Manila, Philippines – Philippine authorities rushed relief supplies to the country’s remote north Tuesday in preparation for a new storm, which was also expected to dump heavy rain on other areas struggling with deadly floods.
Tropical Storm “Helen” (international codename: Kai-tak) was forecast to hit the east coast of Luzon, the country’s main island, on Wednesday morning, then pass over mountainous regions before heading towards Taiwan, the state weather bureau said.
“We are rushing to pre-position relief items to the northern areas ahead of this storm,” Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman told AFP.
“We wanted to make sure that we have enough supplies there just in case areas get cut off by landslides or floods.”
“Helen” was also forecast to bring heavy rains across the central and southern areas of Luzon, where 334,000 people remain in evacuation centres following flooding last week that in some farming areas remains waist-deep
The floods, which submerged 80 percent of Manila, killed 95 people, according to the government.
The government had initially said “Helen” would start dumping up to 35 millimeters (1.3 inches) of rain an hour over large areas of Luzon beginning Monday night, triggering warnings of more mass evacuations from officials.
But as of noon Tuesday parts of Luzon were only experiencing scattered, light rain showers.
Ramos said authorities had begun releasing water from five dams in the mountain regions of Luzon that were near overflowing in anticipation of more rains.
But the “controlled release” was not expected to swamp already swollen river systems and cause more flooding, he said.