Philippines: Thousands evacuated to shelters as Typhoon Rai approaches

Thousands were evacuated to emergency shelters in southern and central Philippines on Thursday as super typhoon Rai approaches, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

Forecasters said they last tracked Typhoon Rai, with sustained winds of 185 kilometers (115 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 230 kph (143 mph), about 175 kilometers (109 miles) east of southern Surigao del Norte province. It was moving northwestward at 25 kph (15 mph). The typhoon, locally called Odette, was expected to hit the Dinagat Islands in the southeast later in the day.

Several southern and central provinces were on typhoon alert. Residents were warned to stay away from coastal and low-lying villages and other high-risk areas due to possible flash floods, landslides and tidal surges in or near the typhoon’s path.

About 20 storms and typhoons batter the Philippines each year. The archipelago is also located in the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire” region, making it one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.



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