Millennium Post

Typhoon weakens but leaves 21 dead

Typhoon weakens but leaves 21 dead
While the worst was over in central island provinces, where the sun peeked on Monday after days of stormy weather, Manila and outlying provinces braced as Hagupit, or “smash” in Filipino, blew nearer with maximum sustained winds of 105 kilometers per hour and gusts of 135 kph.

Forecasters said the storm was expected to slam into a Batangas provincial town about 110 kilometers south of Manila by nightfall. Although considerably weaker from its peak power, the storm remains potentially dangerous and could still whip storm surges that could overwhelm coastal villages, they said. Traumatised by the death and destruction from Typhoon Haiyan last year, more than 1 million people fled to emergency shelters and safer ground.

“The worst is over for them. It’s a big relief because they really got scared of this typhoon with Haiyan in their minds,” Pang said.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said more than 5,000 residents of a shantytown on the edge of Manila Bay have been evacuated due to possible storm surges.

“We’ve prepared and trained for this,” Estrada told The Associated Press. Metropolitan Manila has a population of more than 12 million people.

Like villagers in the central Philippines, Estrada said Manila residents were readily moving to safety because of haunting memories of Haiyan.

The strongest typhoon on record to hit land, Haiyan’s tsunami-like storm surges, leveled entire villages and left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in November last year.

Hagupit left at least 21 people dead, including 16 villagers who drowned in Eastern Samar province, where the typhoon made its first landfall, according to the Philippine Red Cross. The government disaster-response agency has reported only five deaths, including three people who died of hypothermia, saying it was still verifying other reported casualties.

Displaced villagers have been asked to return home from emergency shelters in provinces where the danger posed by the typhoon had waned, including Albay province, where more than half a million people were advised to leave evacuation sites.

Nearly 12,000 villagers, however, will remain in government shelters in Albay because their homes lie near a restive volcano.


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