A CYCLONE dumped heavy rains in the Philippine capital, Manila, and nearby provinces on Tuesday, causing widespread flooding and landslides in some areas, the national disaster agency said.
At least three people were reported dead and six were missing, amid stormy weather between two disturbances on opposite sides of the northern main island of Luzon.
Financial markets, government offices, schools, and even congressional hearings were closed and port operations in some provinces were suspended, it said. Several flights were cancelled.
Weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Tropical Depression Maring, which was packing winds of up to 60 kilometers per hour (37 mph), made landfall in the morning over Mauban municipality in the eastern province of Quezon, before moving northwest across the main island of Luzon and passing just beside Manila.
The weather bureau also said it was keeping an eye on Typhoon Lannie (international name: Talim) which was packing winds of up to 120 kph (75 mph), spotted moving toward the country’s northern tip and to Taiwan. China’s National Meteorological Center on Tuesday warned that Talim could intensify and turn into a super-typhoon as it churns towards Taiwan and Zhejiang and Fujian provinces on the Chinese mainland.
Romina Marasigan, a spokeswoman for the national disaster agency, said two teenaged brothers died from a landslide in Taytay, Rizal, 20 kms from Manila.
“Some residents unfortunately did not heed the advice of local officials to evacuate to safer grounds,” she said in a media briefing.
“Our local authorities had continuously warned them that their place was really prone to landslides but they insisted on staying,” civil defense officer Ronnie Mateo, for his part, said.
A 12-year-old girl drowned in a rain-swollen river in a Manila suburb, city officials said.
In Calamba City south of Manila a flash flood washed away a riverside shanty, leaving six inhabitants including a two-year-old missing.
“They were informal settlers, living beside a river. There was a flash flood and it washed out their two-story house,” said Noriel Habana, head of the city’s disaster management office.
“In previous floodings, we had preemptive evacuation. It just so happened it was a flash flood and they had no time to react,” he added.
Twenty-two passengers were rescued from a bus stuck in floodwaters in Pitogo town in Quezon, Ms. Marasigan reported.
She warned of more flash floods and landslides as rains were expected to continue later in the day, before the cyclone moves back over the sea early on Wednesday.
Forecaster Renito Paciente said Maring, packing gusts of 100 kph, was moving at just 15 kph, worsening the flooding. “Because it moves slowly, it can bring more rain over an area,” he said in an interview with AFP.
Local officials ordered the evacuation of residents in some towns under floodwaters in Quezon, Laguna, Rizal, and Batangas provinces, she said. — reports by Reuters, AFP