Milenyo brings death and destruction

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — 62 dead at last count

THE number of people killed as typhoon “Milenyo” lashed Luzon and the Visayas rose to 62 yesterday while 69 others were reported missing, the Office of Civil Defense said.

A total of 81 others were injured as “Milenyo” ravaged the country leaving a trail of destruction that displaced thousands across the country, according to OCD officer-in-charge Dr. Anthony Rolando T. Golez.

Authorities yesterday recovered the bodies of 21 victims of a landslide that hit Sunny Brook subdivision in Barangay San Francisco, General Trias, Cavite, radio station DzMM reported.

Fourteen of the bodies swept by rampaging waters were found in General Trias; two in Cavite City; two in Rosario, Cavite; and three others in Tagaytay City.

DzMM also reported 14 people dead in Los Baños, Laguna.

Golez said President Macapagal-Arroyo had ordered the National Disaster Coordinating Council to immediately provide assistance to the calamity victims, restore all power and communication facilities as soon as possible and fast-track the clearing of debris left by the typhoon, the strongest to hit the country since “Rosing” in 1995.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development said it had allotted P51.41 million worth of standby resources for relief and augmentation assistance to affected local government units.

According to Golez, seven regions were affected by the typhoon which displaced nearly 185,000 families in 17 provinces, 14 cities and 1,374 barangays in Luzon and Visayas.

He said that 18,571 families composed of more than 90,000 persons are currently being housed in different government evacuation centers.

In Bicol, local government officials said “Milenyo” damaged an estimated P800 million worth of properties and agricultural crops. It will also take at least three weeks to fully restore power in the region particularly in Albay where more than 80 percent of schoolbuildings were damaged.

The city of Manila, the provinces of Cavite and Antique and the municipality of San Roque in Northern Samar are now under a state of calamity. Golez said that as of 12 noon yesterday, power supply in some areas in Malabon, Quezon, Caloocan, Mandaluyong and Marikina cities had been restored. Power in Pampanga resumed at 8:30 p.m. Thursday while power went back to normal in Tarlac at 4:30 p.m. the same day.

The OCD official said the blackout in Villa Aurora, Aurora province will last for two to three more days while there is still no electric power in the southern portion of Zambales.

Official OCD reports said the typhoon totally damaged 9,149 houses and partially destroyed 3,923 more. Damage to property was initially put at P389 million, of which P294 million was accounted for by infrastructure and the rest by agriculture.

In Southern Tagalog, strong water current destroyed the Banadero Bridge in Calamba City in Laguna while the approach to the Padang Section Road in Legazpi City and the Nagas Spillway in Albay were washed out.

Repair crews helped by the military worked through the night to clear roads and restore power lines after the storm knocked down hundreds of trees, electrical posts and billboardsin Metro Manila.

None of the country’s power plants had been damaged by the storm but the problem of repairing fallen lines was huge, said National Transmission Corp. vice president Jesusito Sulit.

Elpi Cuna, spokesman of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), could not say when full electricity supplies would resume in the capital.

“There are many fallen trees that have knocked down lines,” he said.

Schools and financial markets were shut for two days after the storm, which had maximum winds of 130 kilometers per hour.

Vietnam was bracing for “Milenyo,” which was expected to hit central districts late Sunday. Authorities put coastal provinces on high alert and made preparations for mass evacuations.