DAPA: Thousands of people in the Philippines fled their homes and beach resorts when a strong typhoon lashed the archipelago on Thursday (December 16). Authorities warned of destructive winds and torrential rains.
Typhoon Rai had a maximum sustained wind of 165 kilometers per hour as it sped toward the central and southern regions of the vast archipelago, the state meteorological agency said.
They warned, however, that wind speeds could increase to 195 km / h before the storm hits land near the popular tourist destination of Siargao in the afternoon.
« Destructive typhoon winds … can cause moderate to severe damage to structures and structures Vegetation, « she added.
More than 45,000 people were looking for shelter when the storm hit the Pacific Ocean, said the national civil protection agency.
Among them were local tourists visiting the famous beaches before Christmas and visited dive sites in the country. Foreign travelers are still banned from entering the Philippines due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
Numerous flights have been canceled and dozen ports temporarily closed, as the weather department warned that storm surges several meters high in low-lying coastal areas would become « life-threatening Floods.
Rai, locally known as « Odette », hits the country late in the typhoon season, with most cyclones developing between July and October.
It is expected to hit the Visayas Region and the islands of Mindanao and Palawan, before surfacing over the South China Sea on Saturday and heading for Vietnam.
The Philippines – as one of the world’s most vulnerable to the effects of a warming planet, each year of hit an average of 20 storms and typhoons, which usually destroy crops, homes and infrastructure in already impoverished areas ten.
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