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Pattaya Daily News

03 December 2006 :: 17:12:21 pm 32079

The storm affected more than 830,000 people, over 1,000 people killed after typhoon.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared a state of national calamity Sunday as the top Red Cross official estimated more than 1,000 people have been killed after a massive typhoon unleashed walls of black mud on entire villages.
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            “We’re estimating the casualties could reach 1,000, perhaps more,” Sen. Richard Gordon, who heads the local Red Cross, told Radio DZBB. 

            Gordon said at present the Red Cross has recorded a death toll of at least 406, with 398 others missing, based on figures provided by mayors of devastated towns in the eastern Philippines, where Typhoon Durian hit with of up to 165 mph and torrential rains on Thursday. 

            Typhoon Durian was the fourth major storm to hit the Philippines in four months. It buffeted the Mayon volcano with so much wind and rain that ash and boulders cascaded down in walls of black mud that swamped entire villages, a scene Gordon described as a “war zone.” 

            “There are many unidentified bodies. There could be a lot more hidden below. Whole families may have been wiped out,” Gordon told The Associated Press by telephone. 

            No survivors are known to have been pulled from the swampy ground. The storm affected more than 830,000 people, officials said. 

            The first funerals took place Saturday evening as bodies rapidly decomposed in the tropical heat. 

            Arroyo declared a state of national calamity, allowing the government to more rapidly release funds needed to bolster search and rescue efforts. She was scheduled to fly for a second time to worst-hit Albay province on Tuesday. 

            In Albay’s battered capital of Legazpi City, residents lined up to buy drinking water, gasoline and food. Panic gripped one community due to rumors of an impending tsunami, but officials quickly reassured people that no tsunami-triggering earthquake had occurred. 

            “I told myself that if I would die, so be it,” Lorica said, recalling how he struggled to stay afloat in the rampaging mud flow by grabbing hold of trees while being battered by rocks and other debris. 

            He said he struggled to remove his clothes, apparently to avoid being entangled in floating trees. 

            “In our family, only me and my sister survived,”  His father, mother, two sisters, an aunt, uncle and a niece remained missing. 

Australia conveyed its condolences through Ambassador Tony Hely, and made an initial pledge of US$780,000 in immediate humanitarian relief. Canada earlier donated US$876,000 while Japan said it would send US$173,000.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : World News

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