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2 dead, hundreds evacuated, flights cancelled as 'Lawin' hits Visayas, M'danao
The online news portal of TV5

(UPDATE  2- 9:13 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines -- At least two people died on Monday as typhoon "Lawin" (international code name: Jelawat) continued to dump heavy rains over Visayas and Mindanao. 

A five-year-old child, identified as Mark Anthony Mallari, was hit by a tree in the city's Barangay Labuan amid incessant rains became the first fatality, according to Senior Supt. James Mejia, city police chief. 

The second victim, identified as Jessie Sam, 31, of Bgy. Bungtod, Bogo City died after being hit by lightning. 

A certain Samsudin Moccadam, 27, was reported missing in Barangay San Vicente, Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte.

Lawin has so far affected 433 families in the city, particularly in the west coast villages of Labuan, Patalon, San Jose Gusu, Baliwasan, and Sta. Cruz Island. Also, 580 families have been affected by landslides in the east coast villages of Vitali, Tictapul, Mangusu, Boalan, Divisoria, Tugbungan and Lanzones.

Fourteen local flights have been cancelled on Monday as Lawin hit areas in the Visayas region. 

As of 3 p.m., the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) said that seven turnaround flights bound for different destinations in the Visayas had been cancelled as airlines deemed it too risky to proceed with the flights. 

At the NAIA Terminal 3, Air Philippines cancelled its turnaround flights to Masbate (2P021 and 2P022); Calbayog (2P091 and 2P092); and Catarman (2P029 and 2P030). 

Cebu Pacific similarly called off three round-trip flight services to Dumaguete City (5J625; 5J626; 5J627; 5J628; 5J629; and 5J630) and another round-trip flight from Manila to Cotabato (5J887 and 5J888).

At the NAIA Terminal 4, Zest Air cancelled its turnaround flight to Masbate (Z2260 and Z2261).

The airlines said all affected passengers would be accommodated on the next available flight once weather improves in the affected areas. 

Passengers are advised to contact their respective airlines for further announcement.

Earlier, the United States' Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center has already classified Lawin as a super typhoon.

On Monday morning, state weather bureau Pagasa (Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) had lowered storm signals over the Samar provinces but it said that the typhoon continued to gain strength and now packs maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up 210 kph.

The center of typhoon Lawin was last estimated at 480 kilometers east of Legazpi City.

The typhoon is still expected to dump moderate to heavy rains over Mimaropa, Bicol, Visayas, and Mindanao and residents in these areas are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides. Meanwhile, Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon will experience occasional light to moderate rains and thunderstorms. Northern Luzon will experience partly cloudy skies with brief rains or thunderstorms.

The typhoon is not expected to make landfall, based on Pagasa's models. It is forecast to move north northwest at 7 kph and is expected to be 420 km east of Virac, Catanduanes by Tuesday morning and 530 km east of Casiguran, Aurora by Wednesday morning. 

Gale warning is also up over the northern and eastern seaboards of Northern Luzon (Cagayan and Isabela) and the eastern seaboard of Central and Southern Luzon and the seaboards of Visayas and Mindanao (Aurora,Quezon Province, Camarines Provinces, Catanduanes, and Albay) due to rough to very rough seas from the typhoon.

Flooding also hit Barangay Tupilac in Zamboanga Sibugay, affecting 50 people. No evacuations took place. In Tungawan, also in Zamboanga Sibugay, flooding also affected 40 families in Barangay Upper Tungawan and damaged six houses.

A total of 74 families with 200 people were also evacuated in Barangay Tugbungan, Zamboanga City due to floods. Flooding was also reported in Sirawai and Siocon in Zamboanga del Norte.

Three families were evacuated in Camp Limbaga, Barangay Pasonanca, Zamboanga City after four acacia trees were uprooted, damaging three houses. No casualties were reported.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said that over 4,000 passengers and hundreds of vehicles and rolling cargoes were reported stranded in the ports of Matnog, Sorsogon; Tagbilaran, Bohol; Cebu; Balwarteco, Allen, Northern Samar; and Dapdap, Allen, Northern Samar.

Local authorities provided assistance to stranded passengers.