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Deadly typhoon slams Philippines

At least 10 people killed as typhoon Rammasun surges south of capital Manila forcing 150,000 others to evacuate.

Last updated: 16 Jul 2014 09:20
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A typhoon has killed at least five people as it churned across the Philippines and hit just south of the capital, prompting the evacuation of almost more than 150,000 people, shutting financial markets, offices and schools, rescue officials said.

The eye of Typhoon Rammasun, the strongest storm to hit the country this year, passed to the south of Manila on Wednesday after cutting a path across the main island of Luzon, toppling trees and power lines and causing electrocutions and widespread blackouts.

An official with the Philippines' disaster management office confirmed to Al Jazeera that at least 10 people have been killed. 

Rammasun, also known locally as Glenda, brought storm surges to the Manila Bay area and prompted disaster officials to evacuate slum-dwellers on the capital's outskirts, the Reuters news agency reported. Storm surges could go up to three metres in coastal villages, the weather bureau said.

"The wind is very strong, stronger than the rains. It's something that I've never experienced in the past," Mark Leviste, vice governor of Batangas province, south of the capital, said in a radio interview.

Al Jazeera's Jamela Alindogan, reporting from Manila, said: "The government have been preparing since Monday but right now there are power outages, roads have been blocked, everything here in Manila has been shut down.

"The south of Manila by the bay is yet to experience the eye of the storm, but it's going to be crossing through and in Albay province they have started experiencing very strong winds and there have been reports of storm surges.

"People are worried but hoping the brunt of this typhoon will not be as strong as they are expecting." 

Parts of the Philippines are still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan, one of the biggest cyclones known to have made landfall anywhere.

It killed more than 6,100 people last November in the central provinces, many in tsunami-like sea surges, and left millions homeless.

Woman killed

Typhoon Rammasun was gusting up to 185kph on Wednesday with sustained winds of 150kph near its centre.

A 25-year-old woman was killed when she was hit by a falling electricity pole as Rammasun entered the country's eastern coast on Tuesday, the Philippine disaster agency said.

Nearly 150,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in low-lying and coastal areas. More than 60 international and domestic flights have been cancelled over the past two days.

Trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange and Philippine Dealing System, used for foreign exchange trading, were suspended after government offices were ordered shut.

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200 suffered a hole on its left wing when wind gusts pushed the aircraft five metres across the tarmac at Manila airport, hitting equipment parked nearby, airport officials said.

Tropical Storm Risk rated Rammasun as a category-three typhoon, on a scale of one to five, where five is the most severe.

It is set to bring heavy to intense rainfall of up to 30mm per hour within its 500km radius.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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