MANILA (AFP) – Typhoon Kammuri killed at least two people in the Philippines yesterday as it tore roofs of houses and forced the international airport in Manila to shut down.
The storm roared ashore late Monday and passed south of Manila – home to 13 million people – and thousands of athletes at the regional Southeast Asian Games.
As the typhoon was exiting the Philippines it hit one last major landmass, the central island of Mindoro, where one man was crushed by a falling tree and another killed by a flying piece of lumber, police said.
Ahead of the storm’s arrival a 33-year-old man was electrocuted on Monday while securing a roof against the winds, which by late yesterday weakened to a maximum of 140 kilometres per hour.
Authorities were still assessing the storm’s impact, but a small local airport was seriously damaged, many power poles toppled and homes were battered.
“A lot of trees fell… There were a lot of roofs flying during the typhoon too,” said Junie Castillo, a disaster officer in one of the areas first hit.
Due to the high winds, Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport was “closed for operations”, General Manager Ed Monreal told AFP.
It was not clear when flights would resume, but authorities gave an estimate of 11pm yesterday and said their decision would depend on the weather.
Nearly 500 flights were cancelled, and officials warned passengers not to come to the airport.
One of the terminals AFP visited, which would normally be bustling with morning departures, was occupied by a handful of staff and stranded passengers.
One traveller, 23-year-old Canadian Constance Benoit, was hit with a nearly day-long delay to her flight back home. She had arrived in Manila on a typhoon-buffeted flight on Monday morning from the central island of Cebu.
“It was the most turbulent flight I ever took in my life,” she told AFP. “I just discovered what airsickness is.”
About 340,000 people had been evacuated from their homes in the central Bicol region, disaster officials said.