MANILA (UPDATED) – Typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit) has left at least 8 people dead in the Visayas, authorities said late Sunday night.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said two people in Iloilo — Thea Rojo from Balasan and Ernesto Baylon from Estancia — died of hypothermia.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 6 also said another resident of Ajuy, Iloilo identified as Jennelyn Castor also died of hypothermia.
Four others also died in Eastern Samar.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said one died in Dolores town where the typhoon made landfall Saturday night.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) said another person died in Hernani.
A married couple in Taft town died after a coconut tree fell on their home.
A toddler died in in Calbayog City when a tree fell on him.
HOWLING WINDS, STRONG RAIN
The powerful but slow-moving typhoon ripped through the central Philippines on Sunday, bringing howling winds that flattened houses and toppled trees and power lines in areas still scarred from a deadly superstorm just over a year ago.
Hagupit, (which means “lash” in Filipino) swept through areas where the massive storm killed thousands just over a year ago.
More than 1 million people fled to shelters away from coastal areas and landslide-prone villages by the time the typhoon made landfall on Saturday night, in what a UN agency said was one of the world’s biggest peacetime evacuations.
Hagupit, which days earlier had reached category 5 “super typhoon” strength as it churned across the Pacific Ocean, further weakened on Sunday to category 2 as it made a second landfall at Cataingan town in the south of Masbate island.
In Calbayog City in Samar, where the typhoon first made landfall, strong winds and rain inundated several low-lying communities after a nearby river overflowed.
Power and communication lines were down, while workers continued clearing the debris from the main highways.
Some residents have returned from their homes after the typhoon passed the province, and said that this typhoon felt even stronger than Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that killed over 6,000 people in 2013.
“Compared to what happened in Yolanda (Haiyan), this feels stronger since Yolanda did not flood our homes and we only felt strong winds,” said a villager, speaking in Calbayog city, some 175 kilometres north of Tacloban City where much of Haiyan’s devastation was wrought.
Landslides were recorded in coastal province of Sorsogon, north of Samar, and some parts of its sea wall crumbled due to the magnitude of the waves.
Ruby did not appear to have wreaked devastation on the same scale as last year’s deadly Yolanda, but officials cautioned that the picture remained incomplete with many of the first areas to feel the storm’s force still cut off from aid.
Pama said the typhoon will be felt in the capital, Manila, as it crosses the western part of the Philippines today, December 8.
“Typhoon Hagupit’s path nearest to Metro Manila, where the eye will be, is around 8 p.m. tomorrow as it moves northwest. As mentioned by PAGASA earlier, storm warning signals have been raised on the affected provinces,” said Pama.
Power was cut across most of Samar and nearby Leyte province, including Tacloban City, considered ground zero of the Yolanda last year.
Power and communications were also down in Masbate, parts of Cebu island and some southern provinces of the main island Luzon.
Local radio reported at least five people were killed in Eastern Samar and Iloilo province on Panay island to the west, but that could not be confirmed by officials. The Philippine Red Cross said it was also verifying the reports.
The typhoon was crawling west northwest at 10 kph (6 mph), with sustained winds of 140 kph (86 mph) and gusts of up to 170 kph (105 mph), state weather bureau PAGASA said.
The weather bureau said Hagupit was following its predicted path through the archipelago’s central belt, slightly north of areas devastated by Yolanda last year.
It was expected to make a third landfall on the small island of Sibuyan early on Monday before passing around 120 km south of the capital Manila, PAGASA said. –
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