Latest Evacuation underway as ‘most powerful typhoon this year’ nears Philippines Philippine authorities were evacuating thousands of people from the path of the most powerful typhoon this year, closing schools, readying bulldozers…

A worker recovers net in a fish pen before Super Typhoon Mangkhut hits the main island of Luzon, in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, in Philippines, September 13, 2018. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
A worker recovers net in a fish pen before Super Typhoon Mangkhut hits the main island of Luzon, in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, in Philippines, September 13, 2018. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, NASA satellite image, Super Typhoon Mangkhut churns west towards the Philippines. (Lauren Dauphin/NASA Earth Observatory via AP)
A member of the Philippine Air Force stands in front of a satellite image of Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named Typhoon Ompong, at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council operations center in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipino forecaster Meno Mendoza illustrates the path of Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named “Typhoon Ompong” as it approaches the Philippines with sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour (127 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 255 kph (158 mph), at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Rescuers ready their gear before Super Typhoon Mangkhut hits the main island of Luzon, in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, in Philippines, September 13, 2018. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
People are seen inside an evacuation centre in preparation for Typhoon Mangkhut in Cagayan, Philippines, in this September 13, 2018 photo by LGU Gonzaga Cagayan from social media. LGU Gonzaga Cagayan/Social Media/via REUTERS
People are seen inside an evacuation centre in preparation for Typhoon Mangkhut in Cagayan, Philippines, in this September 13, 2018 photo by LGU Gonzaga Cagayan from social media. LGU Gonzaga Cagayan/Social Media/via REUTERS
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  • Evacuation underway as ‘most powerful typhoon this year’ nears Philippines
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    Philippine authorities were evacuating thousands of people from the path of the most powerful typhoon this year, closing schools, readying bulldozers for landslides and placing rescuers and troops on full alert.
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Philippine authorities were evacuating thousands of people from the path of the most powerful typhoon this year, closing schools, readying bulldozers for landslides and placing rescuers and troops on full alert.

More than four million people live in areas at most risk from the storm, which the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre in Hawaii categorised as a super typhoon with powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a category 5 Atlantic hurricane.

Typhoon Mangkhut is on course to hit north-eastern Cagayan province early on Saturday.

It was tracked on Friday about 250 miles away in the Pacific with sustained winds of 127mph and gusts of up to 158 mph, Philippine forecasters said.

Residents reinforce the roof of their house by putting heavy tires at a slum area in Manila on September 14, 2018. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty ImagesResidents reinforce the roof of their house by putting heavy tires at a slum area in Manila on September 14, 2018. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
Residents reinforce the roof of their house by putting heavy tires at a slum area in Manila on September 14, 2018. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
Residents reinforce the roof of their house by putting heavy tires at a slum area in Manila on September 14, 2018. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
Children that live along the coast of Manila play together on September 14, 2018(Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
Children that live along the coast of Manila play together on September 14, 2018. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
Randy Mediata, 34, a fisherman, reinforces his house on stilts constructed on a breakwater by tying some parts of his house using a rope at a slum area in Manila on September 14, 2018.(Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
Residents reinforce the roof of their house by putting heavy tires at a slum area in Manila on September 14, 2018. – Preparations were in high gear in the Philippines with super Typhoon Mangkhut set to make a direct hit in less than 24 hours, packing winds up to 255 kilometres per hour and drenching rains.(Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
Randy Mediata, 34, a fisherman, reinforces his house on stilts constructed on a breakwater by tying some parts of his house using a rope at a slum area in Manila on September 14, 2018. .(Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
Children that live along the coast of Manila play together on September 14, 2018. – Preparations were in high gear in the Philippines with super Typhoon Mangkhut set to make a direct hit in less than 24 hours, packing winds up to 255 kilometres per hour and drenching rains. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
A resident secures the window of his house as Typhoon Mangkhut approaching the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, north of Manila on September 14, 2018. – (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images
Residents watch as family members (L) secure the roof of their house as Typhoon Mangkhut approaching the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, north of Manila on September 14, 2018.(Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images
A resident checks her belongings inside a classroom used as evacuation center as Typhoon Mangkhut approaching the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, north of Manila on September 14, 2018. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images
A resident carries her belongings to a safer place as Typhoon Mangkhut approaching the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, north of Manila on September 14, 2018. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images
A resident carries a matrass inside a classroom used as evacuation center as Typhoon Mangkhut approaching the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, north of Manila on September 14, 2018. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images
A resident carries his belongings to a safer place while another runs as rains started to pour, with Typhoon Mangkhut approaching the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, north of Manila on September 14, 2018.. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images

With a massive rain cloud band 560 miles wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the typhoon could bring heavy to intense rains that could set off landslides and flash floods, the forecasters said. Storm warnings have been raised in 25 provinces across the main northern island of Luzon, restricting sea and air travel.

After the Philippines, the Hong Kong Observatory predicts Mangkhut will plow into the Chinese mainland early on Monday morning south of Hong Kong and north of the island province of Hainan.

Philippine authorities are preparing for a powerful typhoon (Aaron Favila/AP)Philippine authorities are preparing for a powerful typhoon (Aaron Favila/AP)
Philippine authorities are preparing for a powerful typhoon (Aaron Favila/AP)

Though it will weaken from a super typhoon to a severe typhoon, it will still be packing sustained winds of 109mph.

The observatory warned of rough seas and frequent heavy squalls, urging residents of the densely populated financial hub to “take suitable precautions and pay close attention to the latest information” on the storm.

The gambling enclave of Macau, next door to Hong Kong, suffered catastrophic flooding during Typhoon Hato last August that left 10 dead and led to accusations of corruption and incompetence at its meteorological office.

On the Chinese mainland, the three southern provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan are coordinating preparations, including suspending transport and moving people to shelter inland, the national meteorological agency reported.

People are seen inside an evacuation centre in preparation for Typhoon Mangkhut in Cagayan, Philippines, in this September 13, 2018 photo by LGU Gonzaga Cagayan from social media. LGU Gonzaga Cagayan/Social Media/via REUTERSPeople are seen inside an evacuation centre in preparation for Typhoon Mangkhut in Cagayan, Philippines, in this September 13, 2018 photo by LGU Gonzaga Cagayan from social media. LGU Gonzaga Cagayan/Social Media/via REUTERS
People are seen inside an evacuation centre in preparation for Typhoon Mangkhut in Cagayan, Philippines, in this September 13, 2018 photo by LGU Gonzaga Cagayan from social media. LGU Gonzaga Cagayan/Social Media/via REUTERS

Guangdong, China’s manufacturing hub, has set up 3,777 shelters, while more than 100,000 residents and tourists have been moved to safety or sent home.

The province has recalled more than 36,000 fishing boats to port, while train services between the cities of Zhanjiang and Maoming have been suspended and all ferry services between the Guangdong and Hainan have been put on hold.

Fujian province to the north of Guangdong is also closing beaches and tourist sites and preparing other measures depending on conditions, the agency reported.

Philippine Office of Civil Defence chief Ricardo Jalad told an emergency meeting led by President Rodrigo Duterte that about 4.2 million people in Cagayan, nearby Isabela province and outlying regions are vulnerable to the most destructive effects near the typhoon’s 77-mile-wide eye.

Nearly 48,000 houses in those high-risk areas are made of light materials and vulnerable to Mangkhut’s ferocious winds.

Across the north on Thursday, residents covered glass windows with wooden boards, strengthened houses with rope and braces and moved fishing boats to safety.

Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said by telephone that evacuations of residents from risky coastal villages and island municipalities north of the rice-and corn-producing province of 1.2 million people have started and school classes at all levels have been cancelled.

“The weather here is still good but we’re moving them now because it’s very important that when it comes, people will be away from peril,” Mr Mamba said.

A change in the typhoon’s track prompted authorities to rapidly reassess where to redeploy emergency teams and supplies, Mr Mamba said.

Mr Duterte asked Cabinet officials from the north to help oversee disaster-response work if needed, and told reporters it was too early to consider seeking foreign aid.

“It would depend on the severity of the crisis,” Mr Duterte said. “If it flattens everything, maybe we need to have some help.”

The typhoon is approaching at the start of the rice and corn harvesting season in Cagayan, a major agricultural producer, and farmers were scrambling to save what they could of their crops, Mr Mamba said. The threat to agriculture comes as the Philippines tries to cope with rice shortages.

Officials said other northern provinces started evacuating residents on Thursday from high-risk areas, including in northern mountain provinces prone to landslides.

Mr Duterte cancelled his appearance at a missile test firing aboard a navy ship off northern Bataan province due to the approaching typhoon.

On Guam, where Mangkhut already passed, residents dealt with flooded streets, downed trees and widespread power outages. Government agencies were conducting damage assessments and clearing roads, according to the Pacific Daily News.

About 80% of the US territory was without power but it was restored by Thursday morning.

Mangkhut, a Thai word for the mangosteen fruit, is the 15th storm this year to batter the Philippines, which is hit by about 20 a year and is considered one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing and displaced over five million in the central Philippines in 2013.

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