World

Evacuations in Philippines as explosive Typhoon Noru nears

September 25, 2022

MANILA — Thousands of people have been evacuated and government offices have been closed as a super typhoon bashes the Philippines eastern islands.

Typhoon Noru has caused gusts of up to 240kph (149mph) on the main island Luzon, where more than half of the country's 110 million population live.

Forecasters say the storm experienced an "explosive intensification" as it made landfall west of Luzon.

The storm could cause landslides, flash flooding and dangerous storm surges.

More than 8,400 people have already been evacuated from its path, and officials have warned that the storm also impact the country's capital, Manila.

The storm's speed increased by 90 km/h in 24 hours. Weather forecaster Robb Gile told news agency AFP that its increased speed was "unprecedented".

The Philippine weather service has issued a wind signal five for Luzon, the highest warning level that marks Noru as a super typhoon.

National police chief Gen Rodolfo Azurin urged people to comply with evacuation orders.

In Quezon Province, east of Manila, fishermen have been prevented from heading to sea, and there were reports of some areas being without power.

Flights and ferry services have been cancelled. On Luzon — the most populous island — President Ferdinand Marcos suspended all government work and school classes were also cancelled.

Thousands of volunteers are monitoring river levels, bridges and mountains for landslides, which could hamper rescue efforts, said Dick Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross.

Information will be crucial in getting help to where it is needed, he said.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean, is highly vulnerable to storms. It sees an annual average of 20 tropical storms.

An estimated 400 people died when Typhoon Rai hit the country in December 2021, with rescue teams describing scenes of "complete carnage".

And in 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical storms ever recorded, killed some 6,300 people. — BBC


September 25, 2022
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