World | Philippines

Four dead, 67 missing in Typhoon Utor aftermath

Storm leaves northern Luzon, heads towards South China Sea

  • By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 13:41 August 13, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • Tourists brave strong wind at the Victoria Peak in Hong Kong Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013. The Observatory said Typhoon Utor intensified slightly as it moves towards the western coast of Guangdong. The typhoon battered the northern Philippines on Monday, toppling power lines and dumping heavy rain across cities and food-growing plains.

Manila: Four people were killed while 67 — including 53 fishermen and nine mountaineers — remained missing as Typhoon Utor left for the South China Sea after a deadly 24-hour landfall in Luzon on Monday.

Reynaldo de la Cruz, 53, drowned in Nueva Vizcaya, northern Luzon on Tuesday, a day after Typhoon Utor entered Aurora Province causing floods, landslides and toppling trees and power lines, said Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Del Rosario added that Joemar Salicong, 22, died in a landslide in Tuba, Benguet, also in northern Luzon on Monday.

Earlier on Saturday Dolores Montero, 68 and her granddaughter Erica Montero Sim, 8, drowned when their motorboat was destroyed off Buenavista coastal village in Cagnion, Surigao, central Philippines, another affected area, said del Rosario.

He said the two victims were identified by NDRRMC’s provincial office.

Meanwhile, a ground report from northern Luzon said that Benny Labio, 40, died when his house was swallowed by the Cagayan River in Maand village, San Agustin town, meaning the number of fatalities could reach five.

“We hope this is the final list of casualties,” del Rosario said, adding the number could change dramatically in the storm’s aftermath.

Some 35 fishermen from the western Pangasinan towns of Infanta and Bolinao were reported missing after they failed to return home from sailing on August 5 and 8, said del Rosario, adding that five of the fishermen were not yet identified.

Some 23 fishermen from Camarines Norte and Catanduanes in Bicol, southern Luzon, remained missing after they set sail last week, before Typhoon Utor was seen in the Pacific Ocean, said del Rosario, adding they were part of a group of 75 fishermen who sailed to the sea, 52 of whom managed to return safely on Sunday.

Meanwhile, nine mountaineers were reported missing after they failed to return from Mount Tarak in Alas-asin village, in Bataan on Saturday, Bataan Governor Albert Garcia said, adding that Typhoon Utor might be responsible for their disappearance. Their names were not released.

Some 30 kilometres of road was flooded in Dilasalag, Aurora, the hardest hit province in northeastern Luzon, where three towns, Casiguran, Dilasag, and Dinalungan were declared in a state of calamity, said del Rosario.

Ninety per cent of crops were damaged in Dilasalag due to floods, confirmed Mayor Victorio Briones.

Almost all roads were impassable due to floods and landslides in many towns of Aurora, said Aurora Governor Gerardo Noveras, adding that power came back 24 hours after rains and winds toppled electric poles in these towns.

Seventy three houses were damaged while five were destroyed in Aurora, said Noveras, adding the typhoon’s wrath is still being assessed in Aurora’s tow other towns such as Dingalan and Dipaculao.

People stranded on riverbanks were evacuated in coastal towns of Nueva Vizcaya, another hard hit area in northern Luzon, TV footage showed.

In other submerged areas, rising rivers swept animals, crops, and houses, the same report said.

Floods isolated several towns in Isabela province although it was not directly hit by the typhoon, said Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III.

People rejoiced when nine passengers and a driver emerged alive from a vehicle that was buried by a landslide in Itogon town, northern Luzon on Tuesday morning, said Chief Inspector Fernando Botangen of the Itogon police.

A four-metre high flood occurred in Baguio City’s Camp Lagoon. The northern Luzon summer capital also suffered power outage, telecommunications failure, and road closures due to rockfalls.

The typhoon dumped most of its 24-hour rain in northern Luzon’s Baguio City; central Luzon’s Dagupan and Cabanatuan cities and Iba town, Zambales, said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), a government run weather station.

Typhoon Utor left the Philippines early on Tuesday morning, Pagasa confirmed.

A total of 20 storms enter the Philippines every year.

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