BAGUIO CITY, Philippines, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from supertyphoon Megi, the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines in the last four years, continues to rise with ten people now dead, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Tuesday.
NDRRMC Executive Officer Benito Ramos said three were killed in the province of Isabela; four in Pangasinan; one in Baguio, one in Kalinga and one in Cagayan. Seven were injured. Ramos said 90 percent of houses in Palanan, Isabela were wiped out.
The heavy rains and strong winds uprooted trees, toppled power lines that caused widespread blackouts in northern Philippines, and overflowed rivers in northern Philippines. Most of the casualties were killed by falling trees that flattened houses.
In the Cordillera region, Megi caused landslides, forcing hundreds of residents to flee the mountainous areas. Some vegetable farming communities were isolated while main roads in Benguet and Kalinga provinces remain impassable.
Packing sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 175 kph, Megi is located 180 km west northwest of Dagupan City in Pangasinan province, according to the latest bulletin issued 11 a.m. local time by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
Pagasa forecasts Megi to move quasi-stationary for the next 12 hours then move west northwest at 7 kph. With Megi weakening, Pagasa has lowered public storm warning signals in northern Philippines.
Pagasa has placed the provinces of Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, Zambales and La Union under storm signal number two. Apayao, Kalinga, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Benguet, Mt. Province, Abra, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan, Cavite. Lubang island and Metro Manila are under storm signal number one.
The state-run weather bureau has advised residents living in low lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signals against possible flashfloods and landslides. Residents along the coastal areas in western part of Luzon island are also alerted of possible storm surges
Pagasa also advised residents of Metro Manila and seven other provinces to expect heavy rains as Megi continues to move toward the South China Sea.