FOUR people were killed in Mindanao Tuesday as a tropical storm unleashed heavy rain, triggered deadly landslides and forced the suspension of 18 domestic flights, police and airport authorities said.
Tropical Storm “Sanba” (local name “Basyang”) slammed the east coast of Mindanao with gusts of 75 kilometers an hour.
Eighteen domestic flights were suspended because of the bad weather condition brought by “Basyang,” the Manila International Airport Authority announced on Tuesday.
Those canceled, according to MIAA-Media Affairs Division, include six Philippine Airlines flights to and from Butuan and Dipolog; 10 from Cebu Pacific Air and its sister airline CebGo flights going to and from Cagayan, Tagbilaran, Roxas, Tablas and Masbate; and two Skyjet flights to and from Siargao.
In a statement, the Cebu Pacific Air management said the airline canceled the flights because of the unfavorable and unsafe weather conditions caused by “Basyang.”
“Cebu Pacific will be mounting below additional flights on Feb. 14, Wednesday, to accommodate affected passengers. Guests will also be notified regarding their new flight schedules,” CEB officials said
The airline offered the affected air travelers to avail options of rebooking their flights within 30 days (free of charge), reroute to alternate station within 30 days without penalties, (and if beyond 30 days charge fare difference), get a full refund or place the cost of the ticket in a Travel Fund for future use.
“We also encourage guests who booked through a travel agent or any other third party to provide us with their own contact details so we can advise them directly for any flight changes,” CEB added.
The heavy rain triggered landslides that hit mountain villages outside the mining town of Carrascal—760 kilometres south of the capital Manila—killing four people, municipal police chief James Alendogao told AFP.
“These areas are currently inaccessible and we do not know the extent of the damage,” he added.
The state weather service said the storm was expected to move swiftly northwest over the next 24 hours, bringing moderate to heavy rain across the central Philippines.
The Philippines is struck by 20 storms or typhoons each year on average, some of them deadly. “Basyang” is already the second major system to hit this year, and the first to cause casualties.
Tropical storm “Tembin” killed 240 people in Mindanao in December last year.
The country’s deadliest on record is Super Typhoon “Haiyan,” which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013. with Joel Zurbano
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