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World Scene

- - Sunday, July 10, 2011

INDIA

31 dead, 100 injured in train derailment

FATEHPUR — Rescuers searched through the wreckage of a packed express train for people trapped inside after it derailed in northern India on Sunday, killing at least 31 and injuring 100 others, officials said.

The Kalka Mail train was on its way to Kalka, in the foothills of the Himalayas, from Howrah, a station near Calcutta in eastern India, when 12 coaches and the engine jumped the tracks at Malwan station, near the town of Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh state, senior railway official A.K. Jain said.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately clear, but it appeared that the driver applied the emergency brakes, Mr. Jain said.

At least 31 people were killed, and rescue workers pulled at least 100 injured passengers out of the wreckage, said Brij Lal, a state police official.

The accident site was a pile of twisted metal. At least one coach flew above the roof of another ahead of it and was dangling precariously, television footage showed. Another coach was thrown away from the rest of the train.

The toll was likely to rise as rescuers made their way through the coaches and used gas cutters to cut through the mangled metal, Mr. Lal said. Rescue efforts continued late into the night.

SOMALIA

U.N.: Drought is worst humanitarian crisis

DADAAB, Kenya — The head of the U.N. refugee agency said Sunday that drought-ridden Somalia is the "worst humanitarian disaster" in the world, after meeting with refugees who endured unspeakable hardship to reach the world's largest refugee camp.

The Kenyan camp, Dadaab, is overflowing with tens of thousands of newly arrived refugees forced into the camp by the parched landscape in the region where Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya meet.

The World Food Program estimates that 10 million people already need humanitarian aid. The U.N. Children's Fund estimates that more than 2 million children are malnourished and in need of lifesaving action.

Antonio Guterra, the head of the U.N. refugee agency who visited Dadaab on Sunday, appealed to the world to supply the "massive support" needed by thousands of refugees showing up at this camp every week. More than 380,000 refugees now live there.

Mr. Guterra is on a tour of the region to highlight the dire need. On Thursday, he was in the Ethiopian camp of Dollo Ado, a camp that is also overflowing.

TURKMENISTAN

15 people dead after explosion

ASHGABAT — The authoritarian government of Turkmenistan said Sunday that 15 people died after a large explosion rocked a town outside the Turkmen capital earlier this week and lashed out at the coverage of the blast by the Russian media.

The government press service said two soldiers and 13 civilians died as a result of the explosion in Abadan, a town 12 miles from the capital, Ashgabat.

The blasts, which began late on Thursday and went on until early Friday, were caused by overheating at a fireworks warehouse that triggered further blasts at a military depot where outdated, Soviet-made ammunition was kept, the press service said in a statement.

An amateur, low-resolution video posted Sunday on a social networking site, however, appears to demonstrate the incident was the result of high explosives detonating. It showed a giant black plume of smoke rising after a blast accompanied by a loud bang and people and cars rushing away from the site.

The video was broadcast by Russian television and posted on independent websites critical of Turkmenistan's government. Russian media claimed dozens died and were wounded during the explosions.

Although websites critical of Turkmen authorities are filtered in Turkmenistan, many are able to watch Russian television channels via numerous satellite dishes that dot every apartment building.

The Turkmen Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday that Russian television reports about the scale of deaths and destruction are misleading and inaccurate.

Meanwhile, a human rights group said nearly 200 people have died in the blast. About a half of them are military officers and servicemen, said Khronika Turkmenistana, a website run by Vienna-based Turkmen dissident Farid Tukhbatullin.

NIGERIA

Blast near church kills at least 2

SULEIJA — An explosion near a church outside of the Nigerian capital on Sunday killed at least two women, police said, the latest of a spate of deadly blasts to hit Africa's most populous nation.

The explosion outside the All Christian Fellowship Mission was in the town of Suleija, which was also the target of a deadly bomb attack at an electoral office on the eve of April's parliamentary elections.

Church pastor Joseph Olowosagba said services had ended, but some church members were still inside when the explosion went off outside of a window.

The bomb attack at the electoral office in April killed at least 13 people.

A series of bomb blasts and other attacks occurred in the run-up to and after Nigeria's parliamentary, presidential and state elections in April.

Much of the violence has been claimed by an Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, which has mainly operated in the northeastern region of the country and has previously targeted churches in a nation roughly divided in half between Christians and Muslims.

Attacks have intensified in recent weeks and other parts of the country also have been targeted.

From wire dispatches and staff reports