Thousands of people evacuated to government shelters as part of measures to contain destructive impacts.
ANKARA (AA) – Super Typhoon Rai, which upgraded from a typhoon gaining strength early in the day, slammed into the eastern parts of the Philippines Thursday.
The first landfall of the typhoon took place in Surigao del Norte’s Siargao Island at 0530 GMT, the country’s weather bureau PAGASA reported.
The bureau made warnings for “very destructive typhoon-force winds,” adding that storm surges, flooding and landslides are expected along the typhoon’s path.
The speed of the typhoon reached 195 kilometers (121 miles) per hour near the center with gusts of up to 240km/h (149 mph), it noted.
Also known as Odette, the typhoon has also affected 59 seaports in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao and Caraga, of which all are now non-operational.
Philippine’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that nearly 198,000 people in the area had been evacuated from their residences to government shelters.
The super typhoon is also expected to travel through the Surigao province on the tip of the Mindanao island and the Visayas region of the archipelago.
Preemptive evacuations and storm preparations began earlier in the week when the country started to see heavy rains.
Department of Social Welfare and Development reported that as many as 98,091 people have been evacuated to government shelters in Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga regions.
The Philippines has undergone as many as 15 storms, including Super Typhoon Rai, since the beginning of the year. Rai hit the country while millions of people were struggling to recover from the effects of previous storms, rebuilding their homes.