Threedead after Philippines storm
on 30/07/2012 08:47:16
The wild weather whipped up by Tropical Storm Saola as it roared off the country's north-east was compounded by a separate low-pressure area that lashed the capital, Manila, overnight with tornado-like winds and a powerful thunderstorm. Many parts of the city were without power early today and low-lying areas were flooded.
The low pressure had dissipated by midday and Saola, which was packing winds of 65mph (105kph) and gusts of 84mph (135kph), was expected to blow out of the country towards Taiwan on Thursday, according to Manila's weather bureau.
Benito Ramos, of the Office of Civil Defence, said three people died in the storm and another six were missing.
One of the men who died had an asthma attack while he and other passengers were being rescued from an inter-island ferry that ran aground in rough seas off central Romblon province.
Separately, two barges that drifted off of a Manila pier smashed into a row of wooden shanties on stilts in the city's Tondo slum community, destroying dozens of huts but causing no injuries.
Coast guard officer Noli Casiano said residents fled from the wind and waves before the empty barges rammed their homes.
"We fled to safety as the waves suddenly grew strong and the wind howled," Ivy Rosario, a mother of two, told The Associated Press.
"When we came back, everything was destroyed," she said, pointing to the debris-littered waters near where her home once stood.
Some villagers jumped into the water to try to salvage floating belongings.
Saola is the seventh of 20 storms and typhoons expected to hit the Philippines this year. Saola is the name of a rare mammal found in Vietnam and Laos.