Typhoon Hagupit: Half a million people evacuated in Philippines
More than 500,000 people have evacuated their homes as typhoon Hagupit approaches the Philippines.
Typhoon Hagupit, which weakened slightly on Friday night, is due to make landfall on Saturday evening.
It is on course for the Eastern and Northern Samar provinces and the city of Tacloban, where thousands were killed by Typhoon Haiyan a year ago.
It has weakened slightly but gusts are still peaking at 120mph.
Thousands of passengers were left stranded after Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific cancelled more than 150 flights to the central and southern Philippines on December 5 and December 6, and sea travel services were suspended.
President Benigno Aquino, who met disaster agency chiefs on Friday afternoon, has ordered food supplies to be sent to affected areas as well as troops and police to be deployed to prevent looting in the aftermath.
Local media reported Benigno Aquino as saying there was “no indication” for now that Hagupit, would be as strong as Haiyan.
Haiyan – known as Yolanda in the Philippines – was the most powerful typhoon ever recorded over land. It tore through the central Philippines in November 2013, leaving more than 7,000 dead or missing.
Typhoon Hagupit’s huge diameter of 370 miles meant that about 50 million people, or half the nation’s population, were living in vulnerable areas, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman told AFP news agency.
The latest update from Philippine weather authorities said that Hagupit, which means “smash” in Filipino, had weakened slightly, though it still had powerful gusts.
On Saturday it was churning towards eastern coasts with its eye 145 miles north-east of Borongan, in Eastern Samar province.
Residents of Eastern Samar reported rain was falling and power was fluctuating.
It could bring storm surges up to one storey high, as well as heavy rain and the risk of landslides, officials have warned.
Schools and government offices are closed in some areas and there were long queues at shops and petrol stations as people stocked up on supplies.
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