Thousands of people were evacuated to safer ground as the Philippines prepared for the arrival of Typhoon Mangkhut, the most powerful storm expected to hit the archipelago in 2018, officials said Thursday.
Typhoon Mangkhut was tracked earlier in the day approaching the Philippines from the western Pacific at 20 kilometers per hour (12.4 miles per hour) and sustaining winds of up to 205 kph (127.3 mph). It is expected to make landfall in the country’s northern region on Saturday.
The extreme weather system was expected to bring “destructive winds, storm surges and heavy rains” that could swamp an area within a radius of 600 km (372.8 miles), officials warned. The size of the potential impact area practically covers more than a third of the Philippines.
As of Thursday, a BenarNews team en route to Cagayan province in the northern part of Luzon island – where the typhoon was expected to make landfall– reported that the area remained calm, but there was a sense of foreboding and panic.
Classes in Manila and northern provinces were cancelled for Friday, as residents, particularly in low-lying areas or near rivers and beaches, were told to flee to higher ground.
The welfare of an estimated 10 million people was of particular concern, said Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross.
Full story: BenarNews
Jeoffrey Maitem and Karl Romano
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