Strong Typhoon Crosses Philippines; 3 Dead - News Hunter Magazine

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Monday, 8 December 2014

Strong Typhoon Crosses Philippines; 3 Dead

A Category 2 typhoon has flooded towns, kicking up high waves and
knocking out power as it makes its way across the central Philippines
on a northwest track.

Three people have been reported killed so far, although the government
says it is still trying to establish exact casualty figures.
The Philippine Red Cross says it continues to monitor Typhoon
Hagupit's effects as state forecasters expect it to make landfall on
several more islands.

Local weather agency Pagasa said Sunday that the storm crashed into
remote fishing communities of Samar Island, tearing roofs off
buildings and sending them flying into the Pacific Ocean.

"As soon as roads are cleared our air operations can commence because
in some areas right now like in Samar, we are awaiting the clearance
for the aircraft to fly, then the initial relief operations will
start," Pama said.

Power is out throughout the region and roads are covered with trees
and tin roofs. The massive storm has winds as high as 210 kilometers
per hour.

Evacuations

Forecasters said Hagupit may take three days to cross the central
Philippines. More than one million people have been evacuated from
coastal villages and areas prone to landslides and placed in temporary
shelters. However, some of the evacuees have already been cleared to
return to their homes.

The Philippine Red Cross said it continues to monitor Typhoon Hagupit,
downgraded from a Category 5 storm to a Category 2, as it tracks on a
northwesterly course.

The centrally located island of Cebu has escaped the brunt of the
storm's destructive force, VOA's Brian Padden reported.

While this typhoon is not as strong as last year's Typhoon Haiyan that
left more than 7,300 people dead or missing, it is causing significant
damage to impoverished areas of the eastern Philippines
But Typhoon Hagupit veered away from the island of Cebu, located in
the center of the country. The region experienced heavy rain and
intense winds Sunday, but few injuries and little damage had been
reported.

It was business as usual in the market area Sunday despite the rain
and, at times, heavy winds.

Surveying storm damage

Red Cross Secretary-General Gwendolyn Pang said rapid assessment teams
are doing initial surveys of areas that the storm has left. She said
they have not been able to get to a few of the towns that Hagupit
first struck.

"So far we have not received major reports like casualties or major
damages. And these are all manageable at this point in time, although
our greatest concern is there are still areas we cannot reach and
contact," Pang said.

But, overall, Pang said the initial reports, which do not show
casualties, mean the mass evacuation efforts may have been effective.

The Red Cross said 1.2 million residents went to evacuation centers.

Pang said with the memory of killer storm surges from last year's
Super Typhoon Haiyan fresh in people's minds, it took little
convincing to get residents to safe ground.

The Civil Defense Office said the main priority now is clearing operations.

Military Chief Gregorio Catapang said once entry points to an airstrip
and airport in Eastern Samar province are cleared they can be used as
backup landing points for military craft delivering relief goods.

Catapang said 11 countries, including the United States, China and
Japan, are part of a multinational humanitarian and disaster relief
team that is ready to help with distribution.

Last year, Haiyan's 230 kph winds left impenetrable debris fields that
left residents without access to food and water for days.

City officials in Tacloban, where the brunt of Haiyan's 7,300 deaths
occurred, said some evacuees were actually heading back home late
Sunday.

Early enforcements
Tacloban Social Welfare Director Gloria Fabrigas said the city gave
strict orders ahead of the storm to try to keep the city accessible
after the storm hit.

"They evacuated early and we enforced liquor bans. We enforced no cars
in the streets, in the main streets especially. So it's very clean,
it's easy. And there are no damages except some wires that have
fallen. As of now we don't have electricity," Fabrigas said.

Power was out in dozens of towns and cities in at least eight
provinces. There was also widespread flooding in the affected areas.



Credit: VOA News

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