Schools and government offices were shut in parts of the central Philippines Thursday as another huge typhoon made a beeline for the area.
Residents stocked up on supplies and food, Reuters reported, as provinces yet to recover from last year’s devastating super-typhoon Haiyan braced for another category 5 storm.
Typhoon Hagupit was churning across the Pacific about 860 kilometers east of the island nation, the local weather bureau said, packing winds of up to 195 km/h with gusts of up to 230 km/h.
It was expected to strengthen to a category 5 storm before slamming into Eastern Samar province on Saturday, the weather bureau said.
Eastern Samar and the island of Leyte were hit worst in November last year by typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall, which left more than 7,000 dead or missing and more than 4 million homeless or with damaged houses.
Local government officials and emergency teams from the Red Cross, army and coastguard were on alert for possible swollen rivers, landslides, flash floods, and storm surges, said Roger Mercado, governor of Southern Leyte province.
“All radios and televisions are open, cellphones are being charged. People are buying foodstuffs, preparing fuel and gasoline supply,” Mercado told local radio DZMM. “People are now conscious of preparations.”
The national government said it had moved to Manila the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation informal senior officials meeting set for Monday and Tuesday in the central Philippine city of Legazpi, near the likely path of the typhoon, Reuters said.
But while the local weather bureau and the Japan Meteorological Agency predicted Hagupit — Filipino for lash — making a direct hit on the central Philippines, the forecasting website Tropical Storm Risk and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center of the US navy showed the storm veering north, closer to Manila.
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