Death Toll From Typhoon Rises to 44 as New Storm Approaches
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ The death toll from Typhoon Betty climbed to 44 today and weathermen issued new warnings for the northern Philippines as another storm swept toward the islands.
President Corazon Aquino declared a ″state of calamity″ in more than a dozen provinces. Relief agencies reported that the typhoon left at least 60,000 people homeless. Their estimates were based on reports that were still filtering into the capital today from remote areas.
Damage to crops and other property was estimated in the millions of dollars.
The typhoon, the most powerful to hit the country in three years, roared through southeastern Luzon and other islands with winds up to 136 mph Wednesday and Thursday before moving into the South China Sea. Luzon is the Philippines’ main island.
Poor communications have delayed a final tabulation of casualties and damage assessments. Officials of the Red Cross and the government’s Office of Civil Defense said they expected to get a clearer picture by Sunday as survey teams sent to remote areas reported back to Manila.
Chief government meteorologist Amado Pineda said the weather bureau had stopped monitoring Typhoon Betty today.
But the weather bureau issued typhoon warnings for five northern provinces early today as tropical storm Cary intensified into a typhoon with winds up to 75 mph. Pineda said the storm was approaching Luzon and appeared to be gaining strength.
The death toll from Typhoon Betty more than doubled today after civil defense officials learned that at least 16 people were killed in Sorsogon province Wednesday night when the typhoon hit. The province is in extreme southeastern Luzon.
Another late report said nine people were killed Wednesday in Northern Samar province, 270 miles southeast of Manila.
Most victims were killed by falling trees, said Priscilla Duque, a civil defense spokeswoman.
She and Lourdes Masing, Red Cross director for disaster preparedness, said the other dead were from the Luzon provinces of Batangas, Laguna and Albay and from the island provinces of Marinduque, Masbate and Oriental Mindoro.
In addition to those provinces, government television said Mrs. Aquino’s calamity proclamation covered Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Quezon on Luzon island as well as Catanduanes, two other provinces on Samar island, and two on Leyte island.
A proclamation of a state of calamity enables the government to control prices in affected areas and, if necessary, commandeer vehicles and supplies needed for relief and rehabilitation.
Masing said one of the hardest-hit spots was the island of Marinduque, where 5,679 houses were destroyed in the four towns who had so far submitted damage reports.
Nearly 3,000 homes were lost on Masbate and Oriental Mindoro, she said. Masing said the homeless were staying in churches and schools.