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DETROIT (AP) - Officials have confirmed two storm-related deaths in Michigan, raising to eight the toll from the heavy rain, powerful winds and tornadoes that formed across the region.

The Shiawassee County sheriff's department says 59-year-old Philip Daniel Smith of Perry in central Michigan was found dead and entangled in high-voltage power wires after going outside late Sunday to investigate a noise.

Also in central Michigan, Jackson County Sheriff Steven Rand says 21-year-old Ryan Allan Rickman of Leslie died when his vehicle was crushed by a fallen tree Sunday evening.

A band of storms moved across the Midwest on Sunday, unleashing powerful winds that flattened homes and left cars, trees and belongings strewn across neighborhoods. Officials say the storms also killed six people in Illinois.

Published in Local News

   DALBADI, Pakistan (AP) — Survivors built makeshift shelters with sticks and bedsheets after their mud houses were flattened in an earthquake that killed 348 people in southwestern Pakistan and pushed a new island up out of the Arabian Sea.

   While waiting for help to reach remote villages, hungry people dug through the rubble to find food. And the country's poorest province struggled with a dearth of medical supplies, hospitals and other aid.

   Tuesday's quake flattened wide swathes of Awaran district, where it was centered, leaving much of the population homeless.

   Almost all of the 300 mud-brick homes in the village of Dalbadi were destroyed. Noor Ahmad said he was working when the quake struck and rushed home to find his house leveled and his wife and son dead.

   "I'm broken," he said. "I have lost my family."

   The spokesman for the Baluchistan provincial government, Jan Mohammad Bulaidi, said Thursday that the death toll had climbed to 348 and that another 552 people had been injured.

   Doctors in the village treated some of the injured, but due to a scarcity of medicine and staff, they were mostly seen comforting residents.

   The remoteness of the area and the lack of infrastructure hampered relief efforts. Awaran district is one of the poorest in the country's most impoverished province.

   Just getting to victims was challenging in a region with almost no roads where many people use four-wheel-drive vehicles and camels to traverse the rough terrain.

   "We need more tents, more medicine and more food," said Bulaidi.

   Associated Press images from the village of Kaich showed the devastation. Houses made mostly of mud and handmade bricks had collapsed. Walls and roofs caved in, and people's possessions were scattered on the ground. A few goats roamed through the ruins.

   The Pakistani military said it had rushed almost 1,000 troops to the area overnight and was sending helicopters as well. A convoy of 60 Pakistani army trucks left the port city of Karachi early Wednesday with supplies.

   Pakistani forces have evacuated more than 170 people from various villages around Awaran to the district hospital, the military said. Others were evacuated to Karachi.

   One survivor interviewed in his Karachi hospital bed said he was sleeping when the quake struck.

   "I don't know who brought me from Awaran to here in Karachi, but I feel back pain and severe pain in my whole body," he said.

   Jan said he didn't know what happened to the man's family. He was trying to contact relatives.

   Local officials said they were sending doctors, food and 1,000 tents for people who had nowhere to sleep. The efforts were complicated by strong aftershocks.

   Baluchistan is Pakistan's largest province but also the least populated. Medical facilities are few and often poorly stocked with supplies and qualified personnel. Awaran district has about 300,000 residents spread out over 29,000 square kilometers (11,197 square miles).

   The local economy consists mostly of smuggling fuel from Iran or harvesting dates.

   The area where the quake struck is at the center of an insurgency that Baluch separatists have been waging against the Pakistani government for years. The separatists regularly attack Pakistani troops and symbols of the state, such as infrastructure projects.

   It's also prone to earthquakes. A magnitude 7.8 quake centered just across the border in Iran killed at least 35 people in Pakistan last April.

   Tuesday's shaking was so violent it drove up mud and earth from the seafloor to create an island off the Pakistani coast.

   A Pakistani Navy team reached the island by midday Wednesday. Navy geologist Mohammed Danish told the country's Geo Television that the mass was a little wider than a tennis court and slightly shorter than a football field.

   The director of the National Seismic Monitoring Center confirmed that the mass was created by the quake and said scientists were trying to determine how it happened. Zahid Rafi said such masses are sometimes created by the movement of gases locked in the earth that push mud to the surface.

   "That big shock beneath the earth causes a lot of disturbance," he said.

   He said these types of islands can remain for a long time or eventually subside back into the ocean, depending on their makeup.

   He warned residents not to visit the island because it was emitting dangerous gases.

   But dozens of people went anyway, including the deputy commissioner of Gwadar district, Tufail Baloch.

   Water bubbled along the edges of the island. The land was stable but the air smelled of gas that caught fire when people lit cigarettes, Baloch said.

   Dead fish floated on the water's surface while residents visited the island and took stones as souvenirs, he added.

   Similar land masses appeared off Pakistan's coast following quakes in 1999 and 2010, said Muhammed Arshad, a hydrographer with the navy. They eventually disappeared into the sea during the rainy season.

   ___

   Santana reported from Islamabad. Associated Press writers Abdul Sattar in Quetta, Asif Shahzad in Islamabad and Adil Jawad in Karachi contributed to this report.

Published in National News
Saturday, 27 July 2013 08:36

Death toll rises in Egypt clashes

CAIRO (AP) — Clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi have now killed nearly 40 people.

A doctor at the Islamist-led rally in Cairo says the overnight night clashes have overwhelmed the field hospital operating from the sit-in where the protesters have been camped for over three weeks.

Police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of Morsi supporters near the sit-in, setting off clashes that lasted for hours— in a possible sign of a new intolerance for marches that block city streets.

The clashes erupted following a day when millions took to the streets answering a call from the army chief, who said he wanted a mandate to stop "potential terrorism" by Morsi supporters.

Published in National News

   BEIJING (AP) — A strong earthquake in a dry, hilly farming area in western China knocked down power lines and damaged scores of homes early Monday, killing at least 47 people and injuring nearly 300, the local government said.

   The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a region of mountains, desert and pastureland. Residents described shaking windows and swinging lights but little major damage and little panic. Tremors were felt in the provincial capital of Lanzhou 177 kilometers (110 miles) north, and as far away as Xi'an, 400 kilometers (250 miles) to the east.

   "You could see the chandeliers wobble and the windows vibrating and making noise, but there aren't any cracks in the walls. Shop assistants all poured out onto the streets when the shaking began," said a front desk clerk at the Wuyang Hotel in the Zhang County seat about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the epicenter. The clerk surnamed Bao refrained from identifying herself further, as is common among ordinary Chinese.

   With a population of 26 million, Gansu is one of China's more lightly populated provinces, although the New Jersey-sized area of Dingxi has a greater concentration of farms in rolling hills terraced with fields for crops and fruit trees. Dingxi has a total population of about 2.7 million.

   The deaths and injuries were reported in Min County and other rural southern parts of the municipality, Dingxi Mayor Tang Xiaoming told state broadcaster CCTV. Tang said damage was worst in the counties of Zhang and Min, where scores of homes were damaged and telephone and electricity services knocked out.

   Su Wei, leader of a 120-member rescue team from the paramilitary People's Armed Police, told state broadcaster CCTV that they were on their way to the epicenter, but progress was being slowed by mud and rock slides blocking the road.

   The Chinese Red Cross said it was shipping 200 tents, 1,000 sets of household items, and 2,000 jackets to the area and sending teams from both Lanzhou and Beijing to help with relief work and assess further needs.

   Heavy rain is expected in the area later in the week, raising the need for shelter and increasing the chance of further landslides.

   The government's earthquake monitoring center said the initial quake at 7:45 a.m. (2345 GMT Sunday) was magnitude-6.6 and subsequent tremors included a magnitude-5.6.

   The quake was shallow, which can be more destructive. The center said it struck about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) beneath the surface, while the Gansu provincial earthquake administration said it was just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) deep.

   The U.S. Geological Survey measured the magnitude of the initial quake as 5.9 and the depth at 10 kilometers (6 miles).

   Initial measurements of an earthquake can vary widely, especially if different monitoring equipment is used.

   Dingxi is about 1,233 kilometers (766 miles) west of Beijing.

   China's worst earthquake in recent years was a 7.9-magnitude temblor that struck the southwestern province of Sichuan in 2008, leaving 90,000 people dead or missing.

Published in National News

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