Philippines Urges Evacuations Ahead Of Christmas Day Typhoon

Philippines urges evacuations ahead of Christmas Day typhoon

MANILA, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 24th Dec, 2016 ) - Philippine authorities urged hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their homes on Saturday as a strong typhoon threatened to wallop the country's east coast on Christmas Day. Nock-Ten is expected to be packing winds of 222 kilometres per hour (138 miles per hour) when it makes landfall on Catanduanes, a remote island of 250,000 people, on Sunday, the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.

It is then expected to hit the country's main island of Luzon, including the capital Manila, on Monday. "We issued an advisory to local government units this morning to conduct preemptive evacuations," Rachel Miranda, spokeswoman for the civil defence office in the Bicol region that includes Catanduanes, told AFP. Bicol, an agricultural region of 5.5 million people, is often the first area to be hit by the 20 or so storms and typhoons that pound the archipelago each year.

The most powerful and deadliest was Haiyan, which left 7,350 people dead or missing and destroyed entire towns in heavily populated areas of the central Philippines in November 2013. The Philippine weather service warned of potentially deadly two-metre (six-and-a-half-foot) waves along the east coast, as well as landslides and flash floods from heavy rains. Local broadcaster ABS-CBN showed footage Saturday of long lines of trucks, cars and vehicles stranded at Bicol ports after the coastguard shut down ferry crossings to nearby islands as a precaution.