Residents flee typhoon headed for Philippines

first_imgMANILA, Philippines – Thousands of residents fled their homes in the eastern Philippines as a typhoon bore down Thursday on a region ravaged last year by floods and volcanic mudslides that killed more than 1,000 people, officials said. Typhoon Mitag was packing 88 mph winds as it churned westward from the Philippine Sea toward an expected landfall during the weekend, chief government forecaster Nathaniel Cruz said. Disaster officials said about 50,000 people have fled or evacuated to temporary shelters in and around the Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon provinces on the southern tip of the main Philippine island of Luzon. In Vietnam, officials prepared to evacuate 500,000 people as another typhoon took aim at the southern coast of the country. Typhoon Hagibis, packing 83 mph winds, is expected to make landfall in Vietnam by the weekend, an official said Thursday. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsHagibis was 375 miles east of the southern hub of Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday afternoon, and has already left 13 people dead in the Philippines, including seven people buried in landslides in Surigao del Norte province in the south. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, worried about a repeat of last year’s disaster, ordered mass evacuations in the typhoon’s expected path and cut short her trip to Singapore, where she was attending an Asian summit. “It’s been raining for many days in some areas, and these are ripe for landslides,” said Glenn Rabonza, administrator of the Office of Civil Defense. Rabonza warned that storm surges from a powerful typhoon could wreak havoc on coastal villages. Cruz said if the typhoon doesn’t change direction, it will make landfall in Bicol by Saturday morning. But the storm could also veer northwest and hit Quezon province, north of Bicol, the next day. Officials say tens of thousands more might have to evacuate Albay, which last year bore the brunt of Typhoon Durian that triggered flash floods and unleashed tons of volcanic debris, wiping out entire communities and killing more than 1,000 people. About the same number of people died in 2004 in Quezon when it was hit by successive storms and typhoons. Albay Gov. Joey Salceda has suspended classes so some schools can be used as temporary shelters.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img