MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Tropical storm “Helen” has left at least seven people dead, mostly due to drowning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Wednesday.
The fatalities were identified as:
Jonaphe Pandosen, 50, Baguio City
Ekmer Domines, 42, Baguio City
Fernando Dingayen, 49, Apayao
Savino Mosquite, 44, La Union
Princess Jamon, 1, Ilocos Norte
Armando Borbon, 37, Pangasinan
Andrew Batara, 47, Ilocos Norte
Disaster management officials also said two others, identified as Rodolfo Tayas and Winifredo Tojon of Camarines Norte, remain missing.
The storm battered northern Luzon with heavy winds and rains, triggering floods and landslides in La Union, Isabela, Cagayan and Benguet.
It came a week after monsoon rains and floods killed more than 100 people in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
NDRRMC said the storm has affected a total of 5,040 families or 20,807 persons in Regions 1, 3 and Cordilleral Administrative Region (CAR).
More than 2,500 families are now taking shelter in 19 evacuation centers.
State weather bureau PAGASA said “Helen” has accelerated and is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Thursday morning.
PAGASA said the storm was spotted 190 kilometers west northwest of Laoag City as of 10 p.m.
It was packing maximum sustained winds of 75 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph.
Storm signal no. 1 remains hoisted over the following areas:
Batanes group of islands
Calayan group of islands
Babuyan group of islands
PAGASA also warned that although the storm is moving away from the country, it will continue to enhance the southwest monsoon that will bring rains over the rest of Luzon and Visayas.
The weather bureau added that heavy to intense rainfall is expected within the storm’s 500-km radius. -- With reports from Jenny Reyes, ABS-CBN News; ANC