Wed, Dec 04, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Typhoon Kammuri slams into Philippines, kills two

DELAYS:The Southeast Asian Games’ organizers were forced to reschedule several events, but vowed that the regional competition would be completed on time

AFP, MANILA

Police inspect an overturned vehicle at Legazpi Airport in the Bicol Region in the Philippines yesterday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Typhoon Kammuri yesterday killed at least two people in the Philippines as it tore roofs off houses and forced Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport to shut down.

The storm roared ashore late on Monday and passed south of Manila — home to 13 million people — and thousands of athletes at the regional Southeast Asian Games.

As the typhoon was exiting the Philippines it hit one last major landmass, the central island of Mindoro, where one man was crushed by a falling tree and another killed by a flying piece of lumber, police said.

Ahead of the storm’s arrival, a 33-year-old man was on Monday electrocuted while securing a roof against the winds, which by late yesterday weakened to a maximum of 140kph.

Authorities were still assessing the storm’s effects, but a small local airport was seriously damaged, many power poles toppled and homes were battered.

“A lot of trees fell... There were a lot of roofs flying during the typhoon too,” said Junie Castillo, a disaster officer in one of the areas first hit.

Due to the high winds, Ninoy Aquino International Airport was “closed for operations,” general manager Ed Monreal told reporters.

It was not clear when flights would resume, but authorities gave an estimate of 11pm yesterday and said that their decision would depend on the weather.

Nearly 500 flights were canceled and officials warned passengers not to travel to the airport.

One terminal, which would normally be bustling with morning departures, was occupied by a handful of staff and stranded passengers.

One traveler, 23-year-old Canadian Constance Benoit, was hit with a nearly day-long delay to her flight back home.

She had arrived in Manila on a typhoon-buffeted flight on Monday morning from the central island of Cebu.

“It was the most turbulent flight I ever took in my life,” Benoit told reporters. “I just discovered what airsickness is.”

About 340,000 people had been evacuated from their homes in the central Bicol Region, disaster officials said.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons each year, killing hundreds and putting people in disaster-prone areas in a state of constant poverty.

The country’s deadliest cyclone on record was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in 2013.

Kammuri had already snarled some plans for the Southeast Asian Games, which opened on Saturday and are to run through Wednesday next week in and around Manila.

The typhoon forced organizers to reschedule about half of yesterday’s events, but they pledged that the competition would finish on time.

Kammuri wrought particular havoc on water-based and outdoor competitions, causing more than a dozen events to be postponed.

The storm is another difficulty for the Games, which suffered from a string of logistical glitches and a rush of last-minute construction in the run-up to Saturday’s opening.

The competition, which is spread across three main sites that are an hours’ drive apart, includes a record 56 sports and dozens of venues.

About 8,750 athletes and team officials are expected at this year’s 30th edition — the biggest ever — along with 12,000 volunteers.

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