Evac­u­a­tion be­gins as ty­phoon nears Philippines

Western Mail - - UK & WORLD NEWS -

PHILIP­PINE author­i­ties were evac­u­at­ing thou­sands of peo­ple from the path of the most pow­er­ful ty­phoon this year, clos­ing schools, ready­ing bull­doz­ers for land­slides and plac­ing res­cuers and troops on full alert.

More than four mil­lion peo­ple live in ar­eas at most risk from the storm, which the Joint Ty­phoon Warn­ing Cen­tre in Hawaii cat­e­gorised as a su­per-ty­phoon with pow­er­ful winds and gusts equiv­a­lent to a Cat­e­gory 5 At­lantic hur­ri­cane.

Ty­phoon Mangkhut is on course to hit north-east­ern Ca­gayan prov­ince early on Satur­day. It was tracked on Fri­day about 250 miles away in the Pa­cific with sus­tained winds of 127mph and gusts of up to 158 mph, Philip­pine fore­cast­ers said.

With a mas­sive rain­cloud band 560 miles wide, com­bined with sea­sonal mon­soon rains, the ty­phoon could bring heavy to in­tense rains that could set off land­slides and flash floods, the fore­cast­ers said. Storm warn­ings have been raised in 25 prov­inces across the main north­ern is­land of Lu­zon, re­strict­ing sea and air travel.

Af­ter the Philippines, the Hong Kong Ob­ser­va­tory pre­dicts Mangkhut will plough into the Chi­nese main­land early on Mon­day morn­ing south of Hong Kong and north of the is­land prov­ince of Hainan.

Philip­pine Of­fice of Civil De­fence chief Ri­cardo Jalad told an emer­gency meet­ing led by Pres­i­dent Rodrigo Duterte that about 4.2 mil­lion peo­ple in Ca­gayan, nearby Is­abela prov­ince and out­ly­ing re­gions are vul­ner­a­ble to the most de­struc­tive ef­fects near the ty­phoon’s 77-mile-wide eye.

Nearly 48,000 houses in those high-risk ar­eas are made of light ma­te­ri­als and vul­ner­a­ble to Mangkhut’s fe­ro­cious winds.

Ca­gayan Gov­er­nor Manuel Mamba said that evac­u­a­tions of res­i­dents from risky coastal vil­lages and is­land mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties north of the rice-and corn-pro­duc­ing prov­ince of 1.2 mil­lion peo­ple have started and school classes at all lev­els have been can­celled.

Chip So­mod­ev­illa

> Vol­un­teers help res­cue three chil­dren from their flooded home in James City af­ter Hur­ri­cane Florence made land­fall in North Carolina

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