Mon, Oct 02, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Typhoon Xangsane batters Vietnam and the Philippines

AGENCIES , MANILA AND HANOI

A man braves strong winds as Typhoon Xangsane hits the central coastal city of Danang, Vietnam, yesterday, sparking flight cancellations nationwide.

PHOTO: AFP

The death toll from the category-4 typhoon that ravaged the Philippine capital and northern farming regions has risen to 76, with 69 others missing in floods and landslides, officials said yesterday. They added that approximately 105,000 people were in evacuation centers.

Most of the additional deaths were caused by drowning, landslides or falling debris as Typhoon Xangsane roared across Manila and nearby provinces on Luzon island on Thursday. The fatalities were only reported over the weekend due to downed communication lines, officials said.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appealed for public patience as authorities struggled to fully restore power, communications and water supplies, and to clear roads of debris and fallen trees three days after the typhoon.

Arroyo on Saturday presided over a meeting of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, and ordered authorities to intensify a massive cleanup in the capital and beyond. As complaints mounted, she ordered power restored in the capital within 48 hours.

Xangsane, by then downgraded to a tropical storm, then headed for Vietnam, where it felled trees and cut power as it moved along the central coastline yesterday.

State-run radio said at least one person was killed in the resort city of Danang, Vietnam's fourth largest city with a population of approximately 1 million that was taking the brunt of Typhoon Xangsane's heavy rains and fierce winds as it hit land at about 9am yesterday.

"It is too dangerous to go outside right now," an official at the flood and storm control center in Danang said by telephone. "We have also closed the city to traffic."

Nearly a thousand houses along the coast had their roofs blown off or damaged.

The storm was centered on Danang but it also hit the nearby historical towns of Hue to the north and Hoi An to its south.

Typhoon Xangsane, which means "elephant" in the Lao language, spurred Vietnamese authorities into a massive evacuation of 200,000 in the central region. Fishing vessels were also called to shore. Danang officials said about 100 boats have been rescued by ships from Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China.

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