Lupit — a Filipino word for cruel — is the 18th tropical storm to threaten the country this year.
Tropical storms have claimed more than 800 lives till now in Philippines and as the nation tries to speed up help and rescue operations another storm is scheduled to hit Philippines. Typhoon Lupit or Ramil as it being locally called is following a similar path like Parma which had hit Philippines on October 3 this year killing more than 400 people. Ketsana which had hit on September 16 had triggered the worst floods faced by the nation in 40 years.
Lupit, which is now over the Pacific Ocean is holding up winds in the range of 108 mph (175 kph) and gusts of 130 mph (210 kph), may skip the capital, Manila, but is projected to slam into other parts of north Philippines in about three days, chief weather forecaster Prisco Nilo informed.
The typhoons have killed people, ravaged properties and left millions homeless. While as an aftermath of the destructive rains and floods the health officials say 1.7 million people exposed to floodwaters in and around metropolitan Manila were being threatened by Leptospirosis, a disease spread by water contaminated with urine of infected animals. The disease has already claimed 96 lives among the 1,336 reported cases.
“If the NEC projection of (leptospirosis) attack rate of 10 to 25 percent is right, we can expect some 4, 000 people to be admitted for confinement, and more deaths in the coming days or weeks,’’ she (Dr. Yolly Oliveros, director of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (NCDPC)) stressed.
The government has been readying plans and is stocking up relief material in strategic locations as a precautionary measure before Lupit hits. About 85 tons of rice, canned sardines, noodles, blankets and mosquito nets were being packed and will be delivered to the areas in north which were cut off by the earlier cyclones.
People in the high risk areas have been asked to move out to safer shelters and army is coordinating in such efforts with civil authorities. President Gloria Arroyo has ordered the police to guard abandoned homes in the path of the typhoon, to protect them from looters.
Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP) is helping the mission but is wary of the issues like internal strife with the armed groups which has been put on an informal cease-fire.
“Wala tayong time line dito. As soon as ma-assess natin with the NDCC itong epekto ng kalamidad, kung nakakaahon na ang local government, maari na mag-pullout ang tropa nang sa ganoon maari tayong mag-focus sa internal security operations (We do not have a time line for this. Once we assess that local government can handle the work and our troops can pull out, we can focus again on internal security operations),” Brawner (AFP spokesperson Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr.) said in an interview on dzBB radio.