Schools, offices shut as typhoon bears down on Philippines

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Schools and government offices were shut in parts of the central

Philippines on Thursday and residents stocked up on supplies and food,

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 around 860 km (585

miles) east of the island nation on Thursday, the local weather bureau

said, packing winds of up to 195 kph (120 mph) with gusts of up to 230


It was expected to strengthen to a category 5 storm before slamming

into Eastern Samar province in the central Philippines on Saturday,

the weather bureau said.

Eastern Samar and the island of Leyte were worst-hit last November 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, cell phones are being charged.

People are buying food stuff, preparing fuel and gasoline supply,"

Mercado told local radio DZMM. "People are now conscious of


The national government said it had moved to Manila the Asia-Pacific

Economic Cooperation (APEC) informal senior officials meeting set for

Dec. 8 to 9 in the central Philippine city of Legazpi, near the likely

path of the typhoon.

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 U.S. navy showed the storm

veering north, closer to Manila.

The Southeast Asian country was hardest hit by extreme weather in

2013, said a report by a German government-funded think-tank


Concerns over extreme weather have been exacerbated by an apparent

shift in storm paths, with southern regions hit by powerful typhoons

in the past three years. About 20 typhoons strike the country each

year, most hitting the north along the main island of Luzon.

Credit: Reuters

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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