The super typhoon entered the Philippines and displaced 1 million people

The super typhoon entered the Philippines and displaced 1 million people

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (AP) – A super typhoon hit the eastern Philippines early Sunday morning and evacuated about a million people from its planned route, ordering the closure of a major international airport, including the capital.

“There are many areas that are really vulnerable,” said Ricardo Jalad, who heads the government’s disaster-response agency. “We expect big damage.”

Typhoon Connie blew at 225 km / h (140 mph) and 280 km / h (174 mph) at dawn in the island province of Catanduana – the equivalent of a Type 5 hurricane. It blows westward into densely populated areas, including Manila, with rain-soaked provinces recovering from a hurricane a week ago, killing at least 22 people.

“Within the next 12 hours, there will be catastrophic violent winds and heavy rain associated with the hurricane’s eye wall and internal rain groups,” the Philippine Meteorological Agency said in an emergency consultation.

It said the quake affected four cantonments and four other provinces, including Albe, where tens of thousands of villagers were evacuated to safety, especially near the active Mayon volcano, as mudslides have died during past storms. Residents have been warned of landslides, massive flooding, storms of more than 5 meters (16 feet) and strong winds that could blow down huts.

Connie, one of the most powerful hurricanes in the world this year, evoked memories of Hurricane Haiyan in November 2013, which killed and disappeared more than 7,300 people, flattened entire villages, wrecked ships inland and displaced more than 5 million in the central Philippines.

Nearly one million people have been relocated to emergency camps, mostly to schools and government buildings, Jalad said. He warned of possible storm surges in coastal villages, including the Gulf of Manila.

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Forecasters said the capital region of Manila, with a population of more than 13 million, could be hit by a hurricane or shepherd, and asked the public to stay calm from Sunday afternoon until early Monday morning. The hurricane could weaken significantly after hitting the Sierra Madre mountain range and then make landfall off the main north island of Lucerne and head south into the South China Sea.

Manila’s main airport was ordered to close for 24 hours from Sunday to Monday and airlines canceled dozens of international and domestic flights. The Army and National Police, along with the Coast Guard and firefighters, have been placed on full alert.

Jalat said about 1,000 COVID-19 patients were transferred to hospitals and hotels from tent isolation and treatment centers in the capital and the northern province of Bulacan. More emergency camps will be opened than usual to avoid the congestion that triggers epidemics quickly.

Hurricane preparations such as the war will further deplete government resources, which have been drained for months by the corona virus outbreak, which prompted the government to set up isolation and treatment centers when hospitals are overcrowded and to help more than 20 million poor Filipino people.

The Philippines reported more than 380,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the second highest in Southeast Asia, with 7,221 deaths.

Jalat said displaced villagers will still have to stay longer in evacuation centers after Connie left Tuesday due to another hurricane in the Pacific that could affect the Philippines in a few days.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 hurricanes and storms a year. It is located in what is known as the “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific, where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are the most active seismic activity around the Pacific region, making the impoverished Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 million people one of the worst disasters in the world.

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Associated Press journalists Aaron Favila and Joel Calupidon contributed to the report.

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