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2006, a year full of natural calamities for the Philippines
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-01-02 14:58
For the Philippines, the year 2006 was full of natural calamities including a major landslide earlier this year and several super typhoons in the last several months, in which thousands of people were killed and many more lost their homes.

In February, storms and heavy rains caused a landslide in a village in the southeastern province of Southern Leyte, in which a village was buried and more than 1,000 people died.

It was a devastating landslide and the government was taken by surprise. The rescue operations were late to start and thus only a dozen or so victims could be saved.

As an island nation facing the Pacific, the Philippines is visited by about 20 typhoons each year. This year, four super typhoons ravaged the country within a period of about two months, leaving behind a trail of destruction and dead bodies by the hundreds.

In late September, super typhoon "Xangsane", locally called "Milenyo", hit the Philippine capital Manila with 160-kilometer-per-hour winds, and after rampaging through the east-central Bicol region, it reached the southern Luzon region and the Visayas region in central Philippines.

More than 200 people were killed by "Xangsane" while some 40 million people, or half of the national population of the Philippines, were without electricity for nearly one week, after all power plants in Luzon were shut down in the wake of the damage caused by the typhoon.

Exactly one month later, another super typhoon "Cimaron", locally known as "Paeng", slammed into northern Luzon in northern Philippines, killing more than 30 people and displacing thousands. The storm also blew away houses made of wood and flooded low-lying areas in several provinces in northern Philippines.

The most severe typhoon to have hit the Philippines this year was super typhoon "Durian", locally known as "Reming", which hit the country at the end of November.

More than 1,000 people were killed or went missing, when typhoon-storms triggered mudslides in the famous Mount Mayon volcano in Albay province of the Bicol region, burying several villages around the volcano.

Destruction by "Durian" caused such a national shock that the government decided to postpone a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) scheduled for December in Cebu, out of fears that another typhoon could threaten the city with violent storms.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from the Visayas region, where Cebu is located, when typhoon "Utor", locally known as "Seniang", tore across the region and killed several people.

The government has allocated millions of pesos for the relief operations to help the people displaced by typhoons while foreign governments have poured in donations for the victims of the calamities.

In her Christmas message this year, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo urged her countrymen to show "heartfelt passion" for the victims of the natural calamities while helping them with a spirit of "caring and sharing."

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