Storm Son Tinh kills 20, leaves 16 missing in Vietnam

Residents clear debris in a village damaged by flash flooding in Vietnam’s Yen Bai province on July 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 21 July 2018
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Storm Son Tinh kills 20, leaves 16 missing in Vietnam

  • Tropical storm Son Tinh has killed 20 people, left 16 missing and injured 14 in Vietnam.
  • Last year, 389 lives were claimed by natural disasters in the country, with material damages reportedly reaching $2.6 billion.

HANOI: Tropical storm Son Tinh has killed 20 people, left 16 missing and injured 14 in Vietnam, the country's rescue committee said on Saturday.
Floods triggered by heavy rains hit northern Vietnam after tropical storm Son Tinh made landfall in northern coastal areas on Thursday, while the capital Hanoi was flooded and lashed by torrential rains.
More than 5,000 houses were damaged, swept away, submerged or collapsed, around 82,000 hectares (200,000 acres) of crops were damaged and nearly 17,000 animals were killed nationwide, the Vietnam National Committee for Search and Rescue said in a report.
Heavy rains are expected to continue over the next few days, Vietnam's Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention said in a separate statement on Saturday.


Philippine president wants to end anti-drug war in three years

Updated 21 March 2019
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Philippine president wants to end anti-drug war in three years

  • Philippines being investigated for extrajudicial killings
  • Anti-drug campaign signature policy of president

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he wanted to finish his war on drugs in three years, defying an international probe into his controversial and deadly campaign to rid the country of narcotics.
Duterte, who came to power in 2016, has made a ‘war on drugs’ the hallmark of his administration. 
But it has been reported that 20,000 people have been killed in what rights groups call a wave of “state-sanctioned violence.”
The firebrand president remains unfazed by the condemnation, and the cases filed against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his crackdown.
He insisted he would assume full responsibility for any consequences due to his decision to enforce the law, telling a military audience his goals.
“I’d like to finish this war, both (with the) Abu Sayyaf (a militant group) and also the communists, and the drug problem in about three years … we'd be able (to) ... reduce the activities of the illegal trade and fighting to the barest minimum.
“I’m not saying I am the only one capable (of achieving these goals) ... I assume full responsibility for all that would happen as a consequence of enforcing the law — whether against the criminals, the drug traffickers or the rebels who’d want to destroy government.”
Earlier this month, the Philippines withdrew from the ICC, citing the global body's interference in how the country was run as the reason.
On Tuesday, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that investigations into alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines would continue despite its exit.
But the government has said it will not cooperate with the ICC, and has even warned its personnel about entering the country for the investigation.
There are Filipinos who support Duterte’s campaign, however, and believe it works. Among them is former policeman Eric Advincula.
He said there had been an improvement in the situation since Duterte came to power. 
“For one, the peace and order situation has improved, like for example in villages near our place where there used to be rampant drug peddling,” he told Arab News. 
“The price of illegal drugs is now higher, an indication that the supply also went down. Also, it was easy to catch drug peddlers before because they were doing their trade openly. But now they are more careful, you can't easily locate them.”
Official data from the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in February indicated that 5,176 ‘drug personalities’ were killed in the anti-drugs war between July 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2019.
More than 170,000 drug suspects have been arrested during a total of 119,841 anti-narcotics operations in the last two and a half years.