President Gloria Arroyo declared a state of national calamity yesterday as the Philippines began taking stock after Typhoon Durian, which pummelled the the country last Thursday triggering landslides that are feared to have killed more than 1,000 people.After its destruction in Philippines, Typhoon Durian is now heading for Vietnam where tens of thousands are being evacuated. From International Herald Tribune:
Hope of finding more survivors was fading by the hour as rescuers struggled to reach affected areas.
Whole villages and farming communities - mainly in Albay province south-east of the capital Manila - were left buried under tons of black, suffocating sludge. A spokesperson for the Red Cross, Richard Gordon, last night put the estimate at over 1,000 dead, describing the scenes as that of a war zone. "There are many unidentified bodies. There could be a lot more hidden below. Whole families may have been wiped out," he said. The Red Cross put the death toll at 406, with a further 398 others missing.
Soldiers and police were ordered to evacuate people from high risk areas in Khanh Hoa province before noon Monday, and all schools there were closed, said provincial governor Vo Lam Phi.Meanwhile, Malaysia has issued its highest highest alert for strong winds and rough seas off the country's eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak. From Brudirect:
Provincial disaster official Phan Van Giac said that nearly 14,000 people have been evacuated to schools, government buildings or safer areas, and that authorities are forcing from their homes another 10,000 who have so far refused to leave.
In neighboring Phu Yen province, two fishermen were killed and another was still missing after their boats capsized in strong winds, said disaster official Duong Van Huong.
He said about 4,000 people there have been evacuated to safe areas.
Just to the south in the province of Ninh Thuan province, provincial Governor Hoang Thi Ut Lan said about 2,000 residents had been evacuated, but have returned to their homes.
"Many people who were moved have decided to go back to their houses because it's still sunny," she said. "It is really a problem for us now."
"The conditions of strong winds and rough seas are dangerous to all shipping and coastal activities, including fishing and ferry services," the department said in a statement posted on its website.
The department Sunday morning said the typhoon in the South China Sea was tracking westwards and was located 909km northwest of Sabah's capital Kota Kinabalu, and 1404km northeast of Sarawak's capital, Kuching.
"The typhoon is moving westward towards Vietnam. The wind is strong and also the sea will be rough. Even though (Durian) is very far away, the swell will be causing the sea to be very rough," a meteorology official told AFP.