At least 21 people were killed in a deadly typhoon that destroyed houses, toppled trees and caused massive power outages in the Philippines, officials said on Wednesday.
Sixty people remained missing as Typhoon Conson swept through the northern and eastern Philippines, bringing heavy rains and strong winds, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) and rescue officials said.
Among the missing were six people in the western province of Bataan and 51 in the eastern provinces of Catanduanes and Camarines Norte, the NDCC said.
The weather bureau said Conson made landfall late Tuesday in north—eastern Quezon province, with sustained winds of 120 kilometres per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 150 kph.
Conson weakened on Wednesday into a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 95 kph and gusts of up to 120 kph, as it headed toward the South China Sea, the weather bureau said.
President Benigno Aquino III met with senior relief and rescue officials on Wednesday at the military headquarters to assess the havoc brought by Conson.
Mr. Aquino urged officials of the weather bureau to take steps to improve forecasts to minimize damage caused by typhoons.
“This is not acceptable,” he said. “All other agencies have met their responsibilities at this point, but your information is sorely lacking. We have had this problem for quite a long time.” Four people, including a mother and her two—year—old daughter, were killed after being hit by debris and falling trees in Cavite province, just south of Manila, Governor Jonvic Remulla said.
In Laguna province, four more were crushed to death by a wall that collapsed in Binan town and one was drowned in flash floods in nearby Calamba town. Six also drowned and three were missing when their houses were swept away by floodwaters in Laurel and Talisay towns in the nearby province of Batangas, provincial rescue officials said.
In Rizal province, two people were killed when they were crushed by falling poles in Taytay town, police said.
Major Harold Cabunoc, a regional army spokesman, said three people drowned in the eastern province of Camarines Norte.
The NDCC said one fisherman drowned when his boat sunk in Mariveles town in Bataan.
More than 100 houses were destroyed by strong winds or swept away by floodwaters in Taytay town in Rizal province and in Noveleta town in Cavite province, local officials said.
Many roads in Manila were blocked by electrical poles and trees toppled by Conson’s winds, which also caused heavy equipment used in the construction of an overhead highway to collapse.
A wide area in Manila and nearby provinces lost power after transmission lines were damaged and electric posts were toppled. Most school classes were suspended while some offices called off work.
Several local and domestic flights from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport were suspended early Wednesday while four international arrivals were diverted to the central city of Cebu.