26 Dec 2016

Typhoon Nock-Ten (Nina) Batters Philippines, Raising Flood Fears


Typhoon Nock-Ten battered densely populated areas south of Manila after making landfall in the Philippines on Christmas Day, with strong winds uprooting trees and knocking down power lines, and heavy rains submerging several low-lying towns.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported at least three deaths in Albay province, but disaster officials were still trying to verify whether they were related to the typhoon. The Associated Press reported that a farmer had died after being struck by a falling tree in Quezon province, southeast of Manila.

Rescue authorities had spent the days before the storm struck cajoling people to evacuate their homes. Many were reluctant to do so during the largely Roman Catholic country’s biggest holiday of the year.

Romina Marasigan, spokeswoman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said that fallen power lines and trees had rendered major road networks impassable. Clearing operations were under way.

“We have no word yet on casualties,” Ms. Marasigan said, adding that damage was still being assessed.

Even as Nock-Ten slowly moved away from the country, the national weather bureau continued to warn of flooding and possible landslides because of the heavy rains. In Albay province, disaster officials reported that several towns were under water.

Thousands of holiday travelers were stranded as authorities canceled hundreds of domestic and international flights, while the Philippine Coast Guard prevented ships from sailing. Many passengers had to spend Christmas in seaports, waiting for the storm to pass.

Heavy rains began falling on the capital Manila early Monday as a 400-kilometer diameter rain band moved west at a speed of 20 kilometers an hour. The city was not in the direct path of the typhoon, known locally as Nina.

(WSJ)

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