Philippine Capital Opens Post Storm as It Braces for Another

Philippine financial markets and government offices opened today after the strongest cyclone to hit the capital in eight years left at least 40 people dead and millions still without electricity.

Typhoon Rammasun, packing maximum winds of 140 kilometers per hour (87 mph) and gusts of as much as 170 kph as of 8 a.m. today, left the Southeast Asian nation this morning and may hit northern Vietnam on July 19. A low pressure area, which may develop into a storm, was estimated at 940 kilometers east of northern Mindanao island, the Philippine weather bureau said in a 4 a.m. report.

Power supply has been restored in 64 percent of Manila Electric Co.’s franchise area, which includes the capital and nearby provinces, following outages that hit more than 90 percent of its coverage, the nation’s largest power retailer said in a 7 a.m. advisory. About 1.8 million customers are still without power, it said later today. Government offices and markets were shut yesterday as Rammasun lashed Luzon island, including the capital, leaving a trail of topped trees, electric posts and about 420,000 people fleeing their homes.

Rammasun’s impact was “nowhere near the magnitude of Yolanda,” Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson told a press briefing yesterday, referring to Super Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,200 people in November. The Philippines, battered by cyclones that form over the Pacific Ocean, is the most-at-risk nation globally from tropical storms after Japan, according to research company Maplecroft.

Schools Shut

Typhoon Xangsane, with top winds of 193 kilometers per hour and track similar to Rammasun, left at least 184 people dead after hitting Manila and nearby provinces in 2006. Haiyan, the strongest cyclone in the world to hit land, had maximum winds of almost 315 kilometers per hour.

At least 40 people were killed, and 4 are still missing, the government’s disaster risk agency said in a report today. At least 668 million pesos ($15.3 million) worth of rice and other crops were damaged, he said.

Schools in most cities in greater Manila remain closed today, according to a government website. The provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte were placed under a state of calamity to speed aid and freeze prices of basic goods.

Too Early

Damages from the storm may add pressure to inflation, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said in a mobile-phone message, adding it’s too early to say how it will affect consumer-price gains.

“If at all, any damage to crops could add pressure to the supply chain even as this is expected to be one-off,” Guinigundo said.

A brewing storm has been identified in the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines, the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center and the Japan Meteorological Agency said on their websites. As many as 10 typhoons may develop or enter the Southeast Asian nation this quarter.

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