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					                                                                                     Buildinga Disaster Free India

DISASTERS UPDATE                    Issue No.933                      Date: 12.01.08
                            TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTS

Fire devastate s wholesale market at Burrabazar
Saturday, January 12, 2008 : 1940 Hrs
Kolkata (PTI): A devastating fire swept through the country's largest w holesale mar ket
at the crammed Burrabazar in the w ee hours of Saturday gutting 2,500 shops and
engulfing some homes leaving scores of people homeless.

A m ajor fire engulfs eight buildings in Kolkata' biggest wholesale market,
Burrabazar in the early hours on Saturday. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chow dhury

There w as no casualties, but three persons, w ho w ere trapped w ere rescued, fire
brigade sources said. Property w orth crores of rupees were damaged in one of the
w orst blaze in the metropolis.

Fire w as still raging in some pockets even 14 hours after it broke, an official said,
adding, it w as how ever controlled at a home from w here it started at 2:00 am on
Jamnalal Bajaj Street and quickly spread to other buildings. The cause of the fire w as
immediately not know n.

Dense black smoke w as still billow ing out and flames leapt from w indow s as 500
firemen and 40 fire tenders battled to douse the blaze. A few firemen w ere reportedly
injured, officials said. Defence sources said tw o fire tenders each from the Army and the
Air Force w ere also pressed into service at the request of the state government.

The Burrabazar quickly turned into an inferno of inflammable plastics, polythene bags,
garments, leather, tarpaulins, plastics and blankets. Several Gas cylinders stocked in
the market also aided the spread of the blaze, officials said.

"The origin of the fire has been brought under control, but it is still blazing in some
pockets at the multi-storied Nandaram mar ket, w here it has spread," Fire Services
Minister Pratim Chatterjee told PTI.
Minimum temperature falls in De lhi
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 12, 2008

Cold w ave conditions continued in Delhi w ith the minimum temperature falling by around
four degrees to seven degree Celsius. Yesterday the minimum w as 11.5 degree Celsius.

The maximum temperature also saw a decline by three degree to settle at 20.4 degree
Celsius, one degree less than nor mal, the Met office said.

Cold w ave conditions are likely to continue in the next few days due to snow fall in the
northern states. For the next 24 hours, the w eatherman has predicted clear sky w ith a
thin layer of mist in the morning.

The minimum temperature w ill continue to hover around seven degree Celsius, the Met
office added.

Mamata slams disaster manage me nt in WB
Press Trust of India
Saturday, January 12, 2008 (Kolkata),
As the authorities struggled to contain a devastating fire at the Burrabazar w holesale
market that gutted over 2500 shops, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on
Saturday accused the West Bengal government of failing to have a proper disaster
management mechanism.

' There is no proper disaster management system to contain major fires like this. It is
surprising that the fire could not be contained even 12 hours,'' she told reporters at the
site of the fire.

She said if the blaze w as caused by petroleum products, there should have been proper
measures to deal w ith it.

There could have been casualties, she said, had not the residents rushed out of the

Claiming that sabotage could not be ruled out, she w ondered w hether the fire w as to
evict people. ''It has been seen that such fires occur only on Saturdays and Sundays.''

' Political leaders are coming here to be photographed, w hile none is bothered about the
fact that the fire brigade arrived three hours late,'' she said.


Seven killed in coal mine blast in Kazakhstan: Governor
Saturday, January 12, 2008 : 0330 Hrs

KARAGANDA (AP): A methane gas explosion r ipped through a coal mine in
Kazakhstan on Friday, killing at least seven miners and leaving 23 others missing,
officials said.

Hours after the morning blast, emergency w orkers w ere still trying to put out a fire it
sparked at the Abay mine in the central Karaganda region, Emergencies Minister
Vladimir Bozhko said after arriving at the scene.

He said there w as ``no guarantee'' the 23 missing miners w ould be found alive.

The district hospital admitted 10 miners w ith serious burns and other injuries, four of
w hom w ere in critical condition, the hospital's chief doctor Amanzhol Abraimov said.

Authorities cordoned off the mine as relatives of the missing miners gathered nearby.

``Everyone is frightened,'' said Serik Zhunusov, a brother of one of the injured miners.
Zhunusov, w ho w as also a miner, said the blast occurred 500 meters (1,600 feet)

The Abay mine is one of eight ow ned by the w orld's largest steel- maker, Luxembourg-
based ArcelorMittal SA, in this Central Asian nation. The mines are part of a complex
that includes the Temirtau smelter, one of the w orld's largest steel plants.

Lakshmi Mittal, ArcelorMittal's president and CEO, said he deeply regretted the
accident and its causes w ere being investigated.

``We are doing everything w e can to locate those still missing and to assist the
bereaved,'' he said in a statement.

In 2006, an explosion at another Mittal-ow ned coal mine killed 41 people. Authorities
concluded the blast occurred as a result of safety violations, and eight w orkers w ere
convicted of negligence.

Methane blasts are a hazard at coal mines across the former Soviet Union. In
November, an explosion at a mine in Ukraine killed 101 miners.

                                                                              Compiled by
                                                                              AD Kaushik