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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Typhoon Doksuri blew ashore in a cluster of islands and lashed northern Philippine provinces with ferocious wind and rain Wednesday, leaving at least two people dead and displacing thousands of others as it blew roofs off rural houses, flooded low-lying villages and toppled trees, officials said.
The typhoon slammed into Fuga Island before dawn and later hit another island in Cagayan province, where nearly 16,000 people were evacuated from high-risk coastal villages and schools and workplaces were shut down as a precaution as Doksuri approached.
They were among tens of thousands of people in northern provinces who were affected by flooding and other problems caused by the typhoon, which has a 700-kilometer-wide (435-mile-wide) band of wind and rain, disaster-response officials said.
A 17-year-old resident died in the northern mountain city of Baguio when a huge mound of soil loosened by heavy rains hit and buried his house, city officials said.
In Isabela province, also in the north, an older woman selling bread on a bicycle cart died Wednesday when she was hit in the head by a coconut tree that suddenly fell because of strong wind whipped up by the typhoon, a police report said.
Doksuri weakened slightly but remained dangerous and lethal with sustained winds of 175 kph (109 mph) and gusts of up to 240 kph (149 mph). It was blowing near the island town of Calayan off Cagayan before nightfall on Wednesday, forecasters said.
“Our northern coastal towns are being battered,” Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba told The Associated Press by telephone. “I’m receiving reports of tin roofs being blown away and flooding that could not drain out probably because of tidal surges coming in from the sea.”
A damage assessment would be done after the typhoon passes, but Mamba said he feared there could be extensive damage to Cagayan valley’s corn and rice farms, which have already been battered by a monthslong dry spell before Doksuri hit. At least four entire towns lost power due to the onslaught and six bridges were impassable due to flooding, Cagayan officials said in an initial damage report.
“Violent, life-threatening conditions are expected to continue” on Wednesday over northwestern Cagayan and the outlying Babuyan Islands as well as the northern mountainous regions of Apayao and Ilocos Norte provinces, according to an advisory from the country’s weather bureau.
Coast guard personnel used rubber boats and ropes to evacuate villagers, who were trapped by brownish, waist-level floodwaters in their houses in a village in Bacarra town in Ilocos Norte, said the coast guard.
Thousands of inter-island ferry passengers and cargo truck drivers, along with nearly 100 passenger and cargo vessels and motor bancas, were stranded in several ports where a no-sail order was imposed but most were able to proceed with their trips as the weather improved, the Philippine coast guard said.
The typhoon has been enhancing seasonal monsoon rains in central and northern provinces, including in the densely populated capital region of metropolitan Manila. It was forecast to move away from the northern Philippines on Thursday and barrel northwestward to graze past Taiwan’s southwestern coast before hitting southeastern China on Friday.
U.S. officials on Wednesday advised American citizens in China not to travel to southern regions expected to be lashed by the typhoon and asked those in vulnerable areas to stay in secure shelters, check their emergency kits and monitor weather updates.
Although it is not poised for a direct hit, Doksuri's outer bands brought heavy rain and strong winds to Taiwan’s eastern coast Wednesday. Trains were canceled between Kaohsiung and Taitung cities in the south, while ferries to outlying islands have also been put on pause.
Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau reported gusts up to 198 kph (123 mph).
Meanwhile, Taiwan has continued to hold its annual Han Kuang military exercises. The military carried out its first-ever drill at the civilian Taoyuan International Airport on Wednesday morning, according to local media. The drill stopped air traffic for an hour while the military simulated stopping an invasion targeted at the airport.
Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, and Joe McDonald in Beijing, contributed to this report.
Find more of AP’s Asia-Pacific coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/asia-pacific
Posted on 26 Jul 2023 04:43 link