At least five dead as Typhoon Noru batters Philippines

At least five dead as Typhoon Noru batters Philippines

At least five people were killed as Typhoon Noru slammed into the Philippines, bringing intense rains and gale-force winds, local government and disaster relief officials said Monday.

The five casualties were members of the rescue team of Bulacan province, just north of Manila, according to provincial Governor Daniel Fernando.

The rescuers were on a boat in a flooded village when a wall collapsed on them on Sunday evening, Fernando said.

Noru was packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometres per hour (km/h) and gusts of up to 240 km/h when it made landfall in the Philippines on Sunday evening, the weather bureau said.

It has since weakened, and now has maximum sustained winds of 140 km/h and gusts of up to 170 km/h, the bureau said.

The typhoon moving west-northwest at a faster speed of 30 km/h and expected to exit the Philippines Monday evening, it added.

More than 8,000 residents in high-risk areas were evacuated from the path of the typhoon before its landfall, while dozens of domestic and international flights were cancelled. Sea travel was also suspended, leaving more than 1,000 passengers stranded in ports.

Power and communication lines were downed in the affected areas, but officials said utility services were being restored.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr conducted an aerial survey of the affected areas, but will not visit any of the locations yet to avoid interrupting relief operations.

The Philippine archipelago is hit by an average of 20 tropical cyclones every year.

The strongest typhoon to ever hit the Philippines was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which killed 6,300 people and displaced more than 4 million in November 2013.