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Heavy damage makes assessment tough after Haima slams Philippines

Heavy damage was reported to homes and farmland in the northern Philippines on 20th October after the strongest storm in three years struck overnight.

Typhoon Haima barreled into northern Cagayan and Isabella provinces, ripping the roofs off homes and flattening crops.

Nearly every building in the city of Tuguegarao was damaged, Philippine media quoted officials as saying. The city’s communication links were down, and phone calls to the archdiocesan office in Tuguegarao did not connect.

Across the district, many roads were flooded or blocked by fallen trees. Aid groups said the disruption made it difficult to assess the extent of damage, with one aid official calling it “a communications black hole.”

Thousands of people in neighbouring Isabella province spent the night sheltering in public evacuation centres such as schools and churches.

“Most of the time, the churches serve as evacuation centres if the government evacuation centres cannot accommodate some of the people,” April Ann Abello-Bulanadi, a spokeswoman for Catholic aid group Caritas Philippines, said.

Picture: A woman in Bangui, Philippines, stands outside her house damaged by a fallen tree on 20th October after Typhoon Haima hit. Heavy damage was reported to homes and farmland in the northern Philippines after the strongest storm in three years struck overnight. (CNS photo/Erik De Castro, Reuters).