Quantcast
Latest Stories

Philippine rescuers race to help typhoon-hit towns


The soil is exposed at the site of a landslide in Baguio city as powerful typhoon Utor battered the northern Philippines Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, toppling power lines and dumping heavy rain across mountains, cities and food-growing plains. Rescuers searched isolated towns devastated by the deadly typhoon on Tuesday as barefoot children stood among ruined homes, but early preparations appeared to have avoided mass casualties. AP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine rescuers searched isolated towns devastated by deadly Typhoon Utor (Labuyo) on Tuesday as barefoot children stood among ruined homes, but early preparations appeared to have avoided mass casualties.

The government said four people had been confirmed killed and 11 were missing after Utor, the strongest storm this year, swept across the north of the country on Monday.

“Trees have fallen down, roofs have been torn off houses, electric poles and electric towers have collapsed,” civil defense office spokesman Reynaldo Balido said, describing chaos from coastal towns to mountain villages hundreds of kilometres apart.

The typhoon hit land in Casiguran, leaving the town of 25,000 largely destroyed but with relatively few casualties, said Eduardo del Rosario, head of the government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

First television footage of the impact there showed barefoot children standing expressionless among broken furniture in the flattened remains of their house.

The footage, taken by an ABS-CBN crew who joined Del Rosario on a brief visit, showed roofs blown off entire neighborhoods with some homes reduced to rubble. Other buildings had windows blown out.

A huge gap showed where a bridge used to span a river, and groves of coconut trees were shorn of their leaves and fruit.

Del Rosario said two out-of-town fishermen who had sought shelter in Casiguran had been killed, while several locals were treated for cuts and other minor injuries.

“They were told to seek shelter in the evacuation centers, but instead these two fishermen slept in their boat. In the morning they were found dead,” he told a news conference.

A man drowned and another was buried by a landslide elsewhere on Luzon island, while 11 were missing after the typhoon struck, the disaster agency added.

Soldiers clambered over landslide-choked roads to reach Casiguran and nearby areas on foot Tuesday. The highway to Casiguran should reopen on Wednesday after bulldozers were used to remove landslides and fallen trees, said provincial disaster official Elson Egargue.

Residents reported no major casualties, according to local military spokesman Major Ernesto Garcia, adding troops were already clearing roads and distributing relief.

The Philippines is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to typhoons. Storms often make their first landfall there after they form over the Pacific Ocean and move west.

Hundreds of people die from the roughly 20 typhoons or tropical storms that strike the country each year.

Utor hit land with wind gusts reaching 200 kilometers (125 miles) an hour early Monday, making it the strongest storm this year, according to the weather bureau.

Well prepared

Joe Curry, country chief of the aid group Catholic Relief Services, and others involved in the rescue said the death toll may be lower than feared because residents were well prepared.

“I think people are agreeing that these places have been hit many times before, so they know how to deal with typhoons. The flood damage is less than it has been before,” Curry said.

Philippine National Red Cross secretary-general Gwendolyn Pang told AFP that people in the worst-hit areas were typhoon veterans.

“They know how to prepare, they know how to check for early warning signs like flood levels,” she said.

Nevertheless, more than 30,000 people were in temporary shelters on Tuesday after Utor destroyed more than 2,000 homes, the civil defense office said.

Of the 11 people listed as missing, one was a woman filmed by a television crew as she stood crying for help atop her house that was swept away by a swollen river.

“The community was evacuated before the onslaught of the typhoon but she refused to be evacuated,” said Norma Talosig, civil defense chief for the area.

On Tuesday night Utor was in the South China Sea tracking toward southern China, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.

Waves as high as 11 meters (36 feet) were expected in the north of the South China Sea from Tuesday night into Wednesday, China’s National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center said, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Working teams had also been requested to direct disaster prevention efforts in Guangdong province, where the typhoon is expected to make landfall between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, Xinhua reported.

Winds up to 98 kilometer (60 miles) per hour hit Hong Kong in the early hours of Wednesday as Utor centered 300 km southwest of the city, according to the observatory, and a Number 8 storm signal was raised.—Cecil Morella


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


More Philippine Weather News

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: China , Labuyo , Philippines , Typhoon , Utor , Weather




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Pakistan library named ‘bin Laden,’ as memory fades
  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Multicultural flock marks Good Friday in San Francisco
  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement