03/01/2019 09:28 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Leaders send condolences to Philippines over storm losses

Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc have cabled messages of condolences to Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte over human and property losses caused by storm Usman.

In their letters, the Vietnamese leaders expressed their belief that Philippine people will swiftly overcome the disaster consequences and soon stabilise their lives.

The same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh also sent his sympathies to Philippine Foreign Minister Teodoro Lopez Locsin.

The death toll from landslides and devastating floods in the central Philippines triggered by storm Usman climbed to 85, and 20 people were missing as rescuers slowly reached cut-off communities, officials said on January 2.

The casualties, including young children, were mostly killed when their homes collapsed in landslides after days of heavy rain in several provinces in the central Philippines, said Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the national disaster agency.

If the rescue forces do not recover the missing or find them dead, the number of deaths will be 105, Jalad said.

Usman swept through the central Philippine islands on December 29, bringing heavy rains that triggered landslides and flooding in the Bicol and eastern Visayas regions.

Bicol, with a population of 5.8 million, was the hardest hit, with 68 killed in intense rains and landslides. Damage to agriculture in Bicol, which produces rice and corn, was estimated at 342 million pesos (6.5 million USD).

Philippine officials put three provinces under a “state of calamity” to give them access to emergency funds.