Disasters & Accidents

Super typhoon Saola slams Philippines, displaces 49,000 people

Manila, Aug 30 (EFE).- Super typhoon Saola’s passage through the extreme north of the Philippines has led to the evacuation of at least 48,000 people and caused extensive damage to infrastructure after several rivers overflowed, the country’s disaster agency said Wednesday.

A total of 48,997 people have been evacuated and more than 196,000 affected, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

It also estimated damage to infrastructure at about 41 million Philippine pesos ($724,000).

The eye of the super typhoon, which did not make landfall, crossed the Luzon Strait between the small Babuyan and Batanes Island groups with sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour (121 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 240 kilometers per hour (149 miles per hour) early Wednesday, state meteorological agency PAGASA said.

Saola has so far caused damage to at least 19 bridges and 28 highways, as well as schools and homes near rivers that overflowed in the northern Isabela and Cagayan provinces in the island of Luzon.

Images posted on social media by local authorities show several bridges submerged by rising rivers in the municipality of Baggao in Cagayan.

After leaving the Philippines on Thursday, if it maintains its current course, Saola will head towards southeast China, in the direction of the island of Hainan, although PAGASA forecasts that it will lose strength as it approaches the Chinese coast to become a severe tropical storm.

The Philippines, which registers about 20 typhoons or tropical storms a year, was struck last month by Doksuri, which caused at least 25 deaths and a trail of destruction as it passed through the north of the archipelago. EFE


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