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Typhoon Juan hits Northern Philippines

Submitted by: regina
On: 20/10/2010

Typhoon Juan (International codename, Megi) that hit most the northern part of Philippines on October 18 is now leaving and moving towards the China Sea. With strong winds of 175 to 215 kilometers per hour, Typhoon Juan claimed lives, destroyed infrastructures and crops in the north.

It was reported in the local papers that the former National Disaster Coordinating Council said Juan has affected a total of 39,847 families or 215,037 people from the provinces Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Aurora, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga Tarlac, Zambales, Rizal, Cavite, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, and Metro Manila. Ten people were reported killed during the typhoon.

In Guibang, Gamu, Isabela, Sr. MInela Alvarez, local leader of the Good Shepherd community said, that part of the convent was destroyed including the glass windows and the door. All the trees around the convent fell and the Cagayan River and the town proper of Gamu  that used to be hidden by thick lines of trees  are now visible from the convent. But these she said are nothing compared to the plight of neighbors whose houses were swept away by the strong winds of typhoon Juan. The nearby Shrine of Our Lady of the Visitation was also damaged and except for one, all the stores across the shrine were destroyed. Religious articles and statues of saints being sold were likewise damaged. Isabela and Cagayan were the two hardest hit provinces of the typhoon.

Sr. Cecilia Torres RGS, province leader, is in communication with Sr. Minela and has assured the community of additional personnel who could help the community. Sisters from Manila are scheduled to leave for Isabela to bring aid to the victims. At the height of the typhoon, many communications services  were interrupted.

Sr. Minela also said that the other two sisters Sr, Teresita Cordova and Sr. Claire Leones are safe, but the house being used by Sr. Claire in her ministry with the farmers was also destroyed. She and Sr. Teresita surveyed the nearby towns in Isabela and saw the devastation caused by typhoon Juan. The roads were dangerous to traverse as electric posts fell on the streets. While on the road, the vehicle Sr. Minela was driving had a flat tire. The sisters are safe. What they saw were destroyed office buildings , schools and houses. Rice stalks, almost ready for harvest ,lay flat on fields battered by the strong winds of Typhoon Juan. The roof of a gasoline station, owned by a benefactor, fell.

Residents try to help one another in clearing roads of fallen trees,  those in the nearby military camp, too, tried their best to assist the victims. 

In Ilagan, Isabela, the St. Ferdinand College owned by the diocese was heavily destroyed, the buildings roofs were blown off by the wind and the destruction caused by the typhoon make it impossilbe for the school to resume classes for the students. The municipal hall was also destroyed. The Diocese of Ilagan is also scheduled to host the Northern Luzon Catechetical Congress from October 21-22 but this will no longer be possible given the effects of the typhoon in the region. 

Those who suffered most were the farmers who were not able to harvest their rice crops. Before the typhoon struck, corn farmers harvested their crops as they were ready. But the time to harvest the rice  grains should have been this week or the next. Seventy percent of the rice farmers were not able to harvest their crops and are also at present busy building again their destroyed homes. She said that even if there are repairs that should be done in the convent, they could not immediately hire workmen as they are busy with reconstructing what is left of their properties.

In a telephone conversation with Sr.Guadalupe Bautista, local leader of RGS Baguio community, Sr. Cecilia said that the city has no electricity like other cities and municipalities in the north. Transmission lines in the north were heavily destroyed.

It was estimated that about Ph 1.4 billion pesos worth of crops and infrastructures were destroyed during the typhoon.

(RK)