Archive for Saturday, October 31, 2009

4th typhoon in month lashes sodden Philippines

October 31, 2009

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— A powerful typhoon crashed into the Philippine capital today with pounding rain and strong winds, causing a massive power outage, downing trees and bringing fresh floods to areas still partially submerged from a recent deadly storm.

More than 100,000 people sought shelter in five provinces east and south of Manila in the path of Typhoon Mirinae on the main Luzon Island. One river in Laguna province south of Manila overflowed, flooding most of lakeside Santa Cruz town and sending residents clambering onto roofs to escape rising waters, said Mayor Ariel Magcalas.

“We cannot move, this is no joke,” Magcalas said. “The water is high. We need help,” he said in a public address via Radio DZBB.

Rescue teams were dispatched to the flooded communities but were having difficulty moving in light trucks, said regional disaster officer Fred Bragas.

“As of now, our efforts are concentrated on rescue and evacuation,” he said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

In Manila, residents hunkered down in their homes overnight as rains beat down on dark, deserted streets. Mirinae passed south of the sprawling city of 12 million with winds of 93 miles per hour and gusts of up to 115 mph.

The fourth typhoon to lash in the Philippines in a month, Mirinae was tracking the same route as Tropical Storm Ketsana on Sept. 26 when it dumped the heaviest rains in 40 years in and around Manila — a month’s worth in just 12 hours — leaving hundreds dead and thousands stranded in cars, on rooftops and in trees.

Strong winds toppled trees and power poles, slowing traffic on some highways, radio stations reported. Manila electric power distributor Meralco said the winds had forced outages in many areas around the capital and nearby areas.

Commuter train service was disrupted, flights at Manila international airport were canceled and about 8,000 ferry passengers were stranded as the coast guard grounded all vessels.

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