Power, communications hit as typhoon batters Philippines | Asia Pacific

Power, communications hit as typhoon batters Philippines

Power, communications hit as typhoon batters Philippines

Updated 16 July 2014, 14:02 AEST

Thousands of people in the Philippines have fled their homes, as the strongest typhoon so far this year, made landfall.

The storm felled trees and cut power lines, as it headed straight towards the capital, Manila.

Typhoon Rammasun made wind gusts of up to 185 kilometres an hour, and weather services say the typhoon strengthened as it approached the central Philippine province of Quezon.

Presenter: Sen Lam

Speaker: Dr Gwendolyn Pang, Philippine Red Cross secretary general

LAM: Gwendolyn, what news do you have of any damage caused by Rammasun so far?
PANG: For now, in the provinces, we have not done a thorough assessment, because the landfall happen at 6 in the evening, where there was totally blackout in the areas where the typhoon has passed or hit, but we were told that in some areas, that there were about 25 percent of the houses in coastal areas that were damaged. For now, getting to many of the areas is a challenge, because of the debris that you can see on the road, because of fallen tree, fallen electric poles, leaves and other roofing materials. So in Metro Manila most of the infrastructure damage are on electric poles and the typhoon is actually nearing Manila now, and it's difficult to go out, the wind is very strong.
LAM: Also, we had reports that the storm passed over Rapu-Rapu Island, in Eastern Albay Province, what can you tell us about that?
PANG: Well, in the province of Albay, it was already declared a state of calamity, and we're expecting really serious report that we'll be receiving, because as people describe, that they felt very strong winds and but many people were evacuated early on. So in terms of loss of life, we have not received much significant reports at the moment. We believe that the province of Albay was able to conduct a good pre-emptive evacuation, but we are yet to see the report as of the moment, because as I've said, many of the areas are hard to reach and communication facilities are very challenging at the moment. Many of the communication systems are down and there is no power. So we believe that there are a lot of concerns and problem on major infrastructures, like power, electricity and communication, but in terms of lives, many people were  evacuated  early on. So we will get more information later today and as of now, we were informed that the typhoon will not hit the Metropolis,   instead will pass by the bay area from Batangas (south of Manila).
LAM: Of course, many parts of the Philippines are still recovering from last year's Typhoon Haiyan, which was absolutely devastating. Will those same areas, are they expected to be hit by this current storm, by Rammasun?
PANG: In Samar, yes, in some areas there were, we were hit again and we're now getting data or reports. In Samar, it's part of a province that was hit by Typhoon Haiyan, last November. So we are checking now if they hit the same municipalities or the same areas in the same province. So but yes, we receive a report that in the coastal area of Samar, especially in western Samar. There was a lot of damage to houses, like about 25 per cent.

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