Typhoon brings death and chaos to Philippines

A man walking past fallen electric poles on the main highway after Typhoon Kammuri hit Camalig town in the Philippines yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS Villagers working among damaged houses in the aftermath of Typhoon Kammuri in Legazpi city, the Philippin
Villagers working among damaged houses in the aftermath of Typhoon Kammuri in Legazpi city, the Philippines' Albay province, yesterday. The typhoon made landfall late on Monday and forced the closure of the main airport in Manila for most of yesterday. There was no electricity in 10 areas in Luzon, as strong winds toppled power lines. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
A man walking past fallen electric poles on the main highway after Typhoon Kammuri hit Camalig town in the Philippines yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS Villagers working among damaged houses in the aftermath of Typhoon Kammuri in Legazpi city, the Philippin
A man walking past fallen electric poles on the main highway after Typhoon Kammuri hit Camalig town in the Philippines yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEA Games disrupted, air and sea transport suspended, power blackouts - life comes to a halt as storm barrels in

Typhoon Kammuri slammed into the Philippines yesterday, bringing heavy rains and gale-force winds as it hit the main island of Luzon.

At least four people were killed while close to half-a-million huddled in evacuation centres as the typhoon, the 20th to hit the country this year, roared ashore late on Monday and passed south of the capital Manila, threatening to set off floods, landslides and storm surges.

The government suspended air and sea travel.

The main airport in Manila was ordered closed for most of the day yesterday, while the coast guard halted commercial sea travel in the storm-affected areas.

Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia cancelled over 490 flights. At least 6,000 people were barred from travelling by sea.

Government offices and schools were closed in affected areas, and utility firms urged patience ahead of anticipated power blackouts.

Kammuri packed maximum winds of 155kmh near the centre and gusts of up to 235kmh, the nation's weather bureau said in its 8am report. By noon, as it traversed through a landmass, it had weakened slightly, with gusts of 205kmh.

The eyewall of the storm, known locally as Tisoy, brought violent winds and intense rainfall in four provinces in the Bicol region.

Local television showed footage of the main airport in Legazpi city in Albay province with cables, lighting and panels hanging from the ceiling.

  • TYPHOON KAMMURI

  • 4

    Number of people killed by the typhoon.

    500,000

    Number of people evacuated.

"The terminal's ceiling collapsed on the X-ray machine, and the windows were torn off," Albay Governor Francis Bichara said in a radio interview.

He said the downpour was not alarmingly heavy. But the violent winds were ripping off roofs, toppling trees and knocking out power.

Electricity was shut in 10 areas in Luzon, as strong winds toppled power lines.

"It felt like blunt scissors cutting through," said Mr Claudio Yucot, head of the Office of Civil Defence in Bicol.

Residents in Camalig town, in the Philippines, going about their lives yesterday amid the damage caused by Typhoon Kammuri. At least four people died in the country but early evacuation of hundreds of thousands of villagers from areas prone to flash
Residents in Camalig town, in the Philippines, going about their lives yesterday amid the damage caused by Typhoon Kammuri. At least four people died in the country but early evacuation of hundreds of thousands of villagers from areas prone to flash floods helped reduce the casualty numbers. The typhoon also forced SEA Games organisers to reschedule about half of the events set for yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS

He said he received a report that a 33-year-old man died when he touched a live wire as he was trying to keep his roof together.

As the typhoon was exiting the Philippines, it hit one last major landmass, the central island of Mindoro, where one man was crushed by a falling tree and another killed by a flying piece of lumber, police said.

Police also reported that a construction worker died in Ormoc city, in Samar province, further south of Bicol, after he was struck by tree branches as he was riding his motorcycle.

Pictures on social media showed waves crashing against bulwarks, felled trees and signage, and some minor damage to electricity poles.

"We hope there won't be any damage. But given its (Kammuri's) strength, we can't avoid it," Mr Mark Timbal, spokesman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, told Agence France-Presse.

Kammuri had already snarled some plans for the South-east Asian Games, which opened last Saturday and are set to run through Dec 11 in and around Manila.

The typhoon forced the Games' organisers to reschedule about half of the events set for yesterday, but they pledged the competition would finish on time.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons each year, and the most destructive ones tend to come from October.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2019, with the headline 'Typhoon brings death and chaos to Philippines'. Print Edition | Subscribe