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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Typhoon Tears Through Philippines...............

Powerful typhoon Hagupit toppled trees, blew roofs off houses and knocked out electricity as it began it first full day of destruction in the central Philippines.
People wade through floodwater in Borongan City, Samar Island, on Sunday.
Known locally as Ruby, the typhoon made landfall in Dolores, a town on the eastern coastline of Samar, at 9:15 local time on Saturday.
When its might was felt hours later on the western side of Samar, Catbalogan City Mayor Stephanie Uy-Tan told The Wall Street Journal, “It was like riding a ship being battered by large waves and strong winds.”
Communication is challenging in most of Eastern Samar, the side of Samar Island facing the Pacific Ocean and the first to feel Hagupit’s wrath. No casualties have been reported.
Initial reports reaching the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council indicate heavy damage to infrastructure.
The typhoon is expected to slowly move northwest, passing close to Manila on its way out to the South China Sea on Tuesday.
The disaster agency said more than 716,000 people have been evacuated to centers and safer areas of the country.
The typhoon has weakened some. Its maximum sustained winds were 160 kilometers per hour on Sunday, down from 175 kilometers an hour (109 miles an hour) at landfall, reported the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration, the weather bureau better known as Pagasa.
A handout image made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Typhoon Hagupit bearing down on the Philippines.ENLARGE
A handout image made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Typhoon Hagupit bearing down on the Philippines. EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
It has been downgraded from a supertyphoon to a typhoon by the U.S. Navy, but the slow pace of Hagupit is alarming to officials because it means the storm will have more time to dump heavy rain that could cause severe floods and landslides.
It is moving westward at 15 kilometers per hour and could weaken further as its eye moves over other land masses.
Typhoons usually move at around 20 kilometers per hour. Last year’s Supertyphoon Haiyan moved quickly at 40 kilometers per hour.
Haiyan, with its 6-meter storm surges, killed more than 6,300 and made landfall with maximum sustained winds of 235 kilometers per hour.
In Tacloban City, ground zero of Haiyan, Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin told The Wall Street Journal officials are still assessing the damage.
“There are damages but definitely not as bad as Yolanda. We’re trying to confirm reports of casualty,” he added, referring to Haiyan by its local name.
In an interview with television station ANC early Sunday, Dr. Ted Esguerra of the disaster response team of power firm Energy Development Corp. , said he helped a midwife and Lawaan Mayor Candida Gabornes deliver a baby at the height of the typhoon, providing instructions by phone. EDC operates a geothermal field in neighboring island of Leyte, where Haiyan-devastated Tacloban City is located.
Dr. Esguerra said the baby was delivered in darkness using whatever supplies could be found at the evacuation center. “I was told [the baby] will be named Ruby,” he said