MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Typhoon Doksuri ripped tin roofs off of homes, flooded low-lying villages, knocked out power and displaced more than 12,000 people Wednesday as it smashed into a small island and lashed northern Philippine provinces with ferocious winds and rain, officials said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties after the typhoon slammed into Fuga island off Aparri town in Cagayan province, where more than 12,100 people were evacuated from high-risk coastal villages and schools, and workplaces were shut down as a precaution as Doksuri approached. Thousands of people in other northern provinces were also displaced by the typhoon, which has a 700-kilometer-wide (435-mile-wide) band of wind and rain.
Doksuri weakened slightly but remained dangerous and lethal with sustained winds of 175 kph (109 mph) and gusts of up to 240 kph (149 mph). It was blowing over the coastal waters of Fuga and Aparri town Wednesday morning, forecasters said.
“Our northern coastal towns are being battered,” Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba told The Associated Press by telephone. “I’m receiving reports of tin roofs being blown away and flooding that could not drain out probably because of tidal surges coming in from the sea.”
A damage assessment would be done after the typhoon passes, but Mamba said he feared there could be extensive damage to Cagayan valley’s corn and rice farms, which have already been battered by a monthslong dry spell before Doksuri hit.
“Violent, life-threatening conditions are expected to continue” on Wednesday over northwestern Cagayan and the outlying Babuyan Islands as well as the northern mountainous regions of Apayao and Ilocos Norte provinces, according to an advisory from the country’s weather bureau.
The typhoon has been enhancing seasonal monsoon rains in central and northern provinces, including in the densely populated capital region of metropolitan Manila. It was forecast to move away from the northern Philippines on Thursday and barrel northwestward toward the south of Taiwan and hit southeastern China later this week.
More than 4,600 inter-island ferry passengers and cargo truck drivers, along with nearly 100 passenger and cargo vessels and motor bancas, were stranded in several ports where a no-sail order was imposed, the Philippine coast guard said.
In Taiwan, part of the annual Han Kuang military exercises were canceled Tuesday.
An exercise meant to simulate the use of a civilian airport if military runways were bombed out was canceled because it was located on the southeastern coast of Taiwan, where waves were already rising. At Taiwan’s southernmost point, waves had already risen to as much as 2.5 meters (8 feet), according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau.
The Han Kuang exercises are the largest annual exercises aimed at displaying the Taiwan military’s defense capabilities in case of an attack from China, which claims the self-ruled territory as its own. Land-based exercises for the Han Kuang drills are still ongoing in other parts of Taiwan.
AP reporter Huizhong Wu contributed from Taipei, Taiwan.