Thousands evacuate as Philippines braces for typhoon Hagupit

Updated: 2014-12-05 17:26


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Thousands evacuate as Philippines braces for typhoon Hagupit

Residents cook their meals on higher ground after evacuating their homes due to super-typhoon Hagupit in Tacloban city, central Philippines December 5, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

About 10 million residents of the Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions of the central Philippines are at risk of flooding, storm surges and strong winds. AccuWeather Global Weather Center said more than 30 million people would feel the impact of the typhoon across the Philippines.

Eastern Samar and the island of Leyte were worst-hit by 250 kph winds and storm surges brought by Haiyan. About 25,000 people still live in tents, shelters and bunkhouses more than a year later.

In Tacloban City, Leyte, which accounted for about half of the death toll from Haiyan, about 19,000 people from coastal villages thronged into 26 evacuation centres, said Ildebrando Bernadas of the city's disaster office.

"We are expecting to double that once we implement forced evacuations," Bernadas said, adding about 95 percent of residents from coastal areas have been evacuated.

While the local weather bureau and the Japan Meteorological Agency predicted Hagupit making a direct hit on the central Philippines, Tropical Storm Risk, which tracks cyclones, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center of the U.S. navy showed the storm veering north, closer to the capital Manila.

Mario Montejo, the Philippines Science and Technology Secretary, said the differences in the forecasting models were due to methodologies used, but said the actual track of the typhoon hews close to the local weather bureau's model.

Tropical Storm Risk downgraded the typhoon to a category 4 on Friday - a level below "super typhoon" but still a very powerful storm - and forecast it would have weakened to category 3 by the time it made landfall.