Generators to light streets of Philippine typhoon zone

Generators to light streets of Philippine typhoon zone

ORMOC, Philippines - Philippine engineers have salvaged generators from a flooded IT park to bring light back to some streets of typhoon-devastated Leyte province, the Energy Ministry said on Monday, as the World Bank offered a US$500 million (S4623 million) loan for rebuilding.

Night falls early in the tropical Philippines, one of the biggest challenges in ensuring security on the worst-hit island of Leyte, where an estimated 70 to 80 per cent of structures in the path of the Nov. 8 storm were reduced to matchwood and rubble.

Authorities estimate more than 3,900 people were killed when Typhoon Haiyan, one of the largest ever recorded, made landfall and the sea surged ashore. Dazed survivors desperate for food and water have looted shops and homes.

Philippine authorities, the US military and international agencies face a mounting humanitarian crisis, with the number of people displaced by the catastrophe estimated at 4 million, up from 900,000 late last week.

Government engineers had at least patched up three diesel-powered generators from companies in an IT park in Palo, just south of worst-hit Tacloban city, to power street lights and the town hall, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla told Reuters. "We will try to energize the first three to four kilometres of street lights and the municipal hall of Palo," Petilla said.

He said full power should be restored by Christmas. "We are borrowing these generation sets to power street lights so that there will be signs of hope here. Because if there is no power, then residents feel there really is no hope."

The World Bank is to extend a US$500 million emergency loan to support reconstruction of buildings that can withstand winds of 250 kph (150 mph) to 280 kph and resist severe flooding, it said in a statement.

Haiyan slammed central Philippine islands with 314 kph winds, causing tsunami-like storm surges that swallowed nearly the whole of Tacloban, once home to 220,000 people, in Leyte and Guiuan town in Eastern Samar.

Nearly 95 per cent of the deaths from the typhoon came from Leyte and Eastern Samar.

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