Philippines braces itself for 2nd typhoon

Haima comes on the heels of Sarika, amid warnings that it may develop into country's first super typhoon since 2013

MANILA • The Philippines looks set to be hit by a double whammy this typhoon season.

Weather forecasters yesterday were expecting Typhoon Haima amid warnings that it could develop into a super typhoon, just hours following Typhoon Sarika's exit after displacing thousands of people and killing two.

Sarika, which barrelled into the northern Philippine provinces on Sunday, weakened as it moved towards the South China Sea.

The weather bureau said it was now closely monitoring Haima.

Haima entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility yesterday, state weather bureau Pagasa said, adding that if it maintains its west- north-west course, it is projected to make landfall over the northern Cagayan province early on Thursday.

"It will possibly be a super typhoon. It's getting bigger," said Pagasa weather forecaster Jori Luiz.

He said initial analysis showed Haima would plough across northern Luzon and might affect Central Luzon as well. Stormy weather will start to be felt over eastern Luzon beginning tomorrow.

If Haima becomes a super typhoon, it would be the Philippines' first since Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

A 79-year-old farmer suffered a heart attack and another was found dead in Catanduanes province last Saturday as Sarika hit the Bicol region, reported Rappler, a Philippines-based news website, citing the police and disaster officials.

As Sarika leaves the Philippines, it is expected to hit Vietnam tomorrow, as the country braced itself for further destruction after severe flooding in the central region killed at least 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes, officials said yesterday. Images from flood-hit provinces showed houses almost completely submerged and people paddling down waterlogged streets after heavy rain that started last week.

Four people are still missing after the deluge, which has destroyed or damaged more than 240,000 homes in several provinces since last Friday, the Natural Disaster Prevention office said on its website.

Mr Nguyen Khac Vinh, a resident in the hardest-hit province of Quang Binh, said there was still no water for drinking and cooking at his house, which was totally flooded. "The water came so quick... Our rice, chickens and ducks, our belongings were all swept away," he said, standing in knee-deep water in the streets of Kien Giang township.

With northern provinces on high alert due to Sarika, local forecasters said they expect it to be the biggest storm of the season. The authorities said they may issue evacuation orders and a ban on ships going out to sea, according to reports.

China's southern island province of Hainan is also gearing up to guard against Sarika, which is expected to make landfall today. Hundreds of fishermen and construction workers have been evacuated to safe shelters.

THE PHILIPPINE INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, BLOOMBERG, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline 'Philippines braces itself for 2nd typhoon'. Print Edition | Subscribe