(UPDATE) ‘Helen,’ now typhoon, leaves 2 dead
20,000 persons affected
MANILA, Philippines -- The storm tagged "Helen" (international codename: Kalmaegi) strengthened into a typhoon as it blew farther away from the country, leaving two people dead and close to 20,000 affected by floods.
One victim, 20-year-old Jonathan Dulay, was killed when the dump truck he was driving fell of a ravine in Talubin village, Bontoc town, amid heavy rains, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) reported.
The other fatality, 22-year-old Alex Lacamento, died after he was bitten by a snake while herding his cows to safety in Paoay town, Ilocos Norte province, the NDCC said.
A total of 19,150 people were affected by floods in 82 villages in nine municipalities in the Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions, most of them seeking refuge in the homes of relatives on higher ground, the NDCC said.
The storm also caused P45,000 in damage to livestock in Sta. Teresita town, Cagayan province, the NDCC said.
At 4 p.m., the eye of "Helen," which packs maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour, with gusts of up to 150 kilometers per hour, was located 310 kilometers north northeast of Basco in Batanes province, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.
The storm was forecast to be in the vicinity of Taipei, Taiwan or 490 kilometers north of Basco by Friday morning, and 190 kilometers north northwest of Taipei by Friday afternoon.
Only Batanes remains under public storm signal number 1.
However, "Helen" is expected to continue enhancing the southwest monsoon, bringing rains to Luzon, PAGASA said, as it warned residents in low-lying areas and mountain slopes against flash floods and landslides.