'Gener' leaves 14 dead

Posted at 08/01/2012 10:04 PM | Updated as of 08/02/2012 8:39 AM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Rains and strong winds brought about by typhoon “Gener” (international name: Saola) has left 14 people dead, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Wednesday.

NDRRMC officials said two more deaths were reported in the province of Maguindanao.

They were identified as 1-year-old Datu Toni and his mother Laga Gani Toni, who both drowned at the Liguasan marsh in Kabuntalan town around 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

The other casualties were identified as Mariel Manzo, Edna Ibañes, Leyan Hayo, Ernest Flores, Teodoro Flores, Bernald Buzon, Merly Datinguinoo, Danieles Hipolito, Ronald Necor and Renante Cimafranca Jaucaulan Jr., Prisca Pacyaya and Clinton Idio.

Angelito Bicoy of Quezon Province was the only missing person reported.

NDRRMC said at least 303,941 people across 413 barangays nationwide were affected by the strong rains that started over the weekend. Of these, 154,211 are currently inside evacuation centers.

"It will take about four or five days for the waters to recede, assuming the rains stop now. But if it continues to rain, then naturally, these floodwaters will get even higher," NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos told Agence France-Presse.

At least 1,658 houses were either damaged partially or totally, the NDRRMC said.

Ramos also said P2.6 million in assistance had been provided to the typhoon victims by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, concerned local government units, and non-government organizations.

As of 6 a.m., 15,147 passengers were stranded in ports in Cebu, Dumaguete, Tagbiliran, Oriental Mindoro, Aklan, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Albay, Aparri, Cagayan Valley and Aurora.

Heavy flooding also prompted local officials to suspend classes in some areas in Manila and in nearby provinces.

State weather bureau PAGASA earlier said rains will persist for the next five days as the typhoon moves further away from the country.

The typhoon is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Friday morning.

Gener was heading slowly northward to Taiwan, packing maximum sustained winds of 130 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center gustiness of up to 160 kph.

Storm warning signal number 2 remains hoisted over Batanes, Calayan and Babuyan Groups of Islands, while Cagayan and Apayao remain under storm signal number 1.

PAGASA said about 20 storms slam into the country from the Pacific every year, causing heavy casualties and damage. -- With Agence France-Presse