18,000 flee new storm Kajiki in central Philippines, wrecked by Haiyan

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 February, 2014, 4:40am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 February, 2014, 4:40am

One man died and more than 18,000 people fled their homes in the Philippines' Visayas and Mindanao regions as tropical storm Kajiki battered areas still struggling to recover from Typhoon Haiyan and a 7.2- magnitude earthquake.

A man drowned in Macrohon town, Southern Leyte, Armando Bolalin, the province's police chief, said.

More than half of those displaced were from Leyte and Tacloban, which accounted for 5,308 of the 6,200 killed when Haiyan hit on November 8, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Around 4,200 were from Cebu island, which was shaken by the October 15 quake.

The rest of the evacuees were from the Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte province, which were hit last month by tropical depression Agaton, which triggered floods and landslides that killed at least 70 people, the risk agency reported.

Kajiki, named Basyang locally, has winds of up to 65 km/h and maximum gusts of 80 km/h. It has stranded 9,500 people in ports and triggered a power outage in the Dinagat Islands.

A two-metre storm surge hit the towns of San Jose and Cagdianao in the islands, a provincial government official said, adding there was no major damage reported.

The Philippines is still rebuilding after Haiyan, and the government estimates the cost of reconstruction at 361 billion pesos (HK$62 billion). The Asian Development Bank estimates losses from natural disasters in the country amount to US$1.6 billion a year, the most in Southeast Asia.

Haiyan, the world's strongest typhoon to make landfall, displaced four million people and damaged 1.14 million homes. Almost three months later, operations at Tacloban airport remain limited and the power supply has yet to be fully restored in the city, which suffered the most from the typhoon, according to a recent risk agency report.

The Philippines, battered by cyclones that form over the Pacific Ocean, is the second most-at-risk nation globally from tropical storms, after Japan, according to Maplecroft, a research company based in Bath, England.

The government is studying a three-step storm surge alert system that will give out warnings as early as 48 hours before waves of up to five metres high reach the shore, an official said.