MANILA: Typhoon Yutu slammed into the Philippines Tuesday with fierce winds that sheared off roofs and snapped trees in half, after thousands were evacuated ahead of the powerful storm’s arrival. Cutting a path just south of last month’s Typhoon Mangkhut, which killed dozens, the new storm tore across the Philippines’ most populous island and dumped heavy rains along the way.
Search crews were just beginning assess the damage wrought by Yutu, which made landfall early Tuesday with sustained winds of 150 kilometers (95 miles) per hour and gusts up to 210 kph.
Authorities said they were probing reports of one person missing after a boat capsized as the storm was barrelling toward the disaster-prone nation.
“We see some branches on the roads and so on, but it is the flooding that is destroying houses here,” International Federation of the Red Cross spokeswoman Caroline Haga told AFP from Nueva Vizcaya province.
“People are needing to be rescued.” Nearly 10,000 people fled their homes ahead of Yutu’s arrival because they live in low-lying areas susceptible to flooding and rivers tend to overflow their banks.
The high winds flattened flimsy homes, tore the roofs off others and downed power poles as well as trees.
Philippine disaster officials said the storm was less powerful than Mangkhut, which struck six weeks ago and left more than 100 dead. Most of the fatalities were due to a deadly landslide in the mining area of Itogon.
A month of heavy monsoon rains had left mountainous areas in the northern Philippines primed for landslides, which were unleashed by the Mangkhut’s torrential downpours.
Authorities near last month’s deadly landslide evacuated at least 1,000 people from the Itogon area as Yutu approached.
An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.
The Philippines’ deadliest storm on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013.