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Thousands flee as typhoon hits Philippines
Authorities evacuate almost 150,000 people and shut down Manila as typhoon Rammasun surges through the capital.
Last updated: 16 Jul 2014 02:55
Rammasun was gusting up to 185kph on Wednesday with sustained winds of 150kph near its centre [Reuters]
Philippine authorities have evacuated almost 150,000 people from their homes and shuttered financial markets, government offices, businesses and schools as typhoon Rammasun continued to gather pace, hitting the capital Manila.
The typhoon, the strongest to hit the country this year, has already torn through eastern islands, toppling trees and power lines and causing blackouts.
On Wednesday, it 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.
"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.
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.
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.
Rammasun was expected to bring storm surges of up to three metres in coastal villages, the weather bureau said.
Al Jazeera and agencies
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.
No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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