Cleanup from Typhoon Nari Begins


Typhoon Nari left a trail of destruction in the northern Philippines, triggering landslides and flash floods that killed at least 13 people, disaster officials said on Sunday (October 13).

The typhoon made landfall in the eastern coastline of Aurora province early morning Saturday (October 12), uprooting trees and causing severe flooding as it crossed the northern provinces.

Disaster officials reported three people dead after being crushed by fallen trees, while one person was electrocuted from a malfunctioning power line. A rescuer also died after being buried in a mudslide.

Nine further casualties were reported in the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.

In the mountainous town of Arayat in Pampana Province, a massive landslide buried over 100 houses near the foot of the mountain.

Arayat town Mayor Emmanuel Alejandrino said the villagers were evacuated safely and no casualties were reported, but blamed the landslide on treasure hunting and illegal mining.

"They thought there were some treasure left by the Japanese. In my opinion, they never went to the mountains. There were only guerillas back then and no treasure. Even then, they still continue digging," he said.

The local government banned mining in the mountain after a similar landslide occurred in 2009, which killed 12 people.

"It was another landslide and another heavy rainfall, which is why we are again deep in floods," said villager Eduardo Sunga.

Villager Nelson Balahadia and his three children went back to their house, hoping to find something they could still use.

"We are digging for our belongings since everything was buried in mud and sand. We have not salvaged anything. All of our possessions are buried," he said.

Cleanup operations have started in order to remove the chunks of rocks blocking the road, along with other villages damaged by the typhoon, Alejandrino said.

Typhoon Nari, with winds packing 130 kph (81mph) and gusts up to 150 kph (99mph), has slightly strengthened as it exited the Philippines on Sunday and headed towards Vietnam.

Another tropical storm is expected to enter the Philippine territory on Monday (October 14), but the state weather bureau said it will not directly affect the country.

An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year.

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