Typhoon Melor claims 27 as Philippines reels under floods

Published on : Saturday, December 19, 2015

Typhoon UsagiManila witnessed tens of thousands of people struggle on Friday through waist-deep water in typhoon-battered farmlands located close to the city, as yet another storm threatened to dump more rain.


Large parts of four farming provinces on the main northern island of Luzon have gone under water since Wednesday due to Typhoon Melor, which left at least 27 people dead.


Hundreds of thousands of people were yet to recover from Typhoon Koppu, which claimed 54 lives while flooding that lasted for more than a week and destroyed vast swathes of rice crops just before harvest in October.


President Benigno Aquino on Friday declared a “state of national calamity” to expedite government response, his spokesman, Herminio Coloma, told reporters.


Flooding was expected to spread to other parts of the country with a tropical depression, locally dubbed Onyok, on course to hit coastal villages on the main southern island of Mindanao late Friday.


In Surigao del Sur province, where Onyok was expected to make landfall first, authorities prepared for possible evacuation and readied trucks and excavators to clear landslide debris, governor Johnny Pimentel said.


While Onyok will hit land about 700 kilometres from the farming regions currently enduring floods, it could still bring rain to those areas, said Esperanza Cayanan, a state weather bureau forecaster. The weather misery comes a week before Christmas, the most celebrated holiday in the predominantly Catholic nation of 100 million people.

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