Three dead, 77,000 flee as storm pounds Philippines
Tacloban: At least three people were killed and tens of thousands were driven from their homes by floods as Tropical Storm Kai-Tak pounded the eastern Philippines today, cutting off power and triggering landslides, officials said.
Kai-Tak, packing gusts of up to 110 kilometres an hour, hit the country's third-largest island Samar in the afternoon and tore through a region devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan four years ago, the state weather service said.
Local officials reported three deaths on neighbouring Leyte island — a two-year-old boy who drowned in the town of Mahaplag, a woman buried by a landslide and another person who fell into a flooded manhole in Ormoc city.
Samar and Leyte, with a combined population of about 4.5 million, had borne the brunt of Haiyan in 2013, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing.
Bus driver Felix Villaseran, his wife and four children hunkered down in their two-storey house in the Leyte city of Tacloban along with 11 relatives whose homes were flooded from incessant rain.
"We have yet to shake off our phobia. I hope to God we don't have a repeat of that," Villaseran, who lost 39 cousins in the Haiyan onslaught, said.
"My missus stockpiled on groceries before the storm hit, but since we also have to feed these three other families we are now running low on food," he added.
Military trucks drove through rising floodwaters on Samar and Leyte to rescue trapped residents, with more than 77,000 people now in evacuation centres, local officials said. Strong winds toppled trees and power pylons, knocking out power throughout the region while floods, small landslides and rock falls blocked roads and buried some homes, local officials and witnesses said. Farmland in the mainly rural region was also under water, while seven people were injured by landslides and flying objects, the regional civil defence office said in a report.
A spokeswoman for the national government's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said it was trying to confirm reports of two other deaths from landslides and floods on the islands of Biliran and Dinagat.