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As it happened: Uganda Today - Thursday March 21

By Joseph Kizza

Added 21st March 2019 07:56 AM

During the commissioning of the Isimba Hydro Power plant, President Yoweri Museveni says "the Government of China are reliable partners of Uganda and of Africa".

As it happened: Uganda Today - Thursday March 21

During the commissioning of the Isimba Hydro Power plant, President Yoweri Museveni says "the Government of China are reliable partners of Uganda and of Africa".

ROLLING NEWS THROUGHOUT THE DAY

Presented by Joseph Kizza

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@joekizza

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5:00pm

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  Good evening!


Cheers!

 

#UgandaToday

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4:53pm

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  'China are reliable partners of Uganda and Africa'


 

In his speech after a sudden downpour at Isimba, President Yoweri Museveni says "the Government of China are reliable partners of Uganda and of Africa".

"I want to thank the company (China International Water and Electric Corporation). I thought they were a small company, that's why I gave them a small job. They have done a great job," says the President.

Towards the end of his speech, he says "we are going to discuss with them the new power projects".

 

#UgandaToday

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4:35pm

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  Picture this . . .


 

 

 

#UgandaToday

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4:17pm

 Isimba project commissioning: Downpour disrupts function


It was long coming, and it eventually does pour cats and dogs!

 

#UgandaToday

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4:00pm

Isimba project in four districts

The Isimba hydro power project spans four districts, including Kayunga, Kamuli, Buikwe and Jinja, says energy minister Eng. Irene Muloni.

 

#UgandaToday

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3:52pm

'85% of Isimba project workers Ugandans'

China's ambassador to Uganda, Zheng ZhuQiang, takes to the podium.

"First of all I would like to congratulate you all on the commissioning of the Isimba hydro power plant on behalf of the Government of China," he says.

The benefits of the project are many. During the construction of the plant, the envoy says 3,000 Ugandans were employed, making up 85% of the total number of workers. Ugandan staff were also equipped with skills and technology.

Ambassador ZhuQiang adds that CWE, the contracting firm, also used local materials to build the plant, including cement.

"I would like to thank the management of the project for their contribution towards the China-Uganda friendship, to the local leaders for their co-operation and then to you, Your Excellency, President Museveni."

 

#UgandaToday

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3:45pm

Isimba project: 'Livelihoods improved'

Jiang Shouguo is the project manager of Isimba hydro-power project and vice president of China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE), the contracting firm.

He thanks all the workers on the project for "their day and night hard work and professional devotion". He says construction of the 183MW plant has boosted local busineess as well as improved the livelihoods of the local community.

At the end of his speech, Shouguo presents a gift to President Yoweri Museveni in remembrance of the work done.

 

#UgandaToday

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3:30pm

Isimba project: 22 people recognized . . .

. . .  for their efforts in the construction of the hydro power plant.

 

#UgandaToday

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3:25pm

Isimba Hydro Dam: The milestone chart

 

#UgandaToday

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3:15pm

Isimba project 'a great achievement'

Eng. Badru Kiggundu, who is the chairperson of the Project Steering Committee of the Isimba project, says the addition of 183MW to the national grid is "a great achievement" that calls for all Ugandans to celebrate.

The former Electoral Commission chairperson adds that the technical challenges "have been adequately addressed and today, we have delivered a quality power project that will serve Ugandans for many years to come".

But he notes that some challenges have hurt the project, including vandalism of power transmission infrastructure.

 

#UgandaToday

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2:50pm

PRESIDENT YOWERI MUSEVENI COMMISSIONS ISIMBA DAM

Happening at Isimba hydro dam.

President Yoweri Museveni has commissioned the 183MW power plant.

 

 

#UgandaToday

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2:27pm

Tuberculosis: Men most at risk

While everyone is at risk of getting tuberculosis, men particularly have more chances of catching the disease, says health minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng.

 

#UgandaToday

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2:15pm

World TB Day: Ntungamo to host national event

This Sunday, local focus will turn to Ntungamo district in western Uganda as Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day - observed every March 24.

This day is designed to build public awareness about tuberculosis - a global epidemic - and efforts to eliminate the disease.

The national function will be themed: 'It is time for Uganda to End TB- it starts with me.'

 
So what are the symptoms of tuberculosis?

-  Cough

- Evening Fevers

- Excessive night sweats

- Loss of appetite

- Unintended loss of weight

#UgandaToday

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1:53pm

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  At Isimba dam commissioning


Several high-profile officials are attending the Isimba dam function.

Esther Mbayo, the Minister of the Presidency and ICT state minister Aidah Nantaba arrived at the venue having a chat.

 

 

The stage is all set.



Former Electoral Commission chairman Eng. Badru Kiggundu appeared ready to get the function underway.

 



Energy minister Eng. Irene Muloni and minister of state for works and transport Edward Katumba Wamala mingled.



The minister then got her groove on, as did Nantaba.

 

 

#UgandaToday

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1:30pm

Festive atmosphere at Isimba dam commissioning

Guests are being entertained in Kamuli at the venue of the Isimba dam commissioning.



Vibrant performances on a gloriously warm day.

 

The Chinese ambassador to Uganda, Zheng ZhuQiang, is in attendance.



It is a momentous day for Uganda.

 

#UgandaToday

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12:20pm

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  World Poetry Day


Just in case you enjoy using the pen as a tool of art . . . may I remind you that today is World Poetry Day.

And according to the United Nations, here is "a chance to celebrate the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind".

Nifty graphic there :)

 

#UgandaToday

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11:57am

Isimba dam opening: It's D-day!

 

#UgandaToday

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11:54am

Isimba dam set for commissioning

President Yoweri Museveni is to officially commission the 183MW power plant in Kamuli district.

 

#UgandaToday

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11:38am

Wrapping things up . . .

 

After eight days filled with various activities, the curtains have been drawn on the NRM Parliamentary Caucus retreat at the National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi.

"I thank the MPs for their active participation and the different guests who facilitated discussions on a variety of subjects," tweeted NRM chairman President Yoweri Museveni. 

"The resolutions arrived at during the retreat will be communicated to the public and other relevant NRM organs by the caucus leadership. I commend the party secretary general, the government chief whip and their teams for the flawless organization.

"As is the tradition, I led members on a 3.5km walk from Kaapa in Kyankwanzi to the River Mayanja bridge. River Mayanja is a natural border between Kyankwanzi and Nakaseke, which we used to cross by boat or foot during the bush struggle. This walk not only helps us reminisce on our journeys during the bush war but is also meant to cause members to reflect on the tasks at hand for sustainable transformation of our country. It is also very good exercise.

Then wrapping up things by taking some aim . . .

"As we wound-up the NRM Parliamentary Caucus retreat in Kyankwanzi, I joined MPs at the shooting range," the President said in another tweeted alongside pictures of him trying out his target skills.

 

#UgandaToday

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11:15am

Vandalising road furniture? Two years in jail if convicted

Meanwhile, Police carried out an operation around Kampala and impounded over 700 suspected stolen road barriers, arresting four suspects in the process.

"We have received reports of vandalism of road barriers and signs on highways," tweeted Police.

 

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 The penalty . . .

 

#UgandaToday

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10:54am

Man 'hits dad to death over torch'

 esi Residents were left in shock after the fatal incident

 

New Vision's Geoffrey Nyamwongera:


Police in Bundibugyo district have arrested 27-year-old Costa Baluku for allegedly hitting his father to death following a fight over a sh1000 torch. His arrest was confirmed by the DPC of Bundibugyo, Swaibu Taban.

He said Baluku was arrested at about 5am Thursday with the help of residents.

The fatal incident happened Wednesday night - at about 10pm - in Bundibuturu 1, Kirumya sub-county. Baluku's wife Annet Kyakimwa said that it all started when Baluku picked up a quarrel with his father's friend over a torch.

Yofesi Kule Kilimunda, 48, is Baluku's father.

"My father-in-law came to intervene but Baluku instead turned on his father and he started boxing him hard several times," said Kyakimwa.

"We tried to seperate them but he instead started beating us too and we made an alarm and the neighbors came but my in-law had breathed his last."

 

#UgandaToday

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10:25am

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  Police officer remanded over sh70,000 bribe

New Vision's court reporter Michael Odeng:


A Police constable attached to USAFI Police Station in Kampala has been charged and remanded to Luzira Prisons for allegedly receiving a sh70,000 bribe. Prosecution alleges that Godfrey Kalete, 36, in March 2019, solicited sh200,000 from one Mohamed Hanan, but received sh70,000 as an inducement to release her mobile phone which he recovered from a suspect who had stolen it.

Kalete, 36, a resident of Lugojo Police Barracks in Entebbe, Wakiso district, on Tuesday appeared before the Anti-Corruption Court and was charged with corruption and accepting a gratification. The offence attracts a maximum sentence of a 10-year imprisonment on conviction.

Grade One Magistrate Albert Assimwe read out the charges to the accused. Kalete denied the charges, saying the offences brought against him were false. State attorney Abigal Agaba asked court to adjourn the case for two weeks to enable Police complete investigations.

Kalete asked for bail on grounds of ill health and a long detention period while in Police custody. "I slept in Police cells for 10 days without getting medication, yet I have a backbone ailment. I, therefore, ask for bail on those grounds."

He narrated that he was arrested last week on Monday from USAFI Police Station and taken to the Police Standards Unit headquarters, where he recorded a statement, before being transferred to the Criminal Investigations Directorate headquarters in Kibuli, Kampala.

The accused produced Patrick Silali, an accountant and Michael Kibeti as sureties. Both individuals are his relatives. However, the state attorney objected to the accused's bail application, noting that the sureties did not submit letters from their LC1 chairpersons to confirm their places of abode.

The prosecutor also informed court that given the provisions of the Anti- Corruption Act, once investigations commence, interdiction follows. According to the prosecutor, the charge indicates that the accused is a resident of a Police barracks in Entebbe, yet his sureties said he resides in Naguru.

"At the moment, prosecution does not know where the accused will be staying after being released on bail," Agaba said.

She said if court is inclined to release the accused on bail, it should impose stringent terms that will compel him to attend court. The magistrate subsequently declined to grant Kalete bail on grounds that the sureties were not substantial.

"Although it is the constitutional right of the accused to apply for bail, none of his sureties have submitted in court documents to show their places of abode," he said. The case resumes Friday. 

 

#UgandaToday

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10:10am

  Dancing to the tune


Guests are treated to a dollop of entertainment by the Infectious Diseases Institute drama group in praise of the new centre of excellence launched.

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#UgandaToday

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9:58am

Isimba power will be cheapest in East African region

New Vision's Owen Wagabaza:


Over the last five years, hundreds of workers have been crushing rocks, laying concrete and embankments across Africa's longest river, the Nile. It is at this site that the Isimba Hydropower Dam, the third largest electricity plant and one of the country's biggest projects, has been taking shape.

Today, President Yoweri Museveni will commission the plant, one of the most important hydropower projects that the Ugandan Government has embarked on, to ease power shortages in the country and accelerate the development of the local economy.

The 183MW Isimba Hydropower project is 4km downstream of Isimba Falls on the River Nile and about 50km downstream from the source of the Nile. The project site is about 21km from Kayunga, the nearest town and about 65km from Jinja town. Isimba is expected to generate hydroelectric power at 68 cents per kilowatt, the lowest in East Africa.

 raphic by rian sekamate Graphic by Brian Ssekamate

 

#UgandaToday

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9:45am

 

New Vision's Betty Amamukirori at Makerere University:


In the picture above, Dr. Saudi Jjingo is flanked by some of the students that will take part in the bioinformatics training program, which has also been launched today. In fact, it is also being funded by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH/NIAID).

And below, Collete Marcellina, the US Deputy Chief of Mission, launches the Masters program that will start in August this year.

 

#UgandaToday

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9:32am

ACE in Bioinformatics and Data Intensive Sciences launch

New Vision's Betty Amamukirori at Makerere University:


Dr. Andrew Kambugu, the executive director Infectious Disease Institute has welcomed guests for the launch of the African Centre of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Data Intensive Sciences. He says the establishment of the centre is in line with the creation of the Infectious Disease Institute as a knowledge base.

This is the second centre to be launched in Africa after the first one established in 2015 at the University of Technology in the Malian capital Bamako.



Pictured below are some of the key guests. On the extremer left is Michael Tartakovsky, the chief information officer of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Collete Marcellina, the US Deputy Chief of Mission, is seated on the extreme right.

 

#UgandaToday

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9:18am

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  WATCH: Around Uganda

 

#UgandaToday

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9:10am

New Vision's Betty Amamukirori:


This morning, the African Centre of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Data Intensive Sciences is set to be launched at the Infectious Disease Institute inside Makerere University.

Once fully functional, the centre will be for computational biology and big data analysis. It will have a high computing cluster, tele-learning centre, a collaborative room and a virtual reality room. It will also offer training programmes.

 

#UgandaToday

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8:57am

Today's Ras toon

The director of public prosecution has returned Matayo Kyaligonza's file to the Police for further investigations.

 

#UgandaToday

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8:45am

  Missing a dose of this weather?


 

New Vision's Gerald Tenywa:


Dry and hot conditions have prevailed over the country despite earlier predictions that the March-May rainy season would start in the last week of February. The intense heat, which started at the beginning of the year, has brought stress to many people.

"The rains recorded early this month had brought hope that this undesirable condition was coming to an end. However, a tropical cyclone that hit parts of Mozambique Channel (between Mozambique and Madagascar) has created areas of low pressure and this has disrupted the March-May rain season," said James Bataze, a meteorologist at the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA).

He added: "Dry conditions have prevailed over the country for the last three weeks, and this has disrupted the onset and performance of the March-April and May 2019 rainfall season."

A statement by Festus Luboyera, the executive director of UNMA, said the disruption of the rain was caused by the tropical cyclone Idai.

Tropical cyclones are some of the weather systems generated over oceans. Luboyera said idai had diverted the rain-making winds from Uganda to the Mozambique Channel.

The tropical cyclone is expected to die down on Friday and Saturday.

 

#UgandaToday

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8:40am

  Good morning



Meanwhile, a good morning to you all. It's a warm 21st day of March from Uganda's capital Kampala. By the look of things, better brace yourselves for another super-hot day.

Shall we have some rain at the weekend like we have been promised?

 

#UgandaToday

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8:34am

  Help southern Africa cyclone victims, says pope


 

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Pope Francis expressed his pain Wednesday at the devastation wrought by Cyclone Idai in southern Africa and called for "comfort and support" for victims of the disaster.

"Great floods have sown grief and devastation in various regions of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi," he said, addressing thousands of the faithful in Saint Peter's Square.

"To those dear people I express my pain and my closeness," he added.

"I entrust the many victims and their families to the mercy of God and I implore comfort and support for those affected by this calamity."

The death toll from the cyclone that hit last week has topped 300 people, and rescue teams are still trying to reach survivors forced to take refuge from rising floodwaters on the roofs of buildings and in trees.

The United Nations says that one of the worst storms to hit the region in decades has also unleashed a humanitarian crisis in Malawi, affecting nearly a million people and forcing more than 80,000 from their homes.

Pope Francis may visit Mozambique  during a tour to Africa in September.

 

#UgandaToday

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8:25am

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  Aid agencies struggle to rescue Mozambique cyclone victims


 

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Aid workers raced are racing to help survivors and meet spiralling humanitarian needs in three southern African countries battered by the region's worst storm in years.

Five days after tropical cyclone Idai cut a swathe through Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, the confirmed death toll stood at more than 300 and hundreds of thousands of lives were at risk, officials said.

Mozambique, where the monster storm made landfall early last Friday, is reeling.

"We've thousands of people... in roofs and trees waiting for rescue," Caroline Haga, spokeswoman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said.

"We are running out of time. People have been waiting for rescue for more than three days now," she told AFP in the storm-ravaged coastal city of Beira.

She added: "Unfortunately, we can't pick up all the people, so our priority are children, pregnant women, injured people."

Survivor Aunicia Jose, 24, speaking in the district of Buzi near Beira, said, "The situation is very bad, we haven't eaten since Thursday, until today.

"We are sleeping outside, everything is destroyed, our houses are destroyed, everything is gone, we have recovered nothing."

World Food Programme (WFP) spokeswoman Deborah Nguyen told AFP in Beira that "the priority today is to rush to rescue people trapped in the flooded areas" as much as organising temporary shelter for those rescued.

"The situation has not really improved. In Buzi,  the villages are still under water but the good news is that there are many rescue teams working all day long.

"Relief operations are progressing, but there is still a lot of work."

The UN is targeting to help some 600,000 people in coming weeks.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said on Tuesday that 202 people had died, according to the latest toll, and nearly 350,000 people were at risk.

In Zimbabwe, the death toll stood at 100 on Wednesday but was expected to surge to 300, while up to 15,000 people are estimated to have been hit by the storm.

In Malawi, nearly a million people have been affected and more than 80,000 forced from their homes, according to the UN.

Flood shock

Aid agencies said they were prepared for the cyclone which made landfall early Friday, but not for the massive floods that followed.

Mozambique bore the brunt from rivers that flow downstream from its neighbours.

"No one was prepared for the floods. The cyclone caused torrential rains in Zimbabwe and Malawi and all the water came here," said Haga.

Beira airport which was partially damaged by the storm and temporarily shut, had reopened to become the relief operations hub but is proving not large enough.

Air force personnel from Mozambique and South Africa have been drafted in to fly rescue missions and distribute aid which can only be airlifted as roads out of Beira have been destroyed.

A government worker who asked not be identified spoke from a roadside after he was rescued by boat in Nhamatanda, some 60 kilometres (40 miles) northwest of Beira, saying "this is the first time our generation has seen something like this".

Climate expert John Mutter, a professor at the Earth Institute at New York's Columbia University, said the heavy toll was partly explained by the infrequency of such weather events in southern Africa.

"Mozambique and Zimbabwe are essentially unprepared. They both have weak governance that, honestly, focuses on many more pressing things (as they would see it).  And because cyclones are so rare in this part of the world, so preparedness is minimal," Mutter told AFP.

'Entire village washed away'

In Zimbabwe, at least 217 people are listed as missing in Chimanimani in Manicaland, an eastern province which borders Mozambique.

The district remains cut off after roads were swallowed by massive sinkholes and bridges were ripped to pieces by flash floods -- a landscape that Defence Minister Perrance Shiri said "resembles the aftermath of a full-scale war".

Families were using hoes to dig through mounds of soil in search of their missing relatives, an AFP correspondent saw.

After visiting some of the victims in Chimanimani, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said "a tragedy has visited us".

"The last place we visited, where three main rivers merge, an entire village was washed away. I think those are the bodies which are now being found in Mozambique," he said.

The three countries are some of the poorest in the region and depend heavily on foreign aid.

In Rome, Pope Francis expressed "my pain and my closeness" for those caught up in the disaster.

"I entrust the many victims and their families to the mercy of God and I implore comfort and support for those affected by this calamity," he said, addressing thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square.

 

#UgandaToday

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8:15am

  Spare a moment for Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi


Submerged in desperation . . .

 ggg Residents stand on rooftops in a flooded area of Buzi, central Mozambique

 
Solidarity and relief . . .

 gggg SANDF (South Africa Defence Forces) personnel deliver relief aid in Buzi

 
Looting . . .

 gggg People take part in the looting of sacks of Chinese rice printed "China Aid" from a warehouse surrounded by water


Survival for the fittest . . .

 gggg

 
Racing against time . . .

gggPeople are escorted to safety by aid workers at the airport of the coastal city of Beira in central Mozambique

 
Deadly consequences . . .

 ggg People carry the coffin of Tomas Joaquim Chimukme during his funeral, after his home collapsed following the strong cyclone 

 

Five days after Cyclone Idai cut a swathe through Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, the confirmed death toll is standing at more than 300 and hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk, according to officials.


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