'Glenda' spares Manila, leaves 7 dead elsewhere

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun) left at least seven people dead and knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.

Still, the typhoon's 150-kilometer (km) wind and blinding 185-kilometers per hour (kph) gusts, brought down trees, electric posts and ripped off roofs across the capital of 12 million people where government offices and schools were closed. More than 370,000 people moved from high-risk villages to emergency shelters in six provinces.

In a shanty town at the edge of Manila Bay, hundreds fled when strong wind tore tin roofs off their shanties. Most were drenched by the rain before they reached an evacuation center with the help of firemen and rescue personnel.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said he was relieved there were no reported deaths after the typhoon sideswiped his city, although its wind still downed trees and damaged seaside shanties, prompting more than 1,000 residents to evacuate.

"It was like a drill," he said. "We hauled people away from dangerous seaside areas, whether they liked it or not."

(Video by Al Padilla/Sunnex)

Elsewhere, a woman died after being hit by a fallen electric post in Northern Samar and two men, including one traveling on a motorcycle, were separately pinned to death by falling trees in two other provinces. Three members of a family were killed when a wall collapsed on them in Lucena City, southeast of Manila, and an 11-month-old boy died after being hit by a wall in a house in Cavite province near the capital, officials said.

Three fishermen have been reported missing in Catanduanes, near Albay province, where Glenda made landfall late Tuesday.

Typhoon Glenda batters Manila
Residents of the slum community of Baseco evacuate to safer grounds as Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun) battered Manila, Philippines, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital and densely populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo)

There were no immediate estimates of the damage in communities that lost power and telephone connections while being pummeled by the wind and rain.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reported that as of 10 a.m. today, July 16, Glenda was in the vicinity of Bataan. It is forecast to move northwest at 25 kph.

Pagasa placed the provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, Lubang Island, Pangasinan, and Metro Manila under storm warning signal number 3 (Winds of 101-185 kph is expected in at least 18 hour).

Provinces under signal number 2 (Winds of 61-100 kph is expected in at least 24 hours) are La Union, Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Southern Aurora, Northern Quezon including Polillo Islands, Laguna, Batangas, and northern parts of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro.

Signal number 1 (winds of 30 - 60 kph is expected in at least 36 hours) is still hoisted over Ilocos Sur, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Quirino, Rest of Aurora, Camarines Norte, Marinduque, rest of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, and Calamian Group of Islands.

With last year's massive devastation and deaths from Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) still in many people's mind, officials said 373,000 people readily evacuated after being told of the danger.

Polangui Mayor Cherilie Mella Sampal said 10,000 of the 80,000 residents in her town in Albay province, about 340 km southeast of Manila, were evacuated before the typhoon struck Tuesday. Sampal said she saw the wind topple electric posts and lift roofs off houses.

Sampal said residents were worried after witnessing Yolanda's horrific aftermath in the Visayas last November.

"We're used to and prepared for calamities," Sampal told The Associated Press by cellphone. "But when people heard that the eye of the typhoon will hit the province, they feared we may end up like the victims of Yolanda," she said,.

Yolanda's strong winds and tsunami-like storm surges flattened towns, leaving at least 6,300 people dead and more than 1,000 missing.

Rammasun, the Thai term for god of thunder, is the seventh storm to batter the Philippines this year. About 20 typhoons and storm lash the archipelago on the western edge of the Pacific each year, making it one of the world's most disaster-prone countries. (AP/Sunnex)

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