Storm leaves 200,000 displaced in Philippines, heads for Taiwan

Manuel Mogato PlanetArk 22 Sep 14;

Most schools on the main island of Luzon remained closed for a second day as a huge mopping-up operation began. Some public offices have reopened.

"Some of our things are buried in mud, it will take awhile to clean up," a resident in Marikina City told Reuters while clearing up layers of mud and debris inside their residence.

Fung-Wong, with winds of 95 kph (59 mph) and gusts of 120 kph, slammed in the northern tip of the Philippines on Friday, cutting power in many areas and soaking rice and corn farms and bringing the capital to a near standstill.

The storm, traveling north at 15 kph, is expected to hit the Taiwan on Monday, according to the state weather bureau.

Fung-Wong, locally known as "Mario" center is currently around 137 km northeast of Laoag City in the Ilocos province in the north. It was expected to be at 647 kms north of Batanes on Monday, outside the Philippine area of responsibility.

Alexander Pama, executive-director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said five people died, including a two-year-old girl who drowned in the capital. Two were electrocuted while wading in flood waters.

Pama said seven people were injured and one more was still missing in floods.

A boat capsized in the central Philippines but all 53 crew and passengers were rescued by the navy, Pama said.

Officials have declared a state of calamity in some areas in the capital and in Cebu City in the central Philippines due to floods, that have left some parts of the city 2 meters underwater.

Trading on the city's stock exchange and local currency market was suspended on Friday and will resume on Monday. At least 40 domestic flights were grounded and six international flights were diverted by civil aviation authorities.

More than 700,000 people were effected by the storm and about 200,000 people were forced out from their homes and staying in shelter areas, disaster officials said.

Pama said some residents were rescued perching on their roofs or trapped inside their homes in Marikina and Quezon City. More than 300 areas in seven regions in the country were flooded.

Tropical storms regularly hit the Philippines, with Fung-Wong the second to hit in two weeks.

Last year, typhoon Haiyan struck in the central Philippines, killing more 6,300 people. An average of 20 typhoons hit the country every year.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Heavy rain floods Philippine capital; markets, schools shut
Rosemarie Francisco PlanetArk 19 Sep 14;

A tropical storm dumped heavy rain on the Philippine capital on Friday, flooding many parts of the city, shutting schools, government offices and financial markets.

Thousands of residents in low-lying areas were moved to higher ground, officials said, as flood waters rose quickly after the equivalent of half a month's usual rain fell in six hours.

The Philippine Stock Exchange suspended trade after the government canceled work and classes in the capital.

Trading at the electronic foreign exchange platform Philippine Dealing System was also suspended, with clearing and settlement canceled for the day.

Tropical storm Fung-Wong, with maximum winds of 85 kph (50 mph) and gusts of up to 100 kph (62 mph), was hovering about 210 km (130 miles) east of Casiguran town in northern Aurora province.

It is expected to hit land at around noon on Friday and move northwest at 22 kph (13 mph) toward the South China Sea.

About 7,000 people were evacuated in Marikina City in the eastern part of the capital where a swollen river caused flooding, said Del De Guzman, city mayor.

"We are now on sweeping operations for those trapped by the floods. The rains were so heavy, so fast, some were not able to evacuate," De Guzman said in an interview with GMA TV, adding the government was sending amphibious vehicles and rubber boats to help get people out.

(Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by Robert Birsel)