NDRRMC: 2 disaster responders dead from landslides caused by 'Ompong'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) — Typhoon Ompong left at least two people dead, disaster management officials said Saturday.

The two emergency responders in the Cordillera region were the first casualties confirmed by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

"Confirmed meron nang dalawang patay, parehong mga responders na tumugon sa pagligtas ng mga naapektuhan (We confirm two dead, they are responders who helped save those affected by the typhoon)," NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad said in a televised briefing.

 

He did not give details, but said 42 landslides have been recorded in the Cordillera region as Ompong battered Luzon.

The Armed Forces did not rule out the possibility that the two be among the 5,786 disaster responders it deployed throughout the country.

The NDRRMC said the number of casualties may rise as it receives unverified reports of typhoon-related deaths.

PNP data show 3 killed

The Philippine National Police, meanwhile reported three casualties, including a young girl aged nine to 12 whose body was found floating in Marikina River. The river reached second alarm on Saturday, which means residents are advised to evacuate.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque who led the briefing said, "Dalawa pa rin yung kumpirmadong patay dahil yung sinasabing nahanap sa Marikina River ay mukhang baka hindi storm-related."

[Translation: "There are two confirmed dead since the body found in Marikina River may not be storm-related."]

The police said two other people died in Baguio City landslides, four injured and two missing during the onslaught of Ompong.

 

Meanwhile, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan told CNN Philippines at least five died, as the typhoon battered their city. Rescue operations are ongoing for more or less five missing people.

All major access roads to Baguio City – the Naguilian Road, Marcos Highway and Kennon Road – are currently closed due to landslides.

"We have a lot of landslides that, of course, caused a lot of damages to our barangays and our city," Domogan said.

Police earlier reported a security guard was crushed to death in Caloocan City on Saturday, while an eight-month-old baby drowned in flood in Albay province early Friday.

Ompong's wrath

Meteorologists described Ompong as the strongest for the country this year, prompting the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to raise Signal No. 4 in some areas, including Cagayan, where Ompong hit land early Saturday.

The alert level indicates winds of more than 185 kilometers per hour (kph), strong enough to uproot large trees and could severely damage houses and buildings.

More than 100,000 fled to safe grounds to escape the fury of Typhoon Ompong.

Over a hundred domestic and international flights were called off on Saturday, while some cities and municipalities across the country have announced class and work suspensions.

LIST: Flight cancellations due to 'Ompong'  

Electricity has been out in eight Northern Luzon provinces as of Saturday morning. The strong winds have toppled over signages and trees, and torn off roofs of establishments in several parts of the country.

READ: 'Ompong' destroys equipment, communication system at Tuguegarao airport  

PAGASA said Ompong has weakened ahead of its expected exit Saturday night. The state weather bureau, however, warned of continuing hazards and threats that could be caused by the typhoon, including landslides, floods and storm surge.

See how the country has been battered by this strong typhoon below.

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong and Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.