People in the northern Philippines were preparing for landslides on Monday after five rescue workers were killed in the aftermath cyclone norwwhich made landfall on Sunday and is now heading to Vietnam.
The hurricane, known locally as Hurricane Kring, intensified quickly from Saturday to Sunday, arriving as a super cyclone with a peak of about 160 miles per hour (more than 250 kilometers per hour).
The hurricane gathered strength at an astonishing speed, going from the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane to a Category 5 hurricane in just six hours. The faster a hurricane or tornado winds, the more powerful it is and more likely to destroy it. The rapid intensification just prior to landing likely meant that local residents had little, if any, time to prepare for a much stronger storm.
The main island of Luzon pounded Sunday, before weakening on Monday to become a Category 2 parabolic hurricane, according to the US Joint Hurricane Warning Center. But the storm is gaining strength again as it approaches Vietnam.
The bodies of the five rescue workers killed in the northern province of Bulacan have been recovered, according to Richard Gordon, president of the Philippine Red Cross. He said landslides are expected in more rural and mountainous areas, adding to the fear of more casualties.
Willard Makaranas, owner of the PacifiKhulas Transient House in Barangay Umiray, a town in Aurora County, told CNN how he “hiding for safety” as the cyclone approached Sunday.
He said the feeling was “indescribable”, and that he could “pray” only when he heard the sound of wind and rain on the roof of his house.
Makaranas shared photos of the damage to the cyclone’s hotel, showing parts of the facade torn and exterior stairs damaged.
It would be “difficult to start over now,” he said, and expects it to take three months to repair the damage. “I worry about future calamities that might happen to the company. But we have no choice.”
Makaranas described the devastation he saw along the coast, with homes and power lines demolished.
“It hurts to see. People don’t know how to start over,” he said. “I can see the pain in their eyes, the big questions about how to get enough money to build a small house, or how to buy a new boat to fish again.” ”
Images from Luzon show residents wading through chest-level floodwaters to carry their belongings from their submerged homes.
Others showed rows of tents set up in schools and gyms being used as evacuation centers, Gordon said, as 13,600 families retreated to avoid flooding. Pictures and videos from the island show destroyed homes and rubble strewn across the road.
So far, the Red Cross has mobilized 2,000 volunteers in the affected areas to provide food and other relief supplies.
Schools and businesses in Luzon were closed on Monday, and President Ferdinand Marcos ordered supplies to be airlifted and cleaning equipment to be provided to the hardest-hit communities.
“The point at which we can step aside is when the majority of evacuees are already back home,” Marcus said at a news conference with disaster management officials on Monday.
Nuru is now moving away from the island of Luzon and is expected to double before making landfall over Vietnam on Tuesday.
Luzon, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy and nearly half of the country’s population of 110 million, has begun clean-up operations as floods begin to recede in the metropolitan area, officials said.
Marcos, who will conduct an aerial inspection later on Monday, also ordered officials to provide emergency power supplies to two provinces north of the capital, Aurora and Nueva Ecija, which were left without power.
According to internet monitoring service Netblocks, multiple regions were “affected by internet outages as a result of a power outage after super cyclone Noru made landfall.”
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