September 29th, 2009

Update: Typhoon Ketsana

Posted at 11:00 AM ET

small-typhoon-ketsana-2Typhoon Ketsana made landfall in central Vietnam at around 06:00 UTC (14:00 local time) earlier today as a Category 2 typhoon with sustained winds of around 105 mph (170 kmph). The typhoon came ashore around 37 miles (60 kilometers) south of Da Nang (population of around 750,000 people) and early reports indicate at least 22 people have been killed in the country. Widespread flooding and power outages have also been reported in Vietnam. Earlier, Ketsana made landfall in the Philippines as a tropical storm over the weekend, bringing devastation to parts of Luzon as heavy rain triggered severe flooding in the capital of Manila (population of around 15 million) and surrounding areas.

Some 170,000 people were evacuated from six central provinces in Vietnam as Ketana’s strong winds and heavy rain began lashing the country’s central coast. According to reports, Ketsana triggered widespread flooding and power outages in areas located close to the landfall point. Officials in the cities of Da Nang and Hue said the storm’s powerful winds and heavy rain caused some damage and deaths were reported in the provinces of Binh Dinh, Kon Tum, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Thua Thien-Hue. Authorities remain on alert in Vietnam and airports and schools have been closed.

The extent of the devastation in the Philippines has become clearer over the last 24 hours as the cleanup operation continues. 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 246 people have now been confirmed dead and another 1.94 million people (almost 335,000 families) were affected by the storm. The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said around 315,000 of these were forced out of their flooded or destroyed homes and moved into 556 evacuation centres. The NDCC added that more than 2,200 homes have been totally destroyed and another 1,050 were damaged. Defence Minister Gilbert Teodoro said emergency services had so far been able to rescue more than 12,300 people. Thirty-eight people remain missing, according to the NDCC.

typhoon-ketsana-2

Hazard data illustrated in the CAT-i map was taken from i-aXs®, Guy Carpenter’s web-based risk management platform. i-aXs users can view impacted areas on any map as well as see how their portfolios were affected. Please contact your broker or Instrat® representative for assistance or go to www.i-axs.info for further information.

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. Reports said the airport in Manila airport was closed for hours and businesses were shut as power and communications were cut.

Surrounding areas were also flooded by knee-deep floodwaters and several landslides were reported, prompting the NDCC to declare a “state of calamity” in Manila and 27 other storm-hit provinces in Luzon and Bicol (Aurora, Bataan, Batangas, Benguet, Bulacan, Camarines Nortes, Camarines Sur, Carines Nortes, Catanduanes, Cavite, Ifugao, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, La Union, Laguna, Marinduque, Mimaropa, Mindoro, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Quirino, Rizal, Tarlac, Zambales). The NDCC said the infrastructure and agriculture costs have been estimated at about 4.7 billion pesos (USD100 million) so far, including 3.1 billion pesos (USD65 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 September 26, 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. TV networks broadcast images of mud-covered communities, cars upended on city streets and reported huge numbers of villagers without drinking water, food and power. 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 180 people were killed in Manila and Rizal and officials have warned the death toll could rise over the coming days as the floodwaters recede and rescue efforts continue. Moreover, two new storms have developed in the West Pacific recently and forecasters warned they could head towards Luzon by the end of the week.

Sources: Joint Typhoon Warning Center, WSI, Reuters News, BBC News, Agence France Presse, Associated Press, CNN News, NDCC

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