56 dead from landslides, floods in Philippines

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty. (AFP)
Updated 30 December 2018

56 dead from landslides, floods in Philippines

  • People in landslide, flood-prone areas have been asked to evacuate
  • Weather is expected to in most parts of the country by Monday

MANILA: At least 56 people have been reported killed by landslides and floods caused by tropical depression Usman, which has swept through the central Philippines and displaced thousands of families.
Fifty of the fatalities were reported in the Bicol region and six in the Eastern Visayas region. Officials expect the death toll to rise. Power outages were reported in several areas.
In Bicol, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said 15 of the 50 reported deaths were in Albay province, 16 in Camarines Sur, seven in Masbate, six in Sorsogon and six in Camarines Norte.
Claudio Yucot, a director at the OCD, said most of the deaths were due to landslides and drowning.
Police earlier said a landslide buried several houses in the town of Tiwi in Albay on Saturday. Initial reports said two people were killed and seven missing in that incident.
Two landslides were reported in Camarines Sur, where bodies have been recovered. Several others are feared still buried under thick mud.
Reports said in the town of Baao in Camarines Sur, a 30-year-old mother and her three children were sleeping in their house when it was hit by a landslide. Landslides also occurred in Sorsogon and Camarines Norte.
Yucot said residents in landslide- and flood-prone areas in Bicol have been advised to evacuate.
In Eastern Visayas, three people were reported killed in a landslide and three due to drowning.
Henry Torres, a director at the OCD, said the town of Lope De Vega in Northern Samar province was worst hit by flooding, with some residents forced to climb onto the roofs of their houses. 
Floodwaters were reportedly 20-feet deep in some areas. In Eastern Samar, some 1,169 families have been evacuated as a precaution.
Clearing operations are underway on roads rendered impassable, and as of Sunday morning, the Philippine Coast Guard said thousands of passengers remain stranded in seaports nationwide.
Usman made landfall on Saturday in the city of Borongan, Eastern Samar, but soon after weakened into a low-pressure area. The weather is expected to improve in most parts of the country by Monday.

Indonesian president ‘honored’ to have UAE street named after him

Updated 22 October 2020

Indonesian president ‘honored’ to have UAE street named after him

  • Abu Dhabi’s Al-Ma’arid Street renamed President Joko Widodo Street

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday said it was “an honor” for him and his country that a street in the UAE capital had been named after him.

Al-Ma’arid Street, one of Abu Dhabi’s key roads, was on Monday renamed President Joko Widodo Street during a ceremony that coincided with the first anniversary of the Indonesian leader’s inauguration for a second term in office.

Writing on social media, Widodo said: “It is a recognition and an honor, not only for me, but for Indonesia.” He also expressed hope that the two countries’ relations would be “stronger, mutually strengthening, and beneficial for the people of the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.”

Indonesia’s ambassador to the UAE, Husin Bagis, told Arab News: “The initiative to rename the street after President Joko Widodo came from His Highness (Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan), who also presided over the street renaming ceremony on the spot.”

The envoy said that the street was near to the future location of the Indonesian Embassy compound, which was currently under construction.

According to UAE news agency WAM, the crown prince has also directed officials to build a mosque named after Widodo, in Abu Dhabi’s Diplomatic Area, in recognition of the Indonesian president’s close friendship with the UAE and his efforts to strengthen the relationship.

Indonesia-UAE relations have grown closer since Widodo’s visit to Abu Dhabi in January, during which he secured investment projects worth $22.9 billion in what has officially been described as the biggest trade deal in the country’s history. The visit was to reciprocate the crown prince’s trip to Indonesia in July 2019.

Recent cooperation agreements between the two countries have included plans for the construction of a mosque on a plot of land in Widodo’s hometown of Solo in Central Java.

The mosque will be a replica of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and serve as an Islamic center offering training for clerics. A groundbreaking ceremony is slated to take place in December.

Widodo is the latest Indonesian leader to be celebrated through an honorific street name in a foreign country. In Rabat, Morocco’s capital, Avenue Sukarno was named after Indonesia’s first president, while Mohammed Hatta Street in Haarlem, the Netherlands, recognizes the Southeast Asian country’s first vice president. Sukarno and Hatta are considered the fathers of Indonesia’s independence.

The name of the country’s third president, B. J. Habibie, appears on a bridge in Dili, the capital of East Timor, in honor of his decision to hold a referendum there which allowed East Timor to secede from Indonesia.