GMA  VISITS  STORM-WRECKED  TOWN,  CALLS  FOR  CLAMPDOWN  ON  THEFT

MANILA,
OCTOBER 2, 2006 (STAR) MANILA (AFP) - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo visited the storm-hit town of General Trias south of Manila on Monday and ordered round the clock relief efforts to make sure there will be no additional casualties as the new storm approached.

She also ordered police and military security to protect fallen electrical posts amid reports copper wires were being stolen.

"(They) have to be the ones to work together to secure the wires and everything else that have fallen against looting," Arroyo said.

Distributor Manila Electric Co. said services had been restored to 94 percent of customers in the greater Manila area as of Monday.

But it said fallen trees, billboards and other debris were hindering repair work in areas south of Manila, which still remained in the dark four days after the typhoon.

"We also continue to receive reports that some of our fallen wires are being stolen," company spokesman Elpi Cuna said, urging the authorities to help guard the downed facilities.

A new tropical storm is headed for the Philippines, threatening to disrupt relief efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Xangsane, which killed 76 and left millions without power and drinking water.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour, the storm was located 690 kilometers east of the Bicol region, the southeast section of the main island of Luzon which was hard hit when Xangsane struck the Philippines last week.

Before hitting Vietnam Sunday, Xangsane toppled electrical posts, uprooted trees and caused landslides and flooding in the Philippines. The official death toll as of late Sunday stood at 76 deaths, with 69 people still missing.

The new storm was expected to intensify as it moves into northern Luzon, where electricity and drinking water supply have yet to be fully restored.

"The disturbance is likely to intensify further," the state weather bureau said, adding that the storm would be felt within the next 24 hours.

It said a "surge of strong winds is expected" over Bicol, the central provinces as well as in the southern island of Mindanao, and urged the public to "take appropriate actions." The Office of Civil Defense said that some 170,000 people in and around Manila were still living in evacuation centers. strs/jvg/cgm/kw/lh

New tropical storm threatens Philippines after typhoon leaves at least 76 dead 10/02 10:16:04 AM

MANILA (AP) - A new tropical depression threatening the Philippines from the Pacific has intensified into a storm heading toward the main island of Luzon, where a powerful typhoon last week left at least 76 killed and dozens missing, officials said Monday.

Tropical Storm Neneng was packing maximum winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 80 kph (50 mph), and may still become a typhoon as it moves toward an area between Luzon and Taiwan later this week, the Philippine weather bureau said.

The storm was located about 650 kilometers (400 miles) east of the central Philippines and by Wednesday, will move 240 kilometers (150 miles) east of northern Luzon in the general direction of Taiwan and southern Japan, said meteorologist Robert Sawi.

He said it was too early to say if any parts of Luzon will be directly hit, a week after Typhoon Milenyo lashed Manila and neighboring provinces, flooding towns, uprooting trees and cutting power lines.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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