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article imageVolcanic eruption, typhoon, earthquake hit Philippines, Indonesia

By Leo Reyes     Jan 14, 2014 in Environment
The Philippines, Indonesia and the Pacific island of Tonga have been hit by forces of Mother Nature in the last couple of days, causing death and injury to those in coastal areas as well as in danger zones, in the case of the eruption in Indonesia.
First to be hit by a powerful typhoon was the Pacific island of Tonga, forcing the government to declare a state of emergency as the category 5 cyclone battered the island last weekend.
Surprisingly, the cyclone caused very little damage to the country despite the strong wind that it contained.
Tonga's Director of Emergencies Leveni Aho said there were few houses that have been damaged while electricity has been restored right after the typhoon signals were lowered.
"The lucky part ... is that although it is very highly dangerous, the eye was so narrow, the extent of the damage is not what you associate normally with a category-five cyclone," Aho said. He estimated the storm's eye was less than 60 kilometres across.
“There is a bit of damage at Ha’apai, some houses blown down at Foa but we still have telephone contacts with Ha’apai,” Deputy Prime Minister Samiu Vaipulu said.
Meanwhile, more than 22,000 people have fled their homes following a series of eruptions and lava flows from the erupting Mount Sinubang volcano in Karo North Sumatra, Indonesia.
Mount Sinubang has been spewing hot ash and lava since September last year after having been dormant for three years.
Authorities have declared a danger zone surrounding the volcano, restricting residents to at least seven kilometers away from the designated danger zones.
The seven kilometer danger zone may be expanded up to 10 kilometers if the volcano continues to register increased volcanic activity, authorities said.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia's national agency for disaster management said the government can stili cope with the situation as no casualty has been reported so far.
In the Philippines, Typhoon Agaton has made landfall in Mindanao, hitting Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and nearby provinces over the weekend.
Authorities have reported that at least 20 people have died while thousands have been displaced when heavy rains triggered landslides and flash floods in many areas of Mindanao.
According to Maj. Reynaldo Balido, spokesman of the disaster-response agency in the area, many of the casualties and missing persons were from Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.
The first typhoon to hit the country this year came just about two months after the landfall of Super Typhoon Yolanda which battered central Philippines, killing over 6,000 people and destroying homes and vital infrastructure along its path. Read more.
Mindanao has also been hit by another earthquake last January 12 with a 5.0 magnitude. Its epicenter was traced 42 kilometers from Lun, South Cotabato and at 134 km S of Davao,according to emsc-csem.org and earthquaketrack.com
No damage or casualties have been reported.
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