Philippines typhoon prompts Christmas evacuation prep


Officials in the Philippines are preparing for evacuations as Typhoon Nina approaches the northern part of the country. The storm is expected to make landfall on Christmas Day.

Tropical Storm Nina, or Nock-Ten as it is known locally, is currently over the Pacific Ocean. It is traveling west toward the Philippines with current sustained winds of 150 kmh (93 miles per hour).

Mina Marasigan, a spokesperson for the country’s national disaster agency, said preemptive evacuation orders were in place for certain areas at risk due to the approaching storm and that families “have started fleeing to safer and higher grounds.” Land, sea, and air travel has been suspended in nine provinces as well. Many holiday travelers are stranded due to the cancelations.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued a warning on Saturday indicating that the storm is gathering strength as it moves toward land. Officials predict the storm will first reach land at Catanduanes over the course of the day on Christmas. The storm is expected to continue west and reach the capital, Manila, on Monday.

PAGASA advised that sea travel is currently risky on the seaboards of Luzon and Visayas.

The first level of tropical cyclone warning signals has been triggered at locations in those regions as well, with wave heights of up to four meters (13 feet) reported.

In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan – one of the strongest ever recorded to make landfall – struck the Philippines and killed over 6,000 people. Over four million people were impacted by the devastating storm.

mz/rc (AFP, Reuters)