Philippines hit by second typhoon in a week

Typhoon Nalgae threatens over one million people, as Southeast Asia reels from months of monsoon rains.

    Typhoon Nesat, which hit the region on Tuesday, left 50 people dead and nearly 200,000 displaced [Reuters]

    Typhoon Nalgae has slammed into the northern Philippines, packing gusts up to 195kph and threatening victims still trapped by previous storm floods, officials said.

    Nalgae made landfall in Luzon, the Philippines' main island, on Saturday at 9:00am [01:00 GMT] and was tearing westward with sustained winds of 160kph, the state weather service said.

    One woman was killed in Mountain Province as rain brought by the typhoon saturated slopes and sent a landslide crashing down on a mini-bus she was travelling in, Benito Ramos, head of the national disaster agency, said.

    He added that severed power and telephone connections made it difficult for his agency to assess damage.

    Nalgae was tracking roughly the same path as Typhoon Nesat, which ravaged Luzon with huge floods on Tuesday that killed 50 people and left 31 others missing.

    IN VIDEO


    Al Jazeera's Margo Ortigas reports from Manila

    Al Jazeera's Marga Ortigas, reporting from Manila, said: "When Typhoon Nesat hit here along Manila Bay, the entire sea wall basically collapsed and caved in and the waves went as high as the coconut trees. 

    "[Officials] are hoping it won't be as bad as that here today, but they also said that they can't be sure."

    By Saturday, an estimated 180,000 people affected by Nesat were sheltered at state-run evacuation centres, according to the government's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

    Officials say more than one million of Luzon's 48 million people remain trapped in floods, many from farming towns across central Luzon, where rainwater from nearby mountain ranges flush out into Manila Bay.

    Thousands evacuated

    Benito Ramos, director of state-run evacuation centres, said thousands of rescue workers had been deployed across Luzon ahead of Nalgae's landfall, and the island's sparsely populated northeast coast was evacuated on Friday on orders from Benigno Aquino, the Philippine president.

    "There are basically very crowded evacuation centres scattered throughout northern Philippines already," Ortigas said. 

    "What government officials have done is open up more areas in the hopes that this can then serve whoever may now be displaced by this second storm in just four days.

    "Church yards are being open to the public, school gymnasiums and, indeed, other public offices or government offices to try to just accommodate the number of people that need to seek higher ground."

    Raul Agustin, a provincial disaster official in the area, told ABS-CBN television that flood victims were generally reluctant to leave for fear their homes would be looted.

    "When we send out rescue teams to help them, they ask for food instead. Today we gave instructions to convince all those marooned on rooftops to move to evacuation centres."

    Regional flooding

    Recent monsoon rains have ravaged much of central and southeast Asia, causing the region's worst flooding in 30 years.

    IN VIDEO


    Southeast Asia floods ravage Thailand's north

    In Cambodia, 141 people have died since August 13 due to flooding of the Mekong river and other flash floods, the Cambodian National Disaster Management Committee said.

    About 150,000 families were affected by flooding in Cambodia and another 15,000 evacuated to higher ground, said Men Neary Sopheak, deputy secretary general of Cambodia's Red Cross.

    Down river in Vietnam, at least nine people died since seasonal floods arrived in the Delta in August, government and provincial disaster reports said.

    Floods inundated nearly 3,800 houses and nearly 700 people were evacuated in An Giang province and the city of Can Tho.

    Meanwhile, twenty-three provinces of Thailand remained affected by floods caused by monsoon rains that began nearly two months ago.

    Elsewhere in Asia, more than 80 people have died and two million have been affected by monsoon rainfall in eastern India.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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