x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

13 killed as Typhoon Nari batters the Philippines

Floods cause power cuts and devastate rice-growing region.

MANILA // At least 13 people were killed by a typhoon that flooded villages and farms in the main rice-growing region of the Philippines yesterday, officials said.

Typhoon Nari made landfall in Aurora province late on Friday, battering the with 150kph winds and gusts of up to 185kph.

It caused power cuts there and in five nearby provinces due to downed pylons and emergency shutdowns designed to prevent accidents.

Meno Mendoza, a weather forecaster, said Nari weakened after hitting the mountains in Aurora then quickly blew across the rice-growing central plains of Luzon.

More than 2,500 people had been evacuated from coastal villages before the typhoon struck, said Amado Elson Egargue, a provincial disaster officer.

Maj. Rey Balido, from the civil defence force, said 12 people reported killed in four provinces included a man who was electrocuted, a police officer buried in a landslide while waiting to join a rescue mission, four people who drowned in floodwaters and five who were hit by falling trees. The body of a fisherman was also recovered, and three others were missing, he added.

Wilhelmino M Sy-Alvarado, a Bulacan provincial governor, said a 70-year-old man had died of a heart attack when the roof of his house was blown off.

He said more that than 20 villages remained flooded yesterday, with some areas under about 2 metres of water.

A major highway in Bulacan was flooded and authorities were allowing only trucks and other large vehicles to pass.

Aurelio Umali, governor of Nueva Ecija, said that fallen trees and electricity pylons had blocked all the major roads in the province.

He said the initial estimate was that 15,000 hectares of rice may have been damaged or destroyed.

The typhoon drenched Manila overnight but caused no widespread flooding in the sprawling capital, which is home to 12 million and often floods because of poor infrastructure and clogged drainage and water canals.

Nari was the 19th storm to hit the country this year. It had moved over the South China Sea around noon yesterday and was moving west toward Vietnam.

About 20 to 22 tropical storms lash the Philippines each year during the monsoon season, which runs from July to December.

* Associated Press