Five rescuers died in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Noru slammed into the country’s north, causing flooding and power outages and forcing officials to suspend classes and government work in the capital and outlying provinces.
The strongest typhoon to hit the country this year hit the coast in Bardios town in Quezon province before making landfall on Sunday night before weakening overnight as it barreled across the main Luzon region. Thousands of people have been moved to emergency shelters, some by force.
Daniel Fernando, governor of Bulacan province north of Manila, said five rescuers, who were using a boat to help residents trapped by floodwaters, apparently drowned after being hit by a collapsed wall.
“They were living heroes who helped save the lives of our countrymen in this disaster,” Fernando told the DZMM radio network. “It’s really very sad.”
In Polillo Island in northeastern Quezon province, a man was injured after falling from the roof of his house.
An aerial view of flooded San Miguel in Bulacan province after Nuru hit. Photo: Reuters
In Quezon alone, more than 17,000 people have been moved to emergency shelters from high-risk communities vulnerable to tidal waves, floods and landslides, officials said.
More than 3,000 people were evacuated to safety in Metropolitan Manila, which was battered by strong winds and rain overnight. Although the sky was sunny on Monday morning, classes and government work were suspended in the capital and surrounding provinces as a precaution.
The entire northern provinces of Aurora and Nueva Ecija, which were hit by the typhoon, were still without power on Monday and repair crews were working to restore power, Energy Secretary Rafael Lotilla told President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Television meeting.
Marcos praised officials for evacuating thousands of people to safety as a precaution before the typhoon hit, which prevented a large number of casualties despite Noru’s potentially catastrophic strength.
Rescuers run as they check on Manila residents. Photo: Aaron Favilla/AP
Noru underwent an “explosive intensification” over the open Pacific before hitting the Philippines, Vicente Malano, head of the country’s meteorological agency, said Sunday.
From sustained winds of 85 km/h (53 mph) on Saturday, Noru was a super typhoon just 24 hours later with sustained winds of 195 km/h and gusts of up to 240 km/h by late Sunday.
Thousands of villagers took shelter in schools and gymnasiums, as in Manila, when Typhoon Noru hit the Luzon island. Photo: Francis R. Malasig/EPA
As of Monday morning, Noru sustained sustained winds of 140 km/h and gustiness of 170 km/h and was moving westward in the South China Sea at 30 km/h, the weather agency said.
In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the world’s strongest recorded tropical cyclones, left more than 7,300 people dead or missing, leveled entire villages, washed away inland vessels and displaced more than 5 million in the central Philippines.