Authorities in the Philippines have started evacuating people from coastal villages in central and southern regions of the nation as the powerful typhoon Rai was fast approaching.
Officials went door-to-door asking villagers from the coastal areas in Southern Leyte provinceto move to safer grounds due to the threat of flash floods, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said over 2,000 passengers, drivers, and helpers, more than 1,000 rolling cargoes, 60 vessels and 18 motorboats are currently stranded in the central Philippine, Bicol region, and northeastern Mindanao.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned that the typhoon could bring strong winds and heavy rains.
As of Wednesday night, the typhoon was spotted 485 km east of Surigao del Sur province.
The bureau said the storm was blowing northwestward 25 km per hour, packing 130 km per hour winds and gusts of up to 160 km per hour.
Already, the bureau raised warning signals in several areas on the typhoon’s path.
The bureau said Rai, the 15th tropical cyclone to lash the country this year, is forecast to make landfall in the vicinity of Caraga or Eastern Visayas on Thursday afternoon or evening.
Further intensification is expected before making landfall, the bureau added.
Located in the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, the Philippines is among the most disaster-prone countries globally, including active volcanoes, frequent earthquakes, and an average of 20 typhoons a year causing floods and landslides.
In recent years, the Philippines has been hit by several major disasters, including super typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and the Taal volcano eruption in January 2020.