by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) Aug 29, 2011
Super-typhoon Nanmadol left at least 13 people dead after hitting the Philippines, and the toll is expected to rise as hopes of finding those missing fade, the civil defence chief said Monday.
Over 61,000 people are still evacuated from their homes after Nanmadol, the strongest storm to hit the country this year, lashed the northern edge of the main island of Luzon on the weekend, causing landslides and floods.
The 13 killed were mostly buried in landslides, including two children in northern Baguio who were killed in an avalanche of garbage at the city dumpsite, said head of civil defence operations Benito Ramos.
Eight other people are still missing across the country, feared washed away at sea, in raging rivers, or buried under garbage, he told AFP.
"The missing are most likely dead but we are still searching for them, it is unlikely they are still alive after two or three days," he said.
Ramos said the dead and missing in garbage dumps were scavengers who made their living foraging for items to salvage, despite the risk that storms could cause the mountain of trash to cascade down upon them.
The problem is widespread in the impoverished Philippines where people refuse to leave dangerous areas because they need to scratch out a living, he said.
"We know which areas get flooded, which areas are landslide-prone. Every time there is a calamity like the storm, these areas always get flooded then we evacuate the people but afterwards, they come back."
Large parts of northern Luzon still remain without power after Nanmadol hit with gusts of up to 230 kilometres (145 miles) per hour starting on Saturday, the civil defence office added.
The typhoon, named after an ancient site in Micronesia, weakened after clipping Luzon and has moved away from the Philippines, towards Taiwan and China.
Taiwanese authorities have evacuated about 8,000 people, closed down schools and halted rail services as Nanmadol made landfall Monday and swept across some of the island's most densely populated areas.
An average of 20 storms and typhoons, many of them deadly, hit the Philippines annually. The last storms, Nock-ten and Muifa, left at least 70 dead when they hit in July.
Taiwan evacuates 8,000 as typhoon makes landfall
The typhoon, which left at least 13 dead in the Philippines at the weekend, made landfall near the city of Taitung on the east coast of Taiwan in the early hours of Monday, according to the Central Weather Bureau.
"This is the worst typhoon to hit Taiwan since Morakot," which left more than 700 people dead or missing in 2009, a bureau official said.
The typhoon was slowly moving northwest, packing winds of up to 137 kilometres per hour (80 miles an hour), the bureau said, and was 30 kilometres northeast of the island's second-largest city Kaohsiung as of 0100 GMT.
Islandwide, authorities moved more than 8,000 people to safer places, according to the Central Emergency Operation Centre, as the first typhoon to hit Taiwan this year bore down.
The ministry of defence deployed thousands of troops to assist in evacuations, some navigating flooded areas in armoured personnel carriers.
TV footage showed soldiers walking through village streets in Pingtung county in southern Taiwan, helping people from homes threatened by flooding and putting them on military trucks.
The defence ministry also sent two C-130 transport planes to rescue 140 tourists marooned on the offshore island of Matsu, according to the Taipei Times newspaper.
The Taiwan Railway Administration suspended services on two rail lines from Taitung, the city where the typhoon had made landfall.
The typhoon brought torrential rain and some parts of Taiwan had received more than 500 millimetres of rain since early Sunday.
The Central Weather Bureau urged the public to stay away from mountainous and low-lying areas due to the threat of flash floods and landslides.
As of Monday morning, the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau had issued landslide warnings for more than 300 areas.
Businesses were closed in seven cities and counties in the south of Taiwan, and in all but two of the island's counties, classes were also cancelled at all schools.
Attention was also turned towards China, with the typhoon expected to gradually grind its way towards the Taiwan Straits during the course of Monday.
Southeast China's Fujian province called more than 25,000 fishing boats to port Sunday, amid warnings that moderate to heavy downpours would hit coastal areas from Monday morning, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
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New York dodges Irene's bullet
New York (AFP) Aug 28, 2011
Tropical storm Irene lashed New York Sunday, shutting down America's largest city but sparing it serious damage after killing 14 people on the US east coast and flooding many parts of the region. The eye of the storm - downgraded from a hurricane but still packing 50-mile-an-hour (85-kilometer-an-hour) winds and driving rain - passed over the Big Apple mid-morning, as millions went without ... read more
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