The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year left at least six people dead, authorities said yesterday, after heavy rain and fierce winds battered the nation’s most populous island.
Typhoon Noru toppled trees, knocked out power and flooded low-lying communities as it swept across Luzon on Sunday and yesterday.
There have so far been no reports of widespread severe damage to buildings from the storm, which hit the nation as a super typhoon. Five people suffered minor injuries and several others are missing, disaster officials said.
“I think that we may have gotten lucky at least this time, a little bit,” Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr told a briefing with disaster agencies.
Five rescuers were killed after they were sent to help flooded residents in San Miguel municipality in Bulacan province, near the capital, Manila.
Lieutenant-Colonel Romualdo Andres, chief of police in San Miguel, said the rescuers were wading through floodwaters when a wall collapsed, sending them into the fast current.
“Our house was swept away by the flood, it’s gone,” Willie Ortega, 59, said in San Miguel. “We weren’t able to save anything, even the rice to eat, none.”
An elderly man died after he was hit by a landslide in Burdeos municipality on the Polillo Islands, part of Quezon province, where the storm made landfall, Garner Jimenez of the local civil defense office said.
Noru smashed into the archipelago nation on Sunday after an unprecedented “explosive intensification” in wind speeds, the state weather forecaster said earlier.
It made landfall about 100km northeast of Manila, before weakening to a typhoon as it crossed a mountain range, coconut plantations and rice fields.
More than 74,000 people were evacuated from their homes before the storm hit, as the meteorology agency warned that heavy rain could cause “serious flooding” in vulnerable areas and trigger landslides.
However, yesterday there was no sign of the widespread devastation many had feared, as the storm moved over the South China Sea toward Vietnam.
State weather forecaster Ana Laurel said Noru brought less rain and moved faster compared with other destructive typhoons that have hit the Philippines.
“It all depends on the interplay of the weather systems. Each typhoon has its own characteristics,” Laurel said.
National Disaster Agency spokesperson Rafaelito Alejandro described the storm’s impact as “very minimal.”
Marcos said preparations for the storm helped.
“You might think that we overdid it. There is no such thing as overkill when it comes to disasters,” he said.
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