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One killed as typhoon hits Philippines, hundreds of flights halted

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    Reuters

Manila, Philippines   /   Tue, December 3, 2019   /   01:40 pm
One killed as typhoon hits Philippines, hundreds of flights halted This NOAA/RAMMB satellite image taken at 23:30 UTC on September 27, 2018, shows Typhoon Trami off the Japanese south coast in the Philippine Sea. A large, very strong typhoon churned towards Japan Friday, with the weather agency warning the storm would rip through the nation over the weekend, bringing violent winds and torrential rain. Typhoon Trami, packing gusts of a maximum 162 kilometers per hour near its centre, was in the Pacific spiralling slowly towards Japan's southern islands. (NOAA/RAMMB /AFP/Agustin Paullier)

A typhoon struck the Philippines on Tuesday, killing one man and bringing heavy rains that prompted suspension of air travel and government offices in the capital, and warnings of floods, storm surges and landslides.

Local governments evacuated some 225,000 people ahead of the arrival overnight of Typhoon Kammuri, known locally as Tisoy, which weakened slightly and picked up speed as it moved across central parts of the archipelago.

Kammuri, the 20th typhoon to hit the country this year, brought winds of 150 kph (93 mph) and gusts of up to 205 kph (127 mph), damaging some homes and structures and felling trees and signage in urban areas.

A 33-year-old man died after being electrocuted while attempting to fix his roof, a civil defence official in the Bicol region told local radio.

Some 499 flights were postponed and 100,000 people impacted by a rare precautionary closure of all four terminals at Manila's main airport for 12 hours until 11:00 p.m. Tuesday (1500 GMT).

Air travel continued in unaffected areas of the country.

Pictures posted by social media users showed waves crashing against bulwarks, panels flying off roofs, trees on roads or being battered by strong winds.

Disaster agency spokesman Mark Timbal said good preparation had minimised the human impact so far.

"We've seen great improvement in local government management of preparations for disasters," he told news channel ANC.

"The pre-positioning of supplies was executed well before arrival of the storm."

Authorities warned of storm surges of up to three metres and floods and landslides from heavy winds and rain.

Government offices and schools were closed in Metropolitan Manila and affected areas and utilities firms appealed for patience ahead of anticipated power outages. The coastguard halted commercial sea travel in affected areas.

Worst hit was the airport in Legazpi City, where television footage showed structural damage and cables, lighting and panels hanging from the ceiling over departure areas.

Provincial governor Al Francis Bichara said it was important that a mandatory evacuation of tens of thousands of families had taken place.

"The wind was so terrible," he said. "Some of their houses were badly damaged."

The Philippines is hosting the Southeast Asian Games until Dec. 11 and organisers postponed several events until later in the competition, among them surfing, kayak, windsurfing, polo, sailing, skateboarding and canoeing.

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