4 dead as Typhoon Rolly batters Philippines
A general view shows coconut trees swaying amid strong winds as Super Typhoon Goni makes landfall in Legazpi City, Philippines' Abay province on November 1, 2020.
AFP/Charism Sayat

4 dead as Typhoon Rolly batters Philippines

(Agence France-Presse) - November 1, 2020 - 2:41pm

LEGAZPI, Philippines — At least four people were killed as Typhoon Rolly pounded the Philippines Sunday with authorities warning of "catastrophic" conditions in the hardest-hit regions where hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.

The strongest typhoon of the year so far made landfall on Catanduanes Island before dawn with maximum sustained wind speeds of 225 kilometres (140 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 310 kilometres per hour ripping off roofs, toppling trees and triggering flash floods.

Rolly was downgraded from a "super typhoon" as it swept across the southern end of the most populous island Luzon towards the capital Manila, the state weather forecaster said in its latest update.

"Catastrophic violent winds and intense to torrential rainfall" would hammer areas in the typhoon's path, including provinces near the capital, it warned.

"This a particularly dangerous situation for these areas."

Rolly comes a week after Typhoon Quinta hit the same region of the natural disaster-prone archipelago and killed 22 people.

At least four people, including a five-year-old, were killed in Albay province, Governor Alfrancis Bichara told a local radio station.

Two of the victims drowned while another was swept away by volcanic mud. The fourth was killed by a falling tree.

"The winds are fierce. We can hear the trees being pummelled. It's very strong," Francia Mae Borras, 21, told AFP from her home in the coastal city of Legazpi in Albay.

The roofs of two evacuation centres were torn off by the force of the wind and the occupants moved to the ground floors, the provincial public safety chief Cedric Daep told DZBB radio station.

"Flash floods inundated our villages," said Carlos Irwin Baldo, the mayor of Camalig, near Legazpi.

"Our roads have a lot of debris from the mountains such as branches and sand, some which came from Mayon (volcano). Some roads are unpassable."

So far, 346,993 people have been evacuated from their homes, Civil Defence chief Ricardo Jalad said.

In Manila, residents were being evacuated from low-lying slum areas at risk of being inundated by several metres high storm surges. The city's airport has been closed as the typhoon approaches.

Loud alarms blared from mobile phones as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council issued an emergency alert warning of "very destructive to devastating" winds for Manila and surrounding provinces in the coming hours.

Thousands of soldiers and police were on standby to help with evacuations and rescue efforts. Disaster agencies spent Saturday marshalling vehicles, emergency response teams and relief goods before the storm's arrival.

The weather service has warned of flooding and landslides as Rolly dumps heavy rain across the already-soaked region.

Coronavirus complications

Schools which have been empty since the start of the coronavirus pandemic are being used as emergency shelters as are government-run evacuation centres and gymnasiums.

COVID-19 patients being treated in tent facilities have been evacuated, officials said.

The Philippines has recorded more than 378,000 infections, including over 7,100 deaths, which has stretched its resources and complicated evacuations.

Mary Ann Echague, 23, and her family fled their home in Legazpi on Saturday to an inland primary school where they were sheltering in a classroom with several other families.

"We fear the wrath of the typhoon," said Echague, who was with her two children, parents and siblings. They had carried with them a portable stove, tinned meat, instant noodles, coffee, bread, blankets and pillows.

"Each time we're hit by a typhoon our house gets damaged, since it's made of wood and galvanised iron roofing," she said.

Nearly 2,000 people have been left stranded after the coastguard ordered ferries and fishing boats into port in expectation of rough seas throwing up 16-metre waves.

Rolly is expected to "slightly weaken" as it crosses southern Luzon and enters the South China Sea late Sunday or early Monday as a typhoon, the state forecaster said.

But another tropical storm is already brewing off the coast and is expected to intensify as it nears the country in the coming days.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons every year, which typically wipe out harvests, homes and infrastructure, keeping millions of people perennially poor.

Its deadliest on record was Super Typhoon Yolanda, which unleashed giant waves on the central city of Tacloban and left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in 2013.

DEATH TOLL PAGASA WEATHER UPDATES
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 18, 2020 - 4:45pm

Follow this thread for updates on tropical cyclone Rolly (international name: Goni).

November 18, 2020 - 4:45pm

Australia provides an additional P28.52 million to support Filipino communities affected by tropical cyclone Rolly in the Bicol Region.

This will help the government provide food, repair damaged homes and support emergency medical teams in the region. Australia's latest commitment will directly assist 23,345 people, including 2,990 women and girls.

"This support is even more critical following Typhoon Ulysses that caused further hardship for the people in the Bicol Region. Australia stands with the Philippines in this time of need," Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson says.

November 9, 2020 - 5:49pm

President Rodrigo Duterte may place the regions of CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Bicol under state of calamity because of the impact of typhoon "Rolly," Malacañang says.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has approved a recommendation to place the three Luzon regions under state of calamity to fast-track the recovery of the typhoon-ravaged areas.

"Most likely, but let us wait for the document that will come from the Office of the President," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing when asked if Duterte would adopt the recommendation of the council. — Alexis Romero

November 2, 2020 - 7:26pm

The provincial board has placed Camarines Sur under state of calamity following the onslaught of Typhoon Rolly.

In a resolution released Monday, the local government cited strong winds and torrential rains, as well as the extensive flooding and other damages brought about by the typhoon.
 

November 2, 2020 - 5:25pm

At 3 p.m., Tropical Storm Rolly was located 225 kilometers west of Iba, Zambales.

The cyclone bears maximum sustained winds of 65 kph and gusts of up to 80 kph. It is moving north northwestward at 15 kph.

November 2, 2020 - 3:00pm

Vice President Leni Robredo posts photos of the first signs of devastation brought about by Typhoon Rolly in Camarines Sur.

Robredo says she left Manila before dawn on Monday to visit the typhoon-hit province.

The vice president will also be visiting Albay and Catanduanes.

Left Manila before dawn today. Just arrived CamSur and these were the first signs of devastation we saw. Will be going around Albay and Catanduanes, as well.

Posted by Leni Gerona Robredo on Sunday, 1 November 2020
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