'Gener' hits Taiwan, leaves 23 dead in PH
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Typhoon Gener (international codename Saola) has made landfall over Taiwan early Thursday, August 2, leaving 23 people dead in the Philippines, as it continues to affect the Southwest Monsoon bringing rain to Luzon and Western Visayas.
In its 5 am bulletin, state weather bureau Pagasa said Gener has maintained its strength as it made landfall over northeast Taiwan, last spotted 405 kilometers north of Basco Batanes, carrying maximum sustained winds of 130 km per hour near the center and gusts of up to 160 km/h.
It is still moving north northwest at 15 km/h, and is expected to be 610 km north northwest of Basco by Friday morning.
Only Batanes, under public storm warning signal number 1, remains under a storm signal. Signals elsewhere in the country have been lowered.
Due to its effect on the Southwest Monsoon, Luzon and Western Visayas will still experience rain and moderate to strong winds, and residents near mountainsides and low lying areas could still experience landslides and flashfloods.
Estimated rainfall amount within the 800 km diameter of the typhoon is still heavy to torrential, between 10-35 millimeters per hour.
Warning for small seacraft venturing out to sea is still in effect over Luzon and Visayas.
The rest of the Philippines will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain and thunderstorms.
Moderate to strong winds will come from the southwest, and coastal waters will be moderate to rough, Pagasa said.
The typhoon and the enhanced monsoon has left 23 people dead in its wake, the National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (NDRRMC), said in its latest report.
In its report issued 7 am Thursday, 21 people are injured and 125 others have been rescued. A total of 331,588 people have been affected across 13 regions, with 179,990 of them directly being assisted by the NDRRMC.
Twenty-nine roads and 3 bridges have also been damaged by the typhoon, while agricultural damage has been pegged at P 2.13 million in 3 regions.
A total of 2,614 houses have been damaged, 580 of these totally damaged.
Preps vs 'Saola'
Prior to landfall over the island, Taiwan on Wednesday, shut down schools and cancelled flights as it braced for the approaching typhoon.
Amid warnings of heavy rain to come, authorities evacuated nearly 600 residents from New Taipei City in the north and as many from the eastern counties of Ilan and Hualien, which look set to bear the brunt of the typhoon.
Schools and offices in the two counties were also closed, while 34 international and 21 domestic flights were cancelled, according to the Central Emergency Operation Centre.
All shipping services to and from the offshore islands were suspended.
Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways said that its Taipei flight operations were suspended from 1000 GMT until at least noon on Thursday.
In the capital nearly 100,000 sandbags prepared by the government were snapped up as the Central Weather Bureau called on residents to take special precautions against torrential rain and flooding.
The bureau warned the typhoon may bring 1.5 meters of rain, prompting the defense ministry to order more than 46,000 soldiers to stand by islandwide.
The slow-moving typhoon has ditched 0.5 meters of rain in the east and north during the past day, triggering landslides that cut off roads.
02 August 2012
MTSAT Enhanced-IR Satellite Image of typhoon Gener (international codename Saola) 5:32 A.M., 02 August 2012. Image courtesy Pagasa