The death toll from an explosion-triggered fire at a mosque outside the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka has risen to 11, police and physicians said on Saturday.
The explosion occurred on Friday night when Muslim worshippers were about to end their evening prayers at Baitus Salat Jame Masjid in Narayanganj district, nearly 25 kilometres south of Dhaka, Police officer Zayedul Alam said.
He added that 37 out of 40 victims with severe wounds were rushed to Dhaka’s state-run specialised burn and plastic surgery institute.
Overnight, 10 people died at the hospital, physician Partha Sankar Paul told reporters.
A seven-year-old boy, who had burns on nearly 95 per cent of his body died hours after he was admitted at the hospital, according to Samanta Lal Sen, head of the institute.
He earlier told reporters that most victims were in a critical condition.
Television footage showed relatives of the deceased wailing outside the hospital.
Members of the Fire Service and Civil Defence department, who extinguished the fire and rescued the victims, said a gas leak might have caused the explosion.
“Primarily, we are suspecting that gas accumulated from a line beneath the mosque might have caused the explosion,” firefighting official Abdullah Al Arefin said.
Six air-conditioners inside the mosque also exploded, he said, adding that an investigation had been launched to determine the reason behind the accident.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)https://nnn.ng/bangladesh-mosque-explosion-death-toll-rises-to-11/
Climate change: AfDB to double financing for Africa to $25bn by 2025
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has committed to double its climate finance for Africa to 25 billion dollars by 2025, with more than 50 per cent devoted to climate adaptation.
The President of the bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, made this known at a virtual High-Level Launch of the Global Centre on Adaption (GCA) office in Africa on Tuesday.
According to the European Commission, climate adaptation means anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damages, or taking advantage of opportunities.
Adesina said that the fund would address climate risks the continent faced to ensure the continent was not short-changed by the global climate finance.
“I am delighted with the launch today of the Global Center on Adaptation for Africa (GCA) hosted by the African Development Bank.
“The bank has committed to doubling its financing for climate to 25 billion dollars by 2025 with over 50 per cent devoted to climate adaptation.
“Africa must not be short-changed by global climate finance.”
He reiterated AfDB’s continued partnership with the GCA to mobilise more resources for climate adaptation and ensure access to finance is sustained in the continent.
He urged African leaders to collaborate their efforts toward the sustenance of the centre to ensure sustainable development in the continent.
Also speaking, Mr Ban Ki-moon, Co-Chair of the Board of GCA and 8th Secretary-General of the UN said the launch would accelerate adaptation in Africa.
Ban said the GCA would also promote sustainable development in line with international best practices.
“This is a historic moment to accelerate adaptation in Africa. Nowhere is the challenge of achieving sustainable development in the face of a changing climate more acute.
“Our new regional office will support regional and national adaptation efforts by emphasising and spreading existing best practices on the continent and ensuring their fully fledged integration into broader international adaptation efforts.”
He said that Africa had a large population of youths and urged partners to work together and “invest in young the people and maximise their potential”.
“We must learn to work together to find solutions,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged partners to ensure that knowledge that could boost climate adaptation was shared.
“More than any other region, sub-Saharan Africa is vulnerable to the impact of climate change, which threatens lives and livelihoods and undermines economic growth.
“After the current crisis (COVID-19), boosting resilience is an urgent priority so it’s vital we share the knowledge and best practice that can help accelerate climate adaptation.”
Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN applauded the launch of the GCA Africa, which she noted would ensure a more resilient Africa.
“There is an urgent need to step up the support for people in Africa, and around the world affected by climate change.
“I welcome the GCA Africa as a crucial partner in delivering the elevated ambition and enhanced action that is needed to make this shift toward a resilient future.”
Mohammed reiterated the commitment and support of the UN toward the development of the continent.
“The devastating effects of climate change, which include severe droughts, floods, reduced agricultural yields, sea-level rise, and other climate-related disasters are on the rise.
“The launch of GCA Africa is a bold and innovative initiative to galvanise the support needed to significantly scale up adaptation on the continent, identify gaps and connect regional partners to find solutions,” Ondimba said.
The GCA launch was hosted by the AfDB at its headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire and had several African leaders and international organisations’ leaders giving their support.
GCA Africa will work with partners across the continent to scale and accelerate adaptation action that protects African communities from the impacts of climate change.
The centre will focus on programmes and action, knowledge acceleration, capacity building and agenda-setting that respond to the acute challenges from the changing climate facing African countries.
The programmes include improving the food security of one billion people in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.
This will be done through a programme on rural well-being and food security, as well as projects to support communities through water for urban growth and resilience; using nature for more resilient infrastructure; adaptation finance and building youth leadership.
The GCA has its headquarters in the Netherlands and regional offices in China and Bangladesh.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf
UN concerned over health of Rohingya migrants stranded in Indonesia
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday said over one-third of the almost 300 Rohingya migrants, who landed in Indonesia recently after seven months at sea, need hospitalisation and medical care.
Spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said in a statement that three migrants have died after coming ashore in Aceh Province on Sept. 7, all them from lung infections.
“Having been repeatedly turned away and refused disembarkation in the region, many are showing symptoms consistent with beriberi disease, a preventable condition caused by acute vitamin deficiency.
“This tragic episode serves as a stark reminder to states in the region that prompt action to provide a safe port could have saved dozens of lives.
“Four out of five in the group are women and children and about half are girls under the age of 18,’’ Mantoo said.
The Rohingya have been sheltered in a government building, where they have received assistance from local authorities, the UNCHR and other aid organisations.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), another UN agency, said some of the Rohingya had agreed to pay smugglers more than 2,000 dollars to take them to Malaysia.
“At least 30 people in the group died at sea,’’ the IOM said.
Survivors told UN officials that they had left Bangladesh aboard a small boat that took them to a larger vessel.
UN investigators have accused Myanmar’s military of carrying out mass killings and other atrocities against the Muslim minority with “genocidal intent” during a 2017 campaign that forced over 730,000 across the border into Bangladesh.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ijeoma Popoola
Alternative fuel: MOMAN seeks special fund for vehicles’ conversion
Oyebanji said creating an alternative source of energy for Nigerians was imperative as the nation grapples with increasing PMS prices due to the deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector.
He said, “For a car to start using autogas, it requires conversion switch which costs over N100, 000. Government should make funds available to assist car owners who want to switch to autogas.
“The people doing the conversion will convert a certain number of cars and ask government for refund. Other countries have had deliberate policies to encourage use of gas and I know Bangladesh is one of them.”
According to him, government should look at the possibility of granting tax holiday to investors in gas facilities and also grant waiver on importation of gas equipment to accelerate the process.
“I believe that the programme will reform and implement the promotion of a market structure which would ensure the utilisation and development of gas infrastructure, assets and facilities on a common carrier and co-sharing basis.
“The ultimate goal is to deepen the use of gas across the country by promoting its advantages as a cheaper and cleaner alternative source of energy.
” MOMAN supports the gas initiatives of the government and is keying into the autogas space to give Nigerians across the country a cleaner and greener alternative to power their automobiles, homes and other equipment.
“The idea of deepening the use of gas comes at a very auspicious time as we grapple with increasing PMS prices due to the deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector.”
Oyebanji said new policies on alternative energy, the total deregulation and liberalisation of the petroleum downstream sector and the coming on stream of new mega and modular refineries would be great for Nigeria.
He said that the country could quickly develop into the refining hub for West and Central Africa, becoming a net exporter of refined products.
Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle
Malaysia to push for resettlement of refugees, including Rohingya
Malaysia is asking third countries to accept some of the 177,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the country, an official told lawmakers on Tuesday.
Mastura Yazid, a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said this while replying to questions from lawmakers in the Dewan Negara, the upper house of Malaysia’s parliament.
Refugees will be resettled “if they can be relocated to a third country or their home country,” said Yazid.
Malaysia’s government officially regards refugees as illegal migrants and has not ratified the UN’s 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which “outlines the rights of refugees, as well as the legal obligations of States to protect them.”
“We must also update our laws so that if we proceed to ratify the convention, it would put the rights of our citizens first,” Mastura said.
Malaysia’s police have already stepped up their round-ups of undocumented migrants after the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic; deporting thousands to Indonesia and the Philippines.
More than half the refugees registered with the UN in Malaysia are Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
More than one million Rohingya are estimated to have fled official discrimination at home in recent decades, the majority crossing into Bangladesh after Myanmar Army attacks in Rakhine State during 2016 and 2017.
From there, many have sailed for Malaysia or Thailand, where authorities have forced vessels back into international waters.
Around 300 Rohingya came ashore late Sunday in Aceh, Indonesia’s westernmost province.
The boat had been denied entry by Malaysia before Acehnese fishermen mounted a rescue, the second such operation since June.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Obike Ukoh