Tropical storm injures 3 people, displaces thousands in Philippines

Manila, Philippines — A tropical storm raged out of the northern Philippines on Wednesday, injuring at least three people and displacing thousands, prompting authorities to close schools and government buildings in the capital and several provinces prone to flooding and landslides.

Tropical Storm Ma-on weakened slightly after moving over mountainous northern provinces and then set off overnight with sustained winds of 95 kilometers (59 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 115 kph (71 mph) after making landfall on Tuesday morning. had arrived in the town of Maconacon in Isabela province, forecasters said.

The storm could intensify at sea as it heads toward southern China, they said.

Though the storm’s onslaught was primarily felt in the northern tip of Luzon’s key region, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. As a precaution, classes in all public schools and government work from Tuesday to Wednesday in the densely populated metropolis of Manila and several remote provinces. from flooding and strong winds.

“The heavy rains pose potential risks to the general public,” press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said Tuesday.

The school closures came after millions of elementary and middle school students returned to schools in the Philippines on Monday for their first in-person classes after two years of coronavirus lockdowns.

The storm was one of the perennial problems facing education officials, along with classroom shortages, alarming child illiteracy and ongoing coronavirus threats after they decided to reopen schools across the country.

Three villagers were injured and taken to hospitals after being hit by falling trees in Cagayan province, security officer Rueli Rapsing said, and more than 7,000 people were evacuated from villages vulnerable to flash floods, landslides and tidal waves in Cagayan alone.

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Some of the counties affected by the storm were still recovering from the devastation caused by a powerful earthquake last month, raising concerns that earthquake-loosened mountain slopes would be more prone to landslides.

The Philippines is ravaged by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year and lies in the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” a seismically active arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin, making the archipelago one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. the world.

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