New typhoon may hit Philippines after Nari's death and destruction
Another typhoon is brewing in the Pacific Ocean and might threaten the Philippines, officials said yesterday as clean-up efforts continued in the north of the country after Typhoon Nari killed 13 people.
Nari flooded farmland and destroyed thousands of houses in provinces north of Manila before blowing away in the South China Sea.
In Bulacan province's San Miguel town, the sun shone on villages where floodwaters that reached up to roof level had receded, allowing residents to return from emergency shelters to clean up, wash muddied belongings and repair damaged houses.
Eduardo del Rosario, who heads the government's disaster response agency, said police officers, military personnel and local officials would remain on alert after forecasters spotted another typhoon, named Wipha, more than 1,300 kilometres east of the northern Philippines.
Government forecasters said the new typhoon, with maximum winds of 140 km/h and gusts of up to 170 km/h, would probably spare the country if it does not veer away from its current course.
However, civil defence spokesman Reynaldo Balido said authorities were not taking any chances. "We will remain on alert, and continue to take precautions," he said.
Nari was the 19th of the more than 20 storms expected to batter the Philippines this year.
The military, along with civilian relief workers, struggled to clear roads of toppled trees and power pylons as they rushed to restore vital lifelines wrecked by Saturday's storm.
"The general situation is getting better, but it would take some time to clear the roads of fallen trees and [electricity] posts," Balido said.
He said power and telecommunication facilities had been restored in affected areas, although some cities and towns in five provinces on Luzon, the country's most populous island, were without electricity.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said some agricultural areas remained inundated, although waters were subsiding.
Many of the more than 43,000 people displaced by the storm had also begun returning home as the government lifted all storm warnings, Balido said.
Almost three billion pesos (HK$540 million) of farm output, mostly crops in rice-producing Nueva Ecija province, was damaged by Nari, according to the Office of Civil Defence.
Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali told DZMM radio that fallen trees and electricity pylons blocked all the major roads in the province.
He said the initial estimate was that 15,000 hectares of rice paddy may have been damaged or destroyed.
About 45,000 hectares of land planted with rice in central Luzon were ready for harvest before Nari struck, the government said.
As the storm blew into the South China Sea, Chinese authorities said about 27,000 fishing boats had been called back to port yesterday, and heavy rains associated with the storm were expected to hit parts of southern China today.
Last month, heavy monsoon rains worsened by Typhoon Usagi also pounded Luzon, unleashing deadly floods that killed 30.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse, Reuters, Bloomberg