Bangkok, Dec 16 (EFE).- Philippine authorities evacuated more than 45,000 people Thursday before the imminent arrival of Typhoon Rai, the Disaster Management Council reported in its latest update.
Rai, known as Odette in the Philippines, will cross the southern central region of the Philippines from east to west, including part of Leyte Island, Mindanao and Negros, with sustained winds of 185 kmph and gusts of up to 230 kmph, the meteorology department reported.
“The typhoon is intensifying even more as it continues to approach the vicinity of the provinces of the Dinagat-Surigao islands,” the council said.
Authorities have raised the alert to level four out of five on several islands off the country’s east coast where the typhoon, the strongest to hit the Philippines this year, will make landfall for the first time.
Dozens of flights have been suspended, while maritime transport and overland travel have been banned in the affected regions.
Rai, the 15th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, forced the postponement of much of the massive vaccination campaign planned against Covid-19 throughout the regions where the meteorological phenomenon is expected to occur.
About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines yearly and the most destructive was Super Typhoon Haiyan – the largest known to make landfall – which hit the Samar and Leyte islands in November 2013, killing some 7,000 people and leaving 200,000 families homeless.
The Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to the climate crisis and natural disasters, as it sits on the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire,” an area responsible for about 90 percent of the planet’s seismic and volcanic activity. EFE