Selasa, 24 Disember 2013

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Defiant Philippine typhoon survivors welcome Christmas

Posted: 23 Dec 2013 11:56 PM PST

TACLOBAN, Philippines: Philippine survivors of deadly typhoon Haiyan defiantly prepared to celebrate Christmas in their ruined communities Tuesday where hogs were being roasted, festive trees adorned streets and churches were filled to overflowing.

"Nothing can stop us from welcoming Christmas even though we have lost our home," 63-year-old butcher's wife Ellen Miano told AFP from a tiny shanty rising from a field of debris in the central city of Tacloban.

Haiyan's ferocious 315 kilometres (195 miles) an hour winds flattened the gritty Magallanes neighbourhood on Tacloban's coast, then swept up everything else with giant waves in a day of terror on November 8.

Tacloban and nearby districts accounted for more than 5,000 of the 6,000-plus confirmed deaths, with nearly 2,000 others missing, making it the country's deadliest storm and one of its worst natural disasters.

The storm made 4.4 million homeless and caused $12.9 billion in damage, according to the government, which estimates it will take the affected central region, an area the size of Portugal, four years to recover.

Miano, who lives with her husband and four young nephews and nieces in the 2x3-metre (6x10-feet) home put together from salvaged wood and sheet metal, said the family would eat a traditional Christmas dinner at midnight, with fried noodles and sliced bread given to them by a relief agency.

Their 20-year-old neighbour Ronfrey Magdua built a giant, 4-metre-tall star-shaped lantern using salvaged wood and wrapped in the Philippine flag's motif of red, white and blue, and put it up in the yard of a family that perished in the disaster.

Filipino typhoon survivors Alejandro Guande, 41, and her daughter Alia, 3, arrange a giant Christmas tree in preparation for traditional Christmas dinner 'Noche Buena' outside a public school turned into a temporary evacuation center in the typhoon devastated city of Tacloban, Leyte Province, Philippines, 24 December 2013. -EPA

"I made this in honour of the dead," the jobless young man told AFP, saying he spent about 2,000 pesos (45 dollars) of his own savings on the project.

Water and electricity have only been restored to a few commercial areas in Tacloban - a once-bustling city of over 221,000.

But amid the damage, many are trying to restore normality, rebuilding their homes out of salvaged scrap or with material purchased with money provided by aid agencies.

Others huddle in white tents provided by the United Nations.

Some of the survivors have received small amounts of cash from the UN, the Philippine government and other aid groups.

The UN's World Food Programme has given out 1,300 pesos to 18,000 of the poorest families in Tacloban and nearby areas, said spokeswoman Amor Almagro.

The UN agency plans to provide $6 million to 100,000 families in the next few weeks. Other agencies are financing government schemes where people who lost their jobs are paid the minimum daily wage to clear debris from roads, Almagro told AFP.

The small dining table in the shanty of carpenter's wife and mother-of-two Jean Dotado, 31, in Palo town was laden with apples, oranges, grapes, sliced bread and peanut butter, funded by the UN cash windfall.

"These should tide us through Christmas," said Dotado, whose makeshift home, comprising roofing and wooden planks scavenged from a local school destroyed by the typhoon, also contained sardines, sacks of rice, and instant noodles regularly from aid groups. 

Dotado's neighbour Shirley Dinalo, 20, said she would use the cash handout to buy medicines for her two daughters, aged two and four, who have been suffering from colds.

The family is staying with her in-laws after their own house was destroyed by storm surges. She told AFP her husband, a van driver, did not have any money and the family did not plan on doing anything special Wednesday.

"When it rains hard I lie in bed, unable to sleep, worrying that a typhoon will hit us again," she said.

Despite continuing hardship, damaged churches in Tacloban and nearby towns opened their doors early Tuesday for the last of the pre-dawn masses held in the 10 days until Christmas Eve.

"There will always be something beautiful that will come after what happened to us," Bernardo Pantin, the parish priest of Palo town adjacent to Tacloban, told around 100 parishioners at a makeshift church made from coconut lumber and blue tarpaulin.

"It (the typhoon) changed our lives, but we know that good things will follow. But of course it will take time," Pantin told AFP.

For some, though, it is hard to be optimistic.

At the Palo parish of San Joaquin, six-year-old Clifford Cobacha and his uncle Rico Cobacha, 27, attended pre-dawn mass and later lit candles in the church courtyard in front of a cluster of three small wooden crosses that marked the grave of his mother and two brothers.

More than 300 other bodies are buried in the church courtyard, marked with small wooden crosses.

"It will be difficult to celebrate Christmas after we lost 15 relatives," the elder Cobacha told AFP. Eight of them lay amongst the mass graves, with seven others, including the boy's father, still missing. -AFP

Japan diplomat indicted over arson in DR Congo

Posted: 24 Dec 2013 12:11 AM PST

TOKYO: A diplomat in charge of accounting at the Japanese embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was charged Tuesday with setting fire to the mission where $260,000 has gone missing.

Shinya Yamada, 30, the third secretary at the embassy in Kinshasa, was arrested earlier this month in Tokyo over allegations he set the blaze in June.

Tokyo prosecutors indicted Yamada on charges that he had poured gasoline on offices at the premises and then set light to them.

Yamada told police he was trying to destroy the mission to cover up the fact that he had embezzled embassy money, local reports have said.

Yamada was reportedly a regular at casinos in Kinshasa and frequently borrowed money from colleagues.

Police believe he had taken embassy money to fuel his gambling habit and the arson was his bid to remove evidence of his crime. -AFP

Hong Kong jails woman for smuggling baby formula

Posted: 24 Dec 2013 01:20 AM PST

HONG KONG: A Hong Kong court has jailed a woman for smuggling baby formula, the first time anybody has been sent to prison under the city's ban on unlicensed milk powder export, officials said Tuesday.

The 37-year-old woman, whose nationality has not been disclosed, was jailed for five weeks after being found with four boxes of baby milk formula weighing 3.2 kilogrammes (7.05 pounds) at the border crossing between Hong Kong and its neighbouring mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen Sunday.

Hong Kong barred people from taking more than than 1.8 kilogrammes of formula out of the city in March after a rush on milk powder by Chinese parents, distrustful of domestic milk brands due to a 2008 scandal involving formula tainted with melamine that killed six children and sickened 300,000 others.

Their concern triggered demand which saw shelves emptied around the world.

Hong Kong's controversial ban aimed to crack down on "parallel traders" who sell the milk powder for a profit in China.

"It is the first case of immediate imprisonment," a government spokeswoman told AFP Tuesday.

The woman pleaded guilty to "illegally exporting powdered formula for infants and children...from Hong Kong," a government statement said late Monday.

"She was sentenced to immediate imprisonment of 35 days," it said.

She had been convicted three times previously for the same offence and had been given a 21-day suspended prison sentence in November.

The government says offenders could face a fine of HK$500,000 ($64,282) and two years' imprisonment.

Although Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, it maintains a semi-autonomous status with its own laws and customs rules and promotes itself as a free port.

Hundreds of mainland Chinese were seen stuffing tins of baby milk powder into large bags and boxes near train stations at the border before the ban. The majority of them were parallel traders who travel to Hong Kong daily by train. -AFP


0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved