Typhoon kills 5 in Philippines, 380,000 people evacuated

Disaster hits:  Strong wind leaves trees toppled, houses and crops damaged

MANILA: Five people were killed and more than 380,000 were evacuated, officials said on Monday, as Typhoon Nock-Ten brought howling winds and heavy rains to the Philippines. The typhoon that hit the Philippines on Christmas day and the day after leaves trees toppled, houses destroyed and crops damaged.
Agricultural crops in Albay province in Bicol region may have been wiped out by the onslaught of the typhoon since most of the crops are still in flowering stage, an Albay civil home defence official said.
The Philippine National Police said three people died in Albay province, including a 57-year-old woman who was hit by a concrete wall inside her house on Sunday evening and an elderly couple who drowned in a river on Monday morning.
The fourth person, a man who was trying to move his family to safety in Mulanay town in Quezon province, died after being hit by a toppled palm tree, Quezon Governor David Suarez said.
The latest reported fatality came as three men were electrocuted by a live wire from a street light, leaving one man dead and the two others hospitalised in Quezon province.
Several transmission lines and facilities were knocked down, causing some areas to lose electricity.
Energy Minister Alfonso Cusi promised that power would be restored quickly in badly hit Camarines and Albay provinces.
“We’ve prepared for it and we are currently on the ground to assess the damage and quickly restore compromised energy facilities,” he said.
As of Monday morning there were 383,097 people in evacuation centres, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.
The military reported that two of its camps were totally destroyed and several outposts were damaged in two affected provinces.
The typhoon made landfall seven times, from Sunday evening until noon Monday, in different provinces across the island nation, the state weather bureau said. The typhoon battered the Bicol region and was felt in southern Luzon provinces and the Eastern Visayas.
When it made landfall on Sunday over the town of Bato, in the eastern province of Catanduanes, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 185 kms per hour and gusts of up to 225 kph, the weather bureau said.
More than 12,000 people, along with several cargo and passenger vessels, were stranded in seaports, the Philippine Coast Guard said.
Major airlines announced the cancellation of domestic and international flights on Monday. An average of 20 typhoons batter the Philippines every year. In November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,000 people and left more than 1,000 missing in the eastern Philippines. — dpa