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Typhoon Kammuri Leaves Destruction as It Powers Through Philippines

Typhoon Kammuri swept through the Philippines on Tuesday, ripping rooftops from houses, knocking down power lines and leaving a half-million people huddled in evacuation centers, waiting for the storm to pass. At least one person was killed.

Manila airport was ordered shut for 12 hours and nearly 500 flights were canceled. Officials suspended marine traffic in affected areas as Kammuri, packing wind gusts as high as 150 miles per hour, battered the Philippine archipelago for a second day.

Kammuri is expected to hit Manila with intense, frequent rainfall overnight, the authorities have warned, leaving open the possibility that flooding could deluge the city and its surrounding areas, home to more than 10 million people.

In Albay, a province in southeastern Luzon, the largest and most populous Philippine island, Gov. Al Francis Bichara said the fierce winds caused more damage than the rain.

“Right now there’s no electricity, the cables had fallen, but it’s calm now,” he said, speaking to a Manila radio station.

The army, the police force and emergency service workers were helping clear roads of debris, said Claudio Yucot, a regional director for civil defense.

A man who was preparing his home for the storm was electrocuted and died when a damaged wire touched his galvanized metal roof, the Philippine National Police said. Reuters reported that two other people had been killed, one struck by a tree and the other by a sheet of metal.

Across the archipelago, officials said the evacuations of hundreds of thousands of people from exposed areas had lessened the impact of the storm on civilians and prevented more deaths.

Still, the authorities warned of storm surges up to three feet and floods and landslides from the wind and rain in the mountainous countryside.

Across metropolitan Manila, government offices and schools were closed.

A sizable portion of the Philippine population lives along the coast and in low-lying areas, and the authorities have issued flood alerts for several regions, with the storm expected to strengthen slightly later Tuesday before starting to weaken.

Deadly landslides set off by typhoon rains could also affect more mountainous, rural areas.

The typhoon struck the Philippines as the nation hosted the Southeast Asian Games, a biennial sports event that draws top athletes from 11 Southeast Asian nations.

The Games are scheduled to run through Dec. 11, and already several outdoor events have been canceled or postponed until later this week, when the typhoon is expected to move on. Sports like windsurfing, beach volleyball and canoe-kayak racing were either suspended or postponed, while others were held ahead of the storm’s arrival.

Kammuri, known locally as Tisoy, is the 20th storm to hit the Philippines this year.

Jason Gutierrez contributed reporting.

Source: NYT > World News

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