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A Massive Live Bomb Diffused In Germany’s Biggest Evacuation Since World War II

The massive bomb is believed to have been dropped by Britain's Royal Air Force during the 1939-45 war.

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World war II bomb
A German couple during an evacuation of more than 60 000 people in Frankfurt, Germany on Sept. 3, 2017. VOA
  • Large number of live bombs and munitions continue to be found in Germany even 70 years after the end of World War II
  • Bomb experts successfully defused a 1.4 ton British bomb in Germany
  • Largest evacuation carried out in Germany since the end of World War II

Frankfurt, September 4, 2017 : German bomb experts successfully defused a massive World War II bomb in the financial capital of Frankfurt on Sunday after nearly 65,000 people were evacuated to safety.

The 1.4 ton British bomb was found at a construction site last week.

Police on Sunday cordoned off a 1.5 kilometer radius around the bomb, leading to the largest evacuation in Germany since the end of World War II.

Helicopters with heat seeking devices scoured the area before the bomb experts began their work.

Among the evacuees were more than 100 patients from two hospitals, including people in intensive-care.

Experts had warned that if the bomb exploded, it would be powerful enough to flatten a whole street.

More than 2,000 tons of live bombs and munitions are discovered each year in Germany, more than 70 years after the end of the war. British and American warplanes pummeled the country with 1.5 million tons of bombs that killed 600,000 people.

German officials estimate that 15 percent of the bombs failed to explode. (VOA)

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Displaced Villagers Return to Old Mosul Only to Find Destruction, Danger and Dead Bodies; Returnees Claim ‘Even Soldiers Stay Indoors After Dark’

The wreckage from a few of the destroyed homes has been cleared away as a handful villagers visit their homes in Old Mosul, which has been completely destroyed following a battle against the ISIS

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Old Mosul
Abd Elaam is one of the only people living in the Old Mosul in Iraq, where the destruction has been compared to World War II Dresden, Aug. 27, 2017.
  • Old Mosul has been completely shattered in the battle to recapture the city from Islamic State militants
  • About 900,000 people have been displaced by the battle for Mosul, and many neighborhoods have been completely destroyed by war
  • Areas around the village are slowly being re-populated, but many places are entirely without services like trash collection, electricity, and running water

Mosul, September 5, 2017 : “All you can hear at night is the sound of broken doors flapping in the wind,” says Abd Elaam, a 50-year-old furniture maker. “Even soldiers stay indoors after dark.”

Elaam is currently one of the very few civilians living in Old Mosul, an ancient neighborhood shattered by the battle to recapture the city from Islamic State militants. Like many families that survived IS rule, he says, his resources are completely exhausted by the war and he has nowhere else to go.

Other families trickle in by day, looking to repair their broken homes or recover the bodies of their dead loved ones. But even during daylight hours, the neighborhood is dangerous, riddled with bombs and an unknown number of militants hiding out in the vast network of tunnels under the tightly-packed buildings and piles of rubble. The level of destruction has been compared to World War II Dresden.

 

Old Mosul
About 900,000 people have been displaced by the battle for Mosul, and many neighborhoods like Mosul’s Old City have been completely destroyed by the war, July 9, 2017. (H. Murdock/VOA)

“A IS militant came out of one those houses two weeks ago,” Elaam says, gesturing towards another dusty, broken street. “He blew himself up near two families. They were all injured and the bomber was cut in half.”

The militant’s body, like other fallen IS fighters in Old Mosul, was shoved under the rubble to reduce the smell of rot in the 45 degree-plus weather. When Iraq declared victory over IS in early July, the bodies of dead militants lay scattered in buildings and on the streets of nearly every block. Authorities searched through giant piles of concrete, once homes, for the remains of civilian families. But, they said, the only government department responsible for the IS bodies was garbage collection.

 

Old Mosul
Bodies of IS fighters lie in the rubble of Old Mosul on nearly every block, while the bodies of families killed in airstrikes have to be dug out from under the demolished buildings in Mosul, Iraq, July 9, 2017. (H. Murdock/VOA)

Old Mosul is far from re-establishing city services like trash pickup. There is no running water, electricity or businesses open. Yet other families are following Elaam’s lead, and plan to return to their homes as soon as possible.

“In a few days I will move back and bring my family,” says Ghanem Younis, 72, resting on a beige plastic chair in a sliver of shade. “If they provide electricity and water, everyone would come back.”

Younger men and children squat around Ghanem, recalling the isolation of the final months of the battle that began late last year. “We couldn’t go more than 50 meters from our front doors,” says Sufian, a 27-year-old unemployed construction worker. “We spent our time sitting right here with Uncle Ghanem.”

 

Old Mosul
Residents of Old Mosul say homes left standing after months of heavy fighting are often ransacked as soldiers search for bombs and IS fighters hiding in tunnels under the city. (VOA)

But it is not sentiment driving some families home despite the dangers, adds Elaam, as more neighbors join the conversation.

“People cannot stay with friends and relatives forever,” he says. Camps for those displaced are also crowded. “No one has anywhere else to go,” he adds.

Airstrike Damage

A few blocks away, outside the checkpoints that cut off the Old City, the Zanjelli neighborhood is slowly being repopulated.

Old Mosul
Areas around Old Mosul are slowly being re-populated, but many places are entirely without electricity, running water and other city services, like trash collection. (VOA)

 

Construction workers build a market to replace one destroyed in airstrikes, while the owners of what was once a shoe store paint the shelves, hoping to re-open in the coming weeks. The wreckage from a few of the destroyed homes has been cleared away, and the bodies of many of the dead are now buried in graveyards.

In less than five minutes of conversation, at least three people tell us about family members, including toddlers, killed in airstrikes in the last months of battle.

“There was an IS sniper firing from next to my house and the airstrike hit us,” says Youseff Hussain, 35. “Fifteen members of my family were killed.”

 

Old Mosul
Iraqi search parties looking for survivors and the remains of dead civilians in Old Mosul. (VOA)

Rebuilding the neighborhood, adds Hussain, is made doubly frustrating by the fact that it was Iraq’s allies, including the United States, who destroyed many of their homes as they battled IS from the air.

Many locals say the sacrifice of property and lives may have been necessary to prevent the city, then under siege, from total starvation. But after bearing the brunt of the war with IS, largely considered a global threat, residents say they thought the international community or the government would help them rebuild.

The only aid families here get right now, Zanjelli residents say, is Iraqi military rations, as soldiers share their food.

“There is nothing they can do to pay us back for what we have lost,” says Hussain. “But shouldn’t we at least get refunded for our property?” (VOA)

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EXCLUSIVE: US-based Neonatologist Dr Omprakash Jha Tells Us ‘Why Taking Care of Child is Purest form of Love’!

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Hair Raising Challenge
Team of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit participates in the Hair Raising Challenge

June 29, 2017: In the sea of life, we, humans have been gifted with some incredible abilities that can make the world a beautiful abode for our race. One of the best gifts that mankind cherishes is the gift of nourishment; one’s ability to nourish and enrich another on this earth.

Nourishing an infant and taking care of a child is the purest form of love. It can be the best offering in one’s entire life. The Hollis J. Wiseman Neonatal Intensive Care unit at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital (NICU), has dedicated itself on providing that offering to premature babies, which is one commendable service!

At present, the unit is in dire need of upgraded tools and equipment to provide advanced care to the most fragile form of human life. Hence, a new donation campaign has been initiated and everyone is urged to spread awareness about the unit and join hands to help their cause.

On the occasion of acknowledging, applauding and most importantly spreading awareness about the initiative of NICU at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital; I (Reporter Antara Kumar of NewsGram) engaged in a discussion with Dr. Om Prakash Jha, a Neonatologist in the hospital, where he enlightens us about his perspectives and the functions of NICU.

Dr. Om Prakash Jha
Dr. Om Prakash Jha, Neonatologist in the USA

AK: What causes a premature birth?

OJ: The survival of a baby developing inside mother depends on oxygen and nutrients supplied through the placenta. The placenta acts like a vacuum, soaking up everything the baby needs. This process should ideally go on for 40 weeks allowing appropriate growth of all the organ systems in the baby. Significant compromise to the function of the placenta any time before 40 weeks causes the baby to go into distressed needing them to be brought out either spontaneously or by C-section.

ALSO READ: Premature Babies Score Lower on Standardized Tests than Full-term Infants: Study

AK: What kind of major intensive medical care does a premature baby, born 4 months early, require?

OJ: When babies are born three or four months early, there are multiple organ systems at risk including brain, lungs, heart, intestines and, the largest organ in human body, the skin. These infants need to be kept on ventilator machines to help them breathe, and inside temperature controlled boxes effectively ‘incubating’ them outside of mother.  Feeding is a major issue either they don’t feed altogether or if attempted they feed into their lungs, also their intestines have a tendency to abruptly die out because they might not be ready to handle feeds. Spontaneous bleeding in the brains is also a major concern.

” For obvious reasons taking care of preemies is heavily dependent on expensive infrastructure and specialized equipment “

AK: What are the aspects that make NICU at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, a unique facility for Neonatal care?

An infant being taken care of in the unit
An infant being taken care of in the unit

OJ: Our NICU at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is a huge unit with capacity to accommodate 100 sick neonates with an average census in the 80’s. This unit has two decades of experience with saving infants born 4 months early or at 22 weeks gestational age. The survival of infants treated in our NICU rates in the top 10th centile nationally.

AK: In the service that NICU provides, what are the challenges that are faced regularly?

OJ: The personnel and passion to save these fragile babies is there, but equipment and resources become the limiting factor for the quality of care that we can provide. Looking at the bigger picture there is still a lot of research that needs to be done to improve the outcomes with regard to preventing and treating brain bleeds and lung failures.

AK: How do you deal with those challenges?

Hair Raising Challenge
The unit takes part in the Hair Raising challenge

OJ: At the local level we setup awareness camps and walks, to raise funds for improving services to the premature infants both during the hospital stay and following discharge. Advent of social media has created a platform to help spread awareness to the masses at a scale previously unimaginable. It was purely by chance that we stumbled upon the ‘Hair Raising Challenge’.

One day during the course of routine work in the NICU, a couple of nurses dressed their hair like trolls. Seeing beyond what was visible, it got me thinking that there is a deeper meaning to what they did with their hair. A little historical context  to understand why we chose ‘hair raising’ , in ancient times many cultures would place babies born 3-4 month early on the ground, knowing that Nature’s default for them  is inevitable death. In the last few decades, NICU personnel everywhere have ‘raised them up’ and fought against Natures default to save these fragile lives.

Hair raising challenge
Dr. Jha participating in the challenge

In an attempt for regular people to appreciate the work of NICU personnel and the grit of preemie’s themselves, we created a challenge for everyone to counter another law of Nature, the law of gravity and raise their hair up. We also request that they make a donation to our hospital or any hospital of their choice that provides care to premature babies. These donations would firstly help us provide the best possible care and secondly provide funding for research to improve the outcome in premature babies.

AK: How long have you been connected to NICU at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital? Could you brief your experience a bit?

OJ: I have been with USA C&W NICU for close to 2 years and I have seen firsthand, the camaraderie among staff members, and their passion for saving preemie babies is second to none.

” We request that they make a donation to our hospital or any hospital of their choice that provides care to premature babies” 

AK: What are the ways to improve the service?

OJ: For obvious reasons taking care of preemies is heavily dependent on expensive infrastructure and specialized equipment, and with changing technologies it needs to be changed or replenished often.

AK: What are the tools and techniques and machines required for improvement?

OJ: The usual equipment needed for basic care on extremely premature babies are Incubator, Neonatal Ventilator, Transport Isolette, an array of monitoring devices and infusion pumps, and consumables like central line sets, lumbar puncture trays just to name a few.

AK: How successful has the fundraising been till date?

OJ: In the first few days of starting the challenge, we have had overwhelming participation from families and friends of NICU “graduates” in the southern Alabama and southern Mississippi region.

Let us come forward and make the mission of NICU, a successful and glorious one!

– reported by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Over 400 US World War II servicemen estimated to be missing in India’s Northeast

The DPAA conducted field activities in Arunachal Pradesh from November 1-December 14, 2016, in search of US World War II unaccounted for personnel

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Indian Troops in Burma, Wikimedia

Kolkata, May 31, 2017: Over 400 US World War II servicemen are estimated to be missing in India’s northeast where recent field activities have yielded evidence possibly associated with unaccounted-for personnel, a US Defense Department official said here on Wednesday.

We estimate there are 425 servicemen still missing in northeast India, as per records from Second World War. We were flying missions from India, supporting our efforts in China and Myanmar and so there were crash sites that incurred accidents either because of weather or malfunctions or even enemy action and airplanes crashed and were lost, said Lt. Col Kevin Pritz of the Department of Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA), adding those missing were air servicemen.

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According to Pritz, there have been six identifications since 2013 and the remains have been returned to their families.

Participating in a talk and interactive session on The Anatomy of a Dig: Forensic Science and Anthropology, Pritz and forensic anthropologist Meghan-Tomasita Cosgriff from DPAA discussed how the various facets of forensic science and anthropology play a vital role in assisting the agency in recovering remains of missing US soldiers.

The DPAA conducted field activities in Arunachal Pradesh from November 1-December 14, 2016, in search of US World War II unaccounted for personnel.

The team recovered evidence that was subsequently examined by a Joint Forensic Review Committee comprising both DPAA and Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) members.

On December 7, 2016, the committee determined that the evidence was possibly correlated to US WWII service members unaccounted for from that region, and recommended the remains and material evidenceAbe transported to a DPAA laboratory for further analysis.

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In June, 2017, DPAA personnel will escort the evidence from Kolkata to a laboratory in Honolulu for analysis.

This activity marked the seventh mission relating to U.S. unaccounted for personnel conducted in India.

Past missions include: three recovery missions during 2008 and 2009 in Arunachal Pradesh, one investigation in Tripura in 2013, one investigation in Assam and Nagaland in 2014, one recovery in Arunachal Pradesh in 2015, and one investigation in Arunachal Pradesh 2016.

The Indian government has extended its full support to all these humanitarian missions. (IANS)

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