Manila: About 12 people died, including two missing, and 250,000 more were affected nationwide as Typhoon Saola (known also as Gener) caused all havoc as it slowly departed from the northern Philippine sea towards Taiwan, officials said.
Prisca Pacyaya, 64, and Clinton Idio, 15, both died in separate landslide incidents in the Itogon and Tublay towns of Benguet on Tuesday night, as Typhoon Saola poured an estimated 25mm of rains in northern Luzon, Undersecretary Benito Ramos, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Wednesday.
Danieles Hipolito, 32, died from electrocution as he crossed a bridge in Metro Manila’s southern suburban Cavite; Renente Jaucutan Jr, 10, died while swimming with his family in a resort in Dipolog City, southern Philippines, said Ramos, adding that other victims died due to other reasons including falling debris, flash floods, mudflows, and maritime incidents.
Although Typhoon Saola never made a landfall in northern Luzon, its affected 49,118 families or 234,487 people nationwide, in 319 villages, 62 municipalities, 18 cities, and 21 provinces located in northern , central, and southern Luzon, Metro Manila, central and southern Philippines, Ramos said
About 31,457 families or 156,681 people were hard hit nationwide. Some 1,757 families or 7.956 people were placed at evacuation centres; while 30,614 families or 148,737 people left their homes and stayed with relatives in safer areas, said Ramos.
“The effect of Typhoon Saola will be felt until Friday because of a low pressure area (LPA) cited also in northern Luzon. It could pull up more rains in northern Luzon and it could hinder Typhoon Saola’s fast departure from the northern Philippine sea,” said Ramos.
Coastal areas nationwide are still vulnerable because of high tides that could prevent flood waters from ebbing, said Ramos.
The US Embassy on Manila’s Roxas Boulevard was flooded as Manila Bay’s breakwater was damaged allowing water to seep in and flood the entire length of the boulevard. Other five-star hotels in the area were also affected by the waters, another source said.
“Roxas Boulevard was closed to traffic,” a radio report said..
Schools, government and private offices were closed even in less affected areas, but several office workers were still seen wading in floods in Metro Manila, a TV footage showed.
International and local flights were intermittently suspended in Metro Manila. About 1,514 people were stranded because of the suspension of 22 rolling cargoes and 15 vessels in the provinces, said Ramos.
Typhoon Saola began its tumultuous effect on Saturday night, causing floods and cutting power lines that affected two of 10 million residents in Metro Manila; and isolating residents in the provinces because of damaged roads and bridges.
Saola packed wind speeds of 120 kph as it limped away to Taiwan, the state weather bureau said.
About 20 storms enter the Philippines every year.