'Gener' kills 7, displaces thousands-A A +A
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
MANILA (2nd Update 2:26 p.m.) -- Seven people died, three others were hurt, and more than 20,000 were displaced as "Gener" (international codename: Saola) intensified into a typhoon Monday afternoon and dumped torrents of rain in Luzon.
One of the fatalities identified as Ernest Flores had an asthma attack while he and other passengers were being rescued from M/V Shuttle Roro 1, an inter-island ferry that ran aground in rough seas late Sunday off central Romblon province.
The Philippine Coast Guard said the vessel with 57 passengers and 16 rolling cargoes onboard capsized at Looc Bay in Romblon due to rough seas caused by the storm, currently in the vicinity of extreme Northern Luzon.
Initial information received from Coast Guard Station in Romblon provided the ill-fated vessel was on its way to Batangas from Dumaguit via Odiongan when it encountered rough sea condition.
The ship decided to take shelter at Looc Bay, but it accidentally ran aground about two nautical miles southwest of Agoho Point, Looc, Tablas Island, Romblon, around 7 p.m. Sunday.
Three others died due to drowning. They were identified as Ronald Necor, 33, Antique; Merly Datinginoo, 45, Batangas; and Reynante Lingasad Jr., 10, Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte.
The other fatalities were identified as Bernard Buzon, 35, Tanay, Rizal; Teodoro Flores, 40, San Pablo, Laguna (hit by a falling coconut tree); and Danieles Hipolito, 32-35, Bacoor, Cavite (electrocuted while crossing a bridge).
Injured were Edger Vecimo, chief cook of M/V Shuttle Roro 1; Ezekiel Calubaguib; and Rona del Ramos.
While the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) placed Batanes Group of Islands under public storm signal number 3, residents in this area are alerted against dangerous travel by land, sea and air; moderate to heavy disruption of electrical power and communication services; considerable damage to structures of light to medium construction; uprooting of some large trees; and heavy damage to agriculture.
Winds of 101 to 185 kilometers per hour (kph) are expected in this area in at least 18 hours.
Cagayan including Calayan and Babuyan groups of islands are placed under storm signal number 2. Residents in these areas are warned against moderate damage to agriculture, uprooting of few large trees, un-roofing of nipa and cogon houses, and risk in trips by all types of sea vessels. These areas are also warned against winds of 61 to 100 kph in at least 24 hours.
The same warning is up for Isabela, Kalinga and Apayao provinces, which are under storm signal number 1. Winds of 30 to 60 kph are expected within the next 36 hours in these areas.
At 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, the eye of Typhoon Gener was located based on satellite and surface data at 210 kilometers east northeast of Basco, Batanes. It packed maximum sustained winds of 120 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph, while it is forecast to move north northwest at seven kph.
Pagasa said Typhoon Gener is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon that will bring rains and moderate to strong winds over Luzon and Visayas especially the western section.
Residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides. Likewise, those living in coastal areas under public storm signal numbers 3 and 2 are alerted against big waves or storm surges.
The National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NRRMC), meanwhile, warned residents living near the La Mesa Dam of flooding. The agency said that the continuing increase of the water elevation of La Mesa Dam causing excess water to overflow is expected to affect the low-lying areas along the Tullahan River, Fairview, Novaliches and the Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela) area.
The Ipo Dam Management also reported that due to the continuous rains within the Ipo Watershed, there has been a significant increase in water elevation.
The Ipo Dam Management may initiate spilling operation if the elevation reaches at 100.80 meters and rains will continue, the NDRRMC said. With this, flooding in low-lying areas along the Angat River from Norzagaray to Hagonoy is expected.
Pagasa said estimated rainfall amount is from 10–20 millimeters per hour (heavy-intense) within the 700-kilometer diameter of Typhoon Gener.
Despite this, Pagasa said on Monday that “Gener” is not likely to make landfall and may instead head for Taiwan. It is expected to leave the Philippine territory on Thursday or Friday.
“Gener” is the seventh of 20 typhoons and storms expected to hit the Philippines this year. Its international name, “Saola,” is the name of a rare mammal found in Vietnam and Laos. (Sunnex/AP)