MANILA — Typhoon Ursula, which lashed Occidental Mindoro with "tornado-like" winds and fierce rains, left streets littered with debris that prevented the provincial government from rescuing residents in some areas, an official said Thursday.
Ursula ripped off roofs, uprooted trees and toppled electric posts when it passed by the province on Christmas Day, hitting worst the towns of Magsaysay, San Jose, Calintaan and Rizal, said Governor Eduardo Gadiano.
"Talagang parang buhawi iyong dumaan sa mga bayan na ito," he told radio DZMM.
(It's as if a tornado passed by these towns.)
The provincial government on Wednesday night failed to help village officials rescue residents from the coastal village of Sta. Teresa, Magsaysay because roads were blocked by debris from the storm, he said.
"Hindi na kami makalusot dahil puro tumba iyong mga puno kaya ang inaasahan lang namin doon, iyong barangay council na ang gumalaw," said the governor.
(We can no loner pass through because the trees were uprooted. We had to rely on the barangay council.)
Typhoon Tisoy earlier this month also knocked down power lines in the province, which were still being repaired with the help of electric cooperatives from neighboring provinces when Ursula hit, he noted.
"Hindi pa rin sila natapos sa Tisoy. Ngayon, nagpang-abot na," said Gadiano.
(They have not yet finished the repairs for Tisoy. The damage from Ursula has caught up with them.)
Ursula, he said, also damaged one hospital, forcing patients to stay in its hallways and chapels.
The provincial government has yet to receive reports of any fatalities due to the storm, he said.
The Philippines is the first major landmass facing the Pacific cyclone belt. It is hit by about 20 storms and typhoons each year that kill scores of people and wipe out harvests, homes and infrastructure, keeping millions perennially poor.
A recent study by the Manila-based Asian Development Bank said the most frequent storms lop 1 percent off the Philippines' economic output, with the stronger ones cutting gross domestic product by nearly 3 percent. With Agence France-Presse