By Adrian Portugal and Neil Jerome Morales
BULACAN, Philippines -Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr conducted an aerial survey of damage on Monday brought by typhoon Noru, which left heavy flooding across several northern provinces as authorities rushed to get aid to thousands of evacuees.
Five rescue workers were killed in Bulacan province, its Governor Daniel Fernando told DZMM radio, while residents there were seen wading through waist-deep waters and other stranded on rooftops.
Floods submerged swathes of farmland and communities in the north, video and images shared by the president’s office showed, after the category 3 typhoon dumped heavy rains and brought strong winds after making landfall at the weekend.
“This is the worst flooding that happened here,” resident Elpidio dela Cruz told Reuters in Bulacan, standing in a knee-deep water outside his house.
“The water reached the second floor,” he added.
Another Bulacan resident, Teody Simbulan, appealed for aid. “People here need help like food, water and medicine,” he added.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, sees an average of 20 tropical storms yearly. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, killed 6,300 people.
Marcos ordered supplies to be airlifted and equipment be provided to help the cleanup in worst-affected communities. He also directed officials to provide emergency power to cut-off areas.
Typhoon Noru weakened after passing through the Philippines on Sunday night and was headed out over the South China Sea towards Vietnam, where authorities were racing to prepare for its arrival late on Tuesday.
The government has warned of the threat of Noru, anticipating what it said was one of the biggest typhoons to hit Vietnam in 20 years.
Photos from state media showed people rushing to fortify homes, anchor boats and stock up on food.
Schools have been closed and boat owners ordered to stay ashore in central provinces, while the government said it was ready to evacuate about a million people if necessary.