Two persons were killed after a powerful storm grazed the country’s northeastern tip over the weekend, civil defense officials said on Monday.
Many of the people who evacuated from the storm’s path started to return home late Sunday night, after Dodong (international name: Noul)—the fourth and strongest storm to hit the Philippines so far this year—whipped coastal villages with wind gusts of up to 220 kilometers per hour.
Authorities said they were not expecting significant casualties after most heeded pre-emptive evacuation orders issued from Friday.
“People listened to our warnings. They’ve learned their lesson from past storms,” Norma Talosig, civil defense director for the northeastern region, said.
Dodong hovered over small northern islands on Monday after brushing the main northern island of Luzon, on its way to Japan, state weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said.
Another storm brewing in the Pacific Ocean is threatening the country and may enter Philippine waters early next week, he added.
A 70-year-old man and his 45-year-old son were electrocuted while fixing their house in Aparri town in Cagayan province on Sunday morning as Typhoon Dodong started to bear down.
Rogelio Paa and his son Neil were fixing the roof of their house in Barangay Mabanguc when they were fatally jolted by an electric shock.
Senior Insp. Mina Domingo, the town’s chief of police, said a power outage apparently caused by a power line that got snagged on the roof prompted the two to go up.
As they were working, power suddenly came back up, causing the victims to get electrocuted.
In the hardest hit coastal towns of Buguey, Gonzaga, Santa Teresita, Santa Ana and Calayan Island, a total of 479 families were evacuated from their homes.
The state weather bureau said the winds were strong enough to stir storm surges, uproot trees, blow roofs off houses, topple lamp posts and destroy crops.
But Talosig said there have been no immediate reports of heavy damage.
In the coastal town of Santa Ana in Cagayan, strong winds broke power lines and peeled off palm thatch roofs, police officer Melvic de Castro told Agence France-Presse.
“We went around town telling people that it was best to evacuate ahead,” he said, adding that there were no reported casualties in the town.
Still, up to 700 people did not leave their seaside huts until the winds started to blow violently on Sunday, de Castro said.
At least five towns were without power, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said.
Lilibeth Gaydowen, NGCP North Luzon Corporate Communications and Public Affairs officer, said the 69 kilovolt Magapit-Santa Ana transmission line tripped on Sunday at 5:40 p.m but was restored on Monday at 11.06 a.m.
Gaydowen added that this affected parts of Cagayan Electric Cooperative II covering Santa Teresita, Gonzaga, Santa Ana and Buguey towns in Cagayan.
“Please note that the loss of power may be caused by affected transmission facilities of NGCP or distribution utilities or electric cooperatives,” she said.
Gaydowen explained that specific cities and municipalities affected by the power interruptions are determined by concerned distribution utilities, unless the outage affects the entire franchise area.
She said necessary preparations and precautions have been implemented to minimize impact of severe weather on NGCP operation and facilities.
“These include ensuring the availability of hardware materials and supplies necessary for the repair of damage to facilities as well as the positioning of line crew in strategic areas to facilitate immediate restoration work,” Gaydowen added.
Most of the 3,000 people who left coastal fishing villages in the provinces of Isabela and Cagayan have started to return home, Talosig said.
In the Bicol Region, another 300 people have returned to villages near the slopes of Bulusan volcano, provincial disaster council head Raden Dimaano said.
Authorities feared heavy rains from Dodong would trigger volcanic mud flows. Bulusan has had two minor ash explosions since May 1.
Meanwhile, the National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-MRIIS) in Cauayan City, Isabela, has assured farmers in its service areas of sufficient irrigation water this cropping season.
NIA-MRIIS O operations manager Wilfredo Gloria said the Magat Dam reservoir has more than enough water to supply farmlands.
“The rainfall brought about by the typhoon at the watershed areas of the dam has resulted in attaining the normal water level of the dam,” Gloria added.
At present, the Magat Dam reservoir is supplying irrigation water to more than 84,000 hectares of farmlands in the provinces of Quirino and Isabela.
“To improve NIA-MRIIS services, we are also rehabilitating irrigation facilities including irrigation canals,” Gloria said
In Taiwan, 1,000 tourists were evacuated from the scenic Green island in the southeast coast in anticipation of the storm.
All flights and ferries to the Green island and another tourist spot, Orchid Island, were also suspended.
Missing no more
Three fishermen from Pangasinan who were reported missing two days ago were rescued after their boat drifted all the way to San Fernando City in La Union.
Ryan Castillo, 27; Miguelito Oxiano, 18; and Gerold Calicdan, 21, all of Barangay Lusiente 1st, in Bolinao town, were reported missing off the coasts of Bolinao, Pangasinan. They said they were not aware that a typhoon was inbound.
City Hall personnel said the three were taken back to their hometown on Monday.
The Philippines is battered by an average of 20 storms per year, many of them deadly.
In November 2013, super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) whipped tsunami-like waves in the central Philippines, leaving more than 7,350 people dead or missing.
WITH AFP AND WILLIAM GARCIA