Hundreds dead, thousands threatened as US troops help in Philippines disaster
About 2000 US troops are helping in relief operation in the Philippines trying to get supplies to mountain cities cut of from aid by over 40 landslides.
Around 700 marines from the 31st MEU (marine expeditionary force) in Okinawa aboard the landing ships USS Harpers Ferry and two others continue to aid in the delivery of disaster goods by helicopter flights into the mountains.
The flights are dangerous as the fog and low clouds in the 5000 foot elevation city of Pines as Bagiuo City is called in notorious for rough flying conditions.
Reports in the area say the death toll is over 250 in the mountain city of Bagiuo the Philippines summer capitol. One road sllowing light vechiles to pass after three days of beng cut off is now usable.
But conditions in the city are rough. Tens of Thousands of foreign residents of the Philippines live in Bagiuo City and the surrounding areas among them over 3000 American citizens.
Floods from a storm, Parma, that hit the region not once, but U-turned and came back to pass over the region twice more before leaving the Philippines saturday dropped record rains.
In the lowland plains flooded farms and cities have been in deep water that disaster and relief experts say will last over a week because of the flooded streams overflowing dams and lakes on Luzon Island.
Over six million people are affected. in the Ilocos region fifty people are confirmed dead scores more are reported missing. In the as 300 thousand people are in shelters and rivers still overflowing thier banks the rich agricultural and fish pound industry have been severely damaged.
Two weeks prior the Philippine capitol was ravaged by another storm, Ketsana, that in six hours dropped 16 inches of rain. 340 people died in floods and landslides and the capitol region is barely recovering.
Conservative estimes place damage to lives and property as well as infrastructure at over 200 Million dollars. But a television network GMA channel 7 hired a economist and disaster expert who pegged the figure at twice that amount of over $500 Million Dollars.
Those figures may triple when the disasterous flooding of typhoon Parang is tallied. Bagiuo City is center for the IT Industry as well as the business processing outsource industry..
Texas Instruments in 2007 invested 2 billion dollars in a new microchip plant and major consumer electronics manufacturers in China, Japan, and, Taiwan are worried. TI's chips from Bagiuo are major components for the electronics industry.
For now the Philippines is trying to recover and more aid will be needed in the weeks and months ahead. In most places farms, factories, and, families will take weeks to recover.
Tags: US CH46 At Landing Zone B , Manila
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