Monday, May 19, 2008

Tropical storm "Cosme" Update

Excerpts from

MANILA, Philippines -- The death toll in the aftermath of tropical storm "Cosme" (international codename: Halong) rose to 12, while nine others were injured and close to 35,000 were displaced or affected by floods, landslides, and storm surge, the National Disaster Coordinating Council reported on Monday.

Five of the fatalities were hit by galvanized iron roof sheets that were blown away by the strong winds. They were identified as Rosario Luiti, 20, Jessa Ducusin, 15, and Pepito Estacio, 78 from Pangasinan province; and Leopoldo Labasan, 37, and Juanita Eserio from La Union province, the NDCC said.

Four died from drowning. They were identified as Maximo Ascensi, 72, from Pangasinan province; Merilyn Oleverio, 15, Melanie Elardes, 16 from Negros Occidental province; and Leo Amar from Antique province, it said.

A certain Domingo Obungen from Rosario town, La Union province died after he was hit by a collapsed concrete wall; one Joseph Palala from Itogon town, Benguet province was hit by rocks while excavating water supply, and a certain Benjamin Admana from Sta. Cruz town, Zambales province suffered a heart attack, the NDCC said.

"Cosme" made landfall in Pangasinan province on Saturday afternoon, and traversed northeastern Luzon on Sunday. It also enhanced the southwest monsoon and brought rains to Luzon and the Western Visayas.

At 10:30 a.m., the eye of the storm, which packs maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour near the center with gusts of up to 120 kilometers per hour, was located 670 kilometers northeast of Aparri town, Cagayan province, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

Moving northeast at 33 kilometers per hour, the storm is forecast to be at 880 kilometers east of Okinawa, Japan by Tuesday morning, the state weather bureau said.

Floods, landslides, and storm surge affected 34,755 people, 308 of who are in evacuation centers, while the rest remained either in their homes, or sought refuge with relatives, NDCC spokesman Anthony Golez said.

In a phone interview, Golez said a person was counted as "affected" by floods and storm surge, if floodwaters entered his or her house, or if it was hit by surging coastal waters. But he added this did not necessarily mean that the person's house was damaged.

Almost all of the affected population, 33,472, was from Iloilo province, 26,470 of which were from Iloilo City and 7,002 from Pavia town, the NDCC said.

In Zambales province, 1,063 people were affected, 630 from Botolan town, 218 from San Antonio town, and 215 from the capital of Iba, the NDCC said.

In La Union province, 172 people were affected, 50 from Aringay town, 43 in Sto. Tomas town, 40 in Bauang town, 20 in San Fernando City, and 19 in Naguilian town, it said.

The storm totally damaged 3,026 houses, 2,300 in Sta. Cruz town, Zambales province, 720 in Bugallon town, Pangasinan province, four in IloIlo City, four in Benguet province, and one in Naguilian town, La Union province, it said.

Another 5,586 houses were partially damaged, 4,230 in Sta. Cruz, Zambales; 1,320 in Bugallon Pangasinan; 13 in Iba, Zambales; 11 in Botolan, Zambales; three in Iloilo City; three in Naguilian, La Union; and six in Benguet province, it said.

The storm also downed power and communication lines. As of 8 p.m. Sunday, the entire Zambales province was without power, the NDCC said.

The entire western portion, and several other parts of Pangasinan province was without power, while blackouts were reported in several areas in the provinces of La Union, and in Baguio City, it said.

Power has been fully restored in Dadi, Sta. Fe, and Artiao towns in Nueva Vizcaya, and in San Clemente and Ramos towns in Tarlac province, the NDCC said.

Telephone service from Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), Digitel, and Piltel in Baguio City was being hit by "intermittent interruptions," it said.

The following roads remained closed to traffic: Kennon Road, Acop-Kapangan-Kibungan, Pico-Lamtang, Itogon-Dalupirip, and Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya in Benguet province; Mt. Province-Cagayan in Kalinga province; and Nueva Vizcaya-Ifugao-Mt. Province, Banaue Hungduan, and Banaue-Mayoyao in Ifugao province.

Update in TV PATROL The death rose to 21.

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