AT LEAST 30 people were killed in landslides and flash floods as tropical storm Seniang slowly crossed the southern and central Philippines, dumping heavy rain for a second day on Tuesday, officials said.
Rivers burst their banks and submerged villages in floods up to “neck-deep” while hillsides crashed onto homes and highways, officials said.
Some residents in vulnerable areas ignored evacuation warnings, Stephany Uy-Tan, mayor of Catbalogan, Samar, told DZMM radio.
“The rains were really strong and people thought the storm won’t be too strong based on the news,” she said.
Twelve people were killed after a landslide buried two vans on a mountainside highway in Catbalogan, she said.
“Rescuers reported hearing voices from the rubble,” she said.
Seniang, which was forecast to bring up to 15 millimeters of rain per hour, barreled through fishing and tourist areas on Tuesday, a day after it smashed into the mountainous southeastern region of Mindanao.
Thousands were evacuated ahead of the storm’s arrival, with most expected to be sent home later Tuesday as floodwaters start to recede, officials said.
Seniang’s 65-kilometer-per-hour wind gusts were weak compared to Hagupit, the last storm to traverse the central region earlier this month that had winds of up to 210 kilometers per hour.
“We are focused on floods and landslides because, while the storm’s winds are weak, it will bring heavy rain,” national civil defense chief Alexander Pama told DZMM radio.
Five people were killed after a landslide buried a house in the town of Tanauan in Leyte, the region’s civil defense spokeswoman Blanche Gobenciong told AFP.
Eight people including three eight-year-old children drowned after raging floodwaters washed away their shanty homes in the coastal town of Ronda in Cebu, regional civil defense officer Lemuel Tabada told AFP.
Two teenage boys, meanwhile, died from electrocution while wading through floodwaters at Loon in Bohol, said Allen Cabaron from the same civil defense office.
On Monday at least three people were killed after Seniang—international name Jangmi—slammed into southeastern provinces, triggering floods and landslides.
Up to 14,000 people were evacuated in Surigao del Sur in Mindanao, where Seniang first hit. They will be sent home on Tuesday as floodwaters recede, Governor Johnny Pimentel told AFP.
Ten flights to and from the affected areas on Tuesday were canceled.
There was no electricity and no water in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte and parts of the Caraga region as of 12 am on Tuesday.
Seniang downed several transmission facilities in the Visayas and Mindanao.
The weather bureau said Seniang and the northeast monsoon will bring rain in many parts of Luzon and the Visayas.
Seniang will be out of the central region after midnight Wednesday before brushing the southern tip of Palawan on its way out of the country on Thursday, the weather bureau said.
The Philippines is battered by about 20 storms every year, many of them deadly.
Last year Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest ever to hit land, left 7,350 people dead or missing as it stirred up tsunami-like waves, wiping out entire towns. With Francisco Tuyay, Alvin T. Guanzon, Mel Caspe, Alena Mae S. Flores, Florante S. Solmerin and Rio N. Araja
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