Typhoon Nock-Ten maintains intensity as it nears Philippines

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Manila, Dec 25 (IANS) Typhoon Nock-Ten maintains its intensity as it approaches the eastern Philippines, where it is expected to make landfall later on Sunday and remain in the archipelago until Wednesday.

With sustained winds of 175 kph and gusts of 215 kph, the typhoon, known as Nina in the Philippines, was located 150 km the east of Catanduanes island in Bicol region, the country’s meteorological agency PAGASA said.

At least 76,300 people have been temporarily relocated to sports venues and schools in the region that will be affected by the category-4 typhoon, graded second highest in the five-tier measurement system, Efe news reported.

The governor of Albay province said evacuation efforts were on and it could include the movement of up to a million people.

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Authorities have declared a state of alert in about a dozen provinces, where the passage of the typhoon is expected to cause heavy rainfall, The Inquirer newspaper reported.

An alert has also been issued regarding the possible rise in sea level by 2.5 metres — which poses a threat to the coastal localities of at least three provinces — as well as may cause floods and landslides.

Thousands of people have had to postpone their Christmas travel plans by boat owing to the storm.

The typhoon, which according to its current course will pass near Manila, could affect operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport near the country’s capital, said the department of civil aviation.

Nock-Ten is the third typhoon in the history of the country to hit the Philippines during Christmas time.

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