MANILA: Typhoon Nari pummelled the northern Philippines early Saturday, ripping roofs off buildings, killing five people and leaving more than two million people without electricity, officials said.
Nari hit the country’s east coast around midnight (1600 GMT Friday), toppling trees and pylons and dumping heavy rain as it cut a westward swathe through the farming regions of the main island of Luzon, they said.
“One of the dead was a police officer awaiting deployment for rescue duties. He was buried in a mudslide,” National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesman Rey Balido told a news conference in Manila.
Three people were crushed to death by falling trees while another person was electrocuted by a loose power line, Balido added.
The damage blacked out 37 towns and cities across central Luzon, according to a tally by the civil defence office in the region.
Road and utility crews were out clearing roads and restoring power, but it could take up to two days before electricity is restored and major highways are reopened to traffic, Nigel Lontoc, a disaster official for the region, told AFP by telephone.
A total of 2.1 million people live in the areas now without electricity, according to official population figures. Balido said four people were listed as missing, including a fisherman on the country’s east coast who had been sleeping in his boat when the cyclone made landfall.
“Big waves swept the boat out to sea,” he added.
Three other fishermen who put to sea elsewhere before the typhoon have also failed to return, Balido said. About 3,000 people moved into government-run shelters before the typhoon struck amid warnings of flooding and landslides, Lontoc said.
Seventeen villages in Bulacan, a province that lies next to Manila, were under up to 1.2 metres (four feet) of floodwater, he added.
Balido and Lontoc said local officials were tallying the number of damaged homes, many of which had their roofing blown off.
The typhoon spared the capital Manila, where the state weather service had warned on Friday about possible widespread flooding.
No major floods have been reported in the metropolis of more than 12 million people.
After sweeping across the Philippines, Nari blew out to the South China Sea with peak winds of 120 kilometres an hour, the state weather service said.
Projections from the Hong Kong Observatory had the storm gathering pace over the coming days as it heads towards the northeast coast of Vietnam.
The Philippines is hit by about 20 major storms or typhoons each year that occur mainly between June and October.