Tropical storm batters Philippines

Wednesday 27th Jul 2011 by theWeather Club

Tropical storm Nock-ten has caused chaos, unleashing floods and landslides along eastern areas of Luzon Island, as it battered the Philippines for three days. Evacuations are continuing as the waters are reported to have flooded the houses of about 500,000 people. The storm hit Camarines Norte province with gusts of 90 km/hr as it moved north-westwards. Regional disaster-response officials described it as the province's worst flooding in five years, as waist-deep floodwaters swamped the houses of nearly half of the population of eastern Albay province. Army troops and coast guard personnel were being deployed to rescue people stranded on rooftops, as several road are blocked by floodwaters and mudflows. So far the death toll from the slow-moving storm is at least 24 with nine others missing. Most of the missing are fishermen who ventured out to sea despite the stormy weather.

In Albay province, Governor Joey Salceda said fatalities there included three children killed in a landslide in a mountainside village, and two men were struck by a falling tree. Other storm victims included a woman who was bitten by a poisonous snake that was swept into her home by a flash flood. During the storm, authorities cut off electricity to most of the region to prevent electrocution, caused by damaged powerlines. In a tragic twist Governor Salceda lost his mother, after she fell in the darkness caused by the power interruption.

As the rains started, many people tried to reach safer areas, such as churches and village halls. "Many of our towns seemed like islands. They were isolated from each other." Governor Salcedo told reporters. He also put the number of evacuees in his province at 70,000.