Typhoon Utor Lashes Philippines; 2 Dead

The Associated Press
Sunday, December 10, 2006; 2:35 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- Tens of thousands of people in an area devastated by a powerful typhoon last week in the eastern Philippines were told to evacuate after another storm slammed into the central part of the country, killing at least two people, officials said Sunday.

Typhoon Utor, packing sustained winds of 75 mph, made landfall in the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar province at noon Saturday.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council said one person was killed in central Tacaloban city. Separately, an 18-month-old girl was killed in central Capiz province's coastal Panay town after her house was swept away by flash floods, said Dante Bermejo, the provincial administrator.

On Sunday morning, the eye of the storm was located 30 miles east of Occidental Mindoro province's San Jose town, about 155 miles south of Manila, the weather bureau said. Utor is expected to leave the Philippines and be over the South China Sea by Tuesday.

The new typhoon's path was just south of the eastern Bicol region where more than 1,000 people were killed or left missing after Typhoon Durian struck last week.

Some 59,000 people in the worst-hit eastern Albay province and another 7,750 people from the central provinces of Cebu, Leyte and Southern Leyte had to flee to evacuation centers ahead of Utor, the National Disaster Coordinating Council reported.

The Bicol region, still reeling from the devastation caused by Durian, is on the periphery of Utor's path. But disaster relief officials ordered the evacuation of residents in Albay's villages earlier wiped out by mudslides from the Mayon volcano for fear of more landslides and flashfloods. There were no immediate reports of further destruction in that area.

Utor caused power outages in many areas in the central Philippines including Cebu, Leyte and the popular island resort of Boracay, officials said.

Utor also prompted the postponement of next week's Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the East Asia summits in central Cebu city and nearby Mactan island, Philippine organizers said.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council in Manila said more than 100,000 people already were at evacuation centers following last week's typhoon.

Durian unleashed tons of rocks and other volcanic debris from the slopes of the Mayon volcano, sending walls of mud and boulders on helpless villages.

Many residents whose houses were destroyed or covered in debris have returned to salvage personal belongings, sometimes sleeping in makeshift tents or huts.

In Cebu, Thai Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsongkram said his government donated 1,000 sacks of rice for the typhoon victims.

Japan on Saturday said it will offer aid of up to $1 million to mudslide victims. The pledge comes on top of $172,000 Japan has already promised in emergency supplies including tents, blankets and other emergency goods for survivors.

© 2006 The Associated Press