This aerial photo shows flooded neighborhood in Sanski Most, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Homes and roads have been flooded in parts of Bosnia after rivers broke their banks following heavy rains, triggering concerns Tuesday of a repeat of floods five years ago when dozens died. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)BEGOV HAN, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A 6-year-old boy who fell into a swollen creek on his bicycle remained missing after floods hit parts of Bosnia on Tuesday, raising fears the Balkan country could see a repeat of the record flooding that killed at least 23 people and affected about a third of the population five years ago.The child was riding over a small wooden bridge outside his home when he fell into the water along with his bike, the boy’s uncle told The Associated Press.”His mother tried to save him. She jumped into the water,” Sanel Meseljevic said, his voice trembling. „We also went in and searched….We couldn’t find him. We don’t know where he is, if he was swept away … or he is still somewhere in the creek.”Rescue teams in the central village of Begov Han spent hours looking for the boy and found the bicycle before calling off the search for the day, local media reported.Torrential rains that started on Sunday caused rivers in northwestern and central Bosnia to break their banks, flooding homes and roads. Local authorities in several areas urged residents living close to rivers to evacuate their homes and launched emergency measures to respond to the rising flood waters.A number of schools canceled classes, while electricity and water supplies were disrupted. Landslides closed local roads.Officials across Bosnia sought to dispel alarm northern Bosnia was at risk for the kind of destruction it suffered when the heaviest rain ever recorded drenched southeast Europe for days in mid-May 2014.”We don’t expect the 2014 situation because the intensity of the rainfall was much higher then,” said Dusan Vranjes, an emergency sector official in Prijedor.Nusret Alicik, a resident of Tesanj, in northern Bosnia, said water burst into the lower part of his house, as well as his mother’s.”I was at home, I climbed up the stairs on the first floor, brought the valuables upstairs. too. Where else could I go?” he said.In neighboring Croatia, authorities raised flood defenses in the central towns of Hrvatska Kostajnica, Korana and Karlovac.Croatian public broadcaster HRT said firefighters rescued eight tourists, including two children, in a central area.
(Re-casts, adds quotes on assessment for casualties and damage)
SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) – Disaster officials dispatched local relief teams in Papua New Guinea’s New Britain province on Wednesday to monitor remote communities for casualties or damage after a strong, shallow earthquake rattled the island the previous evening.
The magnitude 7.5 quake triggered an initial tsunami warning, though local officials said no waves were observed, nor any casualties reported yet but that they were seeking information on residents outside urban areas.
Don Tokunai, Papua New Guinea’s Disaster Management Office co-ordinator in the island’s main city of Rabaul, said there was „no information as of yet” of any injuries or deaths.
„We are conducting the assessment starting this morning,” he told Reuters by telephone. „We have asked all the district response teams to come back to us by 2 o’clock this afternoon (0400 GMT).”
The offshore quake hit around 50 km (30 miles) east of Rabaul at a depth of around 10 km (6 miles) just before 11 p.m. (1300 GMT), the United States Geological Survey said.
„It was very strong and shook the whole place up,” police Sergeant Frank Kilaur said by telephone from the police station.
„At the moment we haven’t had any reports of damage … We are OK here.”
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said hazardous tsunami waves were possible within 1,000 km (621 miles) of the quake’s epicenter along the coasts of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, before later saying the threat had passed.
Tokunai said shortly after the tremor that villagers on islands closer to the epicenter and on the west coast of New Ireland reported the ocean receding, but no damaging waves or casualties.
„They said they just woke up and felt the shake, but that they are still OK there,” he said.
Papua New Guinea, one of the world’s poorest countries, sits on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and is still rebuilding from a 7.5 quake that hit some 900 km (560 miles) to the west in February 2018 that killed at least 100 people. ($1 = 1.7431 marka) (Reporting by Tom Westbrook in SYDNEY and Charlotte Greenfield in WELLINGTON; Editing by John Stonestreet, Gareth Jones, Alison Williams and Sandra Maler)
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A team of Nepalese guides on Tuesday became the first expedition to scale Mount Everest during this year’s climbing season, setting the ropes for the hundreds of climbers who will follow.
Nepal’s Department of Tourism said the specially chosen team of expert guides fixed ropes up to the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit during favorable weather Tuesday. Weather conditions had been poor in recent days.
There are 41 different teams with a total of 378 climbers who have been permitted to scale the world’s highest mountain during the spring climbing season. There are an equal number of Nepalese guides helping them to get to the summit.
There are usually only a few windows of good weather near the summit in May for climbers to attempt to scale the peak.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A consumer activist group released a report Tuesday outlining the collapse in communications that beset Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and it urged the U.S. government to investigate the problems to avoid a repeat of the situation as the island prepares for another storm season.
The report by the group Free Press said the Federal Communications Commission should hold telecommunication companies responsible for the problems that emerged after the storm and also convene an independent commission to investigate the blackout similar to the one it formed after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.
„There are still so many questions, and the FCC has failed to be transparent about the communications crisis in Puerto Rico and what carriers did or didn’t do to help,” said Carmen Scurato, senior policy counsel for Free Press.
The storm that hit on Sept. 20, 2017, caused a communications outage that prevented local and federal officials from learning about the extent of the damage and people’s needs in the days and weeks that followed, with the storm knocking 96 percent of cellphone transmission sites out of service. One month later, 36 percent of sites were still not working, and in December 2017, the FCC noted that cable and landline phone services were „generally nonexistent.”
The Free Press report includes 52 complaints filed by Puerto Rican customers after the hurricane that were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Complaints range from being charged for services never received to failed promises of waiving excessive data-usage fees.
Scurato said the group is still waiting for additional information requested, including how carriers responded to the complaints.
The FCC rejected the report and said it has worked to provide short- and long-term funding to restore and improve Puerto Rico’s telecommunications system, including the creation of a $750 million fund announced last year.
„It’s terribly misleading to claim that establishing a commission would be a more effective use of time and resources than the work we did and continue to do,” the FCC said.
The report was released a day before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce holds an oversight hearing of the FCC, which issued a report earlier this month saying that communication outages in the Florida Panhandle after Hurricane Michael were lengthened by wireless carriers’ poor preparation and coordination.