Ompong left 25 dead, dozens trapped in Benguet landslide
TYPHOON Ompong (international name Mangkhut) has exited from the country and would bring sunshine to Cebu today but it also left at least 25 people reported dead while around 250,000 others were evacuated as the massive storm smashed homes, brought floods, and landslides mostly in the Northern Luzon area on Saturday.
The death toll was expected to rise with at least 40 people, mostly gold miners, feared to have been trapped in a landslide in the country’s north, and seven bodies have been dug out by rescuers.
Supt. Pelita Tacio told The Associated Press that a part of a mountain slope collapsed on the miners’ bunkhouses in a far-flung village of Itogon town in Benguet province as Typhoon Ompong’s ferocious winds and rain pounded the gold-mining region on Saturday.
Tacio, who was at the scene of the landslide earlier Sunday, says rescuers found another man but could not immediately pluck his body, which was pinned by rocks and mud. About 105,000 people fled from their homes as the typhoon made a landfall in Cagayan, Isabela on Saturday.
The Bureau of Customs, meanwhile, released on Sunday 7,000 bags of smuggled rice, following the directive of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III’ to donate the contraband to those affected by Typhoon Ompong.
The BOC Public Information and Assistance Division said the rice donation came from 14 20-footer containers that the country’s second biggest tax-collection agency had earlier confiscated.
The typhoon, was the deadliest storm to enter the country on this year, smashed through Northern Luzon on Sept. 13 with a maximum sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 255 kph.
Sunny in Cebu
In Cebu, the island would now likely experience sunny period with partly cloudy to cloudy skies in the next few days after days of experiencing heavy rains spawned by typhoon Ompong,
Al Quiblat Jr., chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa)-Mactan station, said the weather is seen to improve after Ompong exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday and headed to the southern part of China.
“We will experience partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers due to localized thunderstorm,” Quiblat said.
Nedz Saletrero of Pagasa-Mactan said that Luzon and the Visayas would experience isolated rainshowers brought about by southwest monsoon or habagat.
Habagat will bring moderate to strong winds and isolated rainshowers in the afternoon or in the evening.
Runway repair resumes
Meanwhile, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) will resume the runway repair on Monday after halting the work in order to accommodate diverted aircrafts from other airports hit by typhoon Ompong over the weekend.
Lawyer Glenn Napuli, acting MCIAA assistant general manager, said the airport’s runway will resume its closure from 1:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m on Monday, to pave the way for the P240 million rehabilitation scheduled to be completed by September 21.
On Saturday, the MCIAA opened the airport’s runway to flights bound for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) from San Francisco, USA and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
The repairs done at that time only ran for about an hour, from 1:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.
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