Typhoon strikes Philippines; 750,000 evacuated to safety

Updated: 2015-12-15 08:05

By Reuters in Manila(China Daily)

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Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from the central Philippines on Monday as a typhoon with winds of up to 150 km/h made landfall, dumping heavy rain that could cause flooding, landslides and storm surges, authorities warned.

About 40 domestic flights were grounded, while 73 ferries and hundreds of fishing boats were ordered to remain in port as typhoon Melor hit the village of Batag on the northern tip of Samar island.

Known locally as typhoon Nona, it was expected to roll across nearby islands before making landfall later on Monday close to Sorsogon, about 385 kilometers southeast of the capital, Manila, on the heavily populated main island of Luzon.

 Typhoon strikes Philippines; 750,000 evacuated to safety

Fishermen unload their catch after their vessel was grounded because of Typhoon Melor in north Cebu Island, Philippines, on Monday. Charlie Saceda / Reuters

Melor was plotting a similar path to Haiyan, a category 5 typhoon that struck the central Philippines in 2013. Almost 8,000 people were killed or left missing by Haiyan.

Disaster authorities have temporarily closed schools and some offices and evacuated about 750,000 people in three provinces. About 8,000 people were stranded after the coast guard stopped ferries and fishing boats from leaving ports in the central Philippines.

"Melor is a very compact typhoon, so that will prevent its most devastating impacts from extending too far from its center," said AccuWeather meteorologist Adam Douty.

Drier air

He said the typhoon had weakened a little as it encountered drier air early on Monday. "While Melor will not slam onshore as a super typhoon as once feared, it still poses dangers to lives and property," Douty said.

Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said Melor was expected to cause flooding, landslides and storm surges of up to 4 meters and disrupt power and communications. About 20 provinces, some around Manila, are under public storm alert due to strong winds and torrential rains of up to 300 mm within a 300 km radius.

About 20 major typhoons pass through the Philippines each year.

 Typhoon strikes Philippines; 750,000 evacuated to safety

Military personnel evacuate residents from a village in the city of Legaspi in Albay province on Monday. Charism Sayat / Agence France-Presse

(China Daily 12/15/2015 page11)