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Thousands of Filipinos evacuated as Typhoon Rai intensifies | Environment News


Rough seas and storm surges expected in coastal areas as well as flooding and landslides in mountainous regions along the typhoon’s path.

Tens of thousands of people are being evacuated from their homes in central and southern Philippines as a powerful typhoon quickly gathers strength ahead of its expected landfall.

The latest report from the Philippine weather bureau, PAGASA, on Thursday morning said that Typhoon Rai is undergoing “rapid intensification” as it heads towards the island province of Dinagat in the mid-eastern section of the country.

PAGASA said wind speed has accelerated to 165km (102 miles) per hour near the centre and gustiness of 205km (127 miles) per hour, and moving west-northwest.

It warned of rough seas and storm surges in coastal sections, as well as flooding and landslides in mountainous areas along the typhoon’s path.

Sailors have also been advised by PAGASA to remain in port or take shelter as sea conditions “are risky for all types of sea vessels”.

The typhoon is expected to make landfall on Thursday afternoon, bringing strong winds and rain in what would be the 15th typhoon — and one of the strongest — to hit the southeast Asian archipelago this year.

According to the national disaster mitigation agency, NDRRMC, seven regions in the country have been placed on the highest level in emergency preparedness and response protocol.

The seven regions located in the central and southern group of islands in the Visayas and Mindanao areas have a combined population of about 30 million.

Several of those areas have been advised to conduct preemptive evacuation. Suspension of work has been ordered in some areas including the province of Cebu, which has a population of eight million.

In the province of Eastern Samar in the Visayas, Governor Ben Evardone told DZMM radio station that nearly 30,000 residents have already been evacuated as of Thursday. The area was one of the hardest hit by super typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

In other parts of eastern Visayas, more than 17,000 people were also evacuated, according to news reports.

As early as Wednesday afternoon, emergency workers in Tandag, a southern coastal city with a population of more than 62,000, evacuated 3,668 families, the local government said, adding that the evacuees were housed in 18 temporary shelters.

In Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao, social media posts showed heavy rain and flooding in some areas of the city, which has a population of more than 675,000.

According to NDRRMC, the national government has placed on standby food and non-food supplies worth an estimated $6.6m.

On average, 20 typhoons hit the Philippine archipelago annually, bringing heavy rains that trigger deadly landslides.





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