‘Basyang’ causes major damage in Luzon

TYPHOON Basyang (international codename Conson) ripped through the main Philippine island, leaving a trail of wreckage in Manila and sweeping shanties into the sea, officials and witnesses said Wednesday.

The Office of Civil Defense said 19 fishermen from the eastern island of Catanduanes had failed to return home and were missing at sea after the typhoon hit the area late Tuesday.

There were no immediate reports of fatalities but communication systems were down amid the chaos of the typhoon’s aftermath, and disaster relief officials were still trying to determine the extent of the damage.

Electricity was knocked out throughout the main island of Luzon, including the country’s capital where fallen tree branches and other debris littered the streets.

Manila’s overhead railway system was also shut down due to the power outage. Knee-high floods and fallen trees were still blocking some roads in and around the capital, obstructing traffic.

The government called off classes at grade and high school levels in Manila.

Several flights in and out of Manila were cancelled as the typhoon was passing but airport officials said their operations had returned to normal after the storm passed.

Basyang, packing maximum gusts of 120 kilometers (74 miles) an hour, hit the eastern side of Luzon late Tuesday and crossed the island before exiting before dawn Wednesday, heading west into the South China Sea at 22 kilometers an hour. (PIA-Bohol)

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