11/12/2013, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Typhoon Haiyan: Manila declares a state of calamity as a new storm hampers relief efforts

Philippine President intends to accelerate the aid distribution to victims. But the heavy rains caused by a tropical depression make relief operations difficult. More than 660 thousand displaced, but there are still no official figures of the tragedy. The country's economic growth at risk. First attacks on the executive’s emergency management of the typhoon.

Manila ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino has declared a state of natural disaster , to accelerate the transfer of aid to the areas most affected by the passage of Haiyan. The super- typhoon, dubbed Yolanda in the country, hit the central area of the archipelago in recent days, starting from the east coast and causing thousands of victims (3 thousand confirmed, but an initial partial estimate speaks of more than 10 thousand) . It now seems certain that the number of deaths will exceed those caused by Thelma in 1991, thus far the most devastating typhoon in the history of the Philippines which caused little more than 5 thousand dead.

Meanwhile, heavy rains due to the passage of a new tropical storm are further complicating operations of the teams of Civil Protection. Manila has so far allocated 18.7 billion pesos ( $ 430 million ) for reconstruction, while the international community has rallied to bring aid to the population.

According to the Philippine government the devastation caused by Yolanda, which struck the country on November 8 , is likely to cripple the national economy. The cataclysm has affected at least 10 million people, many of them children. In Tacloban alone (a city of 200 thousand people , about 650 km south- east of Manila) there are reports of at least 10 thousand victims , although is still no official data. To date, 22 nations have offered to bring aid and assistance ; Manila has deployed the army in many areas to prevent incidents of looting and ensure the distribution of basic necessities .

According to preliminary estimates 660 thousand people are displaced and the damages amount to between12 to 15 billion dollars, about 5% of the entire economy of the Philippines. According to analysts, it is a "catastrophe " for an emerging economy and that was just gaining strength on the international scene. The gross domestic product ( GDP) of the areas hit by the passage of the typhoon could drop " up to 10% " next year.   They produce wealth and prosperity for a volume equal to 12.5 % of the national total .

Meanwhile, a new tropical depression is looming over the Philippines , which has already affected the city of Davao before making landfall, first on the southern island of Mindanao. At least 30 different areas, scattered between Mindanao and Visayas , are covered by the rains and the warning remains in force, with moderate to heavy rains .

Finally, the first controversies are emerging over the executive of President Aquino's handling of the disaster.  It is being blamed for failing to put all possible measures in place to contain the damage of the super- typhoon. Among the critical voices that of Benito Li, professor of political science at the University of Manila , according to whom today's chaos "shows that this executive has not learned anything " from the tragedies of the past.

 

 

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