Lando floods ‘worst in this lifetime’ for Nueva Ecija
(Article From GMA News)
October 19, 2015 4:03pm
By JOEL GUINTO, Agence France-Presse
SANTA ROSA, Nueva Ecija – Residents of flooded farming villages in the Philippines were trapped on their rooftops on Monday and animals floated down fast-rising rivers, as deadly Typhoon Lando (international name: Lando) dumped more intense rain.
Lando, the second strongest storm to hit the disaster-plagued Southeast Asian archipelago this year, has killed two people and forced more than 60,000 people from their homes, authorities said.
After making landfall on Sunday morning on the east coast of Luzon, the Philippines’ biggest island, the slow-moving typhoon has brought heavy rain to some of the nation’s most important farming areas.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s the worst flood I’ve seen in my entire life,” farmer Reynaldo Ramos, 68, told AFP as he walked through knee-deep water in Santa Rosa, about two hours’ drive north of Manila.
Military, government and volunteer rescue units equipped with rubber boats were trying to help residents in dozens of flooded villages, according to Nigel Lontoc, a regional rescue official.
“The floods are rising fast and some people are now on their rooftops,” Lontoc told AFP, but added there were not enough rescuers and he did not know how many have been rescued.
Lontoc said many thousands of people may be stranded in those villages, although it was too early to determine an exact number.
Authorities confirmed at least three people had died because of the storm, but the death toll is expected to rise as full accounts from badly hit villages are gathered.
The storm is forecast to continue dumping heavy rains across the Philippines until Wednesday.
People, pigs huddle on high ground
In Santa Rosa, water buffalo, pigs, goats, dogs, washing machines and furniture lined the sides of a storm-tossed highway, where about 200 residents had been seeking refuge from the floods since Sunday night.
Jun Paddayuman, 27, in shorts and a white singlet caked with mud up to his chest, pointed to his nearby house, where flood waters had risen to the roof.
“The waters arrived suddenly. We did not expect it at all,” he told AFP.
Paddayuman said, when the waters first appeared in his house, he waded to the highway carrying his eight-month pregnant wife and leading his three-year-old son by the hand.
He said he had seen geese, chicken and dogs being carried off by the rampaging waters.
Nearby, two men pushed pigs placed on top of truck tyre inner tubes through chest-deep floods in a valiant attempt to save their hog farm.
Wide expanses of rice paddies had disappeared under torrents of knee-deep water throughout the towns and villages north of Manila because of runoff from torrential rain unleashed by Lando on nearby mountain ranges.
Lando initially hit fishing and farming communities on the east coast of Luzon with winds of 210 kilometres an hour, making it the Philippines’ second most powerful storm of the year.
By late afternoon on Monday, it was on the far northwest coast of Luzon and nearly out into the South China Sea, with its strongest winds weakening to 150 kilometres an hour, the state weather service said.
But Lando was still dumping heavy rain and it was forecast to cut back northeast over Luzon and not leave the country until Wednesday.
The Philippines is hit with about 20 major storms a year, many of them deadly.
The most powerful storm ever recorded on land, Super Typhoon Haiyan, hit the Philippines in 2013, killing or leaving missing at least 7,350 people.
Lando had so far claimed relatively few lives, partly because the typhoon directly passed through sparsely populated mountain and coastal ranges.
The coast guard also reported that seven passengers aboard a small ferry were killed when it capsized in rough seas off the central island of Guimaras on Sunday.
However, authorities said the accident was not caused by the storm, which was more than 500 kilometres away. —Agence France-Presse