100,000 flee as typhoon hits northern Philippines
Monday, September 26, 2011
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A powerful typhoon slammed ashore Tuesday in the eastern Philippines where authorities ordered more than 100,000 people to seek shelter from heavy rains and wind gusts of up to 106 miles per hour.
Typhoon Nesat made landfall before dawn Tuesday over eastern mountainous Isabela and Aurora provinces facing the Pacific Ocean, packing sustained winds of 87 mph, the government weather bureau said.
With its immense 400-mile cloud band, the typhoon threatened to foul weather across the entire main Luzon Island as it moves across the Philippines toward the South China Sea late Wednesday or early Thursday and then heads toward southern China.
Heavy downpours and wind prompted the closure of schools and universities in the capital, Manila, while scores of domestic flights were canceled and inter-island ferries grounded, stranding thousands.
One person was injured in a tornado and more than 50 fishermen rescued along eastern shores when their boats overturned in choppy seas, the government disaster agency reported. Forecasters warned of 12-foot-high waves.
Power was cut in many parts of Luzon, including in Manila, where hospitals, hotels and emergency services used generators. Tree branches and torn tarpaulins littered the flooded streets. Traffic was light as most people stayed indoors.
About 112,000 people were ordered to leave their homes in five towns prone to flash floods and landslides in central Albay province. By Monday, more than 50,000 had moved to government-run evacuation centers and relatives’ homes, officials said.
“We can’t manage typhoons, but we can manage their effects,” Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said.
Authorities were monitoring farming communities at the base of Mayon volcano in Albay, about 212 miles (340 kilometers) southeast of Manila.
Tons of ash have been deposited on Mayon’s slopes by past eruptions, and mudslides caused by a typhoon in 2006 buried entire villages, leaving about 1,600 people dead and missing.
The typhoon bore down on the Philippines exactly two years after nearly 500 people died in the worst flooding in decades in Manila, a city of 12 million, when a tropical storm hit.
Residents commemorated the anniversary by offering prayers and planting trees Monday.
Nesat is the 16th cyclone to lash the Philippines this year. The geography of the archipelago makes it a welcome mat for about 20 storms and typhoons forming in the Pacific each year.