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Nearly 200,000 evacuated, airport shut ahead of typhoon

Reuters/DPA Manila

Tuesday، 03 December 2019 01:15 AM

The Philippines evacuated 200,000 people in coastal and mountainous areas due to fears of flooding and landslides and said it would also shut its main international airport as a powerful typhoon was set to make landfall.
Typhoon Kammuri, the 20th typhoon to hit the country this year, was expected to make landfall on the Philippines’ main Luzon island, packing 165kph wind speeds and gusts of up to 230kph, the weather bureau said.
Airport authorities said all four terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the capital Manila would be closed from 11:00am to 11:00pm (0300 GMT to 1500 GMT) today as a precaution.
To give priority to those flights affected by the shutdown, regular runaway maintenance will be suspended for three days after normal service resumes, they said.
Authorities raised the tropical cyclone warning level for 35 provinces and told people in areas in the path of the Category 3 typhoon to be on alert for possible landslides, storm surges and floods triggered by heavy winds and rain.
The disaster agency said 200,000 people had been evacuated from dozens of provinces in southern Luzon.
The Philippines is playing host to the 30th Southeast Asia Games which will run through Dec 11.
It has suspended canoeing and windsurfing competitions scheduled for Dec 3. The country is hit by an average 20 typhoons each year.
Meanwhile, at least one person was killed and more than 212,000 people were displaced as Typhoon Kammuri battered the eastern Philippines yesterday, officials said.
More than 4,100 people were also stranded at seaports in the eastern region of Bicol, after the coastguard prevented ferries from setting sail due to the stormy seas.
One person in Bicol was electrocuted and died, according to Major Ma. Luisa Calubaquib, a regional police spokeswoman.
No other details were immediately available.
Of those displaced, almost half — 108,168 — were residents of Albay province, one of the areas where Kammuri was expected to make landfall later or early today, according to the weather bureau.
The typhoon could also make landfall over the provinces Sorsogon or Catanduanues, where strong winds and heavy rain were reported yesterday, police said. The weather bureau warned that Kammuri could trigger flash floods, landslides, mud flows and waves as high as three metres.
Kammuri gathered power and slowed down as it approached the eastern region of Bicol, the weather bureau said in a report at 7pm (1100 GMT) yesterday.
Winds reached 155 kilometres per hour with gusts of up to 190 kilometres per hour, as the typhoon moved west at 15 kilometres per hour.
The weather bureau raised typhoon alert warnings for nearly 50 provinces and the metro areas of the capital, Manila.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the government was closely monitoring the typhoon and emergency teams were on standby.

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