Manila: Typhoon Kammuri killed at least four people in the Philippines as it tore roofs of houses and forced the international airport in Manila to shut down.
The storm roared ashore late Monday and passed south of Manila – home to 13 million people – and thousands of athletes at the regional South-East Asian Games.
At least four people died and several others were reported injured, with officials attributing the low casualty figure to the early evacuation of hundreds of thousands of villagers from villages prone to high waves, flash floods and landslides.
A villager was electrocuted while fixing the battered roof of his house in Libmanan town in Camarines Sur province in the hard-hit Bicol region, regional disaster response officer Claudio Yucot said.
In Oriental Mindoro, one of the last provinces to be lashed by the typhoon, a man died after being pinned by a fallen tree and another perished after being hit by a tin roof, Gov Humerlito Dolor said.
A construction worker on his way home on a motorcycle was hit by a falling tree and died in the port city of Ormoc in Leyte province, police said.
Authorities were still assessing the storm’s impact, but a small local airport was seriously damaged, many power poles toppled and homes were battered.
“A lot of trees fell... There were a lot of roofs flying during the typhoon too, ” said Junie Castillo, a disaster officer in one of the areas first hit.
Due to the high winds, Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport was “closed for operations”, general manager Ed Monreal said.
Nearly 500 flights were cancelled, and officials warned passengers not to come to the airport.
One of the terminals reporters visited, which would normally be bustling with morning departures, was occupied by a handful of staff and stranded passengers.
One traveller, 23-year-old Canadian Constance Benoit, was hit with a nearly day-long delay to her flight back home.
She had arrived in Manila on a typhoon-buffeted flight Monday morning from the central island of Cebu.
“It was the most turbulent flight I ever took in my life, ” she said. “I just discovered what airsickness is.”
About 340,000 people had been evacuated from their homes in the central Bicol region, disaster officials said.
The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons each year, killing hundreds and putting people in disaster-prone areas in a state of constant poverty.
The country’s deadliest cyclone on record was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in 2013.
Kammuri had already snarled some plans for the SEA Games, which opened on Saturday and are set to run through Dec 11.
The typhoon forced organisers to reschedule about half of the events set for yesterday, but they pledged the competition would finish on time. — AFP