Typhoon Nock-Ten pounds Philippines

  • 27/12/2016

Four people have been killed and more than 380,000 evacuated as Typhoon Nock-Ten brought howling winds and heavy rains to the Philippines.

The Philippine National Police said three people died in Albay province, including a 57-year-old woman who was hit by a concrete wall inside her house on Sunday evening, and an elderly couple who drowned in a river on Monday morning.

The fourth person, a man who was trying to evacuate his family in Mulanay town in Quezon province, died after being hit by a toppled palm tree, Quezon Governor David Suarez said.

Nock-Ten, locally known as Nina, then blew westward across mountainous and island provinces, damaging homes, uprooting trees and knocking down communications.

Several transmission lines and facilities were knocked down, causing some areas to lose electricity.

As of Monday morning, there were 383,097 people in evacuation centres, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

The typhoon made landfall seven times, from Sunday evening until noon on Monday, in different provinces across the island nation, the state weather bureau said.

The typhoon battered the Bicol region and was felt in southern Luzon provinces and the Eastern Visayas.

When it made landfall Sunday over the town of Bato, in the eastern province of Catanduanes, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometres per hour and gusts of up to 225km/h, the weather bureau said.

Although it had weakened slightly, the typhoon still had sustained winds of up to 130km/h and gusts of 215km/h, government forecasters said, as it blew over the heavily populated provinces of Batangas and Cavite, south of Manila, on Monday morning.

It was expected to exit over the South China Sea later in the day.

Typhoon Nock-Ten Philippines
An uprooted tree in central Philippines (Reuters)

A cargo ship with an unspecified number of crewmen radioed for help as their vessel started to sink off Batangas, while another ran aground and turned on its side in the province's Mabini town, the coast guard said, adding that it sent vessels to rescue the crewmen of both ships.

More than 12,000 people, along with several cargo and passenger vessels, were stranded in seaports, the Philippine Coast Guard said.

Major airlines announced the cancellation of domestic and international flights on Monday.

Tens of thousands of villagers, forced to spend Christmas in crowded and powerless emergency shelters, started to return home on Monday to deal with the damage.

"They have left the evacuation centres and we're seeing the sun again," Ann Ongjoco, mayor of the town of Guinobatan in Albay, one of five provinces that lost electricity, said by phone.

However, she said: "Many houses made of light materials were destroyed."