#AceNewsRepor – Sept.13: The Spanish government has deployed a military unit to help firefighters in the mountainous region: Six more towns and villages were evacuated on Sunday, and huge plumes of smoke could be seen from miles away: Residents of five other communities were told to leave their homes on Friday.
#AceDailyNews says that thousandshave fled a huge blaze near Costa del Sol town with at lease one emergency worker being killed in the blaze, which began on Wednesday on high ground above the popular resort town of Estepona on the Costa del Sol according to BBC News Espana …
The blaze has burned 7,400 hectares, according to Spanish media.
“This is inhuman, nothing like this has ever been seen,” one evacuee, Adriana Iacob told Reuters news agency. “The flames of the fire as they ran through the mountains, it was amazing.”
“Since the fire started, we haven’t slept for days. It’s awful,” another local resident, Pepa Rubio, said.
Europe has seen a number of wildfires this summer.A look at some of the fires spreading across Europe – and the rest of the globe
Climate change increases the risk of the hot, dry weather that is likely to fuel wildfires.
The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.10: The Welsh government said 50 families are being resettled across the country: Most of those who have arrived directly supported Welsh-based armed forces in the country over the past 20 years….
This is after the UK government pledged to rehome 20,000 Afghans over the next five years after the Taliban seized back control of the country.
“Today we welcome the families and individuals that have served our country in Afghanistan,” said Wales’ Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt.
“We have made clear our pledge of Wales being a nation of sanctuary and we’re committed to do all that is possible to ensure Afghan interpreters, refugees and their families are welcomed.”
: Taliban has now taken control of Afghanistan
She added: “All local authorities in Wales are participating in these schemes and have offered their support and assistance to the Afghan citizens who are being resettled in the UK.”
The Urdd youth organisation is providing initial accommodation before other properties are found.
Its chief executive, Sian Lewis, said: “As an organisation, we are proud to help and continue to share with our members the importance of loyalty to country and culture but also to humanity and a higher good: We have a moral obligation as a national youth organisation to support humanitarian projects and offer a hand of friendship and support to the Afghan community in their time of need.”
Colonel Sion Walker from the 160th (Welsh) Brigade said: “There are direct historical links with Wales-based and Wales-facing units and members of many of those families coming to Wales: They will have worked alongside each other during very difficult times in Afghanistan; our involvement is recognition of the support given and comradeships developed during those times and we are proud to have played a part in making Wales a nation of sanctuary.”
#AceNewsReport – Aug.31: The Chaman Spin Boldak border is one of the busiest crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan with thousands of traders and travellers passing through this dusty town every day. ….
#AceDailyNews says that Afghan’s flee the #Taliban into Pakistan across the Chaman Border from dawn till dusk they pour in – hundreds of men with luggage on their shoulders, burqa-clad women walking briskly behind their men, children clinging to their mothers, exhausted in the scorching heat, and even patients pushed on wheelbarrows.
But these days, the traffic from the Afghan side is particularly high as thousands flee possible persecution by the Taliban.
‘They will raid our houses’
Zirqoon Bibi*, a 57-year-old woman belonging to the minority Hazara community, has only just arrived in Pakistan when I meet her.
“My heart is burning (with pain)” she repeatedly sobs when I ask how she is. “I ask myself what will become of my son, my only son”.
Her son, who works for a British company, has been trying to leave the country without success.
She says she already lost her daughter-in-law to a bomb blast by the Taliban targeting the Hazara community a few years ago.
“I felt so lost (after her death) that I couldn’t sleep for a long time. The Taliban are terrible people, I am scared of them”.
Before arriving in Pakistan, Zirqoon Bibi was housed in a small makeshift camp on the border with around 24 other Hazara women and children from different parts of Afghanistan: She left her home in the capital Kabul along with her two daughters and granddaughter.As she speaks, her granddaughter sits on her lap, completely oblivious to the fact that she has no home now.”I don’t care about my house or our belongings, I am only worried for my son and his daughter,” Zirqoon Bibi says while gently massaging the child’s shoulders. “Where can I go? what can I do? I have put this girl’s mother in the grave with my own hands. It takes a lot of effort and love to raise children, I can’t lose another one”
A country abandoned: John Simpson on AfghanistanBlack Hawks and Humvees: Taliban’s military gains Zarmeeney Begum*, a 60-year-old Afghan who is a Shia Muslim, has also just arrived with a group of other women. Shia Muslims in Afghanistan have been targeted by the Taliban in the past. She says when her community received news of the Taliban takeover, they felt they had no option but to leave Afghanistan……….Elderly people and patients were transported in wheelbarrows”We fear the Taliban will resume their acts of terrorism again. They will conduct raids on our houses. They are already looking for government officials. We feel that bombings may start any day,” she says.’Disrupted futures’Many of the new arrivals are young Afghan men and women who feel that their futures have now become uncertain.Among them is Muhammad Ahmer* who was studying and working as an English language instructor in Kabul. He is still in disbelief over how quickly Kabul fell.”It was so unbelievable. To be honest, we didn’t know they would take all of Kabul in just one night. But I was only scared about my school and my education,” he said.He said he currently doesn’t know what to do next, but is certain that his future doesn’t belong to Afghanistan under the current rule.”I want to make my own choices in life, I want freedom, so I am not going back.”Business is bad and unemployment rates are through the roof, said some who are migrating to find work in PakistanJamal Khan*, also a student in Kabul, has similar sentiments.”Everybody wants to live in their homes, but we were forced to leave Afghanistan. We are not feeling good about migrating to Pakistan or other countries, all people are worried, but they don’t have any hope,” he says.Others say there is no hope of survival under the Taliban.Obaidullah*, a labourer from Kandahar says he decided to flee to Pakistan because “businesses are destroyed, there is no government and the economy is in complete shambles”.”The situation in Kandahar is normal, but there is no work, I have come here so I can find some work, I will probably drive a rickshaw,” he said.Meanwhile, the Taliban has been trying to portray a more restrained image since its takeover. This is reflected in the stance of one foot soldier who stops to talk to us at the border.He insists the situation is completely peaceful now and says the “trauma of the Afghan people will end as soon as foreign occupation forces leave the country”. “It’s only a trust issue, people will soon know that we mean what we have promised,” he adds.
Thousands cross the Chaman Spin Boldak every day, but the influx from Afghanistan has been exceptionally high since the Taliban took overBut even as people pour in, they say these words mean little. “The Taliban may act differently this time, but people who have suffered from their hands in the past are not ready to trust them yet,” says Mr Ahmer.
They flee even though they know their futures are uncertain.The desperate scramble to escape Afghanistan Pakistan is already hosting millions of Afghans and says it cannot deal with another influx. Many believe it’s only a matter of time before Islamabad completely halts their entry. The Pakistan government has already said that unlike the 1980s, when millions of Afghans came over following the Soviet invasion, this time refugee camps would be set up on the borders and Afghans would not be allowed into the heartland. So far however, people are free to enter the country through the Chaman Spin Boldak border. But they understand the window is small, so they are willing to take any risk to get out.Where they can go after that remains to be seen.*Names have been changed to protect identities
#AceNewsReport – Aug.26: Several countries urged people to avoid the airport, where Belgium said there was a threat of a suicide bombing. But with just days left before the evacuation effort ends and American troops withdraw, few appeared to heed the call.
#AceDailyNews says the west warns of possible attack by #IslamicStateKhorasan at Kabul airport amid airlift and advises all those to leave and take shelter away from the area
Over the last week, the airport has been the scene of some of the most searing images of the chaotic end of America’s longest war and the Taliban’s takeover, as flight after flight landed to pull out those who fear a return to the militants’ brutal rule.
Ministers have been warning in recent days about the risk posed by Islamic State Khorasan – or ISIS-K – to British, US and other forces involved in evacuating tens of thousands of people, writes Sky's @haynesdeborahhttps://t.co/09Cwh8WX6n
Already, some countries have ended their evacuations and begun to withdraw their soldiers and diplomats, signaling the beginning of the end of one of history’s largest airlifts. The Taliban have so far honored a pledge not to attack Western forces during the evacuation, but insist the foreign troops must be out by America’s self-imposed deadline of Aug. 31.
But overnight, new warnings emerged from Western capitals about a threat from Afghanistan’s Islamic State group affiliate, which likely has seen its ranks boosted by the Taliban’s freeing of prisoners during their blitz across the country.
British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told the BBC on Thursday there was ”very, very credible reporting of an imminent attack” at the airport, possibly within “hours.”
Heappey conceded that people are desperate to leave and “there is an appetite by many in the queue to take their chances, but the reporting of this threat is very credible indeed and there is a real imminence to it.”
“There is every chance that as further reporting comes in, we may be able to change the advice again and process people anew, but there’s no guarantee of that,” he added.
Late Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy warned citizens at three airport gates to leave immediately due to an unspecified security threat. Australia, Britain and New Zealand also advised their citizens Thursday not to go to the airport, with Australia’s foreign minister saying there was a “very high threat of a terrorist attack.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied that any attack was imminent. “It’s not correct,” he wrote in a text message after being asked about the warnings. He did not elaborate.
On Thursday, the Taliban sprayed a water cannon at those gathered at one airport gate to try to drive the crowd away, as someone launched tear gas canisters elsewhere. While some fled, others just sat on the ground, covered their face and waited in the noxious fumes.
Nadia, a 27-year-old Afghan woman who gave only her first name for fear of reprisals, carried her 2-year-old daughter with her outside the airport, braving the chaos. She and her husband, who had worked with coalition forces, missed a call from a number they believed was the State Department and were trying to get into the airport without any luck. Her husband had pressed ahead in the crowd to try and get them inside.
“We have to find a way to evacuate because our lives are in danger,” Nadia said. “My husband received several threatening messages from unknown sources. We have no chance except escaping.”
Many Afghans have felt the same in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover. The hard-line Islamic group wrested back control of the country nearly 20 years after being ousted in a U.S.-led invasion following the 9/11 attacks, which al-Qaida orchestrated while being sheltered by the group.
Amid concerns about attacks, military cargo planes leaving Kabul airport already use flares to disrupt any potential missile fire. But there are also worries someone could detonate explosives in the teeming crowds outside the airport.
“We received information at the military level from the United States, but also from other countries, that there were indications that there was a threat of suicide attacks on the mass of people,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said, talking about the threat around Kabul airport.
Senior U.S. officials said Wednesday’s warning from the embassy was related to specific threats involving the Islamic State group and potential vehicle bombs. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss ongoing military operations.
The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan grew out of disaffected Taliban members who hold an even-more extreme view of Islam. Naming themselves after Khorasan, a historic name for the greater region, the extremists embarked on a series of brutal attacks in Afghanistan that included a 2020 assault on a maternity hospital in Kabul that saw infants and women killed.
The Taliban have fought against Islamic State militants in Afghanistan. However, their advance across the country likely saw IS fighters freed alongside the Taliban’s own. There are particular concerns that extremists may have seized heavy weapons and equipment abandoned by Afghan troops who fled the Taliban advance.
Amid the warnings and the pending American withdrawal, some European nations said they would have to end their evacuations.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex told RTL radio said his country’s efforts would end Friday evening due to the U.S. pullout.
Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen bluntly warned: “It is no longer safe to fly in or out of Kabul.”
Denmark’s last flight has already departed, and Poland and Belgium have also announced the end of their evacuations. The Dutch government said it had been told by the U.S. to leave Thursday.
The Taliban have said they’ll allow Afghans to leave via commercial flights after the deadline next week, but it remains unclear which airlines would return to an airport controlled by the militants. Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said talks were underway between his country and the Taliban about allowing Turkish civilian experts to help run the facility.
The Taliban have promised to return Afghanistan to security and pledged they won’t seek revenge on those who opposed them or roll back progress on human rights. But many Afghans are skeptical.
Fueling fears of what Taliban rule might hold, a journalist from private broadcaster Tolo News described being beaten by Taliban. Ziar Yad said the fighters also beat his colleague and confiscated their cameras, technical equipment and a mobile phone as they tried to report on poverty in Kabul.
“The issue has been shared with Taliban leaders; however, the perpetrators have not yet been arrested, which is a serious threat to freedom of expression,” Yad wrote on Twitter.
Lawless reported from London and Gambrell from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Sylvie Corbet in Paris; Jan M. Olsen from Copenhagen, Denmark; Tameem Akhgar and Andrew Wilks in Istanbul; James LaPorta in Boca Raton, Florida; Mike Corder at The Hague, Netherlands; and Colleen Barry in Milan contributed to this report.
Boris Johnson said any recognition of a Taliban government would “be subject to them upholding” human rights standards: In total, the UK hopes to help 6,000 to 7,000 British nationals and eligible Afghan staff to leave, he said.
And more than 3,300 people have been resettled since 2013, she said.
The prime minister spoke to US President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening, Downing Street said – and the pair agreed to work “closely together” to evacuate people from Afghanistan.
“The prime minister and President Biden agreed on the need for the global community to come together to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan,” a spokeswoman said.
She added that Mr Johnson outlined the UK’s plans to increase humanitarian aid to the region and resettle refugees, and that the pair would discuss the situation at a virtual meeting of G7 leaders “in the coming days”.
There were chaotic scenes at Kabul airport on Monday, as thousands tried to flee the country after the Taliban seized control of the capital.
A number of people died and large crowds on the runway led to all flights being halted for several hours.
However, Chief Joint Operations Vice Admiral Sir Ben said the situation was now “much calmer”.
“I’m very confident that we now have a stable airfield in which we can get on with the business, alongside all of our allies and partners, that we need to do,” he said.
How much aid will the UK give for Afghanistan?
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I expect that we will increase our aid budget for development and humanitarian purposes – probably by 10%, is what I have in mind – on last year. We want to try and make sure it doesn’t go through the Taliban.”One would assume by “last year” that Mr Raab was referring to aid spending in the 2020-21 financial year, when the UK gave £167.5m of aid to Afghanistan.
That was before the government cut the foreign aid budget earlier this year. Prior to today, aid to Afghanistan was set to fall to £37.5m – an annual reduction of £130m. However, if, as Raab has implied, a further 10% were added to the aid given in 2020-21, it would bring the UK’s spending in Afghanistan up to £184.25m. If a 10% increase was applied to the post-cuts budget then it would represent a massive decrease on the 2020-21 budget. We have asked the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to clarify the position but they have yet to comment.
He said three flights had landed in Kabul so far on Tuesday and more were planned. Military aircraft are also flying from Afghanistan to airports across the region, where people can then be put on civilian charter flights, he added. The UK has sent about 900 troops to Afghanistan to help evacuate British nationals and Afghans who are eligible to resettle in the UK. This group includes Afghans who worked for the British government, as well as interpreters, cultural advisers and embassy staff.
Sir Ben said the UK wanted to bring as many people back as quickly as possible. “We will go for as long as it takes us to either meet the demand, or when the security situation means that we’re no longer operating with consent,” he added. However, he said it was up to eligible individuals to make their own way to the airport when they were called to do so and the Taliban were now controlling access points. So far, he said the Taliban had “seemed acquiescent and understanding of what we’re trying to achieve” – but “we don’t take it for granted”. “We will try our utmost to bring back everybody we can but we do not own the finish point of this,” he added. “We can merely work day by day as hard as we possibly can.” Afghan interpreter: “I’m so worried about my parents and my sisters’ safety”
Sir Ben’s comments came as a spokesman for the Taliban said the UK and western allies had a “moral obligation” to “help reconstruct Afghanistan”.
Suhail Shaheen told Sky News that the prime minister and other world leaders should respect the “aspiration and will of the people of Afghanistan, and help the people of Afghanistan in rebuilding the country and providing a prosperous life for the people and economic development”.”This is their obligation because they were behind the destruction of Afghanistan during the 20 years,” he added.In a separate news conference, the Taliban claimed that interpreters and others who had helped allied forces would be pardoned.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said Mr Johnson had spoken to Pakistan PM Imran Khan on Tuesday afternoon.Pakistan and Afghanistan share a border, and Mr Johnson had stressed the importance of working with other countries “to avoid a humanitarian disaster” the spokeswoman said.”
The prime minister underlined that any recognition of the new government in Afghanistan is to happen on an international, not unilateral, basis,” she added.”He said that the legitimacy of any future Taliban government will be subject to them upholding internationally-agreed standards on human rights and inclusivity.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the UK is looking at a “bespoke arrangement”, with full details to be set out in due course. He did not confirm how many refugees would be allowed to come, but said the UK was “a big-hearted nation”.
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said he would ask the prime minister on Wednesday how the UK planned to get refugees out of Afghanistan. “I don’t think a question of numbers at this stage is a helpful discussion,” he said. “The first discussion has to be: is there a plan; is there a strategy of safe and legal routes for refugees to come out of Afghanistan; and how quickly can that be put in place?”
Sir Keir Starmer said talking about exact numbers was “not helpful”…….
The former immigration minister Caroline Nokes MP told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme that the government needed to implement an “unprecedented” new resettlement scheme at “alarming speed”.”I think we have to be particularly scared for women and we know this is a regime that will oppress and suppress women as much as they possibly can,” she said.
The BBC has been told the new resettlement scheme will be similar to that used to help Syrian refugees: Around 20,000 refugees who fled the conflict in Syria have been resettled in the UK under the scheme since it was launched in 2014.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.17: Israel’s foreign minister also asked neighbouring countries for help: Greece and Cyprus responded with offers to send firefighting aircraft, officials said, though it was not clear if they would be needed.
#AceDailyNews says that Israel battles huge wildfire near Jerusalem and the blaze appeared to have been brought under control on Sunday night but strong winds and low humidity caused it to regain intensity on Monday….as authorities were forced to evacuate about 2,000 residents of nearby towns and villages as a precaution:
Firefighters have the #Jerusalem area wildfire mostly contained, with #Fire Chief Insp.-Gen. Dedi Simchi telling Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev that international aid is no longer needed.https://t.co/RBJAhpPiAc
“We are deployed in many areas because the winds could bring the fire to new places,” Israel Fire and Rescue Services official Niso Guetta told Army Radio.
EPAIsrael’s government requested assistance from several neighbouring countries
Reuters: The wildfire has destroyed 2,000 hectares of forest in the Jerusalem Hills
The blaze sent a plume of thick black smoke over Jerusalem, and residents have been advised to limit their outdoor activity because of the very high pollution levels.
The wildfire is one of the largest in Israel’s history, but so far no-one has been killed. In 2010, 44 people were killed by a fire on Mount Carmel, in the north of the country, that burned 2,500 hectares.
Reuters: The wildfire is one of the largest in Israel’s history
ReutersResidents of Jerusalem were advised to stay indoors because of the very high air pollution
Fire and Rescue Services Commissioner Dedi Simchi has said the fire was caused by humans, but investigators do not know yet if it was arson or negligence.
“The climate crisis will make such events more frequent and powerful, and Israel is particularly sensitive to drought and warming,” Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg warned during a visit to a fire service command centre, according to the Times of Israel.
The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.06: The 35-year-old coal-fired Kemerkoy Power Station in south-west Turkey’s Mugla region and a nearby town on the Aegean Sea were evacuated late yesterday as deadly wildfires reached the plant….
#AceDailyNews says that Turkey evacuates power station as wildfires rage on as death toll from Turkey wildfires rises to 4 as babies, children and people over the age of 65 were removed from the area, and have been taken to shelters local media reported
In a statement the Kemerkoy Electric Distribution Company said the power plant is not at risk of explosions.
Mugla Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Osman Gurun said that the hydrogen tanks in Kemerkoy Power Station have been emptied.
“Even if the fire reaches the power plant, an explosion is not expected,” the mayor said. “Hydrogen facilities and hydrogen gas in the power plant have been emptied and secured.”
Former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation Prof. Dr. Mustafa Ozturk warned that if the Kemerkoy Thermal Power Station burns, toxic gases will be released and could damage human health, Turkey’s NTVreported.
Since 28 July forest fires have been spreading in more than 187 locations in 21 provinces and districts in Turkey, 172 of which were brought under control.
Firefighters used planes and helicopters to tackle the fires, while the government has faced fresh criticism of its handling of the disaster.
#AceWeatherDesk says Monsoon rains flood Philippine villages, thousands evacuate as officials said they struggled to open more emergency shelters in order to allow social distancing among the displaced residents and prevent evacuation camps from turning into epicenters of #COVID19 infections. In the hard-hit city of Marikina in the capital region, nearly 15,000 residents were evacuated to safety overnight as waters rose alarmingly in a major river.
“This situation will be too difficult if there won’t be a permanent solution to flooding, especially now with the threat from the delta variant,” Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro told ABS CBN News, referring to the highly contagious COVID-19 viral strain that has been detected in the country.
Philippines Evacuates Thousands as Monsoon Rains and Tropical Storm Flood Manila, Provinces
Philippine authorities moved thousands of residents in the capital, Manila, out of low-lying communities on Saturday as heavy monsoon rains, compounded by a tropical storm, flooded the city and nearby provinces.
Reuters – Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Jay Ereno; Editing by Robert Birsel and Edmund Klamann Click here to read more.
Many of the residents were evacuated from flood-prone villages in Marikina overnight, depriving them of sleep, said Teodoro. He blamed years of illegal logging in nearby mountains and heavy siltation in Marikina River for constant flooding in his city.
In the mountainous northern city of Baguio, a resident died Friday afternoon after the taxi she was riding in was hit by a falling tree, police said, adding two other people in the taxi were injured. The northern Philippines has been swamped by days of monsoon rains that flooded low-lying villages and set off minor landslides.
Typhoon In-fa, which has churned off the country’s eastern coast and dumped rain on Taiwan before blowing toward China, intensified the seasonal downpours, forecasters said.
A cargo boat overturned after being lashed by strong waves Saturday close to a port in Pio Duran town in Albay province, southeast of Manila. Its 10 crewmen were rescued by police, firefighters and villagers, who used a long rope to pull the overturned boat closer to the coast, the coast guard said.
Coast guard personnel rescued several residents trapped in their houses by rising floodwaters Friday in Naujan town in Mindoro Oriental province south of Manila. As they carried the villagers through waist-high waters, the emergency crew held on to a rope to prevent themselves from being swept away by the current.
About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year, aside from seasonal monsoon rains. The country also lies in the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a region prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone nations.
#AceWorldNews – PHILIPPINES – Dec.05 – Thousands of people in the Philippines sought shelter in churches, schools and other evacuation centres on Friday as Typhoon Hagupit approached the country, AFP reported.
The storm, which would be the strongest to hit the country this year, is forecast to hit eastern provinces devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan last year.
There are conflicting projections from various weather agencies over the typhoon’s direct path.