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Friday, September 29, 2006

News from our side of the world

Tropical storm Milenyo (international codename Xangsane) weakened over the Philippines on Thursday but fierce winds and driving rains killed at least eight people, displaced nearly 5,500 and devastated parts of the central islands and Manila. Milenyo, which swept into the center of the country on Wednesday with winds of up to 130 kph and gusts of 160 kph, is expected to strengthen again over the South China Sea, drawing power from its warm waters.

The storm roared through the capital Manila, emptying the sprawling streets as most of the city's 12 million residents took shelter from uprooted trees, overturned trucks and cars and other flying debris. Violent winds and seas brought Manila to a near standstill with all flights and sea travel in and out of the city cancelled. The NDCC reported that at least 1,985 passengers, 65 buses/rolling cargos, 17 trucks, 18 light vehicles, 19 vessels and motor boats remained stranded in various terminals and sea ports in Calabarzon, Bicol and Central Visayas.

Public offices were shuttered and local trading in the peso and shares was cancelled. Government offices and schools will remain closed on Friday while a clean-up gets under way.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by power failure, blocked roads and cut communication lines, forcing dozens of people in the central Philippines to take refuge on roofs.

Too dangerous.
Public utility drivers were reluctant to take to the road. Trees were falling left and right. Visibility was also poor and fierce winds flipped cars and trucks and toppled billboards. Power was interrupted in wide areas of the main island of Luzon, including Manila, forcing the suspension of train services.

Aftermath of the storm

Residents of Metro Manila picked their way through the aftermath of the typhoon on Friday with large parts of the city still without power, debris-strewn streets and a rising death toll.

Milenyo, which swept into the center of the country on Wednesday, roared through Manila on Thursday ripping up lamp posts, trees, roofs and billboards and bringing the city to a near standstill.

A total of 12,345 families, or 60,820 people, were displaced or affected by the tropical storm in Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Western and Eastern Visayas and Metro Manila. Schools and public offices in the capital remained shut.
Manila, along with two provinces, was declared under a state of calamity.

Milenyo has left Manila but the typhoon's destructive path was still visible thru the city's 12 million residents with uprooted trees, toppled cars and electrical polls blocking streets.

"It is one of the worst devastations that Manila has experienced," Mayor Lito Atienza told a radio station.

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