Philippines clears up after storm

Rescuers in the Philippines are trying to reach thousands of people stranded in the wake of two powerful storms. 

Typhoon Nanmadol, which hit the north-east coast on Thursday, caused less damage then feared. 

But the death toll from a storm on Monday has risen to over 500, with hundreds more still missing. 

President Gloria Arroyo visited some of the worst-affected areas on Friday, and blamed illegal logging for leaving the landscape more prone to storm damage. 

"We need one great heave to deliver the relief supplies, find the missing, rescue the isolated, feed the hungry and shelter the homeless," Mrs Arroyo said on national television.

Manila's civil defence office said at least 30 people were killed by Typhoon Nanmadol as it swept through the north-east. 

Tens of thousands of people had evacuated their homes ahead of the storm, which had been billed as the most powerful in recent weeks. Schools and government offices remained closed on Friday. 

The typhoon has now moved into the South China Sea and is headed for Taiwan, but its wind speeds have fallen to 120km/h (75mph) compared to 185km/h (115mph) when it hit the Philippines. 

'State of calamity' 

The effects of Nanmadol disrupted rescue efforts to help those hit by Monday's storm, which triggered landslides and flooding.

even regions on the main island of Luzon have been placed under a "state of calamity", enabling the faster release of relief funds. 

The worst-hit areas is around the towns of Real, Infanta and General Nakar, east of the capital Manila. 

Ferries and navy vessels are trying to reach the town of Real, which was cut off when bridges and roads were destroyed. 

A team of 400 soldiers carrying emergency supplies are approaching the town on foot. 

A shortage of coffins and lime is preventing the burial of the dead, leading to fears of disease spreading among survivors. 

Local television reports have shown crudely-made plywood coffins being thrown into water-filled holes and quickly covered in mud.

Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit urged people to bury their dead quickly. 

"Our biggest enemy now is diarrhoea, especially in areas where water rand food are contaminated," he said. 

Casualty figures are still unconfirmed. 

Army spokesmen said at least 480 people had died in Quezon in the wake of Monday's storm, and another 30 people had been killed elsewhere in the Philippines. 

Typhoons and storms regularly hit the country, and there has been anger in the local press that the government was not better prepared. 

In November 1991, a storm on Leyte island led to some 5,000 deaths from flooding.

03/12/2004

Bron : BBC World

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