The formal opening ceremony of the Philippine-hosted 2019 Southeast Asian Games at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan this past Saturday went off without much of a hassle, as the audience was entranced by the spectacle dance and song numbers as well as the entrance of the competing athletic delegations. For somebody at the scene, it would seem hard to believe that a typhoon was barreling towards the country. Then again, it was expected to arrive over the weekend, but only made its landfall in this week. Actually it was more than one landfall, and at last the expected SEA Games interruptions and airport closures occurred.
As ABS-CBN News has it, Typhoon Tisoy (international name Kammuri) is fixing to make yet another landfall at any time today. Already the weather disturbance has done three. The first was late night (11PM) of Monday, December 2, at Sorsogon. It was followed by an early-morning landfall (4AM) in Burias Island, and then a third time four and half hours later at Marinduque on 8:30. The projected fourth landfall of Tisoy is at the two-province island of Mindoro, estimated by Benison Estajera of state weather bureau, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
In addition to the expected damages to crops, electrical grid, vegetation and urban structures, Tisoy has naturally forced the postponement of several events in the ongoing SEA Games. Some of these events with rescheduled dates are: December 4 (surfing, petanque, polo, skateboarding, underwater hockey, and sepak takraw) and December 5 for sailing/windsurfing. Muay thai has been shifted anytime from December 4-8, while boating events (canoe/kayak/traditional) will take place on December 6-8 instead. According to Malacañang, depending on the location, a Signal number 1 will suspend all outdoor events of an affected venue, while Signal number 2 will suspend all games.
Typhoon Tisoy’s effect on transportation cannot be ignored either. This Tuesday, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) announced a 12-hour shutdown of flight operations. The closure took effect at 11AM before noon, and will be lifted later this evening at 11PM. No less than 480 scheduled domestic and international landings and departures. But then it would be necessary to avoid the risks of flying then winds around the airport are at 120 km/h or 65 knots, enough to be considered “destructive.” Thousands of passengers found their flights cancelled under major carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, although both will also offer free-of-charge rebooking and refunds.
Evacuations of people from the path of Tisoy, the 20th large storm to hit the Philippines, are expected first from the first-struck region of Bicol. No less than 340,000 people were reported to have been displaced by the typhoon there.
Image courtesy of CNN Philippines