Typhoon sur­vivors wait for aid in the Philip­pines

One of the most pow­er­ful storms

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

PENABLANCA: Hun­gry Philip­pine typhoon sur­vivors hud­dled in makeshift shel­ters and waited for aid yes­ter­day, af­ter los­ing nearly ev­ery­thing from one of the most pow­er­ful storms to hit the South­east Asian ar­chi­pel­ago. Su­per Typhoon Haima struck late on Wed­nes­day night with winds sim­i­lar to those of cat­a­strophic Haiyan in 2013, which was then the strong­est storm to hit the dis­as­ter-prone coun­try and claimed more than 7,350 lives.

At least eight peo­ple were killed and another was miss­ing while tens of thou­sands lost their homes as Haima dev­as­tated farm­ing and moun­tain com­mu­ni­ties across the north of the Philip­pines’ main is­land of Lu­zon on Thurs­day. “I cried when I saw my beans and squash plants that had been raked off by the winds. My mango trees were also top­pled,” farmer Leonardo Lon­gan, 66, told AFP in the town of Penablanca, close to where Haima made land­fall.

Like many of his neigh­bors, Lon­gan and his wife now live in an im­pro­vised shel­ter with palm leaves for a roof, blan­kets for walls and a bed made from the col­lapsed wooden wall of his old dwelling. They sent their four school-age chil­dren to live with a rel­a­tive, and bor­rowed rice from a lo­cal trader. A mil­i­tary plane-load of food aid was flown to the re­gion yes­ter­day to aug­ment sup­plies po­si­tioned there ahead of the dis­as­ter, Rom­ina Marasi­gan, spokes­woman for the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion and Man­age­ment Coun­cil told re­porters in Manila. But in Penablanca, a farm­ing town of about 42,000 peo­ple, Lon­gan said aid had yet to ar­rive.

In San Pablo, another Ca­gayan Val­ley town about 20 kilo­me­ters south of Penablanca, four fam­i­lies spent Thurs­day night on a road­side af­ter Haima flat­tened their homes. “No one has helped us. It is just us and other fam­i­lies, help­ing each other on the side of the road,” Jovy Dalu­pan, a mother of two, told AFP.

No dry clothes

Dalu­pan said her daugh­ters, aged eight months and four years, had started cough­ing af­ter be­ing drenched dur­ing the storm and that their clothes were still wet. “But we have noth­ing to change into,” she said. A pre­lim­i­nary re­port from the north­ern Cordillera re­gion listed eight peo­ple killed by land­slides and a man miss­ing af­ter be­ing swept away on a swollen river.

More than 50,000 peo­ple in ty­phoonaf­fected ar­eas in the north had re­ceived aid, al­though the to­tal num­ber of peo­ple who needed help was not known. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion lines have yet to be re­stored in about half of the Cordilleras and so the ex­tent of the typhoon’s fall­out there could not yet be de­ter­mined, said Marasi­gan, the dis­as­ter coun­cil spokes­woman said.

Dozens of farm­ing vil­lages in Bataan and Pam­panga prov­inces to the south near Manila re­mained un­der wa­ter yes­ter­day, as wa­ter flowed down from the north­ern moun­tains, re­gional of­fi­cials said, with nearly 40,000 res­i­dents seek­ing refuge on higher ground. The Philip­pine is­lands are of­ten the first ma­jor land­mass to be hit by storms that gen­er­ate over the Pa­cific Ocean. The South­east Asian ar­chi­pel­ago en­dures about 20 ma­jor storms each year, many of them deadly.

The most pow­er­ful and dead­li­est was Haiyan, which de­stroyed en­tire towns in heav­ily pop­u­lated ar­eas of the cen­tral Philip­pines in Novem­ber 2013. Haima was the sec­ond typhoon to hit the north­ern Philip­pines in a week, af­ter Sarika struck on Sun­day claim­ing at least one life and leav­ing three peo­ple miss­ing. Haima hit Hong Kong and the south­ern Chi­nese main­land yes­ter­day, af­ter weak­en­ing into a typhoon with wind speeds of 145 kilo­me­ters an hour. More than 700 flights in and out of Hong Kong were can­celled or de­layed as the city’s usu­ally fre­netic streets were de­serted with schools closed and other pre­cau­tions put in place un­der a Num­ber 8 storm sig­nal, the third-high­est warn­ing level. — AFP

TUGUEGARAO CITY: Mo­torists ma­neu­ver around fallen street lights de­stroyed by su­per typhoon Haima. — AFP

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