Evacuations begin as Typhoon Mangkhut approaches the Philippines

Typhoon has a rain band 900 km wide and could bring heavy rains that could set off landslides and flash floods.

    09/13/2018: An earlier version of this story stated that teams from the International Red Cross have been placed on alert. The correct designation is Philippine Red Cross, which is a separate organisation.

    Typhoon Mangkhut, the most powerful typhoon of the season, is closing in on northern Philippines, prompting thousands to evacuate ahead of heavy rains and fierce winds that are set to strike over the weekend.

    The typhoon has already blasted through the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, and is speeding across the Pacific with winds that can gust as high as 255 kmph.

    With a massive rain band 900 km wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the storm could bring heavy to intense rains that could set off landslides and flash floods, state forecaster Meno Mendoza said.

    {articleGUID}

    Teams from the Philippine Red Cross were placed on high alert in northern Luzon, where the storm is expected to make landfall on Saturday morning. 

    "We're worried for the 10 million people in the Philippines living in the path of this destructive storm, including those who have been displaced several times due to the monsoon rains last July and August," Senator Richard Gordon, the chairman of the Philippines Red Cross, said on Wednesday.

    "We are preparing our emergency assets and relief items. Our staff and volunteers are on high alert for possible deployment."

    Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said that northern coastal and island villages in the typhoon's projected path will begin evacuating residents on Thursday. 

    He said classes will be suspended and offices, except those involved in rescue and relief work, were advised to close on Friday.

    The storm strengthened rapidly and reached the equivalent of category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, it is expected to weaken to category 4 before it reaches Hong Kong and Macau. 

    Mangkhut is the 15th storm this year to batter the Philippines, which is hit by about 20 annually and is considered one of the world's most disaster-prone countries.

    <
    The economic toll of Typhoon Haiyan

    Counting the Cost

    The economic toll of Typhoon Haiyan

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.