Typhoon Xangsane hits Philippines, 7 dead
Typhoon Xangsane wrought destruction across the Philippines on Thursday causing widespread flooding.india Updated: Sep 28, 2006 11:10 IST
Typhoon Xangsane wrought destruction across the Philippines on Thursday causing widespread flooding, closing schools and financial markets, cutting power and transport links and leaving at leastseven people dead.
Torrential rain caused major flooding throughout central and northern parts of the country as high winds uprooted trees and damaged buildings.
Local officials said at least two people died in the central Philippines as the typhoon, the 10th of the season, slammed into the main northern island of Luzon early onThursday.
A woman was also killed when she was electrocuted by a fallen power line in Quezon province, just east of Manila, local officials added.
Packing winds of 130 kilometers (81 miles) per hour, Xangsane was charted before dawn on Thursday about 120 kilometers (74 miles) southeast of Manila, off the coast of the eastern province of Quezon.
It was moving northwest at 17 kilometers (11 miles) per hour and was expected to hit Manila by noon, the weather bureau said.
The highest level of a three-step storm alert has been raised over Metropolitan Manila and nine surrounding provinces while the second level alert has been raised over provinces to the north and south of the capital.
As the typhoon approached, financial markets and schools were closed in the capital and surrounding provinces, authorities said.
International and domestic flights from Manila's airports were all cancelled, airport general manager Alfonso Cusi said.
Inter-island shipping was also halted in areas affected by the typhoon.
Floods and fallen trees blocked many roads leaving hundreds of motorists stranded, the civil defense office added, while electricity was also knocked out in some areas of the capital due to fallen power lines.
In Manila flash floods turned streets into rivers and inundated homes in low-lying areas as storm drains overflowed.
Strong winds knocked over trees and toppled billboards and their steel scaffolding onto the streets.
"We have rubber rafts. We have prepared chainsaws and acetylene torches if some billboards get blown down," said Metropolitan Manila general manager Robert Nacianceno.
Barbaza town in the central island of Panay was flooded with about 100 people forced to scramble on to the roofs of their houses, civil defense officials said.
Rescue workers were using boats to ferry people from the flooded town to higher land after emergency helicopters had to cancel flights due to the weather.
"Around 30 families have been trapped by the overflowing river," said coast guard spokesman Lieutenant Commander Jose Coyme.
"We are trying to get to the area but the current from the overflowing river has been too strong," said Coyme.
Local relief teams and volunteers rescued some of the stranded people by tying ropes to trees and stringing them over flooded roads and streams, then wading across, hanging onto the ropes to keep from getting swept away by the current.
Widespread flooding was also reported in the central island of Leyte although residents were able to evacuate in time.
The coast guard, civil defense and local authorities have warned communities to be on alert for possible landslides and flash floods.