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Millions in Philippines brace for super typhoon

Rescuers load a rubber boat onto their vehicle as they prepare for Typhoon Haima in Ilagan town, Isabela province on October 19, 2016. Photograph: (AFP)

Agencies Manila, NCR, Philippines Oct 19, 2016, 08.24 AM (IST)

Millions of people in the Philippines were ordered today to brace up for Haima, one of the strongest typhoons ever to hit the disaster-battered country, international news agency AFP reported. 


Haima, referred to as Lawin in the Philippines, quickly strengthened over the weekend, reaching typhoon status on Sunday morning, local time, American weather forecasting service, AccuWeather, said today. 


It is likely to hit the remote communities in the far north of the country about 11:00 pm (1500 GMT) today, bringing winds almost on a par with catastrophic Super Typhoon Haiyan that claimed more than 7,350 lives in 2013, according to AFP. 


"It's not just heavy rain and strong winds that we are expecting. It's also floods, landslides and storm surges in coastal areas. Those in these areas, you are in danger. Find safer ground," Allan Tabel, chief of the interior ministry's disaster and information coordinating centre, told a nationally televised briefing, AFP reported. 


Haima, the 12th typhoon to hit the country this year according to Reuters, has been labelled a category 5 storm on a scale of 1 to 5 by Tropical Storm Risk and could cause flooding, landslides and storm surges of up to five metres (16.5 ft), the weather bureau has been quoted as saying by the international news agency. 


Some flights and classes have been suspended and the Philippine Coast Guard has banned sea travel and fishing. The weather bureau raised storm warning signals for the northern and eastern parts of main island of Luzon, home to industrial and export centres.


According to AFP, with Haima having a weather band of 800 kilometres (500 miles), more than 10 million people across the northern parts of the Philippines` main island of Luzon will be affected, government's disaster risk management agency said. 


Haima was approaching the Philippines with sustained winds of 225 kilometres an hour and gusts of 315 kilometres an hour, the state weather bureau said. 


"The typhoon is very strong and destructive because of its large diameter,"  Rene Paciente, assistant weather services chief at the weather bureau, has been quoted as saying by Reuters. 


(WION with inputs from agencies) 

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