US$102 million
for its Philippines response. The organ-
isation has received about a quarter of
that so far, Cousin said.
The WFP s biggest individual feeding
program is in war-torn Syria. WFP
feeds four million people inside the
country and 1.8 million outside and
spends US$40 million a week in Syria.
The needs in Syria and the Philippines
have meant less money for other crises
in what Cousin called the "more invis-
ible, less reported places of the world."
Refugees in two camps in Kenya,
including the world s largest refugee
camp, Dadaab, have had food rations
cut by 20 per cent in November and
WFP is US$40 million short of its
needs in Kenya this year, the price of
one week of Syria operations. Ration
sizes have been cut once this year in
nearby Congo and more cuts may come
next month, Cousin said, unless WFP
finds an additional US$75 million.
The UN refugee agency, Kenya and
Somalia signed an agreement this
month to try to accelerate the voluntary
repatriation of Somali refugees. The
timing of the food cuts and announce-
ment of the agreement have the poten-
tial to fuel conspiracy theories of an
effort to force refugees to return. (AP)
RIGA---Hordes of shoppers were
picking up food after work in the Lat-
vian capital when an enormous sec-
tion of the supermarket s roof caved
in. Firefighters rushed in to save them,
only to be crushed themselves when
a second part of the roof collapsed.
The death toll from the rush-hour
disaster Thursday at the Maxima super-
market in Riga rose to 47 yesterday,
including three firefighters, police said.
Spokesman Toms Sadovskisk said the
death toll is expected to go even higher,
and that six of the dead were still
Another 35 people were injured, 28
of them hospitalized, including 10 fire-
fighters struck just as they entered the
unstable building, the Fire and Rescue
It was the largest tragedy for the
Baltic state since it regained independ-
ence in 1991. Latvia s government
declared three days of mourning starting
The rescue agency could not say how
many people might be trapped under
the rubble in the densely populated,
working-class neighbourhood between
downtown Riga and the city s airport.
The reason for the collapse was still
not known, but rescue and police offi-
cials said workers had been building a
garden on the roof as part of the super-
market s original design. Riga Mayor
Nils Usakovs told reporters that large
bags of earth and sand on a weak spot
on the roof could have caused the col-
An enormous crater-like hole gaped
in the supermarket s roof, while building
materials were still stacked on the
Rescue workers kept up their round-
the-clock search for possible survivors
as darkness fell yesterday, periodically
turning off all equipment and asking
the relatives of missing people to call
so they could pinpoint ringing phones.
Dozens of firefighters carefully sifted
through the rubble.
Rescue agency spokeswoman Vik-
torija Sembele said the search for sur-
vivors was proceeding slowly, since
both the rubble and the remaining sec-
tions of the roof were fragile and could
easily collapse further if the wrong
piece was moved.
About 500 square meters (5,300
square feet) of the roof collapsed, the
rescue service estimated, destroying
large sections of the store s high walls
and nearly all its front windows.
Several large construction cranes gin-
gerly hauled metal slabs and other
debris from the central hole, while bull-
dozers cleared paths into the store.
Sembele said approximately one-third
of the rubble still needed to be removed.
The building was completed in
The Lithuania-owned Maxima was
reportedly renting the space. Maxima
officials refused to comment, saying
they would release a statement later.
Rescue workers carry a stretcher with a victim outside the Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, yesterday. At
least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian
supermarket in the country's capital. AP PHOTO
Death toll in grocery
collapse rises to 47
Aid body feeds
3m after typhoon
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