Manila: Typhoon Sarika treads its way out of the Philippines, on Sunday, as people who had been pre-emptively evacuated returned to their homes in the northern main island of Luzon.
According to Office of Civil Defence Administrator Ricardo Jalad, some 12,500 people from the regions of Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol and Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal and Quezon (Calabar) areas have gradually returned to their homes after they were told to evacuate last Friday as a precaution.
“So far we have yet to ascertain if there are any casualties,” he was quoted as saying in reports.
Unconfirmed reports say that there were two fatalities caused by effects of the typhoon.
In some areas in Central Luzon, residents have yet to return to their homes, especially those affected by flooding and landslides.
After typhoon Sarika (Philippine name: Karen) made landfall in Aurora province at dawn on Sunday, according to meteorologist Benison Estreja of the state weather bureau, PAGASA, the force of the typhoon’s winds weakened from 150km/h to 130km/h as it makes its way towards the west at a speed of 22km/h.
The typhoon brought heavy rains making overland transit difficult. Several roads were closed to traffic. It also uprooted trees and felled power lines, causing blackouts in certain areas.
Before arriving in Aurora, Sarika lashed the province of Catanduanes and parts of Bicol.
The typhoon likewise disrupted vessel sailings in Bicol and Northern and Eastern Luzon. According the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, a total 227 domestic flights in routes in Luzon to other parts of the country were cancelled.
Agriculture officials said their initial assessment of the typhoon’s effect on agriculture is moderate.
Camarines Sur sustained the most damage from the weather disturbance with an estimated P53 million (DH4 million) in crops, mostly rice and corn, destroyed.
Sarika is the 11th weather disturbance to hit the country this year.
The Philippines is normally visited by some 20 typhoons and storms annually.
Weather officials expects another weather disturbance, typhoon Haima to enter the Philippine area of responsibility by Monday.
Weather experts said they expect Haima to develop into super typhoon in the coming days.