One dead as typhoon Doksuri batters Philippines

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Children walk along a sea wall at Navotas in Metro Manila today as Super Typhoon Doksuri passes close to the northern tip of Luzon island. – AFP photo

MANILA (July 26): A powerful storm pounded the northern Philippines today, killing at least one person, toppling trees and knocking out power as thousands sheltered with neighbours or in emergency evacuation centres.

Typhoon Doksuri was packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 175 kilometres an hour as it hovered over waters around Dalupiri Island, off the northern tip of the main island of Luzon, the state weather agency said in its latest update at 0300 GMT.

The agency warned of “violent, life-threatening conditions” as severe winds and heavy rain pounded the lightly populated region.

A woman selling bread rolls died when she was hit by a falling coconut tree in Ramon municipality in the northern province of Isabela today, provincial disaster official Constante Foronda told AFP.

Rey Aguinaldo, a retired government official in the coastal municipality of Pasuquin in Ilocos Norte province, said: “The wind and rain were so strong overnight I could not sleep well.”

“When I got up today I saw fallen trees and broken branches outside. We have no electricity,” Aguinaldo told AFP.

Doksuri had been a super typhoon as it swept across the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday but weakened as it neared the Philippines.

It is expected to weaken further as it moves across the South China Sea, grazing Taiwan as it heads towards southeast China.

High waves lashed Taiwan’s southeastern coast today, with the Central Weather Bureau issuing warnings and heavy rain advisories.

China also issued its highest alert for Doksuri, stopping trains and calling fishing boats to shore as the storm approaches.

It is expected to weaken before it makes landfall on Friday morning.

Thousands flee homes

In the Philippines, around 12,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Cagayan province, including 431 in the Babuyan islands, following warnings of three-metre storm surges, Cagayan provincial disaster official Ruelie Rapsing told AFP.

Dalupiri is one of the five islands that make up the tiny Babuyan archipelago.

Flooding has also been reported in the coastal municipalities of Lallo, Pamplona and Claveria.

About 1,500 people were also evacuated from coastal communities in neighbouring Isabela, Foronda said.

“We won’t allow them to go home until we get the all clear from the experts,” he said.

Some evacuees have sheltered with neighbours who had concrete houses, while others were taken to municipal halls.

“The roof of the Sanchez Mira municipal hall was blown off,” Rapsing said.

“The windows of an evacuation centre there also broke so we had to move them to multi-purpose halls back in their villages.”

The weather agency also warned the typhoon had intensified the seasonal southwest monsoon, bringing heavy rains across the rest of Luzon and the central islands. – AFP