Philippines: In preparation for a powerful typhoon that is projected to make landfall on Thursday afternoon in the central and southern Philippines, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from coastal areas.
Wind speeds of up to 165 kilometres per hour (102.5 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 205 kilometres per hour have been recorded by Typhoon Rai, which has been elevated to a category 4 hurricane, the second-most powerful rating, according to the Philippines’ weather bureau.
In the past two days, about 30,000 inhabitants of Eastern Samar province, which was one of the hardest impacted by super typhoon Haiyan in 2013, have been evacuated from their houses, according to Governor Ben Evardone, who spoke to the DZMM radio station in the province.
According to Evardone, “we are already being pummelling by high winds and rain.”
Surigao del Sur, in the southern Philippines, has already begun to experience the effects of the storm’s ferocity.
According to Lita Escarez, who had been evacuated from a seaside town, “the wind and rain are quite powerful.” “We haven’t had breakfast yet because we are unable to walk outside due to the rain.”
Airlines cancelled scores of flights, while transportation authorities in the central and southern Philippines barred sea and land transit, stranding thousands of passengers in ports.
Because of the storm, the government of the Southeast Asian nation has decided to postpone the start of a mass immunisation campaign in most regions of the country.
The Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,600 islands, is hit by approximately 20 tropical storms per year, bringing flooding and landslides throughout the country.