Sabtu, 14 Disember 2013

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Haiyan death toll tops 6,000 making it Philippines' deadliest recorded typhoon


MANILA: The number of people dead after one of the world's strongest typhoons struck the Philippines has risen above 6,000, the government said, with nearly 2,000 others still missing.

Five weeks after Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed entire towns across the nation's central islands, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council put the official death toll at 6,009, making it the Philippines' deadliest recorded typhoon.

The council said it is still looking for 1,779 missing people amid an international relief and rehabilitation effort covering a large devastated area about the size of Portugal.

The number of people confirmed dead or unaccounted for continues to rise steadily. On Nov 23, more than two weeks after the storm struck, officials put the death toll at 5,235 and listed 1,613 people as still missing.

The latest official count puts Haiyan nearly on par with a 1976 tsunami in the southern Philippines, generated by a major undersea earthquake in the Moro Gulf, that left between 5,000 and 8,000 people dead.

The Haiyan toll has already surpassed Tropical Storm Thelma, which unleashed floods that killed more than 5,100 people in the central city of Ormoc in 1991, previously the country's deadliest storm.

The government said more than four million people lost their homes to either Haiyan's 315kph winds or tsunami-like storm surges, and some would continue to need food aid as well as shelters and jobs.

As part of the international aid effort, an Indonesian official who rebuilt Aceh after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was in the Philippines yesterday to help the neighbouring country recover from the typhoon.

Senior Minister Kuntoro Mangkusubroto visited Tacloban at the Philippine government's invitation to provide insights on managing large-scale recovery programmes, the United Nations Development Programme said. — AFP

Alcohol ban to cover 374 businesses


THE alcohol ban in Little India this weekend will cover 374 establishments over a large part of the Serangoon Road area.

The affected area is as large as Gardens By The Bay, and includes the popular City Square Mall and Mustafa Centre, as well as hotels, pubs, numerous eateries, coffee shops, liquor shops and 24-hour convenience stores.

Nobody is allowed to sell or consume alcohol in the roughly 1.1 sq km zone which has been declared a "proclaimed area" under the Public Order (Pre­servation) Act for the weekend.

This means anyone who is drunk or disorderly in the area can be arrested for being a public nuisance, said Deputy Com­missioner of Police T. Raja Kumar.

"If the person is completely drunk and rowdy, police may take action to arrest the person," he said.

"But some may not have realised it because the news of the ban hasn't percolated down to the last person. Our officers will tell them, if you are cooperative and throw away the alcohol or walk out of the area, that is fine."

In a joint statement, the police, the Ministry of Manpower and Land Transport Authority highlighted the need "to calm and stabilise the situation" following last Sunday night's riot.

"This will also allow police to assess the next steps in consultation with the various stakeholders for a more permanent intervention to ensure that a repeat of last Sunday's riot does not occur, and to restore the sense of safety and security for residents, shopkeepers, visitors and other stakeholders in the area," it said.

Speaking to reporters in Seoul, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this weekend's measures will be just the first step in ensuring order and safety in the area.

Understandably, affected establishments were unhappy. "We wait all week just to get the weekend crowd. The ban will hit our businesses hard," said Ajay Maddila, director of Zsofi Tapas Bar in Dunlop Street. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network


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