Usman's wrath kills 3, leaves thousands stranded ahead of New Year


Posted at Dec 30 2018 01:01 AM

Rains brought by Usman triggered floods of up to 20 feet in Lope de Vega town, Northern Samar. Myra Bogtong

MANILA - The weather disturbance that dumped rains in parts of Luzon and the Visayas ahead of the New Year revelry left 3 people dead, authorities said Saturday morning, as several flights were canceled and passengers left stranded in various ports.

A couple and their 3-year-old son were killed in a landslide in Legazpi City Friday evening, ahead of Usman's landfall as a tropical depression in Eastern Samar, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the Bicol region said in a statement.

Slow-moving Usman eventually weakened into a low pressure area less than 24 hours after it lashed parts of Luzon and the Visayas, but the rains it brought and rocky seas it caused left at least 9,983 passengers stranded across Bicol ports after hundreds of boat trips and flights were cancelled due to bad weather, police data showed.

Nationwide, the Philippine Coast Guard estimated a total of 22,000 passengers stranded in seaports. 

In Quezon City, more than 2,000 passengers were stranded at the bus terminal in Araneta Center, many bound for the Visayas, where Usman had caused heavy rains. 

By Saturday morning, 500 passengers were left awaiting bus trips. 

Nearly 6,000 individuals in the Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions, meanwhile, stayed in evacuation centers on the last weekend before the New Year as nearly 80 areas were still submerged in floods as of December 29, 8 a.m.

Rice fields in Polangui, Albay were submerged and destroyed by heavy rains, while floods in the town of Lope de Vega in Northern Samar reached up to 20 feet.

At least 16 power stations in Bicol, Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas experienced temporary shutdowns due to stormy weather, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in a situation report. 

As of 10 a.m., several ports have resumed operations as the weather disturbance moved away from the Visayas.

The weather condition is expected to improve starting December 31, New Year's Eve, when the LPA is forecast to exit the Philippine area of responsibility.

-- reports from Katrina Domingo, Angel Movido, Ranulfo Docdocan and Karren Canon, ABS-CBN News