Storm to dump heavy rains until Wednesday
Residents of flooded farming villages in Northern Luzon and Central Luzon were trapped on their rooftops on Monday and animals floated down fast-rising rivers, as the death toll from Typhoon Lando (international name: Koppu) climbed to 16.
Lando, the second strongest storm to hit the country this year, had also forced more than 60,000 people from their homes, authorities said.
The storm is forecast to continue dumping heavy rains across the country until Wednesday
Authorities expect the death toll to rise as full accounts from badly hit villages were gathered.
In the deadliest single incident related to the typhoon, seven passengers aboard a small outrigger (banca) were killed when it capsized in rough seas off Guimaras island in Western Visayas on Sunday.
Although the accident occurred more than 500 kilometers from the direct path of the typhoon, Director Rosario Cabrera of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Western Visayas said the storm exacerbated seasonal monsoon conditions.
“I’ve spoken to Pagasa and asked them if we can consider this as an effect of Lando, and they said it could be because according to Pagasa-Visayas, Lando enhanced the monsoon so there were intermittent breezes. We are okay here in Iloilo City but there were strong winds at times,” Cabrera added.
Three people were confirmed killed in Aurora province, where the storm made landfall, and four in the Central Luzon and Metro Manila.
Most of those fatalities drowned or were struck by fallen trees or other objects.
Retired vice admiral Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said a total of 37,455 families comprising 182,946 people have been affected in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A and 5 and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
The NDRRMC recorded 68 flooding in the affected regions.
Wide expanses of rice paddies had disappeared under torrents of water throughout the towns and villages north of Manila because of runoff from torrential rain unleashed by Lando on nearby mountain ranges.
The typhoon initially hit fishing and farming communities in Aurora province on the east coast of Luzon with winds of 210 kilometers per hour.
By early evening on Monday, it was on the far northwest coast of Luzon and nearly out into the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), with its strongest winds weakening to 150 kph, the state weather bureau Pagasa said.
The Department of Education (DepEd), through its Twitter account late Monday afternoon, said classes in all levels will be suspended Tuesday (October 20) in the following areas: Dagupan and San Carlos City in Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Cavite and San Fernando City in La Union.
There will be no pre-school to high school classes in Ilocos Sur, Malolos City in Bulacan and Baguio City.
In Metro Manila, Quezon City administrator Aldrin Cuña announced that Mayor Herbert Bautista has ordered the resumption of classes in all levels on Tuesday.
After making landfall on Sunday morning on the east coast of Luzon, the slow-moving typhoon brought heavy rains to some of the nation’s most important farming areas, particularly in Nueva Ecija.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s the worst flood I’ve seen in my entire life,” farmer Reynaldo Ramos, 68, said as he walked through knee-deep water in Santa Rosa (Nueva Ecija) about three hours’ drive north of Metro Manila.
Military, government and volunteer rescue units equipped with rubber boats were trying to help residents in dozens of flooded villages, according to Nigel Lontoc, assistant regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).
“The floods are rising fast and some people are now on their rooftops,” Lontoc said, but added there were not enough rescuers and he did not know how many have been saved.
Lontoc said many thousands of people may be stranded in those villages, although it was too early to determine an exact number.
In Santa Rosa, water buffalo, pigs, goats, dogs, washing machines and furniture lined the sides of a storm-tossed highway, where about 200 residents had been seeking refuge from the floods since Sunday night.
Jun Paddayuman, 27, in shorts and a white singlet caked with mud up to his chest, pointed to his nearby house, where flood waters had risen to the roof.
“The waters arrived suddenly. We did not expect it at all,” he said.
When the waters first appeared in his house, according to Paddayuman, he waded to the highway, helping his eight-months’ pregnant wife and three-year-old son to safety. He said he had seen geese, chicken and dogs being carried off by the rampaging waters.
Nearby, two men pushed pigs placed on top of truck tire inner tubes through chest-deep floods in a valiant attempt to save their hog farm.
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) teams rescued 78 people in Nueva Ecija, of which 53 were plucked out from their flooded homes in Sumacab, Cabanatuan City, while 25 were from San Jose and Santa Rosa towns.
“We immediately sent rescue teams bound for Nueva Ecija as soon as we received reports of flooding and pleas for rescue from people stranded in their homes and other areas. We have deployed nine Wasar [water search and rescue]teams from national headquarters, Tarlac, Bulacan and Olongapo, three 6X6 trucks and two Humvees,” PRC chairman Richard Gordon said.
Red Cross teams reported that flooding in Nueva Ecija reached chest-deep and up to the second floor of houses in some areas.
Several roads are impassable in the province, which include Daang Maharlika, because of toppled trees in Rizal-Pantabangan, Langka in Cabanatuan City, San Miguel and San Antonio.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) closed 29 roads to traffic because of the typhoon.
It as installed warning signs while clearing operations on affected roads are ongoing.
Kennon Road was ordered closed to traffic because of falling debris and landslides.
Several other road sections in the Cordillera region remain not passable to all types of vehicles because of landslides including Conner-Kabugao Road and Claveria-Calanasan Road, Mapalong section in Apayao; Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya Road, Pakak section (landslides); Acop-Kapangan-Kibungan-Bakun Road in Benguet (sinking roadway); Banaue-Mayoyao-Aguinaldo-Isabela Road (landslides); and Potia-Mountain Province boundary road (fallen trees).
In the Mountain Province, Talubin-Barlig-Natonin-Paracelis-Calaccad Road particularly the Pudo Section and Tonglayan, Natonin are impassable to all types of vehicles (landslides) while Pinukpuk-Abbut Road at Gapang section in Kalinga are closed to traffic (soil collapse).
Cabagan Santa Maria overflow bridge along the Cabagan-Santa Maria Road in Isabela; Itawes overflow bridge along Cagayan-Apayao Road; and Tawi overflow bridge along the provincial road of Peñablanca in Cagayan Province are not passable because of flooding.
In Quirino, closed to vehicular traffic because of fallen rocks and slides are the Cordon-Aurora boundary road, Junction Abbag-Guingin boundary road, Barangay Landingan, Nagtipunan and Junction Victoria-Madella-Kasibu.
Aritao-Quirino Road in Nueva Vizcaya was also closed to traffic because of landslides.
The Baler-Casiguran Road in Aurora where Lando made its first landfall is severely affected by flooding, fallen trees and electrical posts.
The Dinadiawan-Madella Road is not passable to all types of vehicles (washed out road section) while the Palamigan River crossing is impassable (flooding).
Also closed to traffic are the Nueva Ecija-Aurora Road (mudflows, fallen electric posts and trees and flooding) and Alfonso – Castañeda – Maria Aurora – San Luis Road, ACMASAL, Barangay San Isidro (San Luis Aurora Section) because of flooding.
In Nueva Ecija, Labi Bridge, Bongabon and Bato ferry bridge along Tablang-Gabaldon Road at Barangay San Felipe in Laur are not passable to all types of vehicles (washed out bridge approach). Sections of the Tablang-Gabaldon Road are also affected by mudflows and flooding.
Affected by severe flooding and are not passable by all types of vehicles are Nueva Ecija-Aurora Road, Nunduran Creek, Daang Maharlika Road, Barangay Castellano, San Leonardo and Gapan City- San Fernando – Olongapo Road.
Detour road at Barangay Amucao along Tarlac-Santa Rosa Road in La Paz and Barangay Guiteb along Paniqui-Ramos Road in Ramos both in Tarlac are impassable because of floodwaters.
Daang Maharlika Road at Camias Section, Salacot section, Cambio section and Santa Rita-Camias Old Road, all in Bulacan, are not passable to all types of vehicles because of flooding.
As of Sunday, power supply had been restored in five cities and 48 municipalities in Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, La Union, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Tarlac, Laguna and Benguet.
Electric power in Kalinga and Apayao provinces was out as of Sunday morning.
Power interruptions were also reported in Baguio City because of collapsed primary utility poles as strong winds toppled trees that fell on power lines early Sunday morning.
Towns in Abra, particularly in Pilar, Luba, Villaviciosa, Sallapadan, Langiden, Mablicong, Pidigan and Tubo were out of power Sunday morning including Mankayan in Benguet.
Power was also out in Kiangan, Banaue, Alfonso Lista, Mayoyao, Aguinaldo, Hungduan, Hingyon, Tinoc, Asipulo towns in Ifugao.
The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) on Monday said it already restored power in almost all of its franchise areas hit by Typhoon Lando.
According to Meralco, it lowered to around 2,400 from 267,000 last Sunday the number of customers without power supply.
“We are glad to report that power has been restored to almost 100 percent of our customers,” Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said.