Philippines braces for Typhoon Mangkhut: Over 9,000 people moved to temporary shelters, emergency response teams on standby

Manila: Philippine authorities evacuated more areas on Friday and warned an estimated 5.2 million people in the path of a powerful typhoon to stay indoors, as the country braced for heavy rain and damage to infrastructure and crops.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut is expected to barrel through the northernmost tip of the Philippines early on Saturday, carrying 205 kph wind speeds, and gusts of up to 255 kph, that it has maintained since it struck Micronesia earlier in the week.

More than 9,000 people have been moved to temporary shelters as Mangkhut, locally known as Ompong, makes its way towards the rice- and corn-producing provinces of Cagayan and Isabela where it is forecast to make landfall at dawn on Saturday.

Weather forecasters warned of destructive storm surges as high as six metres in coastal villages in the typhoon’s path.

Second and third contingents of rescue teams were being prepared, in case first-responders get into trouble themselves, and disaster officials said tens of thousands more people may have to be moved.

“My appeal is that we need to heed the advice of the authorities. Stay indoors,” said presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, the government’s main coordinator for disaster response.

The storm picked up speed slightly on Friday and was about 450 kilometre east of the Philippines at noon. Footage posted on social media by Cagayan residents showed trees being w...

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