Philippines evacuates thousands over typhoon
Manila, December 3, 2012
Philippine President Benigno Aquino told people on Monday to take storm warnings seriously as authorities evacuated thousands of residents of coastal and mountain regions hours before the biggest typhoon this year was due to hit.
Typhoon Bopha, with winds of 175 kph (108 mph) and gusts of up to 210 kph (130 mph), is expected to make landfall early on Tuesday on the southern island of Mindanao.
"The potential destruction of this typhoon is no joke," Aquino said in a national television and radio address.
People should heed evacuation calls to avoid a repeat of a typhoon last year that killed 1,500 people on Mindanao, he said.
"This is the strongest typhoon to hit the country in 2012 ... I expect you to cooperate to avoid losses," Aquino said.
The storm cloud approaching the country was 600 km (370 miles) across and it would bring heavy rain that could cause floods and landslides, he said.
Disaster authorities have suspended ferries, banned small fishermen from going to sea, closed schools and suspended small-scale mining operations.
Emergency shelters have been set up and soldiers, police and emergency workers are evacuating entire coastal areas in some regions.
But Farm Minister Proceso Alcala said he expected minimal damage to rice and corn crops as they had only recently been planted and could be replaced quickly if damaged.
About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, often causing death and destruction. – Reuters
More INTERNATIONAL NEWS Stories
- US exits GM stake in $10bn loss for taxpayers
- World leaders gather for Mandela memorial
- Tearful Thai PM urges protesters to take part in polls
- Chinese 'spied on Europeans before G20 summit'
- Bitter cold, ice grip US East Coast
- EU scraps duty on jet fuel imports
- Tech giants call for more controls on surveillance
- Thai PM dissolves parliament, calls snap polls
- Arabs seek nuclear arms-free Middle East
- Anti-Russia protests rage in Ukraine, Stalin statue felled