Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fires and Floods in the Philippines

Happens every year around this time:

"Heavy rains submerge Philippine capital, killing 9" by Hrvoje Hranjski  |  Associated Press, August 08, 2012

MANILA — Relentless rains submerged half of the sprawling Philippine capital, triggered a landslide that killed nine people, and sent emergency crews scrambling Tuesday to rescue tens of thousands of residents who called media outlets pleading for help.

The deluge, the worst since 2009 when hundreds died in rampaging flash floods, was set off by the seasonal monsoon that overflowed major dams and rivers in Manila and surrounding provinces.

The capital and other parts of the country already were saturated from last week’s Typhoon Saola, which battered Manila and the north for several days before blowing away Friday. That storm was responsible for at least 53 deaths.

‘‘It’s like a water world,’’ said Benito Ramos, head of the government’s disaster response agency....

Manila’s weather bureau said a tropical storm off eastern China had intensified monsoon rains in the Philippines, which were forecast to last until Thursday....



Powerful typhoon kills at least 100 in Philippines

"Stunned parents searching for missing children examined a row of mud-stained bodies covered with banana leaves while survivors dried their soaked belongings on roadsides Wednesday, a day after a powerful typhoon killed nearly 300 people in the southern Philippines."

"Government officials said the destruction had been exacerbated by deforestation from illegal logging and small-scale mining."

"Deadly typhoon may hit land again

NEW BATAAN — A typhoon that had left the Philippines ­after killing nearly 600 people and leaving hundreds missing in the south made a U-turn and was threatening the country’s northwest, officials said Saturday. The weather bureau raised storm warnings over parts of the northern island of Luzon after Typhoon Bopha veered northeast. There was a strong possibility the storm would make a second landfall Sunday, but it might also make a loop and remain in the South China Sea, forecasters said (AP)."

"300 fishermen missing at sea after typhoon" Associated Press, December 10, 2012

NEW BATAAN, Philippines — The number of people missing after a typhoon devastated parts of the southern Philippines jumped to nearly 900 after families and fishing companies reported losing contact with more than 300 fishermen at sea, officials said Sunday.

The fishermen from southern General Santos city and nearby Sarangani province left a few days before Typhoon Bopha hit the main southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday, triggering flash floods that killed more than 600, said Benito Ramos, civil defense chief.

Ramos said the fishermen were traveling to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea and to the Pacific Ocean. He said there has been no contact from them for a week.

‘‘We have declared them missing,’’ he said. ‘‘Maybe they are still alive.’’

Ramos said they may have sought shelter on the many small islands in the Spratlys and the Celebes Sea.

He said the coast guard, navy, and fishing vessels have begun a search.

After hitting the southern Philippines, the typhoon moved out to sea but then came back toward the country’s northwest Saturday, fueling fears of more devastation. As of late Sunday, however, it had begun to dissipate as it moved farther into the South China Sea, 65 miles west of the Philippines’ Ilocos Norte

Rescuers continued searching for bodies or signs of life under fallen trees and boulders in the worst-hit town of New Bataan, where rocks and other rubble destroyed landmarks, making it harder to search sites where houses once stood.



"Accidents at sea are common in the Philippine archipelago because of frequent storms, badly maintained boats and weak enforcement of safety regulations."

Only the latest deadly sea accident in the Philippines

Also see: One dead after ferry sinks in the Philippines


Filipino Flood
Philippines Flood Watch
Flood of Philippine Stories

"Official, 2 pilots missing in air crash

MANILA — A light plane carrying Philippine Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo crashed into the sea Saturday while attempting an emergency landing. One person was rescued but Robredo and the two pilots were missing, officials said. (AP)"

Hmmmmmmm. Who would have wanted him dead?

"8 dead after Christmas Day fires in Philippines" Associated Press, December 26, 2012

MANILA — At least eight people were killed in two Christmas Day fires near Manila, the Philippine capital, officials said. One of the blazes left about 1,500 people homeless when it razed their shantytown....

Fire officer Noel Binwag said two firefighters also were injured when they were hit by rocks by some residents who grabbed their fire hoses to put out the blaze themselves.

Officials said San Juan residents who clashed with firefighters were frustrated by what they called a slow response.

Protesters threatened firefighters with guns and threw stones at the fire engines, according to local news reports....   

And they beat a guy to death.  

Millions of Filipinos live in shanty towns across Manila, where housing is vulnerable to fires and natural disasters because of crowding and poor construction.


"Philippines burns 5 tons of ivory" by Hrvoje Hranjski |  Associated Press, June 22, 2013

MANILA — Philippine government workers used a backhoe and an incinerator Friday to crush and burn more than 5 tons of smuggled elephant tusks worth an estimated $10 million in the biggest known destruction of trafficked ivory outside Africa.

The government said that the destruction of the stockpile, gathered from seizures since 2009, demonstrates its commitment to fighting the illegal ivory trade. It also eliminates any opportunity for corrupt officials to resell the ivory, as was the case in 2006 when the largest single shipment of 3.7 tons vanished from the inventory, according to an international network that tracks the illegal trade.

‘‘Ivory is known to have disappeared from a number of government-held stockpiles worldwide, so it is vital that proper protocols are established,’’ said Colman O Criodain from the World Wide Fund for Nature.

The US Agency for International Development and the anti-wildlife-trafficking Freeland Foundation said they were helping the Philippines analyze DNA of tusks at the Center for Conservation Biology of the University of Washington so that law enforcement agencies will know the origin and transit points of the smuggled ivory. It will also help to dismantle criminal syndicates responsible for poaching in Africa.

Ivory can fetch up to $910 per pound on the black market and more than $50,000 for an entire tusk.