MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Typhoon Doksuri lashed northern Philippine provinces with ferocious wind and rain Wednesday, leaving at least six people dead and displacing thousands of others as it blew roofs off houses, flooded low-lying villages and triggered dozens of landslides, officials said.
One landslide buried a house in Buguias town in Benguet province, killing a mother, her child and two other children and injuring two other people. In the nearby resort city of Baguio, a 17-year-old person died when soil loosened by heavy rains buried his house, officials said.
In Isabela province, also in the north, a woman selling bread on a bicycle cart died when she was hit in the head by a falling coconut tree, a police report said.
The typhoon slammed into Fuga Island before dawn and later smashed into another island in Cagayan province, where nearly 16,000 people were evacuated from high-risk coastal villages, and schools and workplaces were shut as a precaution as the storm approached Tuesday.
Tens of thousands of people were affected by flooding and other problems caused by the typhoon, which has a 700-kilometer (435-mile) -wide band of wind and rain, disaster response officials said.
Doksuri weakened slightly but remained dangerous with sustained winds of 175 kph (109 mph) and gusts of up to 215 kph (133 mph). It was blowing 95 kilometers (59 miles) west of the island town of Calayan off Cagayan on Wednesday night, forecasters said.
“Our northern coastal towns are being battered,” Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said Wednesday morning by telephone. “I’m receiving reports of tin roofs being blown away and flooding that could not drain out probably because of tidal surges coming in from the sea.”
Mamba expressed fear of extensive damage to Cagayan valley’s corn and rice farms, which had already been battered by a monthslong dry spell before Doksuri hit. At least four towns lost power and six bridges were flooded, Cagayan officials said in a damage report.
“Violent, life-threatening conditions are expected to continue” on Wednesday over northwestern Cagayan and the outlying Babuyan Islands as well as the northern mountainous regions of Apayao and Ilocos Norte provinces, the country’s weather bureau said.
Coast guard personnel used rubber boats and ropes to evacuate villagers who were trapped by brownish, waist-level floodwaters in their houses in Bacarra town in Ilocos Norte, the coast guard said.
Thousands of inter-island ferry passengers and cargo truck drivers, along with nearly 100 passenger and cargo vessels, were stranded in ports where a no-sail order was imposed. Most were able to proceed with their trips as the weather improved, the coast guard said.
The typhoon swelled seasonal monsoon rains in central and northern provinces, including in the densely populated Manila capital region. It was forecast to move away from the northern Philippines on Thursday and barrel northwestward to graze Taiwan’s southwestern coast before hitting southeastern China on Friday.
U.S. officials advised Americans in China not to travel to southern regions and asked those in vulnerable areas to stay in secure shelters and check their emergency kits.
Although it was not poised for a direct hit, Doksuri's outer bands brought heavy rain and strong winds to Taiwan’s eastern coast Wednesday. Trains were canceled between Kaohsiung and Taitung cities in the south, while ferries to outlying islands were also halted.
Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau reported gusts of up to 198 kph (123 mph).
Meanwhile, Taiwan continued to hold its annual Han Kuang military exercises. The military carried out its first-ever drill at the civilian Taoyuan International Airport on Wednesday morning, according to local media. The drill stopped air traffic for an hour while the military simulated stopping an invasion targeting the airport.
Associated Press writers Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, and Joe McDonald in Beijing contributed to this report.
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