Typhoon Ketsana is located approximately 290 miles (465 kilometers) east of Hue in Vietnam and is tracking west, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Ketsana has intensified into a Category 1 typhoon over the last 24 hours and is moving at 10 mph (16 kmph) with sustained winds of around 92 mph (150 kmph). According to the JTWC, Ketsana is forecast to strengthen into a Category 2 typhoon before making landfall in Vietnam tomorrow. Earlier, Ketsana made landfall in the Philippines as a tropical storm, bringing heavy rainfall to parts of Luzon and causing severe flooding in the capital of Manila and surrounding areas.
According to the JTWC, Ketsana came ashore in the Philippines close to the province boundary of Aurora and Quezon in northern Luzon at around 10:00 UTC (18:00 local time) on September 26, 2009. Ketsana was a tropical storm at landfall, pounding northern Metro Manila and surrounding provinces with winds of up to 40 mph (65 kmph) and torrential rain that triggered widespread and severe floods. Officials said at least 140 people were killed in the floods and that another 450,000 people (almost 90,000 families) were affected by the storm. The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said around 115,000 of these were forced out of their flooded or destroyed homes and moved into 207 evacuation centers. Defense Minister Gilbert Teodoro said emergency services had so far been able to rescue more than 7,900 people. Thirty-two people remain missing, according to the NDCC.
Officials said the flooding was the worst to hit Manila in 40 years, with 80 percent of the capital submerged by floodwaters up to 6 meters (20 feet) deep at the height of the storm. Reports said the floodwaters have now receded in the capital and a thick coating of mud covered everything which was submerged. Telephone and power services in some parts of Manila remain cut.
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Surrounding areas also reported knee-deep floodwaters, prompting the NDCC to declare a “state of calamity” in Manila and 25 other storm-hit provinces in Luzon and Bicol (Aurora, Bataan, Batangas, Benguet, Camarines Sur, Carines Nortes, Catanduanes, Cavite, Ifugao, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, La Union, Laguna, Marinduque, Mimaropa, Mindoro, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga Bulacan, Pangasinan, Quezon, Quirino, Rizal, Tarlac, Zambales) . The NDCC said the economic damage has been estimated at about 1.4 billion pesos (USD30 million) so far, including 210 million pesos (USD4.5 million) in lost crops. Damaged roads and bridges accounted for most of the remaining costs.
Weather officials in the Philippines said more than 16 inches (400 mm) of rain fell on Manila within 12 hours on 26 September, exceeding the 15 inches (390 mm) average for the whole of September and beating the pervious record of 13 inches (330 mm) in 1967. Reports said the flooding has caused severe damage to infrastructure and property across the affected regions. Early assessments indicate that the worst of the damage appears to be in central and northern provinces of Luzon, including Manila, Pampanga and Rizal. More than 80 people were killed in Rizal alone and officials have said the death toll is likely to rise over the coming days as the floodwaters recede and rescue efforts continue.
Ketsana is currently moving over the South China Sea on a path that is likely to see the storm hit Vietnam tomorrow. Ketsana is forecast to make landfall close to the Vietnamese port city of Da Nang (population of around 750,000 people) within the next 24 hours as a Category 2 typhoon. Local authorities are evacuating people from areas that are at risk and reports said some domestic flights have been canceled.
Sources: Joint Typhoon Warning Center, WSI, Reuters News, BBC News, Agence France Presse, Associated Press, CNN News
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