Powerful Typhoon Rai made landfall in the Philippines on Thursday, the state weather agency reported, as thousands of people sought refuge. before the strongest storm to hit the Asian country this year.
The typhoon “made landfall on Siargao Island at 1:30 PM (05:30 GMT),” said Beni Estareja of the meteorological agency.
Philippine authorities have evacuated more than 45,000 people in the face of Typhoon Rai, reported in its latest update the Council for Disaster Management (NDRRMC).
Rai, known as Odette in the Philippines, will cross from east to west the southern central region of the Philippines, including part of Leyte Island, Mindanao and Negros, with sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 230, reported today the meteorology department PAGASA.
“The typhoon intensifies even more as it continues to approach the vicinity of the provinces of the Dinagat-Surigao islands”, underline the NDRRMC.
Authorities have raised the alert to level 4 (out of a maximum of 5) 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.
The arrival of Rai, the fifteenth typhoon to pass through 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 run.
An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year and the most destructive was Super Typhoon Haiyan – the largest known to make landfall – which in November 2013 hit the islands of Samar and Leyte, killing some 7,000 people and leaving 200,000 families behind. homeless.
The Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to the climate crisis due to natural disasters and, in addition, it sits on the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, an area that accumulates around 90% of the seismic and volcanic activity on the planet .
(With information from EFE)