Typhoon Molave hits Philippines, 3 dead

The typhoon struck on Sunday, inundating villages and farmlands, knocking down power lines and destroying hundreds of houses

MANILA • Three people died (at press time) and a dozen others are missing after a typhoon triggered flooding across the central Philippines, officials said yesterday, with thousands still sheltering in evacuation centres.

Typhoon Molave struck on Sunday, inundating low-lying villages and farmlands, knocking down power lines and destroying hundreds of houses as it crossed the archipelago.

The typhoon is now sweeping across the South China Sea towards Vietnam, the national weather forecaster said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) warned that the number of casualties could rise as regional authorities assess the damage in their areas. The three deaths were all drownings, NDRRMC spokesman Mark Timbal said.

Among them was a woman who was swept away by surging currents as she tried to cross a river, Rizajoy Hernandez of the Civil Defence office in the Central Visayas told AFP.

Twelve people, mostly fishermen, have been reported missing after being caught in rough seas. More than 70,000 people remain in over 800 evacuation centres.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons every year, making them a dangerous and disruptive part of life in the country.

Many of the storms are deadly, and they typically wipe out harvests, homes and infrastructure, keeping millions of people perennially poor.

The country’s deadliest typhoon on record was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in 2013.

Meanwhile, flood-ravaged Vietnam has begun evacuating more than half a million people from its central coastal region as it braces Molave, the fourth storm to hit the country in weeks.

Schools and beaches have been closed and many flights cancelled ahead of the severe typhoon.

More heavy rain is expected across the region, which has since early October suffered severe flooding and landslides that have claimed 130 lives.

Floodwater has inundated 178,000 homes, said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

With some houses still underwater, residents are preparing for the arrival of Molave.

“Molave will be one of the worst storms, with the strongest winds, of the past 20 years,” said Hoang Phuc Lam, deputy head of Vietnam’s national forecasting centre, according to state media.

More than 500,000 people will be moved to temporary accommodation, Vietnam’s Disaster Management Authority said.

Flood-ravaged Vietnam has begun evacuating more than half a million people from its central coastal region as it braces for Typhoon Molave, the fourth storm to hit the country in weeks. Schools and beaches have been closed and many flights cancelled ahead of the severe typhoon. — AFP