27 feared dead as typhoon Guchol hits Philippines

Residents near the sea and on low lying areas told to evacuate.

Manila: Nineteen more people were feared dead after they were not yet accounted for from a capsized boat in southwest Philippines, raising to 27 the number of storm-related fatalities as typhoon Guchol veered near central eastern Philippines on Thursday morning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Coordinating Council (NDRRCC) said.

Five were confirmed dead, nineteen others were reported missing, and 22 were rescued at sea when M/V Josille (which carried 46 people including crew members) was submerged near Pagawanin Island, El Nido, Palawan, southwestern Philippines on June 12, Undersecretary Benito Ramos, head of NDRRCC, said.

Rescue operation in the Palawan Sea is ongoing, he added.

Three more were confirmed dead due to heavy rains and flash-floods in five provinces in Mindanao, southern Philippines.

All these incidents occurred prior to the entry of typhoon Guchol in the country’s area of responsibility, Ramos said.

Meanwhile, residents near the sea and on low lying areas should evacuate, fishing boats and small seacraft were prohibited from setting sail or leaving port as Typhoon Gutchol was seen at moving at 85km/h with gustiness of 100km/h, 880km east of Huiuan, Eastern Samar as of 9am Thursday, Ramos said.

Typhoon Guchol will be closer to the Visayas and the Bicol region [in central Philippines], at 560km east of Virac, Catanduanes, on Friday, encouraging southwest monsoon rains to bring more rains in the typhoon’s path, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

Typhoon Guchol’s estimated rainfall is from 15 -25mm per hour, and 300 km diametre for three more days, from Friday to Monday, Pagasa said, adding the typhoon is expected to leave on Tuesday morning.

Because of Typhoon Gutchol’s wide radius, the warnings were sent to residents on the eastern seaboard of southern Luzon (in the northern part), central Visayas, and northeastern Mindanao (in the southern part), Pagasa said,

The storm (although entering the area of central; Visayas and southern Luzon’s Bicol region), will also affect Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao City, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Siargao, and Dinagat islands in the south, Pagasa said.

About 21 typhoons enter the Philippines every year, starting June, the beginning of the rainy season.

The Philippines is part of the Pacific’s Ring of Fire where typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions always occur.

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