Thousands flee as yet another typhoon menaces Philippines

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 11 2020 05:44 PM | Updated as of Nov 12 2020 12:16 AM

Philippine army officers assist residents during a pre-emptive evacuation order, ahead of the landfall of Typhoon Vamco in Buhi, Camarines Sur, Nov. 10, 2020, in this picture obtained from social media. Buhi LGU/Mark Nazzarea/Reuters

LEGAZPI, Albay - Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes in storm-battered parts of the Philippines Wednesday as the third typhoon in as many weeks barreled towards the country. 

Ulysses was expected to graze Catanduanes Island -- which was devastated by Super Typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) less than two weeks ago -- before making landfall on the most populous island of Luzon later Wednesday or early Thursday.

Destructive winds and torrential rain were expected in parts of Central and Southern Luzon, the state weather forecaster said.

About 50,000 people living in the typhoon's path would be ordered to leave their homes, said regional Civil Defense spokesman Gremil Alexis Naz.

The Bicol region, which Ulysses will cross as it heads towards Metro Manila, is still reeling from deadly typhoons Quinta and Rolly, which killed dozens of people and left thousands of families homeless.

Swathes of the region remain without power and with only limited or no telecommunication services after Rolly -- the most powerful typhoon this year -- toppled power lines, destroyed houses and flooded roads.

Pre-emptive evacuations of around 400,000 people were credited with saving many lives.

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Evacuation efforts in Catanduanes have been complicated this time, however, after Rolly destroyed some of its emergency shelters.

"It's like we are on one percent recovery and then ... Ulysses is coming," Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua told ABS-CBN News.

"I hope that people will never get tired of helping us."

Ulysses' winds could reach a peak intensity of 130 to 155 kilometers per hour before it makes landfall, weather bureau PAGASA said.

The typhoon was expected to dump heavy rains in Manila and nearby provinces as it sweeps across the already-sodden country.

The weather service also warned of flooding, landslides and storm surges several meters high along parts of the east coast and in the capital.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons every year, which typically wipe out harvests, homes and infrastructure, keeping millions of people perennially poor.

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