Blackout hits 37 towns; ‘santi ‘ leaves 13 dead, destroys crops
Typhoon Santi pummelled northern and cental Luzon Saturday, ripping roofs off buildings, 13 people and leaving more than two million people without electricity.
Typhoon Santi left a swathe of death and destruction in many parts of Visayas up to northern Luzon. Vehicles maneuvered through flood waters in Bulacan.
Santi slammed into the country’s east coast around midnight (1600 GMT Friday), toppling trees and pylons as it cut a westward swathe through the farming regions of Luzon, officials said.
As Santi moved inland, dumping rain, a wall of mud fell on a police barracks near the town of Magalang, killing an officer awaiting deployment to rescue typhoon victims, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.
A person was electrocuted by a loose power line in nearby Candaba town, while trees fell on a house and a vehicle in Nueva Ecija province, killing three people, the council’s spokesman Rey Balido told a news conference in Manila.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, acting on the request of Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali, sent a 17-man rescue team to Jaen, Nueva Ecija to help in rescue and relief operations in villages affected by Santi.
Chairman Francis Tolentino said the rescue teams are composed of members of the Metro Parkway Clearing Group and Road Emergency Group.
The three fatalities in Nueva Ecija were killed by trees toppled by the strong winds.
A total of 15 towns and two cities in Nueva Ecija remained flooded.
Hundreds were get out of their vehicles as roads were blocked by fallen trees in Aurora or rendered by flood waters not passable.
Meanwhile, the Office of Civil Defense in Central Luzon reported that 603 families or 2,524 persons from the eight towns in Aurora province were displaced, while 141 families or 2124 persons in Masinloc and Sta Cruz, Zambales were also affected.
Flooding also hit 13 villages in San Miguel, two in Malolos City and four in Marilao in Bulacan and eight towns of Pampanga were inundated by 3 to 4 feet flood waters caused by cascading rain waters from the Sierra Madre mountains in Nueva Ecija.
The towns of Mexico, Sta Ana,-Masantos, Arayat, Mabalacat, Minalin, Apalit, San Luis, Brgy San Pablo in Lubao and 80 percent of Pirac and the municipalities of Anao, Concepcion, Victoria an’d Tarlac City remained without electricity, officials said.
Also, some portions of Nueva Ecija, and seven towns in Zambales and the towns of Baler, Maria Aurora, San Luis and Dippaculao in Central Aurora province are also without power.
In all, the typhoon blacked out 37 towns and cities across central Luzon, Road and utility crews had started clearing roads and restoring power, but said it could take up to two days before electricity is restored and major highways are reopened to traffic, Nigel Lontoc, a disaster official for the region, said.
A total of 2.1 million people are now without electricity, according to official figures.
Fallen trees and branches and several landslides closed traffic in the Baler Quezon-Bongabon, Nueva Ecija road the highway.
In Bulacan, two children and an elderly person drowned,according to Governor Willy Sy-Alvarado.
San Miguel town, meanwhile, was submerged by rampaging rainwater coming from the Sierra Madre mountain by four to five feet, even as 20 villages in nearby San Ildefonso town were also inundated by three to four feet.
Police rescue teams equipped with boats and jet skis were dispatched to rescue affected residents.
DSWD personnel were scrambled to respond to immediate needs of affected families who had been dispersed at government evacuation centers.
The heavy rains and strong winds also destroyed millions of pesos worth of play plants ready for harvest in the towns of Plaridel, Baliuag, Bustos, Balagtas and Guiguinto.
Maharlika highway also known as the Dona Remedios Trinidad highway, the main road that links the towns of Plaridel, Baliuag, San Rafael, San Ildefonso and San Miguel onwards to Nueva Ecija from the North Luzon Expressway(NLEX) was also impassable to light vehicles as late as lpm today.
Alvarado, meanwhile, ordered dam operators in Bustos to initiate pre-emptive and gradual releases to expand the water-carrying capacity of the dam so that it can still absorb when Ipo dam releases their excess waters.
In San Fernando, Pampanga, at least four communities situated at the foot of Mount Arayat were partially buried by thick mud and boulders that cascaded down from the slopes of the fabled mountain at the height of heavy downpour shortly after midnight Saturday.
Supt. Charlie Cabradilla, Arayat police chief, said more than 300 families were evacuated Friday from Purok 4,5,6, and 7 in Barangay San Juan Bano, Arayat as ordered by local officials and disaster risk reduction and management office.
Four people were listed as missing, including a fisherman on the country’s east coast who had been sleeping in his boat when the cyclone made landfall. Three other fishermen who put to sea elsewhere before the typhoon have also failed to return, Balido said.
About 3,000 people moved into government-run shelters amid warnings their communities could be hit by flooding and landslides.
Balido and Lontoc said local officials were tallying the number of damaged homes, many of which had their roofing blown off.
The Coast Guard, meanwhile, reported that more than 2,600 passengers were stranded in different sea ports in Southern Luzon, Bicol, and Central Visayas after it prevented vessels from sailing because of the bad weather.
Commander Armand Balilo, Coast Guard chief information officer,;said that sea travel in ports of Batangas, Calapan, Romblon, and Mamburao, all in Southern Tagalog; Cebu in Central Visayas; Sorsogon in Bicol, and Port of Manila were affected by the typhoon. With Franciso Tuyay, Florante Solmerin, Rio N. Araja, Jess Malabanan and Orlan Mauricio