| Many flee from Philippines storm
| Friday, November 23, 2007
|Tens of thousands of people are being moved from their homes in the Philippines as emergency crews prepare for the oncoming Typhoon Mitag.
The storm, packing 175km/h (109mph) winds, is expected to strike in the Bicol region on Saturday and could hit the capital, Manila, the following day.
Officials fear the typhoon could cause lethal mudslides in some areas.
Meanwhile, Vietnam is bracing itself for Typhoon Hagibis, which left 13 dead in the Philippines earlier this week.
Thousand of people are being evacuated by the Vietnamese authorities, and a search is under way for at least 25 sailors whose boat capsized after being lashed by high winds in the South China Sea.
Forecasters said Mitag had slowed and was gathering intensity off the eastern islands of the Philippines.
Government meteorologist Nathaniel Cruz told the Associated Press there was a "strong possibility of storm surges".
He noted that Mitag could intensify into a "super typhoon" with winds reaching 220 kph.
"The end result is that more things will be blown down and destroyed," he said.
Joey Salceda, governor of Bicol's Albay province, said more than 60,000 people had been evacuated.
But he told the Philippines Daily Inquirer newspaper hundreds of thousands more still needed to be moved, and that the authorities were now carrying out "forced evacuations".
Classes in Albay's public schools have been suspended so the buildings can be converted into shelters.
Military and police trucks are being used to transport residents to evacuation centres.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said Manila was in the storm warning area, with the outer edges of the typhoon's centre due to pass the capital on Sunday.
Reuters reported that workers were dismantling advertisement billboards placed along the capital's major roads, fearing they could collapse and kill people.
Earlier, President Gloria Arroyo gave the order to evacuate those at risk.
She said she did not want a repeat of last year's Typhoon Durian - which killed hundreds and left tens of thousands homeless, mainly in the Bicol region.
|posted by Moderator Londen time 3:01 PM