At least 4 killed as Yutu sweeps across the Philippines

Villagers walk on a flooded path in the typhoon-hit town of Casiguran in the Philippines' Aurora province on Oct 30, 2018.
Villagers walk on a flooded path in the typhoon-hit town of Casiguran in the Philippines' Aurora province on Oct 30, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MANILA - At least four people were killed, and more than 30 were trapped inside a government building inundated by a river of mud, as a typhoon swept across the Philippines on Tuesday (Oct 30).

A police report said a family of four, including two boys aged eight and 10, died in a landslide in Batad, a remote village of about 1,500 in Ifugao province, some 430km north of the capital Manila.

Emergency workers, meanwhile, were scrambling to reach a building that was buried in dirt and boulders at around 4pm in Natonin town in the neighbouring Mountain Province.

Mr Ruben Carandang, regional director of the Office of Civil Defence, said there were 31 people inside the building that housed an office of the public works department: a project engineer, 20 contractors, three security guards and seven evacuees.

"Our responders can't get through. We're requesting for two Air Force helicopters so we can ferry search-and-rescue teams and K-9 dogs to the area," he said.

Typhoon Yutu made landfall early in the morning in Dinapigue town, Isabela province, 268km north of Manila, with winds of 140kmh and gusts of up to 230kmh.

The typhoon had greatly weakened since it made a direct hit last week on Saipan and Tinian - two islands of the Northern Marianas, an American territory about 9,000km west of the US mainland. Then, it was a Category 5 storm packing 270kmh winds.

 
 

Dinapigue Mayor Reynaldo Derije said the winds cut off communication and the rains flooded several districts.

"We're isolated… We're surrounded by water. We can't get out of town. We need food, supplies," he said.

Yutu then moved across the main island of Luzon, toppling electric posts, tearing off roofs, bending trees, and pouring sheets of rain.

Local television footage from the path of the storm showed shattered glass panelling at a hotel, the collapsed roof of a warehouse, a burger stand uprooted off its moorings, and heavy rains that hampered road visibility.

Strong winds, meanwhile, buffeted Manila all through the day.

Hundreds of ferries and boats were moored at a key port in Batangas province, south of Manila, stranding over 1,000 passengers.

Three dams in Luzon began releasing water to prevent flooding.

Some 17,000 were taken to evacuation centres.

In places like Masinloc town, in Zambales, however, tens of thousands still made their way to cemeteries to clean graveyards as they got ready for a two-day holiday to remember the dead.

Yutu, locally named Rosita, is the 18th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year. It comes just six weeks after super typhoon Mangkhut tore through northern Luzon, triggering rivers of mud that inundated mountain homes and killed over 100 people.