Gener now a typhoon; death toll rises to 4Inquirer Southern Luzon
MANILA , Philippines – Typhoon “Gener’’ claimed the lives of at least four people as it barreled through off the coast of northern Luzon Monday.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said Gener intensified into a typhoon Monday afternoon.
Heavy rains brought by Gener displaced families, destroyed bridges and roads and flooded low-lying areas in Southern Luzon, Metro Manila, Central and Northern Luzon.
Three of the four who died drowned in Cavite, Batangas and Romblon, respectively. The fourth fatality died in Laguna due to a tree that fell on his house.
While Southern Luzon was not directly in the path of the storm, it spawned heavy rain and stormy seas that sank at least two vessels–one in Romblon and another in Batangas–and flooded and destroyed properties and road and bridges in a number of towns in Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Catanduanes and Occidental Mindoro.
Heavy flooding prompted Governors Juanito Victor Remulla of Cavite and Jeorge ‘ER’ Ejercito of Laguna to suspend classes in all levels in their respective provinces.
In Cavite, the body of an unidentified man who was believed to have drowned amid high tide in Manila Bay, was found near the Coast Guard Station in Rosario town at around 6 a.m., said Commander Rodel Aburquez, chief of the Cavite Coast Guard.
In Batangas, Merly Datinguinoo, 45, was the lone drowning victim when a passenger motorboat sank in the waters off Tingloy, Batangas, at around 6:30 a.m., said Commander Gil Villamaria of the Coast Guard in Batangas.
Fourteen of her fellow passengers were rescued, said Villamaria.
In Romblon, Ernest Flores, 60, of Alaminos, Laguna was also the only fatality among 106 passengers and crew of MV Shuttle Roro 1, a roll on/roll off vessel, which ran aground and caught fire in Looc, Tablas Island Sunday evening.
He drowned when he jumped into the water after the skipper ordered to abandon ship predawn Monday. Rescuers were able to bring passengers back to land in Odiongan Island but Flores died while being treated in the hospital.
The vessel’s chief cook Edgar Vecimo was injured and was brought to the regional health unit in Odiongan, Romblon, added Cabrera.
In Laguna, Teodoro Flores, 42, was killed after a coconut tree fell on his house as he was eating breakfast at around 6:45 a.m. in San Pablo City, said police. His son who was with him was unhurt.
MV Shuttle RORO was battered by big waves and ran aground, two nautical miles southwest of Agoho point in Looc, Tablas island, at around 7 p.m. on Sunday, said a report from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) in Mimaropa.
The RDRMMC said the vessel was bound to Odiongan, Romblon when it tried to avoid big waves and sought shelter in Looc bay. The vessel, which came from Dumaguit in Aklan, ran aground after hitting coral reefs.
Government authorities in Romblon were working to contain the possible spread of crude oil from the vessel, according to Mimaropa DRRMC director Eugene Cabrera.
He said they were tapping the National Power Corp., which owned a power barge in Looc bay, to lend its containment boom.
Residents living in low lying and mountainous areas were alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides. Likewise, those living in coastal areas under Public Storm Warning Signal #3 and #2 are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by this tropical cyclone.
Fishing boats and other small seacraft were advised not to venture out into the Seaboard of Luzon and Visayas due to the combined effect of Typhoon “Gener” and the Southwest Monsoon. Typhoon “Gener” was expected to enhance the southwest monsoon that will bring rains and moderate to strong winds over Luzon and Visayas especially the western section.
Estimated rainfall amount is from 10 – 20 mm per hour (heavy – intense) within the 700 km diameter of the typhoon, Pagasa said.
Typhoon Gener was forecast to be 210 km Northeast of Basco, Batanes by Tuesday afternoon; 350 km North of Basco, Batanes by Wednesday afternoon; and 600 km north northwest of Basco Batanes oroutside the Philippine area of responsibility by Thursday afternoon.
Vice President Jejomar Binay said that his office would be conducting relief operations in different areas affected by typhoon Gener.
“We are already in coordination with officials of the local governments affected. We only need to check the areas and see what the affected residents need,” Binay said in a statement. He added that his office was set to conduct relief operations in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro and Bago, Negros Occidental.
The statement cited reports from the RDRRMC, saying heavy rains caused landslides and massive flooding in Occidental Mindoro.
“Meanwhile, a total of 238 families, or about 1,000 people, have been evacuated in Bago City and Hinoba-an town in Negros Occidental,” it said.
Binay added that his office had already delivered 150 bags of relief goods to the residents of Baseco Compound who were evacuated to the Baseco covered court. (Reports from Maricar Cinco, Romulo Ponte, Marrah Erika Lesaba, Madonna Virola and Mar Arguelles, Inquirer Southern Luzon; Fat Reyes and Frances Mangosing, INQUIRER.net)