Super typhoon Hagupit downgrades to tropical storm yet inflicts damage and flooding in the Philippines

Since Friday, news of a super typhoon possibly making a direct hit to the Philippines province last year devastated by typhoon Haiyan kept the nation and the world on the edge of their seats. Weather forecasts predicated that typhoon Hagupit would add further devastation to Tacloban and the surrounding areas which have not yet fully recovered from Haiyan.

According to national media reports, over 1 million people in the projected path were evacuated but the typhoon began to lose strength over the weekend. Although it made landfall four times, it downgraded from a super typhoon to a tropical storm by the time it passed south of capital Manila in the early hours of Tuesday morning. As of Wednesday, national media reported 27 deaths, widespread flooding and minimal damage compared to Haiyan’s wreckage.

 ADRA Philippines and East Visayan Conference have deployed relief operation teams to north and east Samar, the area most directly affected. The regional airport is closed so overland travel is necessary thus slowing response time. Power outages are also affecting contact with Adventist headquarters in the affected areas. As of Wednesday, there are no reported casualties among Adventists; however, the actual amount of damage to Adventist institutions has not yet been determined.

[Gay Deles and Teresa Costello]

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