Manila: At least four people were killed and one other person remained unaccounted for after super typhoon Noru hit the Philippines, authorities said on Monday.
Deemed to be the strongest typhoon to hit the Southeast Asian nation this year, Noru caused gusts of up to 240 kph on the main island of Luzon, where more than half of the country’s 110 million population live, reports the BBC.
According to forecasters, the storm experienced an “explosive intensification” as it made the first landfall west of Luzon earlier on Sunday, and then it made a second one at about 8.20 p.m. on the same night.
A local official said that the victims were personnel from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices, who were washed away in flash floods while carrying out rescue operations in the San Miguel district.
Over 74,000 people had been evacuated from the typhoon’s path and warnings of “serious flooding” were also issued for areas in capital Manila.
Flights and ferry services were cancelled, while government offices and schools were also asked to remain closed.
Noru is expected to leave the Philippines by Monday evening, as per the forecasters.
“I think we may have gotten lucky, at least this time… I think it’s clear from what we did these last two days is that, very, very important, is preparation,” the BBC quoted President Ferdinand Marcos as saying to reporters on Monday morning.
“It’s not yet over. I think the point when we can stand down is when the majority of evacuees are already back in their homes,” he added.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean, is highly vulnerable to storms. It sees an annual average of 20 tropical storms.
In December 2021, some 400 people died when typhoon Rai hit the country, with rescue teams describing scenes of “complete carnage”.
In 2013, typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical storms ever recorded, killed some 6,300 people.