‘Milenyo’ death toll nears 200 in Philippines
MANILA (3 October) -- The death toll from Typhoon “Milenyo” (international codename: Xangsane) neared 200 as rescue workers reached remote areas where last week's massive storm sparked flash floods and landslides.
The civil defense office and other government agencies put the official death toll at 197, with at least 22 others still listed as missing after Milenyo -- the strongest storm to hit Manila in a decade -- hit Thursday.
As workmen in the capital cleared the streets of fallen trees, power poles and other debris left in Milenyo’s wake, officials counted the human and economic costs of the killer typhoon -- and braced for another tropical storm.
The industrial belt south of Manila bore the brunt of the typhoon, with at least 154 people killed in five provinces, authorities said.
The figure included six people who drowned overnight in the hills near the towns of Antipolo and Teresa on the eastern outskirts of Manila and 14 others who drowned near the remote town of San Francisco, southeast of the capital.
Five other people were still reported missing in San Francisco, Nancy Toribio of the social welfare and development office in Quezon province told Agence France-Presse (AFP). But she denied a report by the region's disaster coordinating center that a landslide had occurred in the town, killing three people and leaving 72 others missing, saying everyone had been accounted for, save the five people missing.
"I can confirm there was no landslide in the town of San Francisco -- just flooding which caused the deaths of some 14 people," she told AFP from the provincial capital Lucena City.
Elsewhere, 23 people were killed and 17 others were missing after a bus was swept off a bridge by a swollen river near the town of Igbaras on the central island of Panay, police said.
At least 20 other typhoon-related deaths have been reported by officials in the Bicol region, metropolitan Manila and nearby provinces to the north.
Milenyo displaced 1.33 million people and blacked out the country's main island of Luzon, leaving some 43 million people in the dark.
The storm wrecked 146,000 houses and tens of thousands of hectares of farmland. Some 171,000 people displaced by floods and strong winds remained in evacuation centers.
Scattered flooding was reported around Manila overnight as another tropical storm approached from the Pacific coast.
The new storm, packing maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometers (53 miles) an hour, was expected to brush past the northeast coast of Luzon late Friday or early Saturday, the state weather bureau said.
An alert has been issued in the central and northern Philippines for storm surges, flash floods and landslides.
After slamming into the Philippines, Milenyo headed across the South China Sea before smashing into central Vietnam on Sunday, leaving 30 dead. One person was also reported dead in southern China.
Electricity and water had been restored to most of Manila's 12 million residents by early Tuesday as the government and local authorities counted the cost to infrastructure, business and agriculture.
The economic planning secretary, Romulo Neri, said he did not expect the country's economic growth to be affected by the typhoon.
Some estimates have put the damage to property and infrastructure in excess of P2 billion ($40 million dollars). (PIA) [top]