Typhoon Yutu Clobbers Northern Philippines, Kills At Least 9 People

Karl Romano
Dagupan, Philippines
181031-PH-yutu-1000.jpg Workers remove toppled trees after Typhoon Yutu slammed the northeastern Philippine province of Isabela, Oct. 30, 2018.

Typhoon Yutu carved a trail of destruction that killed at least nine people before blowing out of the Philippines on Wednesday, rescue officials said.

The storm dumped heavy rains starting Tuesday, setting off landslides and forcing thousands to flee their homes in the mountainous north, as it crossed over the main island of Luzon.

Police said authorities were verifying reports that 20 people were trapped when a landslide had buried a government building in the town of Natonin, in northern Mountain Province.

Rescuers rushed supplies and heavy equipment to the area, but the winding highway leading to the site proved difficult to negotiate because of landslides, officials said.

“The area was difficult to reach, but rescuers managed to trudge through the debris,” said Ruben Carandang, head of the local disaster response agency.

Rescuers said 14 people had been pulled out alive from landslides in the province as of Wednesday afternoon. Five bodies had been recovered and at least nine others were missing, they said.

In the nearby town of Banaue, which is known worldwide for its mountainside rice terraces, rescuers pulled out four survivors, two of them children, from a landslide that struck a small community. Two schools in the province of Kalinga were also flooded, although there were no reports of casualties.

President Rodrigo Duterte was expected to visit a relief-and-search operations center in the Mountain Province on Thursday, when he is also scheduled to meet with local officials, the presidential palace said.

More than 300 rescuers and volunteers were involved in rescue efforts, authorities said. The local Red Cross chapter had also deployed heavy equipment to help sift through the rubble, a mix of mud andboulders.

Typhoon Yutu, locally named Rosita, packed winds of up to 150 km (93 miles) per hour when it slammed the Philippines, affecting about 40,000 people, weather forecasters said. It made a landfall shortly after devastating the Northern Mariana Islands – a U.S. territory about 9,000 km (5,600 miles) west of the U.S. mainland.

Yutu also obliterated the island of Tinian and parts of Saipan, the largest island, with 180 mph winds, late last week.

The tropical cyclone hit the Philippines a month after Typhoon Mangkhut cut a similar path and killed at least 150 people when it dumped heavy rains and caused landslides across the northern and central parts of the country.


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