AP News in Brief 03-19-19

  • In this photo taken on Friday, March 15, 2019 and provided by the International Red Cross, people carry their personal effects after Tropical Cyclone Idai, in Beira, Mozambique. Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi says that more than 1,000 may have by killed by Cyclone Idai, which many say is the worst in more than 20 years. Speaking to state Radio Mozambique, Nyusi said Monday, March 18 that although the official death count is currently 84, he believes the toll will be more than 1,000. (Denis Onyodi/IFRC via AP)

Over 1,000 feared dead after cyclone slams into Mozambique

JOHANNESBURG — More than 1,000 people were feared dead in Mozambique four days after a cyclone slammed into the country, submerging entire villages and leaving bodies floating in the floodwaters, the nation’s president said.

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“It is a real disaster of great proportions,” President Filipe Nyusi said.

Cyclone Idai could prove to be the deadliest storm in generations to hit the impoverished southeast African country of 30 million people.

It struck Beira, an Indian Ocean port city of a half-million people, late Thursday and then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi with strong winds and heavy rain. But it took days for the scope of the disaster to come into focus in Mozambique, which has a poor communication and transportation network and a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy.

Speaking on state Radio Mozambique, Nyusi said that while the official death toll stood at 84, “It appears that we can register more than 1,000 deaths.”

Emergency officials cautioned that while they expect the death toll to rise significantly, they have no way of knowing if it will reach the president’s estimate.

Truck-driving preacher charged with killing teens

OZARK, Ala. — A truck-driving preacher charged with killing two Alabama teenagers found shot to death in a car trunk nearly 20 years ago was tied to the slayings through a DNA match uncovered with genetic genealogy testing, authorities said Monday.

The analysis linked evidence that sat for years in a police freezer to Coley McCraney, 45, of Dothan, Alabama, police said.

McCraney was taken into custody Friday and booked Saturday on rape and capital murder charges, according to officials and jail records. He now faces a potential death penalty in the 1999 killings of Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley, both 17.

Hawlett’s mother, Carol Roberts, said she went numb when she heard of McCraney’s arrest. She said that as the years ticked by, she began to doubt if the case would ever be solved.

“God gave her to me. He didn’t have the right to do that. I just want to know why,” said Roberts, who wore a button featuring her daughter’s photo at the news conference announcing the arrest.

McCraney, who has his own church and preached recently, is cooperating with authorities, said defense attorney David Harrison.

Homes flood as Missouri River overtops

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hundreds of homes flooded in several Midwestern states after rivers breached at least a dozen levees following heavy rain and snowmelt in the region, authorities said Monday while warning that the flooding was expected to linger.

About 200 miles of levees were compromised — either breached or overtopped — in four states, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said. Even in places where the water level peaked in those states — Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas — the current was fast and the water so high that damage continued to pile up. The flooding was blamed for at least three deaths.

“The levees are busted and we aren’t even into the wet season when the rivers run high,” said Tom Bullock, the emergency management director for Missouri’s Holt County.

He said many homes in a mostly rural area of Holt County were inundated with 6 to 7 feet of water from the swollen Missouri River. He noted that local farmers are only a month away from planting corn and soybeans.

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“The water isn’t going to be gone, and the levees aren’t going to be fixed this year,” said Bullock, whose own home was now on an island surrounded by floodwater.

By wire sources

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