Thousands Flee, One Missing as Storm Jelawat Hits Philippines

Mon Dec 18 2023
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MANILA: Tropical Storm Jelawat made a significant impact on the southern Philippines, specifically hitting the large island of Mindanao.

The storm’s landfall resulted in a series of challenges, including scattered flooding and power outages across the affected areas. Despite Jelawat weakening as it traversed Mindanao, concerns about the potential for floods and landslides persisted, prompting authorities to remain vigilant.

One notable incident occurred in Manay municipality, where a man went missing while attempting to gather coconuts from the swollen Casaoman River, showing the dangerous conditions brought about by the storm. Local police reported two areas in Manay with knee-deep floodwaters as the river overflowed, affecting a coastal town of approximately 40,000 residents.

Preventative measures were implemented, with the evacuation of over 11,000 residents from Mindanao’s east and north coast to emergency shelters. This precaution aimed to ensure the safety of those in vulnerable areas, anticipating the potential hazards associated with the storm.

The storm’s impact extended beyond flooding, with reports of damaged houses in Cortes, another town on Mindanao’s east coast, and power cuts in several locations. The coast guard reported disruptions in shipping, necessitating sailing restrictions to prevent accidents in rough seas. Over 100 vessels were stranded or sought shelter at ports, leading to the suspension of ferry services and leaving more than 5,000 passengers stuck at the port of Manila.

The situation highlighted the vulnerability of coastal regions and the challenges faced by the Philippines, a country accustomed to dealing with numerous storms and typhoons each year. Jelawat marked the 11th storm in 2023, a figure equaling a record low set in 1998, based on weather service data. The frequency of these natural disasters continues to pose significant difficulties for affected areas, emphasizing the need for ongoing preparedness and response efforts.




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