Typhoon Molave strikes Philippines, displacing over 100,000

Above: The devastation left by Typhoon Molave in Pola, Oriental Mindoro province, yesterday. Left: Residents of the town heading back to their homes yesterday.
Above: The devastation left by Typhoon Molave in Pola, Oriental Mindoro province, yesterday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Above: The devastation left by Typhoon Molave in Pola, Oriental Mindoro province, yesterday. Left: Residents of the town heading back to their homes yesterday.
Above: Residents of the town heading back to their homes yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Typhoon Molave cut a wide swathe as it swept across the Philippines yesterday, dumping heavy rains and bringing gale-force winds that uprooted trees, inundated villages and forced more than 100,000 people to evacuate.

Those forced out of their homes by the typhoon, locally known as Quinta, are from Albay province and elsewhere across the Bicol region - home to almost six million - and in nearby Quezon province.

Most of them live in districts prone to landslides, flooding and storm surges.

Images posted on social media showed a woman wading in waters up to her shoulders, and a car almost fully submerged in a village in Legazpi city in Albay, some 460km south-east of the capital Manila.

Disaster response officials have yet to release a full accounting of the damage.

Molave made landfall at around 6pm in Albay on Sunday, and barrelled its way through provinces in the southern part of the main island of Luzon and the northernmost part of the Visayas in central Philippines, with winds of up to 125kmh.

The typhoon blew off roofs, knocked down walls of houses and flooded rice fields. It toppled electric posts and scattered wires across the road, cutting power to large parts of Albay.

Dozens of outrigger canoes were washed ashore in a fishing town on the island province of Oriental Mindoro. Knee-deep floods and large debris that blocked roads were reported in Cavite and Batangas provinces, just an hour south of Manila.

The Coast Guard said a yacht sank off Bauan town in Batangas. Of the eight people on board, seven were rescued, with the remaining person yet to be found. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that at least 12 fishermen who set off from Catanduanes province are now missing.

Agence France-Presse reported that at least three people, including a baby, were killed. But the disaster management council said it had yet to receive casualty reports.

Sea travel operations were cancelled in ports in Batangas, leaving some 500 stranded.

Classes were suspended across Metro Manila, as strong winds continued to pound the capital as of noon yesterday.

Molave is a category 1 typhoon on a five-category scale, with 5 being the strongest.

It is expected to strengthen over the South China Sea as it heads towards central Vietnam.

The Philippines is the first major landmass facing the Pacific cyclone belt. It gets hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons each year.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2020, with the headline 'Typhoon Molave strikes Philippines, displacing over 100,000'. Print Edition | Subscribe