Storm hits heav­ily pop­u­lated area in Philip­pines

UN boss vis­its Haiti

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon (right) speaks with women whose homes were de­stroyed by Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Haiti on Satur­day. He ar­rived to see first­hand the ex­tent of the de­struc­tion left by the Cat­e­gory 4 storm ear­lier this month. A pow­er­ful ty­phoon has slammed into the north­east­ern Philip­pines, leav­ing at least two peo­ple dead, knock­ing out power and iso­lat­ing vil­lages amid floods and top­pled trees.

Ty­phoon Sarika, lo­cally known as Karen, blew into Aurora prov­ince early yes­ter­day and was bar­relling fast through heav­ily-pop­u­lated agri­cul­tural prov­inces, in­clud­ing land­slide-prone ar­eas, with sus­tained winds of 130kph and gusts of 220kph.

It was fore­cast to blow out of the main north­ern Lu­zon is­land into the South China Sea. A sep­a­rate storm has been spot­ted far out in the Pa­cific and may strengthen as it heads to­ward the Philip­pines this week, ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment’s weather agency.

Nearly 10,000 vil­lagers fled their homes in Sarika’s path and were taken in more than 100 emer­gency shel­ters, Wel­fare Sec­re­tary Judy Tagui­walo said.

Mayor Nelianto Bi­hasa of Baler, a pop­u­lar surf­ing town in Aurora, said howl­ing wind ripped tin roofs off many houses and knocked down trees and elec­tric posts, caus­ing power out­ages and block­ing ac­cess roads to some vil­lages. Coastal vil­lagers were warned early to move to safer ar­eas and there have been no im­me­di­ate re­ports of ca­su­al­ties other than two in­jured res­i­dents. In east­ern Catan­d­u­anes prov­ince, a man drowned af­ter be­ing swept by strong river cur­rents and a farmer died af­ter his head hit the ground in fierce wind, pro­vin­cial safety of­fi­cer Gerry Beo said, adding that three fish­er­men have not re­turned home from a fish­ing ex­pe­di­tion and were re­ported miss­ing. An­other death re­lated to the ty­phoon was be­ing checked in nearby Ca­marines Sur prov­ince, of­fi­cials said.

A month’s worth of rain poured on Fri­day as the ty­phoon ap­proached from the Pa­cific, swelling rivers and creeks and flood­ing low-ly­ing farm­ing vil­lages, Beo said, adding that most towns in the is­land prov­ince of about 260,000 peo­ple have no elec­tric­ity and spotty com­mu­ni­ca­tions. About 20 ty­phoons and storms lash the Philip­pines each year, adding to other bur­dens in a coun­try that’s also threat­ened by earth­quakes and vol­canic erup­tions. The lat­est ty­phoon, Sarika, was named af­ter a bird in Cam­bo­dia.

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