AUTHORITIES urged the public to prepare for another storm as Typhoon “Karen” (international name “Sarika”) exited Luzon after forcing more than 12,000 people to evacuate.
Karen “slightly intensified” as it moved away from the country, but not after toppling power lines and causing outages, and forcing the cancellation of 290 flights.
At least 2,552 families or 12,496 persons in the Ilocos and Bicol regions as well as Central and Southern Luzon were preemptively evacuated to safer grounds after weather forecasters warned of storm surges along coasts and landslides.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said a total of 1,817 families or 8,018 people from 64 barangay (villages) in five provinces in the Bicol region were affected by the typhoon. Of the figure, 1,566 families or 7,380 people were in evacuation areas.
Five road sections in the provinces of Ifugao, Catanduanes, Albay and Camarines Sur were not passable due to flooding and landslides.
A total of 290 flights (227 domestic and 63 international) were cancelled.
Also, 6,563 passengers, 833 rolling cargoes and 33 vessels and motorized bancas were stranded in Luzon.
Officials estimated the damage to agriculture at more than P53 million.
The NDRRMC said there were no reports of casualties, clarifying that the death of a person in Catanduanes, reported on Saturday, happened before the typhoon struck.
“But we have continuous monitoring. It was said that there were roofs that were ripped off and fallen trees. These are the initial damage that we have monitored so it is not that serious,” said Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, NDRRMC executive director.
Local officials reported two other deaths in Catanduanes and the nearby province of Camarines Sur. But Jalad said the national authorities could not yet determine whether these had anything to do with the storm.
No ordinary typhoon
Nelianto Bihasa, the mayor of the town of Baler where Sarika made landfall before dawn, told ABS-CBN network the typhoon destroyed at least 20 houses and left one person injured.
“Many trees and power pylons were toppled,” Bihasa said, adding the coastal town of 36,000 people some 145 kilometers northeast of Manila was without electricity.
“This was no ordinary typhoon,” Bihasa added.
Eleven people were rescued after a boat capsized off the eastern island of Samar on Friday, while about 1,000 boats and 6,500 passengers were stranded in ports as the coast guard barred smaller vessels from putting to sea.
Eighty-four climbers were rescued from three Philippine mountains in the typhoon’s path, authorities said.
‘Haima’ set to enter
The weather bureau lowered all typhoon warning signals on Sunday afternoon, but warned the nation to brace for another storm, with typhoon “Haima” expected to strike Luzon as early as Thursday.
Haima, the typhoon’s international name, was forecast to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) today.
In its 5 p.m. bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Haima was last located 1,535 kilometers east of the Visayas, and was moving northwest with a speed of 10 kilometers per hour (kph).
Haima is expected to enter the country’s eastern boundary. Once it reaches the boundary, Haima will be given a local name, “Lawin.”
Meanwhile, at 5 p.m. Sunday, the eye of Typhoon Karen was seen 260 km west northwest of Iba, Zambales.
It packed maximum sustained winds of up to 130 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 200 kph.
Karen was seen moving in a west-northwest direction with a speed of 24 kph.
Pagasa said the Ilocos region, Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Zambales, Bataan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Mindoro, Negros and Cebu will experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rains.
Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms will prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of the country.