CHIANG RAI, Thailand, July 18, 2018 (News Wires) - The 12 Thai boys who were rescued from a flooded cave made their first public appearance Wednesday after being discharged from hospital.
The young soccer players bounced a ball as they appeared in front of reporters in their Wild Boars team shirts.
The players were individually applauded as they stood, bowed, and introduced themselves to reporters.
The team took part in “confidence-building exercises” prior to their release, according to the hospital.
“They will definitely be able to conduct their normal life,” one health official told journalists. “The doctors and nurses are under more stress than the team."
The boys and their 25-year-old coach were safely brought out of the Tham Luang mountain cave complex near the border with Myanmar last week after a perilous rescue operation that drew global media attention and hundreds of journalists to the scene.
The players recounted the moment they realised they would be rescued.
“It happened in the evening,” one of the team members said at the news conference. “We heard people speaking. We were not sure if it was a hallucination then we went quieter and realised it was real.”
He said he was “startled” by the rescuer when he emerged from the water. “It was a miracle," he added. "It was the first glimpse of hope."
The boy said that the group were so hungry that he could "only think about food".
He added: “We did not know whether we would survive.”
The boys have been in hospital in the northern town of Chiang Rai since they were rescued, but have been pronounced generally healthy by doctors, aside from some minor infections.
“They are strong physically as well as mentally,” a spokesman told reporters. “Everybody has shown determination to face life in the future.”
The boys, who are aged 11 to 16, and their coach had planned to explore the cavern for about an hour after soccer practice on June 23. But a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels, trapping them.
Two British divers found them on July 2 squatting on a mound in a flooded chamber several miles inside the complex. Rescuers then had to work out how to get them out through the tunnels, some of which were full of fast-flowing floodwaters.
Their dramatic story is already set for a retelling by Hollywood, with two production companies looking to put together movies about the boys and their rescue.
Jon M. Chu, the director of “Crazy Rich Asians,” said he was working to develop a film about the rescue in order to prevent a Hollywood "whitewash" of the story.
Passakorn Bunyalak, deputy governor of the province of Chiang Rai, said the boys would be sent home after the news conference and he was requesting their parents and journalists to hold off interviews for about 30 days.
"At this early stage, we are trying to get media not to bother the boys," he told Reuters on Tuesday, adding that they were protected by Thailand's Child Protection Act. The law protects those under 18 from media coverage that would cause emotional injury.
KURASHIKI, Japan, July 12, 2018 (News Wires) - Intense heat and water shortages raised fears of disease outbreaks in flood-hit western Japan on Thursday as the death toll from the worst weather disaster in 36 years neared 200.
More than 200,000 households had no water a week after torrential rains caused floods and set off landslides across western Japan, bringing death and destruction to decades-old communities built on mountain slopes and flood plains.
The death toll rose to 195, with several dozen people still missing, the government said on Thursday.
With daily temperatures above 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) and high humidity, life in school gymnasiums and other evacuation centers, where families spread out on mats on the floors, began to take a toll.
Television footage showed one elderly woman trying to sleep by kneeling with her upper body on the seat of a folding chair, arms over her eyes to keep out the light.
With few portable fans in the evacuation centres, many survivors tried to cool themselves with paper fans.
The limited water supply meant that people are not getting enough fluids and in danger of suffering from heatstroke, authorities said. People are also reluctant to use what water they do have to wash their hands, raising fears of epidemics.
"Without water, we can't really clean anything up. We can't wash anything," one man told NHK television.
The government has sent water trucks to the disaster area, but supplies remain limited.
More than 70,000 military, police and firefighters toiled through the debris in a grim search for the missing.
Some teams shoveled dirt into sacks and piled the bags into trucks. Others used diggers and chainsaws to work through landslides and splintered buildings.
Many areas were buried deep in mud that smelled like sewage and had hardened in the heat, making the search more difficult.
Disasters set off by torrential rains have become more frequent in Japan, perhaps due to global warming, experts say. Dozens of people died after similar rains caused flooding around the same time last year.
"It's an undeniable fact that this sort of disaster due to torrential, unprecedented rain is becoming more frequent in recent years," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference in Tokyo.
"Preserving the lives and peaceful existence of our citizens is the government's biggest duty. We recognise that there's a need to look into steps we can take to reduce the damage from disasters like this even a little bit," he added.
TOKYO, July 10, 2018 (News Wires) - The death toll in record rains that have devastated parts of Japan with flooding and landslides rose on Tuesday to 156, the top government spokesman said.
Search-and-rescue operations are continuing after the worst weather-related disaster in Japan in over three decades, with dozens of people still believed missing.
EL-TOR, Egypt, July 8 , 2018 (MENA) - Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Dr. Mohamed Abdel Aati opened Sunday a number of flood control projects in South Sinai.
The projects were implemented under a protection protocol signed with the National Service Projects Organisation, represented by the National General Contracting & Supplies Company in Nuweiba, Dahab and St. Catherine cities.
They include a barrier in El-Sa'da El-Baida in the city of Nuweiba for a length of 215 meters at a cost of about LE two million.
The anti-flood barrier aims to protect vital facilities in El-Mazina and El-Mena and the Dahab-Nuweiba road.
The minister also opened a dam in Wadi El Esbayia in St. Catherine with a storage capacity of 100,000 cubic meters at a cost of around LE 5.4 million. It protects the surrounding area from the dangers of floods.
Among the projects is also a man-made lake with a storage capacity of 500,000 cubic meters at a cost of LE 12.3 million to protect facilities and communities in St. Catherine city.
In total, the projects provide protection for 16 sites, said the minister.
MAE SAI, July 4, 2018 (News Wires) - Thai rescuers vowed to take a "no risk" approach to freeing 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave, as fresh video emerged Wednesday showing the team in good spirits following their astonishing discovery nine days after going missing.
Freeing the boys from the still-submerged cave complex is expected to be a protracted process, fraught with challenges for a group who are not divers and some of whom are believed to be unable to swim.
With a country engrossed in the rescue mission, authorities insist they will only move the boys once their safety can be guaranteed, even though monsoon rains are predicted to soon resume.
"We have to be 100 per cent confident that there is no risk to the boys before we evacuate," Narongsak Osottanakorn, Chiang Rai provincial governor, told reporters on Wednesday.
"We will take care of them like they are our own children," he said. The group are being taught how to use diving masks and breathing apparatus, he added, but
from the safety of the muddy bank which for now remains their sanctuary.
Authorities are also pumping out water round-the-clock aware of the bad weather forecast in the days ahead, removing around one centimetre each hour in a massive draining operation.
"We want to evacuate all 13 people as soon as possible but I don't want to specify day and date," Thailand's junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha said later.
In a heartening message to families waiting in outside the cave, footage was released by the Thai Navy SEAL featuring 11 of the 12-strong team.
Each made a traditional Thai greeting gesture to the camera before introducing themselves by their nickname and saying "I'm in good health".
Several of the boys in the frame are wearing protective foil blankets and are accompanied by a smiling diver in a wetsuit.
Also seen is the 25-year-old coach, who went with the boys down the cave after football training on June 23.
A one-minute video clip ends on a jovial note, with one of the 12 young footballers saying he was forgotten in the round of introductions, sparking laughter.
The images have delighted a Thai nation that has held its breath for a successful outcome to a challenging rescue kilometres inside one of the country's longest caves.
HANOI, June 26, 2018 (Reuters) - The death toll from floods and landslides in Vietnam rose to 15 on Tuesday with authorities warning the toll could go higher with more torrential rains forecast for the worst hit province in the mountainous north.
Lai Chau province, 470kms northwest of Hanoi, has been the worst hit with at least 12 people, including two children, killed, said Le Trong Quang, Deputy Chairman of the province's People's Committee.
Most of the victims drowned or were buried in landslides, triggered by heavy rains since Saturday, Quang told Reuters.
"We are bracing for more rains in the coming days and I fear that the death toll in the province will continue to climb as 11 people remain missing," Quang said.
Vietnam is prone to natural disasters, with floods and typhoons killing hundreds of people each year. Natural calamities killed 389 people and injured 668 others in the country last year, according to the government.
In the neighbouring province of Ha Giang flash floods have killed three people, the government's Disaster Management Authority said.
Floods and landslides have also caused damage worth over $6.15 million to houses, roads and crops in the area, according to the agency.
It said traffic to many areas of the provinces remain cut off on Tuesday.