Ambo leaves 4 dead, dozens hurt in Eastern Visayas, Quezon

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2020 10:37 AM | Updated as of May 16 2020 04:56 PM

A man crosses the highway in Pagbilao town, Quezon, in the wake of Typhoon Ambo's landfall, May 15, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (4th UPDATE) - Tropical Storm Ambo left 4 people dead- 3 in Eastern Visayas and 1 in Quezon province- and several others hurt as it displaced thousands of families, destroyed houses and downed power lines, local officials said Saturday.

In San Policarpo, Eastern Samar, where the storm first hit land as a typhoon, a farmer bled to death after he was hit by a shattered glass while he was with his family in an evacuation center in Barangay Natividad, according to Eastern Visayas Police.

Two others were killed in Almagro town, Samar and Oras town, Eastern Samar. At least 25 people were injured as they fled to evacuation centers in Samar provinces, police said.

In Catanauan town, Quezon, a woman was killed inside her home when a wall toppled by strong winds collapsed on her, the local disaster response office said.

One person in Buenavista town was brought to the hospital after being hit by a tree felled by strong winds on Friday. Two others from Gumaca and Lucena City sustained minor injuries in still unknown circumstances related to the storm.

Some 7,000 families were evacuated because of the typhoon, said Suarez. The storm passed through the province on Friday, bringing strong winds and heavy rains.

Families brought to evacuation centers are expected to return to their homes this weekend.

Ambo's lashing winds cut power lines, leaving 30 towns without electricity. Power remains on in 11 other towns in the province, the official said.

One person was reported missing in Cauayan City, Isabela, local disaster officials said.

Robin Angoluan was swept by the river's current as he went to fish with his brother Roy on Friday night after a drinking session, according to provincial disaster response officer Jimmy Rivera.

The storm also rendered bridges inaccessible in Barangay Annafunan and Barangay Gucab in Echague town, the Alicacao overflow bridge in Cauayan City, and the Baculud overflow bridge in Ilagan City, said Rivera.

In Eastern Samar, the towns of Jipapad and Maslog have been cut off from the rest of the province due to Ambo, Governor Ben Evardone said.

Typhoon Ambo brought heavy rains, flooding the town of Jipapad in Eastern Samar. Photo courtesy of Philip Raymond Basilia Bote

Evardone said the town of Jipapad was inundated with floodwaters, while the storm's powerful winds tore off roofs from houses and uprooted some trees after its landfall as a typhoon on Thursday. It has since weakened.

Flooding has also been preventing crews from the Department of Public Workers and Highways (DPWH) from conducting clearing operations.

The town of Maslog is also isolated as roads were strewn with debris and fallen trees.

The storm likewise cut off electricity and cellphone signals in the area.

The first typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, as millions remained in their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic, made landfall over San Policarpo in Eastern Samar on Thursday afternoon and brought heavy rains to several provinces.

Electricity and cellphone signal have yet to be restored in the province of Northern Samar, where more 15,000 residents were evacuated.

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"Naka-total blackout po ang buong probinsiya simula po noong bagyo, alas-11 ng May 14 ng gabi wala na pong ilaw," said Gov. Edwin Ongchuan.

(There's a total blackout in the whole province since the start of the storm, since 11 p.m. on May 14 there has been no power.)

Ongchuan told Teleradyo Saturday morning that evacuated residents have since returned to their homes on Friday.

Affected residents, he said, were assisted by the local government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

"Ang kagandahan po isa po kami sa masuwerteng probinsiya na nakapag-ani bago dumating ang bagyo," he said.

(What's good is we're one of the lucky provinces that were able to harvest before the storm came.)

In Itogon, Benguet, some 100 families from three landslide-prone barangays were evacuated as precaution because of the storm. Physical distancing is being enforced in evacuation centers, local officials said.

As of 10 a.m. Saturday, Tropical Storm Ambo was last spotted 40 kilometers northwest of Sinait, Ilocos Sur, packing maximum sustained winds of up to 65 km per hour near the center, with gusts of up to 100 kph.

It is expected to bring moderate to heavy rains over Cagayan Valley, and light to moderate with at times heavy rains over Ilocos and the Cordillera regions, and the northern portions of Aurora and Zambales.

The state weather bureau said Ambo is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility by Monday.

- Reports from Sharon Evite, Ranulfo Docdocan, Aleta Nieva Nishimori, Andrew Bernardo, Harris Julio, and Micaella Costales Ilao, ABS-CBN News