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Super Typhoon Lashes Philippines, Tens of Thousands Evacuated
By Staff, Agencies
Tens of thousands of people were evacuated in the Philippines as “one of the world’s strongest storms” of the year made landfall in mid-eastern parts of the island nation.
The Philippine’s weather bureau, PAGASA, said Typhoon Rai made its first landfall in Surigao del Norte’s Siargao Island at 05:30 GMT on Thursday.
It warned of “very destructive typhoon-force winds” in parts of the country and said it expected to see storm surges in coastal areas, as well as flooding and landslides in mountainous areas along the typhoon’s path.
PAGASA said wind speed has accelerated to 195 kilometers near the center with gusts of up to 240km/h.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center [JTWC] of the US Navy has declared Rai as a super typhoon.
It is the 15th typhoon to hit the country this year. Official figures show some 100,000 people have now fled their homes.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies called the typhoon, which is locally known as Typhoon Odette, “one of the world’s strongest storms of 2021” and said it is “threatening millions of people with destructive winds and flash floods.”
“Filipinos are tough but this Super Typhoon is a bitter blow for millions of people who are still recovering from devastating storms, floods and COVID-19 in the past year,” said Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross.
According to the national disaster mitigation agency, NDRRMC, eight regions in the country have been placed on the highest level in emergency preparedness and response protocol.
The eight regions located in the central and southern group of islands in the Visayas and Mindanao areas have a combined population of more than 30 million.
Several of those areas have been advised to conduct a preemptive evacuation.
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