MANILA Thousands flee as typhoon lashes Philippines
TYPHOON Sarika lashed the main Philippine island of Luzon yesterday, flattening homes and toppling trees and power pylons as more than 12,000 people fled to safer ground, officials said.
Minor landslides and flooding were also reported a day after the cyclone brushed past the remote eastern island of Catanduanes and left one person drowned and three others missing there.
Nelianto Bihasa, the mayor of the town of Baler where Sarika made landfall before dawn, told ABS-CBN network the typhoon destroyed at least 20 houses and left one person injured.
Government crews and utility workers immediately went to work clearing roads blocked by landslides, toppled trees and posts and other debris. Some towns began sending people in shelters back to their homes as the danger passed.
Sarika swept out into the South China Sea in the early afternoon after dumping heavy rain across a broad section of Luzon island.
However, the weather service warned the nation to brace for a second storm, with Typhoon Haima expected to strike the same area as early as October 20.
The disaster agency said nearly 12,500 people had left their homes shortly before Sarika struck, seeking refuge in government-run shelters and relatives’ homes.
Eleven people were rescued after a boat capsized off the eastern island of Samar, while about 1000 boats and 6500 passengers were stranded in ports as the coast guard barred smaller vessels from putting to sea.
Two deaths were reported in the Catanduanes area. The disaster agency said 290 commercial flights were cancelled.
The Philippine islands are often the first major landmass to be hit by storms that generate over the Pacific Ocean. The archipelago endures about 20 major storms each year, many of them deadly.
Haiyan, the strongest typhoon ever recorded to hit land, smashed into the central Philippines on November 8, 2013, leaving 7350 people dead or missing. –
People collect material washed ashore after Typhoon Sarika passed north of Manila yesterday.
Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is the named successor.