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Powerful typhoon Noru leaves five rescuers dead in north Philippines

Government agencies, schools, public transport and the stock exchange have been closed in the Philippines as Typhoon Noru makes landfall.

September 26, 2022
By AAP
26 September 2022

Typhoon Noru blew out of the northern Philippines on Monday, leaving five rescuers dead, causing floods and power outages and forcing officials to suspend classes and government work in the capital and outlying provinces.

The most powerful typhoon to hit the country this year slammed into the coast in Burdeos town in Quezon province before nightfall on Sunday then weakened as it barreled overnight across the main Luzon region, where thousands of people were moved to emergency shelters, some forcibly, officials said.

Rescuers run as they check residents living at the seaside slum district of Tondo while Typhoon Noru approaches Manila, Philippines, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. The powerful typhoon shifted and abruptly gained strength in an “explosive intensification” Sunday as it blew closer to the northeastern Philippines, prompting evacuations from high-risk villages and even the capital, which could be sideswiped by the storm, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Governor Daniel Fernando of Bulacan province, north of Manila, said five rescuers, who were using a boat to help residents trapped in floodwaters, were hit by a collapsed wall then apparently drowned in the rampaging waters.

“They were living heroes who were helping save the lives of our countrymen amid this calamity,” Fernando told DZMM radio network. “This is really very sad.”

On Polillo island in northeastern Quezon province, a man was injured after falling off the roof of his house, officials said.

More than 17,000 people were moved to emergency shelters from high-risk communities prone to tidal surges, flooding and landslides in Quezon alone, officials said.

More than 3000 people were evacuated to safety in Metropolitan Manila, which was lashed by fierce wind and rain overnight. Classes and government work were suspended Monday in the capital and outlying provinces as a precaution although the morning skies were sunny.

The entire northern provinces of Aurora and Nueva Ecija, which were hit by the typhoon, remained without power Monday and repair crews were at work to bring back electricity, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla told President Ferdinand Marcos Jr in a televised meeting he called to assess damages and coordinate disaster-response.

Philippines Typhoon NASA satellite images show Super Typhoon Noru approaching the Philippines.AP PHOTO
NASA satellite images show Super Typhoon Noru approaching the Philippines.

Marcos Jr praised officials for evacuating thousands of people to safety as a precaution before the typhoon hit which prevented large number of casualties despite the Noru’s potentially disastrous force.

Noru underwent an “explosive intensification” over the open Pacific Ocean before it hit the Philippines, Vicente Malano, who heads the country’s weather agency, told The Associated Press on Sunday.

From sustained winds of 85 kilometers per hour on Saturday, Noru was a super typhoon just 24 hours later with sustained winds of 195 kilometers and gusts of up to 240 kph at its peak late Sunday.

By Monday morning, Noru had sustained winds of 140kph and gusts of 170kph and was moving westward in the South China Sea at 30kph, according to the weather agency.

Rains start to pour as Typhoon Noru approaches Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

About 20 storms and typhoons batter the Philippines each year. The archipelago also lies in the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” a region along most of the Pacific Ocean rim where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur, making the Southeast Asian nation one of the world’s most disaster-prone.

In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest recorded tropical cyclones in the world, left more than 7,300 people dead or missing, flattened entire villages, swept ships inland and displaced more than 5 million in the central Philippines – well to the south of Noru’s path.

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