Super typhoon hammers Philippines, China next

CAUAYAN, Philippines — A super typhoon that killed 13 people and flattened forests and crops in the northern Philippines dumped heavy rains on the capital Tuesday as it headed across the sea toward southern China.

A worker uses an electric chain saw to cut a fallen tree Tuesday

A worker uses an electric chain saw to cut a fallen tree Tuesday

CAUAYAN, Philippines — A super typhoon that killed 13 people and flattened forests and crops in the northern Philippines dumped heavy rains on the capital Tuesday as it headed across the sea toward southern China.

Typhoon Megi struck the Philippines on Monday with ferocious winds of 140 miles (225 kilometres) per hour, but initial assessments showed relatively light damage and casualties, partly because the storm struck sparsely populated areas. Philippine officials also cited their massive emergency preparations days ahead of the storm.

Food vendor Nesie Callaotit, her husband and two children were hurriedly packing clothes to flee to safety when the wind yanked off half of their tin roof, exposing their house in northeastern Isabela province to pounding rain and the horrifying wind.

They held on to a wooden post for three hours, weeping and praying together, until the torrents eased.

“All of us were in tears,” the 40-year-old Callaotit said. “We thought it was our last day together.”

After it exited into the South China Sea on Tuesday, Megi was almost stationary packing winds of 108 mph (175 kph) but was forecast to regain strength before its expected landfall in southern China on Thursday. Chinese authorities evacuated 140,000 people from a coastal province.

Isabela province in the northeast Philippines, Megi’s entry point, bore the brunt of the Typhoon Megi’s destruction while more than 8,000 people rode out the typhoon in sturdy school buildings, town halls, churches and relatives’ homes.

Roads in and out of the coastal province were deserted and blocked by collapsed trees, power lines and debris.

Iron-sheet roofs on many of the houses were blown away. In Tamauini town, Ariel Marzan said he escaped just minutes before his house tumbled amid winds so strong his roof was swept into a nearby rice field 30 yards (meters) away.

“I didn’t expect it to be so strong,” he said as he surveyed the damage and picked up the strewn pieces of his household.

Nearby coconut and banana groves were flattened.

At least 13 deaths in Cagayan, Isabela and Pangasinan provinces were blamed on the typhoon, including at least six drownings. In Pangasinan province, a mother, her daughter and son were pinned to death when a tree collapsed on their house, disaster official Eugene Cabrera said.

Even as the typhoon moved away, its massive outer bands still stretched over much of western Luzon and drenched the capital, Manila, and surrounding areas, snarling traffic and sending about 1,000 people out of their homes into temporary shelters.

President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday that although the typhoon caused significant damage, the loss of life was minimal and “could have been much greater had we not prepared for the storm.”

“The work of bringing life back to normal in the soonest possible time is already under way,” he said.

Assistant Agriculture Secretary Salvador Salacup said an initial estimate of $36 million losses to rice and corn crops showed the damage was minimal. Cagayan Valley and Ilocos regions lost around 12 per cent of their rice production for the season. Cagayan Valley alone accounts for 30 per cent of the national rice output.

Typhoon Megi is likely to spare Vietnam, which was in early forecast paths and has been suffering severe flooding in the past week. At least 41 flood-related deaths have been reported, and 19 other people are presumed dead after a bus was swept off a road by raging currents.

Up to 31.5 inches (800 millimeters) of rain pounded areas of Vietnam in just a few days, forcing 126,000 people to flee their homes. Earlier flooding this month left more than 80 people dead or missing.

The death toll from recent flooding in Thailand rose to five on Tuesday. Downpours that started over the weekend have affected nearly 55,000 people in 17 central and northeastern provinces, according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Several cases of COVID-19 were reported among employees of stores at Bower Place Mall. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
COVID-19 cases reported at Bower Place mall stores

AHS said five complaints were investigated since March, and required changes made

Edmonton Eskimos' Tanner Green, right, knocks the ball from Calgary Stampeders' Romar Morris during first half CFL football action in Calgary, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lacombe’s Tanner Green happy to finally see a CFL return to play date

CFL announced Wednesday league will return on Aug. 5

Instructor Brandt Trimble leads an outdoor spin class at RYDE RD. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Fitness facilities continue to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions

‘It’s really frustrating to be one of the targeted businesses’

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins (Photo contributed)
Federal budget strangles job growth, says MP Blaine Calkins

‘It is most certainly not a balanced budget’

Westerner Park’s Exhibition Hall was used as a vaccination clinic on Wednesday. A steady stream of people came to get their COVID-19 shots either by appointment or as walk-ins. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
No long lineups at walk-in vaccination site in Red Deer

A steady stream of people walked into Westerner Park on Wednesday to… Continue reading

The Rogers Logo is photographed in Toronto office on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
Rogers CEO ‘deeply disappointed’ software upgrade caused wireless outage

TORONTO — The chief executive of Rogers Communications Inc. said Wednesday that… Continue reading

Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem holds a press conference at the Bank Of Canada in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bank of Canada keeps rate on hold, sees brighter economic outlook

Bank of Canada keeps rate on hold, sees brighter economic outlook

Pumpjacks pump crude oil in Alberta on June 20, 2007.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Court asked to step in as SanLing Energy warns it intends to stop operations

Court asked to step in as SanLing Energy warns it intends to stop operations

Canadian Pacific Railway president and CEO Keith Creel addresses the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Wednesday, May 10, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CP Rail asks U.S. regulator to rule on its and CN’s rival Kansas City Southern bids

CP Rail asks U.S. regulator to rule on its and CN’s rival Kansas City Southern bids

A man walks into a Cargill meat processing factory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Site of COVID outbreak last year: Vaccination clinic at Alberta meat plant postponed

HIGH RIVER, Alta. — A COVID-19 vaccination clinic for thousands of workers… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks at a television screen as he listens to United States President Joe Biden deliver a statement during a virtual joint statement following a virtual meeting in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘We hope to help a little more’: Biden says he spoke to Trudeau about more vaccines

WASHINGTON — Canada can look forward to an unexpected shot in the… Continue reading

The Mission Correctional Institution in Mission, B.C. is pictured Tuesday, April 14, 2020. A new federal study found that people released from prison were much more likely than the general population to have trouble finding gainful employment, even over a decade after returning to society. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Ease employment hurdles for former prison inmates, federal study urges

OTTAWA — A new federal study found that people released from prison… Continue reading

Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem holds a press conference at the Bank Of Canada in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bank of Canada keeps rate on hold, sees brighter economic outlook

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada is keeping its key interest rate… Continue reading

Most Read