1.9M Filipinos to be affected by ‘Ompong’

Nearly two million Filipinos are expected to be severely affected by the oncoming “superthyphoon” Ompong (Mangkhut) when it hits Northern Luzon on Saturday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) said.

As many as 1.9 million residents live within the 200 kilometer radius of Typhoon Ompong’s projected track near Batanes, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte and Apayao on September 15, UN OCHA said.

The agency added that 429,012 houses are also expected to be battered by the typhoon.

Currently packing 200kph strong winds and gusts of up to 245kph, Ompong is expected to cause damage within its 200 kilometers radius with at least 100kph winds.

Basco, Batanes to the north and Tuguegarao City to the south of the storm’s path are expected to be severely affected.

In an information graphic released Wednesday night, the agency revealed that the eye of the storm is not expected to hit land but would barrel through between the Batanes Islands and Cagayan Province on Saturday.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in its severe weather bulletin of September 13, however, said Ompong is expected to make landfall near Sta. Ana, Cagayan early morning of Saturday.

Ompong is expected to be the strongest weather system to hit the country this year.

Supertyphoon Lawin (Haima) also hit Cagayan Province in 2016 with 250kph winds, causing 19 deaths and an estimated Php60 billion in damages to livelihood and properties. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)