No deaths or injuries, but Typhoon Kiko leaves trail of devastation in Batanes
ITBAYAT, Batanes, Philippines — Destructive winds and heavy rains spawned by Typhoon Kiko (international name: Chanthu) left the island province of Batanes in disarray on Saturday — toppling power lines, uprooting trees, and destroying houses, government and school buildings, roads, and other infrastructure.
According to some residents, the impact of Kiko on Batanes was almost like that of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), which struck the Visayas and affected over 16 million people in 2013. Yolanda had sustained winds of 315 kilometers per hour when it made landfall six times in Eastern Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Iloilo and Palawan provinces on Nov. 8, 2013.
Kiko, on the other hand, was packing winds of 215 kph and gusts of up to 265 kph as it made landfall in Ivana town at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
Harold Cabreros, director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Cagayan Valley, said work had begun to restore power to the country’s northernmost province heavily battered by the typhoon.
But the power plant that supplies electricity to Batanes has not been reactivated as of Monday since the extent of the damage to the power lines was yet to be determined, the OCD said.
But communication was restored on Sunday, which helped the region’s disaster risk reduction and management council (DRRMC) to gather more reports to determine the extent of the damage wrought by the typhoon, Cabreros said.
Based on the initial report of the DRRMC in Cagayan Valley, no one was injured or had died during the typhoon.
But loose debris from ruined houses, many of which were already beyond repair, covered many streets and major roads of Batanes.
The OCD has yet to estimate the cost of the damage caused by Kiko, as the effect of the typhoon’s widespread destruction began to surface on Sunday. These included damaged roofs of the provincial capitol, Batanes National Science High School, and Basco Elementary School — all in the capital town of Basco.
A landslide that hit the town of Sabtang at the height of Kiko’s onslaught has already been cleared, the OCD said.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development said it would fast-track the distribution of food packs and cash aid to the affected residents.
On the mainland, the OCD said that the region’s major roads were already passable following clearing operations to remove eroded rocks and soil from Nagtipunan-Nueva Vizcaya road in Quirino province and stretches of road crossing the towns of Kayapa and Ambaguio in Nueva Vizcaya province.
Kiko slightly weakened as it exited the Philippine area of responsibility on Sunday, Pagasa said. The center of its eye was located 525 kilometers north of this northernmost municipality as of 4 p.m., also on Sunday.
—REPORTS FROM NATHAN ALCANTARA AND VILLAMOR VISAYA JR.
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