Waves injure 4 taking ‘selfies’ during typhoon

Four people were injured after huge waves generated by Typhoon Chedeng hit them while they were taking “selfies” along the shoreline of Dipaculao town in Aurora province Saturday, hours after it made landfall.

Chedeng, whose strength weakened to 155 kph from its earlier super-typhoon classification, dissipated shortly after hitting Isabela province.

The disturbance was downgraded to a tropical storm after it decreased to 115 kph before midnight Saturday and became a tropical depression while moving inland to Isabela province.

Chief government weather forecaster Esperanza Cayanan said the absence of moisture along the path of Chedeng and the presence of forests weakened it.

“When Chedeng approached land towards Isabela, the water was cold, prompting the typhoon to slow down and eventually lose strength,” Cayanan explained.

Pagasa viewed the sudden change of Chedeng’s behavior as a “miracle.”

The four injured, whose identities were not immediately available, sustained cuts and abrasions in different parts of their bodies after they were hit by huge waves while taking photos of the typhoon and themselves.

One of the victims, reportedly a tourist from Pasay City, was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of severe cuts.

On the eve of Chedeng’s arrival in Aurora and Isabela provinces, waves measuring five meters high forced residents along the shoreline to flee.

Other than the four injured persons, the NDRRMC has not received any reports of casualties reports after Chedeng, the third typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, hit Dipaculao, Aurora and Isabela province at about 8 a.m.

Earlier, Chedeng forced 2,140 persons from the three coastal towns of Divilacan, Maconacon and Dinapigue in Isabela and the towns of Dilasag, Baler, Casiguran and Dipaculao, all fronting the Pacific coastline, to move to various temporary shelters.

NDRRMC, in its 5 p.m. update, reported that all evacuees were permitted to return to their respective residences because there was no longer any impending threat to them.

Meanwhile, at least 361 passengers and eight passenger vessels were stranded in different ports in Bicol, Palawan and Polilio Island, while 12 ships and 75 motorized bancas took shelter in Southern Tagalog islets due to rough seas spawned by Chedeng.

Meanwhile, Malacanang yesterday assured the United Nations that the Philippines is making disaster risk reduction a priority of the government.

“First of all, disaster risk reduction should be a priority of the government. This is one of the pillars or one of the programs of the Philippine Development Plan. So that up to the highest level of the administration, we have a climate change Cabinet cluster that oversees all concerned agencies which are responsible to face the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. during yesterday’s interview over state-run dzRB.  With Sandy Araneta and Macon Ramos-Araneta

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