SUPER Typhoon ‘Lawin’ yesterday slammed into Northern Luzon, leaving a path of destruction, toppling power and communication lines which cut of electricity and phone in many areas of the region and killing at least seven, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.
However, NDRRMC Executive Director Ricard Jalad said they have asked the Philippine National Police to fully validate reports regarding the deaths, four in Cordillera, two in Cagayan Valley and one in ilocos-Pangasinan region.
The NDRRMC said that local authorities conducted pre-emptive evacuation on nearly 91,000 persons living in Northern and Southern Luzon and Bicol region to ensure their safety.
In Ifugao which was heavily ravaged by torrential rains, Gov. Pedro Mayam-O told a radio interview that two young woodcarvers were killed in a landslide which hit the mountainous part of Hungduan municipality. At least 230 families were also forced to go to government-run evacuation centers in the province where power has been cut-off as a result of downed electric lines.
The governor said that the bodies of the two minors have been recovered even as police and disaster response officials continued their search for a companion of the victims who went missing.
The victims reportedly were working in a wood carving shop which was buried under tons of rocks and soil which cascaded from the mountain and hit the shop they were working.
Two national roads in Apayao were also shut down to traffic as public works engineers rushed in to bring heavy equipment needed to clear the road of debris.
In La Trinidad, Benguet, two men identified as Edgar Gensi and Johnny Borja, were killed in a landslide which hit a residential area near a local public elementary school, said Gov. Cris Pacalso.
Benguet also experienced heavy rains which forced the evacuation of many families. The official said that the movement of aid workers was also hampered by different hazards such as landslides and fallen trees.
A power blackout also hit Baguio City and triggered the evacuation of more than 200 families to safer areas. Landslides forced the closure of Kennon Road to all types of motor vehicles.
Abra province was also hit by a power blackout and communications are down. Some 200 families living near the Abra river were also evacuated to a safer ground.
PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa has mobilized all available manpower and resources in the affected regions to help in the search, rescue, relief and rehabilitation program of the government.
Police and Armed Forces personnel were also helping government engineers and workers clear roads of fallen trees and debris, said Cordillera Police Regional Office director Chief Supt. Elmo Francis Sarona.
On Wednesday, the PNP said all resources and personnel were rushed to Northern Luzon to augment local PNP units for possible disaster response.