Death toll from Philippine storm, landslides climbs to 126

The storm hit central and eastern Philippine islands on December 29 and caused massive flooding and landslides. (AFP)
Updated 06 January 2019

Death toll from Philippine storm, landslides climbs to 126

  • Officials also said that many residents were reluctant to leave their homes during the Christmas holidays
  • About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people

MANILA: The death toll from a storm that devastated the Philippines shortly after Christmas rose to 126, authorities said Sunday, adding landslides caused by torrential rain were the top cause.
The storm hit central and eastern Philippine islands on December 29 and caused massive flooding and landslides. More than 100 people died in the mountainous Bicol region southeast of Manila, regional disaster officials said.
While the Bicol region is often hit by deadly typhoons, many people failed to take necessary precautions because the storm was not strong enough to be rated as a typhoon under the government’s storm alert system, according to civil defense officials.
Officials also said that many residents were reluctant to leave their homes during the Christmas holidays.
“In two days alone, Usman poured more than a month’s worth of rainfall in the Bicol region,” national disaster agency spokesman Edgar Posadas said, using the local name for the storm which had weakened into a low-pressure area.
“Our search and retrieval operations are ongoing but the sticky mud and the unstable soil are a challenge.”
The death toll was likely to climb further with 26 people still missing, Posadas added.
More than 152,000 people were displaced by the storm and 75 were injured, according to the national disaster agency.
President Rodrigo Duterte visited the storm-hit areas on Friday and urged officials to build evacuation centers instead of using schools as shelters for the displaced.
About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people.
The deadliest in recent years was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,360 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in 2013.


In Bolivia desperate family leaves coffin in the street

Updated 04 July 2020

In Bolivia desperate family leaves coffin in the street

  • The Andean nation has reported 36,818 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,320 deaths

LA PAZ, Bolivia: The rising toll of COVID-19 deaths is overwhelming the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, where desperate relatives of one apparent victim of the new coronavirus left his coffin in the street for several hours on Saturday to protest difficulties in getting him buried.
Neighbor Remberto Arnez said the 62-year-old man had died on Sunday and his body had been in his home ever since, “but that’s risky because of the possible contagion.”
After a few hours, funeral workers showed up and took the coffin to a cemetery.
Police Col. Iván Rojas told a news conference that the city is collecting “about 17 bodies a day. This is collapsing the police personnel and funeral workers” in the city of some 630,000 people.
“The crematorium oven is small, that that is where the bodies are collecting,” said national Labor Minister Óscar Mercado, who told reporters that officials were preparing 250 new burial plots in the city’s main cemetery.
The Andean nation has reported 36,818 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,320 deaths.