Powerful typhoon rips off roofs, floods parts of Philippines

Cheryl Sanders
December 3, 2019

Typhoon Kammuri has lashed the Philippines, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents and the closure of Manila's global airport as a safety precaution.

Typhoon Kammuri was forecast to blow near Mindoro island province south of the Manila metropolis by the afternoon before passing into the South China Sea.

The storm, which made landfall in Sorsogon province, is said to have maximum sustained winds of 175 km/h (110mph), with gusts of up to 240km/h, with storm surges of up to three metres (nearly 10ft) expected, the weather service said. The archipelago of more than 100 million people also lies in the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", a seismically active region where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common, making the Philippines one of the world's most disaster-prone countries. READ: Typhoon Kammuri threatens SEA Games The storm entered Philippine territory Saturday evening, shortly before President Rodrigo Duterte and boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao launched the Games with a colorful opening ceremony.

About 340,000 people had been evacuated from their homes in the central Bicol region, disaster officials said.

The Philippines is now hosting thousands of Southeast Asian athletes for biennial regional games that opened on Saturday.

But some chose to stay despite the storm's impending arrival. "Roofs are being torn off and I saw one roof flying", local resident Gladys Castillo Vidal told AFP. "Hopefully it can withstand the storm". Windsurfing was halted as a precaution and triathlon events were held earlier than scheduled, an official said at the weekend.

The shutdown from 11 a.m.to 11 p.m. will affect some 480 scheduled landings and departures, both domestic and worldwide, said Ed Monreal, General Manager of the Manila global Airport Authority.

"Right now (Tisoy is at) 150 kph which is the same strength as typhoon Glenda, so Tisoy we expect to gain more strength before landfall", PAGASA Weather Forecaster Aldczar Aurelio told CNN Philippines.

The country is hit by an average of 20 typhoons each year.

Organisers said wind surfing competitions have been postponed and other events would be delayed if needed for safety but there was no plan to extend the 11-day games. "For contingency, all venues, all competition managers, technical delegates are ready".

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