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Philippine floods and landslides toll rises to 26: officials

by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) Feb 23, 2008
The death toll from flashfloods and landslides in the central and southern Philippines, after a week of heavy rains, rose to 26 with nine more still missing, the civil defence office said Saturday.

More than 294,000 people have been displaced and more than 900 million pesos (22.14 million dollars) caused in damage to infrastructure and agriculture, the office said in a statement.

Most of the dead in the central islands of Samar and Leyte and in the Bicol peninsula were drowned by flashfloods while six others were killed by a landslide in the southern island of Mindanao.

The Social Welfare office has attempted to send aircraft on missions to check the extent of damage but rains in the area are still too strong, government officials said.

The navy had to use rubber boats to rescue people trapped by floodwaters in the Bicol peninsula, the civil defence office added.

The entire province of Albay in the Bicol peninsula as well as the eastern half of Samar island and two towns in other areas have been placed under a state of emergency to help deal with the damage.

The public works department has deployed heavy equipment to clear landslides and set up temporary bridges to make roads passable.

The weather bureau said a low-pressure area and the tail-end of a cold front in the country's south had combined to bring unseasonal heavy rains across the islands over the past week.

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Kenya, UN warn crisis risks incubating new AIDS infections
Nairobi (AFP) Feb 22, 2008
Kenya's crisis, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, risks sparking a new wave of HIV/AIDS infections that could wipe out progress achieved so far, Kenyan and UN officials warned Thursday.

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