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Philippines – Maysak makes landfall

Former Typhoon Maysak has crossed the coast of the northern Philippines, where thousands of people were evacuated ahead of the storm’s arrival.

Forecasters said although Maysak had been downgraded to a much weaker tropical storm, the threat of significant damage remained.

Ahead of the storm’s arrival, meteorologists warned the former typhoon would still bring moderate to heavy rains and peak winds reaching 95 kilometres per hour.

Eighteen provinces were placed under a storm alert and were advised to prepare flash floods, storm surges and landslides.

Sea travel in the region was cancelled, stranding more than 600 passengers in major eastern ports, while several airports were closed and flights cancelled.

Defence officials enacted an evacuation plan on Saturday before the storm made landfall.

“We plan to move people out of coastal villages,” said Nigel Lontoc, a senior civil defence official for the region. 

Some 24,000 people from the coastal province of Aurora, where the storm was projected to make landfall, would be evacuated, Mr Lontoc said.

Plan International said people evacuated from their homes were expected to “go back to their homes later this afternoon or tomorrow”. 

Emergency response manager Richard Sandison said a lot of people were in danger, but that things went “very smoothly”.

As a super typhoon, , but was forecast to weaken further as it crosses the main Philippine island of Luzon.

It was also possible the storm would weaken even further as it crossed the north-east coast Luzon on Sunday morning, state weather forecaster Jun Galang said. 

“At those lower intensities, we can eliminate the threat posed by storm surges,” he said, referring to giant tsunami-like waves that had prompted local officials to evacuate coastal villages in the area.

Such waves caused many of the fatalities when Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the country in November 2013, leaving more than 7,350 dead or missing. 

About 20 typhoons and storms hit the Philippines each year, many of them deadly, but such weather disturbances are rare in April, the height of the tropical Asian nation’s dry season.

– Weatherzone/ABC/CNN


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