BFF-67 Millions at risk as Philippines braces for strong Typhoon Mangkhut

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BFF-67

WEATHER-PHILIPPINES-TYPHOON

Millions at risk as Philippines braces for strong Typhoon Mangkhut

MANILA, Sept 12, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Millions of people are at risk from a
strong typhoon set to smash into the northern Philippines this weekend which
could bring floods, landslides and huge waves to the disaster-prone nation,
rescue workers said Wednesday.

Emergency workers have been deployed in the northern tip of the main
Philippine island of Luzon, where Typhoon Mangkhut is expected to make
landfall on Saturday.

It is currently barrelling across the Pacific with gusts of 255 kilometres
(160 miles) per hour.

“We’re worried for the 10 million people in the Philippines living in the
path of this destructive storm,” said Richard Gordon, chairman of the
Philippine Red Cross.

The state weather service said Mangkhut will be the strongest typhoon this
year, peaking at gusts of up to 270 kilometres an hour on Thursday before
easing to still-dangerous velocities as it approaches land.

The Philippine Red Cross estimates three million Filipinos live in the
direct path of Mangkhut, communications officer Mary Joy Evalarosa told AFP.

She said seven million others are at risk in the country, with the typhoon
expected to boost the intensity of seasonal monsoon rains that have already
caused widespread flooding in central Luzon, a mainly farming region north of
capital Manila.

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year,
killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.

Tropical Storm Yagi and monsoon rains last month caused heavy flooding
across central Luzon as well as parts of Manila, where an overflowing river
swept away cars in one district.

The country’s deadliest on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more
than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November
2013.

The state weather service said heavy rains and strong winds are expected
from Friday over the north and centre of Luzon, along with rough seas on the
coasts.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said
it expects “substantial damage” on the Philippine path of Mangkhut.

Storm surges of up to seven metres (23 feet) are expected to hit coastal
areas, it said, while heavy rains could trigger landslides and flash floods.

The civil defence office in Manila said towns and cities on Mangkhut’s path
are preparing government buildings as evacuation centres, stockpiling food
and other emergency rations, and preparing rescue teams and equipment.

Mangkhut is predicted to reach China’s southern coast around Sunday,
according to the Hong Kong Observatory.

BSS/AFP/SSS/1913 hrs