FILIPINOS in Bahrain were desperately trying to contact relatives at home yesterday after a typhoon tore across the Philippines’ main island, leaving behind at least seven dead and bringing the capital Manila to a near standstill.
One Bahrain resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said he felt helpless after learning Typhoon Nesat had destroyed part of his family home – leaving his loved ones without shelter.
The typhoon flooded roads, villages and cut power supplies.
The agricultural provinces of Isabela and Aurora were the most heavily affected initially, although storm alerts were also hoisted in over 40 other areas, including Metro Manila.
Typhoon Nesat also forced the closure of the Philippine Stock Exchange and the US Embassy, and the ground floor of Manila’s main hospital was flooded.
At least seven people have been killed, including several children.
As Nesat approached, the Filipino authorities ordered the evacuation of more than 100,000 in central Albay province.
The typhoon is expected to continue slowly across the country, before blowing across the South China Sea towards southern China tomorrow.
The presidential palace announced the suspension of all classes and work at government agencies in Manila and other affected areas.
Some roads around Manila, a sprawling megacity of more than 12 million people, were impassable due to flooding and falling debris, including branches that had been ripped off trees.
Operations of Manila’s main overhead railway system ground to a halt due to a power failure, stranding passengers during the rush hour.
Gulf Air confirmed that flights arriving to Bahrain were delayed by four hours due to the weather condition.
“A flight was to have arrived from the Philippines at 5pm, but it was delayed for four hours and arrived at 9pm,” said a spokesman.
“The system doesn’t show if flights arriving or departing from the Philippines would be cancelled or postponed.”
The GDN spoke to several Filipinos living in Bahrain who said they were unable to contact their families as all telephone lines are down.
A Filipino, who didn’t want to be named, said his house was partially damaged due to the typhoon and he was unable to get in touch with his family.
“It is really worrying me, as I am unable to contact my family,” he told the GDN.
“A friend of mine called and informed about the damages. It’s flooded everywhere as I can see on the television.
“I am helpless sitting here while my family is suffering there.
“My family is without a shelter as they are staying in the open, fearing the other part of the house may fall down any minute.
“We can replace things, but not people’s lives.”
Bahrain Precast employee Emanual Paloma from Echague, Isabela, said lines are down and it was impossible to contact families.
“I am worried about them and hope they are fine,” he said.
Meanwhile, Filipino Club vice-president Esmeralda Silos urged community members to collect donations for the affected people.
“We started collecting blankets, clothes, food items and other things during the last typhoon,” said Ms Silos.
“Our brothers and sisters are in trouble and they desperately need our support.
“We need to start collecting now so we can help them in time.”
For donation or more enquiries, please call Ms Silos on 39633210. The Philippines suffers frequent typhoons, about 20 a year, but Nesat is thought to be the largest this year.