MANILA, Philippines – One of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded slammed into the Philippines today, setting off landslides, knocking out power in one entire province and cutting communications in the country’s central region of island provinces. Two people had died.
Telephone lines appeared down as it was difficult to get through to the landfall site 405 miles southeast of Manila where Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the southern tip of Samar island before barreling on to Leyte Island.
A villager was electrocuted in southern Surigao del Sur province and another was hit by tree felled by strong winds in central Cebu province, officials said.
Television images from Tacloban city on Leyte Island showed a street under knee-deep floodwater carrying debris that had been blown down by the fierce winds. Tin roofing sheets ripped from buildings were flying above the street.
Weather officials said that Haiyan had sustained winds at 147 miles per hour, with gusts of 170 mph when it made landfall.
More than 125,000 people had been evacuated from towns and villages in the typhoon’s path, which was to cut across the central Philippines, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. Among them were thousands of residents of Bohol who had been camped in tents and other makeshift shelters after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit the island last month.
The typhoon – the 24th serious storm to hit the Philippines this year – is forecast to barrel through the Philippines’ central region today and Saturday before blowing toward the South China Sea over the weekend, heading toward Vietnam.