Power lines were toppled, houses were destroyed and the roof of a public hospital was blown off in Casiguran town, Aurora province after typhoon Labuyo (international codename Utor) made landfall here early Monday.
Footage taken by ABS-CBN News showed scenes of devastation in the typhoon-hit town. Roads in Casiguran were rendered impassable due to toppled trees. Some of the trees fell on top of houses while concrete lampposts were also downed by the typhoon.
The municipal government said 80% of infrastructure in the town was destroyed including schools, roads and houses.
The town has become isolated from the rest of Aurora due to lack of cell phone signals. Road networks linking Casiguran to other parts of Aurora were cut off due to landslides and floods in some areas, ABS-CBN reporter Raffy Santos said.
Local officials said they are having a hard time assessing the damage due to lack of communication.
Residents admitted Typhoon Labuyo is the strongest typhoon to hit Casiguran. One fear among residents is a possible lack of food and potable water if the town remains isolated.
As of posting, there is no way to bring goods into Casiguran except via the sea route, plane or chopper.
Strong winds also tore off the roof of the local hospital, the report said. “Patients are now being moved to the town hall where they will set up a makeshift hospital and treatment center until help arrives,” Santos reported.
Aurora Governor Gerardo Noveras earlier said some parts of the province are currently suffering from power outages and communication problems as Labuyo's strong wind toppled several trees and electric posts.
The hardest hit towns in Aurora are Dinalungan, Dilasag and Casiguran, according to the province's civil defense office. Landslides also remain a threat to motorists and residents in the said towns.
In Dinalungan, several electric posts were toppled, leaving the town without electricity, according to Mayor Tito Tubigan.
At least 106 units in a housing project and 489 more around the town were damaged after being battered by the typhoon.
Twelve school buildings were also damaged in the town. Some 135 individuals were also evacuated to a nearby school.
The province's agriculture sector was also hit by the typhoon, but authorities have yet to make an assessment of the damage.
In its 11 a.m. update, PAGASA said Labuyo weakened after interacting with the rugged terrrains of north Luzon.
Labuyo was located within the vicinity of Baguio as of 10 a.m., and was packing maximum winds of 140 kilometers per hour near the center and gusts of up to 170 kph.
The typhoon was moving west northwest at 19 kph.
At a press conference, PAGASA forecaster Jori Loiz said Labuyo may exit the Philippine landmass through La Union province on Monday afternoon if it maintains its speed and direction.
Labuyo is forecast to be 360 kms west of Sinait, Ilocos Sur or outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) by Tuesday morning.
Loiz explained that Labuyo was being prevented by a high pressure ridge from moving northward.
Public storm warning signal number 3 remains hoisted over Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Ilocos Sur, Benguet, La Union and Pangasinan.
Signal number 2 remains up over Isabela, Aurora, Southern Cagayan, Kalinga, Abra, Southern Ilocos Norte, Zambales, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.
The rest of Cagayan and Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Babuyan Group of Islands, Calayan Group of Islands, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan, Rizal, Northern Quezon, Polillo Island and Metro Manila remain under signal no. 1.
An estimated rainfall of 7 - 15 millimeters per hour (moderate-heavy) is expected within the typhoon's 500-km diameter.
Residents in low-lying and mountainous areas under signal numbers 3, 2 and 1 are advised against possible floods and landslides.
The typhoon continues to enhance the southwest monsoon (habagat) , bringing moderate to occasionally heavy rains over Southern Luzon and Western Visayas.
Fishermen especially those using small sea crafts are advised not to venture out into the seaboards of Southern Luzon and western seaboard of Visayas due to big waves generated by the typhoon. With reports by Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News; and Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com