Typhoon Sarika Hits Philippines, Killing at Least 2 People, Displacing Thousands

By | October 17, 2016

Typhoon Sarika made landfall in eastern Philippines on Sunday after leaving at least two people dead a day earlier, thousands of villagers displaced and hundreds of planes grounded.

Locally named Karen, the typhoon weakened after hitting the town of Baler, east of Manila, before dawn and has exited the landmass via Pangasinan province, according to local weather bureau PAGASA. It is forecast to leave the Philippine area by Monday. The typhoon was packing maximum sustained winds of 80 knots (92 miles per hour) and gusts up to 100 knots, according to the latest report from U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

A 79-year-old farmer suffered a heart attack while another was found dead along the shores in Catanduanes province Saturday as the storm hammered the Bicol region, Rappler reported on its website, citing police and regional disaster officials.

Eight mountaineers and four residents went missing in Aurora province while 1,940 families were evacuated in seven towns, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in e-mailed report. Coconut trees and electricity poles were knocked down, leaving several towns without power, the report said as the country prepared for a typhoon touted as the most disastrous this year.

Planes Grounded

Cebu Air Inc. canceled 144 domestic and international flights scheduled for Sunday while Philippine Airlines Inc. suspended 95 flights, according to their websites. More than 6,000 passengers were stranded at seaports, according to the coast guard. Philippine forecasters advised fishermen and those with small boats not to venture out over the northern, eastern and southern seaboards of Luzon.

The state weather bureau has lowered the typhoon signal, placing four provinces under the second lowest alert in a five-scale warning system. School classes for Monday were suspended in parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

The government is bracing for another storm Haima, locally called Lawin, which was expected to enter the Philippine area today.

About 20 storms and typhoons hit the Philippines each year. In November 2013, typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,000 people and caused damage estimated at more than $13 billion.

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