Philippines: Storm Hits Days After Typhoon

Philippines: Storm Hits Days After Typhoon

A storm is set to reach land in northern parts of the Philippines just five days after the year's strongest typhoon killed 540 people in the south.

The country’s weather bureau issued storm alerts for northern provinces on the main island of Luzon, as greatly reduced winds of about 35mph changed course back towards land after heading into the South China Sea.

Typhoon Bopha first hit land on Tuesday with winds stronger than Hurricane Sandy that devastated the US East Coast in October.

Residents in typhoon-hit areas on southern Mindanao island have been appealing for food, water and other relief supplies.

On Saturday, President Benigno Aquino declared a state of national calamity in the typhoon-hit areas to control prices of basic commodities and allow local governments to draw special calamity funds for relief operations.

The official death toll rose to 540 people and nearly 850 are still missing, mostly in the Mindanao provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental. More than 1,000 were injured and about 370,000 are in temporary shelter areas.

"They have neglected us," said farmer Cresencia Blanco, 57. "They are focused on New Bataan," she added, referring to another town in the valley.

"Since the typhoon struck, we only got a total of four kilos of rice, that's all."

Benito Ramos, executive director of the national disaster agency, said the United States had offered to send transport planes and helicopters to help bring food supplies to remote and isolated areas.

Security forces were sent to guard government warehouses and commercial centres to prevent looting after people raided a rice warehouse in a coastal area in Davao Oriental province.

Humanitarian agencies said some 5.4 million people affected by the typhoon urgently need food, potable water and shelter after Bopha wiped out 90% of houses in the worst-hit towns in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

Donations from the international community have poured in, with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also ordering the Pacific Command to support relief and rescue operations.

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