Typhoon Rai makes landfall in southern Philippines

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Typhoon Rai, one of the strongest battering the Philippines this year, made landfall in Siargao Island in the southern Philippines, the Philippines’ weather bureau said.

Thousands of residents along its path were forced to be evacuated to safety after a typhoon struck Philippines on Thursday afternoon.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration said Rai intensified further as it approached Siargao in Surigao del Norte province, blowing maximum winds of 195 km per hour and with gusts of up to 240 km per hour when it slammed into the island at 1:30 p.m. local time (5:30 GMT).

The bureau said Rai was blowing north-westward at 30 km per hour with “destructive typhoon-force winds” and heavy rains over many regions in its path, Xinhua news agency reported.

Rai is forecast to move west north-westward and cross several provinces in the central Philippines regions before emerging over the Sulu Sea on Friday morning. It is forecast to cross the northern or central Palawan province on Friday afternoon or evening.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said more than 45,000 people in the central Philippines and northern Mindanao, including coastal villages, had been evacuated to safety due to the threat of flash flood and storm surge.

The Philippine Coast Guard said nearly 4,000 people, almost 1,800 rolling cargos, and more than 80 vessels were stranded in the central Philippines, Bicol region and northeastern Mindanao due to the typhoon threat.

Eastern Samar province Governor, Ben Evardone said nearly 30,000 residents from 21 of the 23 towns comprising the province had been evacuated.

“We are already feeling the impact of heavy rains and strong winds, especially in the southern part of the province,” he added.

Located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is highly vulnerable to multiple hazards. In recent years, the archipelagic country has been hit by major disasters, including super typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and the Taal volcano eruption in January 2020.

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