Typhoon Doksuri has lashed northern Philippine provinces with ferocious wind and rain, displacing nearly 16,000 villagers as it blew tin roofs off rural houses, flooded low-lying settlements and knocked out power.
There were no immediate reports of casualties on Wednesday after the storm slammed into Fuga Island off Aparri town in Cagayan province, where 15,843 people were evacuated from high-risk coastal villages. Schools and workplaces were shut down as a precaution as Doksuri approached. Thousands of people in other northern provinces were also displaced by the typhoon, which has a 700-kilometre-wide (435-mile-wide) band of wind and rain.
Doksuri weakened slightly but remained dangerous and lethal with sustained winds of 175kmph (109mph) and gusts of up to 240kmph (149mph). It was blowing over the coastal waters of the Babuyan Islands in Luzon Strait off Aparri town on Wednesday morning, forecasters said.
At least four towns lost power due to the onslaught and six bridges were impassable due to flooding, Cagayan officials said in an initial damage report.
Coastguard personnel used rubber boats and ropes to evacuate villagers trapped by brownish, waist-level floodwaters in their houses in a village in Bacarra town in Ilocos Norte.
More than 3,700 interisland ferry passengers and cargo truck drivers, along with nearly 100 passenger and cargo vessels, were stranded in several ports where a no-sail order was imposed, the coastguard said.
Although it is not poised for a direct hit, Doksuri’s outer bands brought heavy rain and strong winds to Taiwan’s eastern coast on Wednesday. Trains were cancelled between Kaohsiung and Taitung cities in the south, while ferries to outlying islands have also been put on pause.
Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau reported gusts up to 198kmph (123mph).