Residents gather recyclable materials amidst debris brought
at the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun along the seashore of
the coastal town of Rosario, southwest of Manila.
REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Financial markets are set to reopen in the Philippines as
residents clear debris and authorities work to restore power
after a typhoon churned across the Southeast Asian country,
killing at least 20 people.
Typhoon Rammasun, the strongest storm to hit the Philippines
this year, is heading towards China after cutting a path
across the main island of Luzon, shutting down the capital
and knocking down trees and power lines, causing widespread
Most schools remain closed in the capital and southern Luzon
provinces, the most densely populated part of the country
with about 17 million people. Power has been restored to just
over half of the Luzon grid, a transmission agency official
Disaster officials are still assessing damage but the
coconut-growing Quezon province south of Manila appears to
have borne the brunt of Rammasun, which intensified into a
category 3 typhoon as it crossed the Philippines.
Tropical Storm Risk, which monitors cyclones, has downgraded
Rammasun to a category 1 storm on a scale of one to five as
it heads northwest into the South China Sea.
"In the aspect of infrastructure, it looks like Quezon
province was most affected," said retired Admiral Alexander
Pama, executive director of the national disaster agency.
"As of last night, it looks like there was a lot of damage,"
he said. An aerial survey would be conducted to confirm
reports that about 95 percent of the province was damaged, he
Quezon governor David Suarez said the province was preparing
to declare a state of calamity. He said officials had
confirmed seven people died in the province.
"Last night we had difficulty going around because many trees
and fallen poles are blocking highways and roads," Suarez
said in a radio interview.
Nationwide, more than 420,000 people were forced out of their
homes and into evacuation centres, many in the eastern Bicol
region where the typhoon first made landfall, the disaster
At least 20 people died, most of them hit by fallen trees and
electric poles, and five others were missing, the agency
said. The number of deaths may rise, with government
officials citing new reports of casualties.
Officials said more than half a million people were affected
by the typhoon, including some in the central Philippines.
The area is still recovering from Haiyan, one of the biggest
cyclones known to have made landfall anywhere. Haiyan killed
more than 6,100 in the central provinces in November, many in
tsunami-like sea surges, and made millions homeless.